10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2010
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.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2010
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.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2007
"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.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2004
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
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.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2008
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2011
I've always wanted to know what it was like for these guys and their big machines during WW2. I was a little sceptical as to how exciting such stories might be but I found "Tigers in the Mud" made a great read. With a variety of Otto's diary entries and field reports. I have read a couple more books on the same topic after this one but this title is by far my favorite.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2012
This book reports the diary of war by the Panzer Ace Otto Carius. Literally, the reader find himself (even herself...) inside the story. The speech of the book is plain and describes well both the action and the surrounding landscape. We know generally the war stories by an Allied point of view. Here we have a bold German point of view. The Author describes well the spirit of comradeship among the german soldiers which prevails over ideology. The dreadful war on the Est front is reported even in the desperate final german counterattacks, where the Wehrmacht was able to push back the massive Soviet attacks. The aggressive mood of the Author, which pushed his many heroic actions, is well reported in the book.
Finally a book which must be present in your war library. Even for modelers this book is an important source of informations and pictures as well...
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2010
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.