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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiger on the prowl
Commander Carius started his career as a loader in a czech-built Panzer 38(t) before being wounded during the russian campaign. On his return is allotted a Tiger I, and then the real interesting part of the books starts.

Carius's first-hand accounts are very nice, being pointed to the tiger tactical employment (both at single, platoon and company / bataillon...
Published on 9 Dec 2010 by Mario Scalas

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read
Carius served in several tanks throughout the war, from the small Panzer 38(t) to the Tiger I and briefly, the huge Jagdtiger. He fought against the Russians and the Americans, although the majority of the book is mainly concerned with his 'Tiger' actions against the Russians. It is an interesting book for anyone who likes personal accounts of armoured warfare during the...
Published on 9 Mar 2008 by Kenny Martin


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiger on the prowl, 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Commander Carius started his career as a loader in a czech-built Panzer 38(t) before being wounded during the russian campaign. On his return is allotted a Tiger I, and then the real interesting part of the books starts.

Carius's first-hand accounts are very nice, being pointed to the tiger tactical employment (both at single, platoon and company / bataillon strength). It's nice to read how the german tankers employed their tigers, how they recovered them under enemy fire (or after a while, when the firefight has died out). It is also thrilling how the infantry division commanders (to which Carius's unit was attached to) failed to exploit the tiger's characteristics using it either as infastry support or as "the tigers will win just alone". Even interesting are the examples about how to first scout the terrain before running into the attack: Carius often travelled with its volkswagen)
I also liked the account about encounter with the SS: either the combatand troops at Narva front and his face-to-face meeting with Himmler (to give a medal to Carius). The final is also interesting as Carius is assigned to lead a company of Jagdtiger: powerful on chart, but very brittle and with green crews. The war has ended.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating personal account, 18 Sep 2010
This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
This excellent book details in great depth the combat experience of Otto Carius (Knights Cross and Oak Leaves winner), perhaps one of the less well known Tiger Tank commanders, but clearly someone in the same league as Michael Wittmann, only an army officer in this case, rather than a Waffen SS one and, perhaps, most importantly, one who actually survived the war and kept his diaries and photograph albums intact, with which this book was produced. Heartily recommended for any serious student of German armour (in the sense of tank forces) in WW2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping authentic account of Panzer combat, 25 Feb 2010
By 
Siko (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Otto Carius was a hugely successful Tiger commander, principally on the eastern front and this is his story.

As other reviewers have said, he can come across as matter of fact at times, rather than excited and emotional when in highly stressful encounters. However, this doesn't spoil things for me and I find that he comes across as authentically highly professional and coolly collected, for the level of experience and the huge success he had.

This is a really enjoyable read if you have any interest in tank combat in ww2 and the translation gives a really good account of the original. In a similar way to "The Forgotten Soldier", Carius leaves you with the same sense of panic from his few troops facing down the Russian hordes, although in his case it his hordes of tanks ! What is also good to see in the back of the book is lots of copies of his various decorations, awards, certificates etc and their english translations. This is a fantastic resource and the best personal account of the Panzer corps yet written.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating account of Otto Carius's career, 29 April 2007
By 
Frank Bierbrauer (Manchester, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
"Tigers in the Mud" is a wonderful volume written by Otto Carius on his military career during WWII, mostly his action as commander of a company of Tigers(Tiger I). Most of the action takes place on the Eastern Front against the Russians although there is a brief excerpt against the Americans where he commanded Jadgtigers.

His accounts of the the individual actions is very interesting as well as the atmosphere of being surrounded by reliable comrades. Throughout he describes his interaction with men he had to rely upon and their deep comradeship. He doesn't fail to mention some people who really had no idea of what they were doing or those who did but simply couldn't get on with the men under their command. He also points out some of the aspects of military action as practised by the Germans and the Russians. Whereas there were never very many Tigers available at any time, and so their use was carefully orchestrated so that losses were kept to a minimum, the Russians tended to throw T-34's into action quickly and without concern as to losses. It demonstrates why he had so much success fighting the Russians in comparison to their success against his tanks. Nonetheless he never fails to say when things went awry due to basic mistakes in comand or just simple errors during combat.

It also becomes clear that even in late 1943 and early 1944 it was still possible for the Luftwaffe to maintain air superiority on the Eastern front. The kind of massed bombing carried out by the US and Britain in the west was never practised by the Russians to the same extent even though the size of their airforce was greatly superior to the Germans. Mind you the Russians never had access to the superb P-51 Mustang whereas the Germans had the Focke Wulf 190.

It was obvious that German tanks were generally superior to the Russian models, except the later JS-1's and IIs, and provided they were used properly i.e. taking into account their problems with transmission, road wheels/transport etc they would almost always defeat larger numbers of the enemy. Carius knew how to use his Tigers, as well, he knew how to cooperate with infantry and knew all of his company tank commanders well. It is through this kind of understanding he was able to have so many successes against larger numbers of Russian T-34s. I certainly have no problem believing that he could knock out 10 T-34s with a single Tiger.

It is important to understand that Carius took the initiative at the right moment or whenever he was able to given the limitations of supply and orders from above. He attempted as much as possible to make use of the element of surprise and it is this which helped him during his destruction of the 17 Russian tanks in the village of Malinava.

Throughout the text Carius never blew his own trumpet, the actions are described matter of factly and it is clear that he wished to make sure people such as Kerscher and "The Graf" got the accolades they deserved. His meeting with Himmler is also informative in terms of the man's character.

All and all an excellent book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars into the fire of battle on the Eastern Front, 15 Aug 2004
By 
N. Page (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Otto Carius was one of the most successful Panzerkommandanten ever to take a Tiger tank into battle, claiming some 150 tanks destroyed and being decorated with the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross. This is his memoir and Stackpole are to be heartily congratulated for this cheap paperback edition of a long-out-print Fedorowicz classic.. When World War II broke out Carius had volunteered for 104th Infantry Placement Battalion in May of 1940. Following training, he was assigned to the 21st Panzer Regiment and experienced his first battle as a loader on a Panzer 38(t) during the "Barbarossa" operation in June of 1941. After about a year of war experience on the Eastern Front, Carius was accepted in an Officer Candidate Course and following its completion, was assigned to the 502nd Heavy Tank Battalion in April of 1943. Equipped with the new Tiger tanks, he was assigned as a tank commander to the 2nd Company of 502nd Tank Battalion. That summer, the 2nd Company was deployed to the Russian Leningrad Front and took part in several operations in that area. During that time, 502nd Tank Battalion was ordered to reinforce the front along with 11th SS Freiwillige Panzergrenadier Division "Nordland" at Narva Bridgehead. During one of his engagements, Carius destroyed four Soviet SU-85s and successfully withdrew without losses. In June of 1944, the company was transferred to Dunaburg (Daugavpils in Latvia) to defend the city from a concentrated Russian offensive. In the July of 1944, Russians outflanked the German defensive lines via the motorways west of Minsk and Borissov to Witebsk (same route was used by Germans in 1941). By using tanks in vast numbers, Soviets intended to divide the German occupied territory into small salients and then take port city of Riga. Since Riga is situated at the mouth of Dvina River, Dunaburg was an important strategic point for both Germans and Russians.

On 22 July 1944, 1st Lieutenant Otto Carius with his company of eight (early and mid production) Tigers advanced towards village of Malinava (northern suburb of Dunaburg) in order to halt the Russian advance. 1st Lieutenant Otto Carius and 1st Lieutenant Albert Kerscher (one of the most decorated commanders of sPzAbt 502) took a Kubelwagen in order to check if the village was already occupied by Russians. They discovered that village of Malinava was already occupied by the enemy. Carius recognized that the Russian tanks in the village were only advance troops waiting for the main force to arrive. He decided to recapture the village with a daring 'coup de main' before reinforcements arrived. He decided to attack the village using only two tanks because there was only one road leading to the village - six Tigers remained in reserve while Carius and Kerscher's Tigers moved towards the village of Malinava. Speed was the essence of Carius' strategy.

Entering the village, two T-34/85 tanks were observed rotating their turrets. At that moment, Kerscher's Tiger No.213, trailing Carius, opened fire and knocked them out. Also for the first time, Otto Carius encountered Russian's latest JS-1 (or possibly JS-2) heavy tank. Carius recalled that the entire battle lasted no more than 20 minutes - Carius and Kerscher's Tigers knocked out 17 Russian tanks during this brief but violent action. His quick and accurate recognition of the situation and the excellent tactics used were the main factors in the outcome; the Tiger's achievement at Malinava is perhaps as equally outstanding as Michael Wittmann's exploit at Villers-Bocage.

In November 1943, Otto Carius destroyed 10 Soviet T-34/76 tanks at distances as close as 50 metres. In August 1944, Otto Carius was transferred to Paderborn to the newly created schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 512 and was given command of the 2nd company. sPzJagAbt 512 was equipped with the massive Jagdtiger, armed with the 128mm Pak 44 L/55 gun. On 8 March 1945, 2nd company - its training incomplete - was directed to the frontline near Siegburg and participated in the defence of the River Rhine and eventually surrendered to the US Army on 15 April 1945.

All told, this is a fine - and rare - account of what it was to fight, live & die in the Tiger tank. The book is complete with reprinted period newspaper articles, both in the orginal German and in translated facsimile form and as such comes highly recommended.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tiger Tank Story, 22 Dec 2004
This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Writing as an afficiando of WW2 books and accounts this is one of the best German tank books I have. The author is actually a funny and likable guy too, some of his exploits are laugh out loud type. Not too serious but immensely informative from the man on the line point of view. A gripping WW2 account.
Its likely that his perspective on National Socialism and the Third Reich may be disorientating at first. However there is really only thoughtful commentry. Its well worth digesting these views for an open minded exploration of the 'other side's' mentality. Good Book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other Wittman, 10 Oct 2009
By 
Gisli Jokull Gislason "Jokull" (Iceland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Michael Wittman is well know to WW2 historians but Otto Carius was every bit his equal but since he fought mainly on the Eastern Front his exploits are less know (there is a third Kurt Knispel who was the highest scoring Panzer Ace but he avoided the limelight of attention and died before the war ended).

I found Otto Carius's story a very good read. It is rather short but touches on many topics and makes for an exciting read. Of course he does blow his horn a little but as a Tiger Ace he is allowed some leeway.

On the whole an enjoyable book and gives a little more understanding on World War 2. Recommended.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read, 9 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Carius served in several tanks throughout the war, from the small Panzer 38(t) to the Tiger I and briefly, the huge Jagdtiger. He fought against the Russians and the Americans, although the majority of the book is mainly concerned with his 'Tiger' actions against the Russians. It is an interesting book for anyone who likes personal accounts of armoured warfare during the Second World War.
Personally, whilst I enjoyed the book, I thought it was a bit too sanitized for my tastes, as regards his re-telling of the various actions. He does not go into great detail about them, perhaps in an effort not to seem to be gloryifying his many successes, but I felt that in reading it, I was never really 'there' with him, if you know what I mean.
Many other memoirs recount the sights, sounds, smells etc., of battle, painting a mental picture which helps to give an understanding of what the author went through and that was what I felt this book was lacking.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An epic struggle to read, but interesting non-the-less, 20 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Tigers in the Mud is by now a relatively famous books about the military career of Otto Carius written by the man himself some 15 years after the war. Unlike many biographies this is a book in his own words and based on lots of documents, correspondence and photographs collected (and saved) by the author throughout his war years. Some parts of the book are fascinating insights and there are lots of little facts that jump out at the reader, but the translation of the original German text is a little clumsy and makes this a hard book to read.

The action in the book is almost exclusively set on the Eastern Front facing the Russians (referred to as 'Ivan' throughout), although in the latter chapters he is posted to the west facing the Americans. Much of the action is described in a very matter of fact way which is both refreshingly clear but also on occasion frustratingly lacking in detail. Some scenes for instance are described almost like an After Action Report so while this is a very informative book the reader doesn't get the full experience of the sights, sounds, smells like one does in other biographies. Having said that one of the best chapters 'Portrait of the Tiger' does reveal the physical discomforts and difficulties of fighting in the Panzer VI.

One of the big faults with the book in my opinion is the translation which I often found a little hard to read. Some paragraphs read like a bunch of unrelated sentences dragged together and there was little narrative flow to most of the chapter's. Some of the translations also used English phrases and colloquialisms which just didn't sound right coming from a German officer and made reading some sections disconcertingly unbalanced. Having said that the very fact that this relatively obscure memoir has been translated at all has meant it has reached a much wider audience that it otherwise would have.

Throughout the book Carius makes it clear that he feels the ordinary German soldier has been treated badly in the post war period. To some extent he is right, in that it has long been popular to portray every German soldier as a warmongering Jew hating Nazi. The truth is that many regular German soldiers were not fighting for Hitler or for National Socialism but because their country asked then to fight and they saw it as their duty to respond to that call. In that respect they were no different from the soldiers of other nations who fight for their country not the politics that have resulted in the war. Several times Carius states that at the front an individual soldiers politics or religion were irrelevant and all that really mattered was comradeship and fellowship which is probably a sentiment that most veterans can understand.

Having said that Carius never acknowledges the wrongs perpetrated by his Nazi leaders, even in retrospect, and I found that hard to ignore. At the front, insulated from reality and fighting against an implacable enemy, he could be excused for being blind to the evil of Germany's leaders. However, looking back and writing 15 years later he showed remarkably little comprehension of the chaos that was unleashed by his country or that Germany as whole had to accept some responsibility for allowing such a regime to gain power in the first place. I didn't expect Carius to apologise for his country but most other German biographies (such as that by Von Luck) I have read have at least acknowledged with hindsight that they were fighting for an unjust cause.

I'm not sure that Carius was sympathetic to the regime as he candidly acknowledges Graf von Stauffenberg who attempted to assassinate Hitler as a hero because he was willing to die for his belief that Germany needed to be saved from destruction by its own leaders. However he is also scathing of the other plotters because they did not act sooner to eliminate Hitler. Carius also describes potential saboteurs and informants as traitors without seeming to realise that these people also risked their lives (and those of their families) by their actions. Overall the reader gets a very mixed message on the political alignment of the author. Maybe this is deliberate as he was initially writing for an audience of his military peers and politics was deemed irrelevant to the front-line soldier whose main priorities usually focused on survival.

Politics aside there is a lot about this book that I did enjoy. There are plenty of tactical insights into how the Tigers of the 502nd Tank Battalion were employed and the difficulties they faced in Russia. The state of the roads and unsuitability of cross country travel in the Tiger is mentioned time and again. There are also numerous references to march routes needing to be scouted out - usually by the commander - to assess the condition of roads and in particular bridges. Although it is clear the Tiger was not the unmaneuverable beast it is sometimes portrayed as, its capabilities were severely restricted in the boggy and marshy terrain in which they were deployed - hence the name of the book.

Carius takes great pains to acknowledge the work of maintenance crews in keeping his Tigers running and combat ready. Problems with running gear, broken tracks and final drives are mentioned regularly. Although the Armour of the Tiger made it a formidable opponent its was far from invulnerable. On one occasion the commanders cupola of Carius' tank was shot clean off by a lucky shot from a Russian Assault Gun - only the fact that he was ducked down getting his cigarette lit by another crew member saved his life! The tiger was also vulnerable to HE and Mortar rounds which could send shrapnel through the engine deck into key components such as the radiators. Handling of the tank was also key to the vehicles endurance. On several occasions Carius describes hasty or green drivers throwing tracks by reversing or turning too quickly.

After the biography there are several original documents that have been reproduced along with English translations of them. One of the most interesting of these is a report by the field engineers responsible for maintaining the Tigers at the front. Their report is a long list of common faults, analysis of why these have occurred and recommendations for eliminating the problem in future. I got the impression that many of the faults listed should have been identified during proper trails of the tank before production was begun and before the Tiger was issued to front line troops.

So is this a good book? Yes and no. The translation could have been better and Carius' matter of fact narrative style was hard to read at times. But it is still an incredible story of the epic struggle between the Germans and Russians. Carius himself was undoubtedly a brave soldier earning the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class, the Knights Cross and Oak-leaves to the Knights Cross. He was also wounded several times eventually being awarded the Wound Badge in Gold and the Panzer Battle Badge in Silver for 100 Assaults. His loyalty to his comrades comes through clearly in his words and while I have some misgivings about his stance on the war one has to remember this book was originally written for fellow veterans of the 502nd Panzer Battalion not for a wider audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but lacking is some detail, 15 May 2012
This review is from: Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series) (Paperback)
Overall, I believe that 'Tigers in the Mud' is a fantastic book, and i recommend it to anyone that wishes to learn about the German armoured arm in WW2. The author describes his life and the overall experiences of him and his comrades on both the Russia front in the east and the American and English in the west.
The author also recounts the events with very little bias, and never says that he or his men were better than their foes, and only goes so far as to praise their bravery and determination (which is completely realistic to soldiers fighting for their country in total war). However, he might have gone slightly too far in this extent, as he describes more how life was like being part of the German panzer forces in WW2 rather than the actual battles, and in fact touches on them with a rather distant tone, almost as if he was a historian reviewing the events.
In summary, the book is a must buy for anyone who wishes to research into or is just plainly interested in the panzer forces of WW2, but do not expect the book to be filled with vivid scenes of warfare on every page, as it is much more centred on the actual lives and experiences of those in the Schwerer panzer Abteilung 502 in the second world war.
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