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Panzer Aces: German Tank Commanders of WWII (Stackpole Military History) Paperback – 15 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books,U.S.; 1st Edition edition (15 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811731731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811731737
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 393,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Franz Kurowski is the author of numerous books on World War II.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On 30 January 1940, the 6th Panzer Division, which had been formed from the 1st Light Division, left its garrisons in Germany. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Unsworth on 12 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of tank on tank action that should satisfy any tankophile, young or old. The battles are mostly gripping and really do give a great sense of what it must have been like to face a numerically superior enemy in the freezing cold of the Russian countryside. The book focuses on the fighting, and any earlier or later biography is kept to an absolute minimum. Similarly there is no investigation into the political views of the Pancer aces within this book. The relative merits of the german tanks are discussed over the course of the book, but fairly briefly, and at times we are only told that our hero was commanding a `tank destroyer'. But the main problem I have with this book is that much (all?) of the in-tank conversation must have been invented by the author, happening as it did 70 years ago. The further problem then is how much of the other details are untrue? When the author writes that on the 6th of May 1942, 5 miles outside of a certain Russian village Whittman spotted 12 T-34s silhouetted against the sky whilst traversing hill 349, and then went on to knock out 3 of them, just how much of that is invented by the author? There are no sources cited, and no preface to explain how the author put the book together. I'm not suggesting that the tank battles documented here are fiction, only that the reader naturally wonders where the fiction stops and the fact starts. Also there are no maps. The battles are complicated and would need literally dozens of maps to aid the reader, yet we don't have a single one. Other problems - as another reviewer has noted if I had a pound for the number of times a shell hit a tank just under the turret causing the turret to become dislodged I would be a very happy man. How common was this type of damage?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a modeler with intesest in tanks, i like to read about the real life of tank commander in Second Wolrd War from both sides
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Luis Miguel Vale on 23 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
Great action book on a subject that, in my opinion, it's one that the german side it's "at home". Sometimes gives the impression of being too easy. Some of the chapters are not so involving than others, nonetheless it's a great account of how the "job" was done. Greater book than the second chapter from this author, it's great for anyone dedicated to second world war.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Very good 25 Aug. 2005
By Thomas Reiter - Published on
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book quite a bit--it has loads of heavy tank fighting, mainly on the Eastern front. The book is full of accounts of chatter in the turret and between tank commanders and actually reads more like a novel than a traditional military history or even a personal memoir. Lots of suspenseful tank-on-tank actions.

Which leads to a few things I didn't like about the book: at least in the version of the book that I read, the author does not explain anything about the sources of his dialogs and personal accounts. Given the very detailed conversations and other personal actions described in the book, presumably the author would have had to interview the participants soon after the actual events to get an accurate recollection of such things. Or maybe the conversations and recollections are "reconstructed" (ie, made-up). Ultimately, I guess it doesn't matter that much if you read the book purely for its entertainment value.

Another thing I didn't like--the panzer battles start sounding very similar after a while: if I had a nickle for every time the author described one of the panzer aces hitting a T-34 "between the hull and the turret, causing the turret to be blown from the tank" I would be a rich man. Maybe that is where the panzer aces hit all of their targets, but it definitely gave me a sense of deja vu. Also, the focus of the book is more on describing what the crew is saying and doing rather than what the platoon and company are doing, so there is not much to pick up on small unit tactics from this book.

Overall a fun and interesting read but if you want to read something that would teach you more about tank combat, I recommend reading "Tigers in the Mud" instead.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good summary book about 6 tank commanders 29 Dec. 2006
By robbieandrose - Published on
Format: Paperback
While some reviewers have gripped that this book doesn't cite sources and doesn't have alot of maps and lacks strategic prospective I think they are missing the point. This book pulls together good stories about men who, with the exception of Michael Wittmann whose own book is very hard to find, are unknown in the West. The author has done a good job of showing readers what the experiences of these men were like. The book is interesting for the section on the greatest tank commander of all time Wittmann alone as most authors only see fit to include a few pages about him here and there. Also two of the sections deal with Kursk which was the largest tank battle in history and has been ignored by many so-called historians who prefer to disect the battles in France.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Panzer Aces ultimately trumped 26 Jan. 2005
By Noah Vaile - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an exciting and well written book that I have read twice. It chronicles the rise and fall of the German Panzertruppe through the personal experiences of six of its finest leaders. Beginning early in the war, using largely inferior equipment but having great esprit de corps (the French would hate that) and brilliant tactics and initiative, with the great victories in Poland, France and the first two years in Russia and then through the last two years of the war- using the best equipment but hamstrung by inadequate numbers and inane strategies resulting in a series of continued localized tactical victories and theatre wide strategic defeats, this book presents an on the field view we rarely have gotten from other writers.

Using actual diaries and first hand journals Kurowski recreates the actual battlefield experiences of these men as they progressed through the war. This is first-hand tactical experience made real on the written page! Really well done. I found this book riveting.

Paul Carrel, in two books, "Hitler Moves East" & "Scorched Earth" captures much of the same on an operational level, and I recommend these books highly as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Up close and personal! 25 April 2007
By Rodger Raubach - Published on
Format: Paperback
As with many books of this particular genre, the subject matter is very interestingng, but suffers from translation. The six men, the "Aces", are well profiled and seem to become real people.

In regards to the lack of "technical details", most readers of this very specialized type of biography/memoir/military history, can easily find the necessary information eleswhere. This book focuses on the MEN and not the equuipment.

Overall a very good effort. A few maps would have helped understand the overall strategic situation, better, but still entertaining. Four stars reflect the translational problems, since German is dificult to translate into "literary" and readable English.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A chore to read 6 Feb. 2010
By Troy Gordon - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love WWII history, and being a former tanker myself, must have respect for these men and what they went through, but this book was just not enjoyable. Its incredibly repetative and quite absent of any sort of emotion. Really, its pretty boring. Go take a look at it in Barnes and Noble or whatever you have near you, and if you don't grow tired of hearing about T34 turrets being dislodged page after page, then order it online. Or support your bookstore. If you are looking for more interesting ground combat stories, I highly recommend Sniper on the Eastern Front, Black Eidelweiss, and pretty much any Ambrose or Ryan book. These seem quite likely to have been written in German, probably for progaganda use, and translated poorly over into English. I would love to say it was fantastic, but I grew bored with the writing style and lack of detail.
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