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'Achtung-Panzer' is a significant piece of military history.

Written in 1937 by Heinz Guderian, a World War I veteran, member of the German General Staff, and later a General in WWII - the book explores the application of motorized warfare (largely unexplored at the time of its publication), and argues for the use of tanks, highly mobile mechanized infantry, aircraft and paratroopers in what would later be coined 'Blitzkrieg', otherwise known as 'combined-arms' warfare.

The first half of the book explores the mistakes made by all of the belligerents of WWI, including trench warfare and the obsolesence of horse mounted cavalry in the face of advancements in artillery and the invention of the machine gun, which allowed even inferior numbers of less skilled combatants to easily repel a superior attacking force. Clearly something would have to give if subsequent conflicts were to avoid the wastage and stalemate encountered in the trench war, and that 'something' in Guderians opinion was the tank - the application of which he explores throughout the majority of the book.

The book goes into incredible detail and explores such issues as the effect of the Treaty of Versailles on Germanys ability to develop mechanized forces as well as Guderians own beliefs as to the best applications for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. It is well researched as Guderian was a scholar who was fluent in both English and French and spent much of his time studying the works of British maneuver warfare theorists J. F. C. Fuller, Giffard Martel and B.H. Liddell Hart, whom are credited in this work. The fact that the ideas presented in the book clearly heavily influenced the military actions of Germany during the Second World War is testament to its significance.

This is not a technical manual, and there is very little description or investigation into individual models of tanks themselves or the people who piloted them, however even though this was a theoretical work it avoids being 'stuffy' and is a surprisingly easy read. My only criticism is that most of the many maps included in the book lack detail or are difficult to read.
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on 14 August 2017
A must read book if you love military history, it shaped warfare for years to come and it's a great read.
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on 22 December 2002
This book was written in German and first published in 1937, but if you're expecting a turgid and dated account, think again! The writing is crisp and pacy, and soon sucks you in to the author's absolute passion for his subject.
This book describes the theory of "Blitzkrieg" as we now know it (although this word is a journalist's invention), and explains how the theory was developed. The tank engagements of the Great War are analysed in detail, and the contribution of other branches of the army, and to a lesser extent the air force, examined.
Guderian argues convincingly for the mechanization of infantry and artillery - in contrast to the narrow parochial arguments of the majority of his contemporaries, and considers supply, transport, paratroops (also untested in 1937), smoke and chemical weapons etc.
The most fascinating thing about this book is that although it reads like an incisive historical account, it was actually written BEFORE the start of the Second World War, when the arguments contained in the book were more or less pure theory.
There are perhaps a few places where Guderian exaggerates his case, but in the context of a still contraversial theory which had yet to be generally accepted, his sales pitch is remarkably restrained.
The maps tend to be sketch quality, however there are some nice black and white plates (about 40 photographs) mostly depicting early armour. These must have been added later as one of the photographs shows the 1940 paratroop drop on Rotterdam.
A thoroughly remarkable book that predicted the future with remarkable accuracy.
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on 25 May 2013
A must read if you are planning a lightning invasion of Poland or France just don't deceive yourself it is going to work in Russia as well
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This is a great book . It is little wonder that France fell in a mere six weeks in 1940 given that the French High Command had the author of this book as its adversary ! This book is a classic of military history . Guderians thoughts as to how blitzkrieg would be carried out are fully developed and laid out in this illuminating textbook of how to conduct 'lightning war' - what a shame this book was little read outside of Germany during the 1930s . While Guderians observations on how a future war should be fought are the most important aspects of this book , an interesting aside is his analaysis of British tank deployment in the second half of World War One . This is a book every student of military history should read . Heinz Guderian is one of the most important figuares in military history : it is vital to read the thinking that earned him his place in that history .
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Seeing the other reviews here I wonder if we read the same book, but mine was bought here and shares the same picture so I will confidently review it :)

First off this book is propaganda where Guderian promotes his ideas on the use of tanks. More than half the book is Guderian's rather liberal interpretations on tanks in World War 1 and to be frank these chapters have aged badly and are more arguments to support Guderian's ideas than a serious study in themselves. I almost gave up on the book during these chapters. The book changes during the last 40 or so pages and here we find the genesis of Blitzkrieg which would turn warfare on its head and give the Germans a head start in World War 2 with the quick and decisive victories of 1939-1940 (Note; this was not because Achtung Panzer was revolutionary but because of the study of future warfare but the German General Staff. Guderian is reflecting on their thinking and draws from their experiments and development. No doubt he did help promote these ideas as presented in the book but he is by no means a sole pioneer).

The book is greatly helped by chapter notes by Paul Harris who puts things into context and elaborates on Guderian's notes. Harris even goes so far as to clarify and correct mistakes or misconceptions and even if I am not knowledgable enough to judge the correctness of these comments they sound true.

Added to this Guderian was a genius of this new type of warfare and put into practice what he had written makes this book interesting. In fact at the end on page 212 Guderian's own words are "Actions speak louder than words. In the days to come the Goddess of Victory will bestow her laurels only on those who are prepared to act with daring."
This he indeed did with impressive success and the German Tank Warfare concept was far superior to that of any other nation.

I have a few problems with the book however. First off I did not find it any fun to read. A large part of the book is about the use of Tanks in World War 1 and is far from a serious study but Guderian looking for arguments to support his own cause and allows for very liberal interpretations of events. Secondly Guderian is presenting theory, not fact at the time and frankly the book is very dated. In fact I am wondering who this book is best suited too? A casual military historian will find his time better served reading memoirs and history books, a military professional will find his time better served reading modern theory and research and a fan og Guderian might want to read in for completion but would be better served by a biography about Guderian.

Cassel Military Paperbacks should be praised for offering an English translation of this book but having read it I don't forsee recommending it to anyone, and in the unlikely event that I would I think readers should go straight to "The Tactics if the Panzer Forces and their co-operation with the Other Arms" - p178 (out of 212 aside from index and notes). Military wargamers will find the book of little or no use.

That this book was of historical importance and Guderian was a great military general there is no doubt. But there is no real reason to read it word for word unless you are a serious scholar or a completist.
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on 21 June 2005
This book is a great buy for anyone with even a passing interest in tank warfare. From those who do it for a hobby to the serious military historian, this book is recommended to anyone who either want to see why the German Panzers did so well in the 1939-1941 period, or wish to study how the tank became such a dominating force in land warfare for half a century, or simply want to read how the tank turned from a slow, unreliable, subbordinate arm of the army to the fast, decisive force it became. The editor's introduction is helpful in giving pointers for Guderian's main points, as well as clarifying for the confused reader what Guderian was saying. A must-buy for any budding military historian.
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on 31 August 2012
Magnificient book in which Gen.Guderian draws the conclusions from the 1st world war and prophetise the way war would be done in the next decades.
His theories applied would win most of Germany's achievment in WWII.

A must read for anybody interested in military history, but probably too technical for general history readers.
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on 7 January 2016
detailed thoughts from Guderian. If youre a WWII nut this is an interesting read, more than your average war biography or manual. Adds a lot of context and detail to the history we all know about.
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on 25 May 2014
Brought as a gift for son who is studying. This just adds to his vast collection.
Nicely packaged and fast service.
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