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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book on the Second World War
This book is thoughtful and honest. It is one mans viewpoint being clearly and simply shown throughout one of the most important eras of history. Many will read this to discover more about the Second World War (as I did). People reading for these reasons will not be disappointed, (he was involved in conflict on mainland Europe, North Africa and the feared eastern front)...
Published on 8 May 2005

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately a bit disappointing
I'm with the minority of reviewers in being a bit disappointed with this. I approached it with high hopes and ready to be pleased, but really the book never, for me, moved out of 3rd gear until the description of the author's captivity by the Russians post-1945.

One fatal handicap is the omission of maps; without these the quick-moving list of battle locations...
Published on 9 May 2008 by Humpty Dumpty


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book on the Second World War, 8 May 2005
By A Customer
This book is thoughtful and honest. It is one mans viewpoint being clearly and simply shown throughout one of the most important eras of history. Many will read this to discover more about the Second World War (as I did). People reading for these reasons will not be disappointed, (he was involved in conflict on mainland Europe, North Africa and the feared eastern front). Despite his wartime experiences being very clear and interesting, I was surprised to find myself much more interested in his post-war experiences. His style is modest and maybe won't grab some readers in the same way as a novel would. This book is more than that. Big explosions aren't the point or his intention, if you need that, don't bother with this book.
This book feels like a father reflecting upon his life to his son and that is what makes it so very special.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic story of a Panzer warrior, 3 Dec 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Being in the German wehrmacht and in captivity for close to 20 years spending the best years of his life fighting for a case not won it is impressive that Von Luck comes out on the other side in shape of creating a new life. On the theaters of war where Von Luck was fighting during WWII this book is very descriptive. Especially the fighting's near Moscow during winter 1941-1942, the battles in North Africa in 1942-1943 and the collapse in Tunisia 1943 is giving the reader a feeling of being there together with Von Luck. The landing in Normandy in June 1944 and the important battles that Von Luck was fighting later on the retreat to Germany is giving another view than common on how the war on the western front was developing for the Germans. It is impressive to read of the stiff resistance the Germans was able to putt up even though they knew the war was lost. The German soldiers were fighting with an incredible performance. Finally the years in Russian captivity is giving a view on how life was for the thousands of German POW's in the country that suffered the most of casualties during WWII. It can only be recommended to buy this book. You will not be able to put it down before you have turned the last page.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately a bit disappointing, 9 May 2008
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I'm with the minority of reviewers in being a bit disappointed with this. I approached it with high hopes and ready to be pleased, but really the book never, for me, moved out of 3rd gear until the description of the author's captivity by the Russians post-1945.

One fatal handicap is the omission of maps; without these the quick-moving list of battle locations in Russia, N Africa and Normandy means much less than it might do.

But more than this, Luck never lets go of his cloak of reticence to reveal much about himself. We learn little of the fighting tactics which enabled the rapid advance in Russia, nor is there any real explanation of just how the German forces, ill-supplied, let down by the Luftwaffe and knowing that the war was all but lost, put up such a fight against the odds. His attitude to the 1944 plot on Hitler's life is hinted at but not explored. It is also frustrating to learn that he had friends in Paris with whom he consorted while on leave, but this intriguing situation is never fully explained, either. Did his superiors know about this? If so, did they approve? Luck was in an excellent position to understand and comment on the effects of the occupation upon his friends and upon the wider French populace, but again he remains silent.

At the end I was left with the sense of how much more interesting these memoirs might have been had the author had a strong editor to work with him on recasting and supplementing his material.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into recon-armor warfare during WWII..., 7 Aug 2000
By A Customer
... as well as the personal experiences of a German career officer
Anybody who complains about this book not being gory or technical or explicit enough misses the point: This is a member of German aristocracy writing this, an old gentleman, naturally he will show some reserve. Furthermore, he is a soldier who has been there, not a historian. As such, he has no need to recount every detail of someone's body being blown to bits. From what these men (on all sides) must have seen, that comes as a matter of course. Leave it to the Spielbergs of the world to provide the images.
The fact the Oberst von Luck was asked by the British and other parties to give account of the fighting surrounding 'Operation Goodwood' (beachhead breakout attempts after the D-day landing) ON LOCATION for many years during the latter part of the 20th century, should put to rest any doubts of whether he speaks of things with authority.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic - If you like military history then buy it., 19 Aug 2002
...Hans Von Luck does describe action when it is pertinent to the story. For example he describes losing the tops of his fingers fighting to cross La Bassee Canal (p40), he also describes other such moments.
I cannot more strongly recommend this book to any one with an interest not only in World War Two but in military history overall or in the psychology of a German officer who took part in the conflict.
I expected to learn about the German view on the war but I did not expect to be touched by the humanity of Von Luck and his story. He does not flinch from admitting that his early success at the front caused great suffering, especially in the occupied areas. Von Luck also describes the plight of the German people without ever using this as a means to offset the effects of Hitler's war. His description of his reunions and reconciliation with former enemies in the Epilogue are deeply moving.
Hans Von Luck was truly a remarkable man. His breadth of experience is to be marvelled at. This officer took part in every major theatre fought by the Germans. He records the details and experiences of someone who experienced front line combat against the British, French, American and Russian armies. During that time he rose to become a full colonel and won the German Cross in Gold and the Knights Cross.
The book is particularly interesting for its coverage of the fight against Montgomery in the desert and I was intrigued by the descriptions of the 5'o'clock cease fires and exchanges between the German and British armies. It was also intriguing to read how he viewed the American army's development from its early losses and inexperience fighting in the desert to the hard hitting tough enemy that he fought against during the Battle for Hatten-Rittershoffen in 1945.
For many however Von Luck will always be known for his leadership of the German units fighting against Montgomery during Operation Goodwood. This was when the British & Canadian forces were looking to break out of Caen and move inland. His description of how he forced an anti-aircraft unit leader at gun point to aim his four 88mm anti-aircraft guns at allied tanks is amazing. This unit went on to destroy 40 British tanks and blunt the allied advance.
This book is a classic and it deserves more wide spread recognition. Buy it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story told in the first person, 6 May 2004
By 
Pedro Casimiro da Silva Santos (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This is a great book regarding the personnal war memories of Hans Von Luck as leader of several german armoured and reconnaisance units throughout WWII. Very reliable and accurate on top of that. The author was present in virtually every major german war theatre, from the Blitzkieg to the Normandy landings and the last days of the Reich, facing the russian onslaught.
Gives a great prespective from the "guy in the trenches" and is a superb complement to Rommel's war memories (The Rommel Papers, edited by B. H. Liddell Hart) since Von Luck served under him in France (1940), Africa, and again in Normandy in 1944, allowing to fully understand the tactical effects of stategic decisions.
Von Luck actions in Normandy are also mentioned in Stephen Ambrose's book Pegasus Bridge. I recommend it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare insight into the life of a German soldier, 11 Feb 2001
Even though the author was a cousin of my grandfather I did not know this memoir existed as I believe it has been published in America only. I was fascinated by the author's story and devour anything written in the English language by a German which helps us understand how the terrible war could have happened. Hans von Luck was a fine man in the best tradition of a Prussian soldier. I suspect they don't make men like him any more. He died on 1 August 1997 aged 86. His obituary appeared in THE TIMES on August 28th 1997, a rare achievement for a German soldier.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wehrmacht's Answer to Forrest Gump!, 31 Dec 1997
By A Customer
About a third of the way into this book, I had to check to make sure it was a biography and not fiction. Hans von Luck's experiences in the German military during WW2 read like something out of "Forrest Gump" - this guy was everywhere: East Front, North Africa, Normandy, East Front, etc. One humourous thread that runs through his various tours of duty is his seemingly bottomless personal stash of coffee that he took with him everywhere (real coffee being like gold in Germany then). His writing style and the philosophical perspective that he brings to his experiences reveal a cultured and capable individual. It is unfortunate that more of Germany's leading military commanders (Rommel, Wittman, etc.) did not survive the war, because the world would have the full benefit of their reflections on the war "from the other side". A good read that reveals some of the humanity present within the German military at that time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious book, better on events after the war, 12 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This is a strange book, since there isn't much military action featured in what is supposed to be the memoirs of a Panzer commander. But for me the best section was the one which covered Luck's imprisonment in Soviet Georgia after the war, which was curiously moving and gave a very good idea of what it must have been like for the countless hundreds of thousands of defeated Germans packed off into the Soviet hinterland.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine and moving account, 29 April 2006
This review is from: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This book is quite a surprise, your initial impression is that it's just another memoirs churned out of mediocre standard. This is soon dispelled and what a thoroughly absorbing read about an officer and a gentleman going through the horrific war in Russia, being captured and surviving the horrors or the Russian labour camps. Highly moving and recommended.
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