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Comandante di Panzer (Italia Storica Ebook Vol. 27)

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Le memorie del colonnello Hans von Luck, negli anni 1939-1945 . Lucido raaconto, assai dettagliato di un comnadante di panzer tedesco presente su tutti i principali tatrei operativi del conflitto, sempre in posizione da protagomnista ed accanto a un generale di fama com Rommel. Il suo episodio più noto avvenne dopo lo sbarco in Normandia, quando il suo reparto fu integrato Le memorie del colonnello Hans von Luck, negli anni 1939-1945 . Lucido raaconto, assai dettagliato di un comnadante di panzer tedesco presente su tutti i principali tatrei operativi del conflitto, sempre in posizione da protagomnista ed accanto a un generale di fama com Rommel. Il suo episodio più noto avvenne dopo lo sbarco in Normandia, quando il suo reparto fu integrato da unità corazzate, esploranti, d’artiglieria e controcarro, formando il Kampfgruppe von Luck, impiegato nei punti focali del fronte: contro i parà inglesi sull’Orne, nella difesa di Caen, durante l’Operazione Goodwood e infine nella sacca di Falaise, dove von Luck condusse verso la salvezza i resti della 21. Panzer-Division, prendendo il comando della Divisione. Per queste azioni, fu decorato della prestigiosa Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuz l’8 agosto 1944. Catturato infine dai sovietici ad Halbe nell’aprile 1945, fu internato in un Gulag per cinque lunghi anni. Tornato finalmente in Germania, divenne un uomo d’affari di successo, rimanendo vicino alle associazioni veterani delle sue unità e conducendo numerose conferenze e studi sui campi di battaglia per gli ufficiali dell’US Army e della NATO.


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Le memorie del colonnello Hans von Luck, negli anni 1939-1945 . Lucido raaconto, assai dettagliato di un comnadante di panzer tedesco presente su tutti i principali tatrei operativi del conflitto, sempre in posizione da protagomnista ed accanto a un generale di fama com Rommel. Il suo episodio più noto avvenne dopo lo sbarco in Normandia, quando il suo reparto fu integrato Le memorie del colonnello Hans von Luck, negli anni 1939-1945 . Lucido raaconto, assai dettagliato di un comnadante di panzer tedesco presente su tutti i principali tatrei operativi del conflitto, sempre in posizione da protagomnista ed accanto a un generale di fama com Rommel. Il suo episodio più noto avvenne dopo lo sbarco in Normandia, quando il suo reparto fu integrato da unità corazzate, esploranti, d’artiglieria e controcarro, formando il Kampfgruppe von Luck, impiegato nei punti focali del fronte: contro i parà inglesi sull’Orne, nella difesa di Caen, durante l’Operazione Goodwood e infine nella sacca di Falaise, dove von Luck condusse verso la salvezza i resti della 21. Panzer-Division, prendendo il comando della Divisione. Per queste azioni, fu decorato della prestigiosa Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuz l’8 agosto 1944. Catturato infine dai sovietici ad Halbe nell’aprile 1945, fu internato in un Gulag per cinque lunghi anni. Tornato finalmente in Germania, divenne un uomo d’affari di successo, rimanendo vicino alle associazioni veterani delle sue unità e conducendo numerose conferenze e studi sui campi di battaglia per gli ufficiali dell’US Army e della NATO.

30 review for Comandante di Panzer (Italia Storica Ebook Vol. 27)

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    Hans Von Luck (pronounced like the English name "Luke" not the English word "luck") was a "good German," which makes his memoir an interesting story that has certain elephants constantly lurking in the back of the room. Luck addresses them a few times, though perhaps not to the satisfaction of those who really want to know about the moral calculus of serving as a willing officer in Hitler's army. I found his account compelling and sometimes riveting for his first-hand accounts of war and all its Hans Von Luck (pronounced like the English name "Luke" not the English word "luck") was a "good German," which makes his memoir an interesting story that has certain elephants constantly lurking in the back of the room. Luck addresses them a few times, though perhaps not to the satisfaction of those who really want to know about the moral calculus of serving as a willing officer in Hitler's army. I found his account compelling and sometimes riveting for his first-hand accounts of war and all its accompanying terror, as well as the years he spent as a prisoner in Russian camps at the end of the war, before he was finally released back to Germany. However, his war stories, while detailed, meticulous, and sometimes dreadful, were somewhat lacking in the technical and tactical details that made Japanese Destroyer Captain a much better read. If you want to know all about tank warfare and what is was like to drive Panzers, Luck talks surprisingly little about the machines and the maneuvers themselves. He covers the battles he was involved in as if giving an AAR (After Action Report), narrating his campaigns from the Eastern Front to North Africa, where he served under Rommel, and finally, to the bitter end defense of Berlin, which led to his being captured by the Russians and spending the next five years as a POW. In the foreword, he issues a plea for tolerance and peace in the hope of "never again" repeating the mistakes his country made, and throughout the book he gives the impression of being a conscientious man who always had his doubts about Hitler, but was just being a loyal soldier. He certainly wasn't anti-Semitic, as his girlfriend throughout the war was 1/8 Jewish, and they were told by the High Command that for that reason, he could not marry her. (He observes indignantly that reserve officers were allowed to marry a 1/8 Jew, but active army officers could not.) Actually, his romance with Dagmar became an ongoing "subplot" in the story, as he would frequently manage to speak to her briefly even while he was in the field and she was back in Germany (in areas being bombed), and at one point she basically hitchhiked through a war zone to meet him! Spunky woman. I won't "spoil" the ending by telling you whether or not they wind up marrying. All that being said - I experienced some skepticism about Luck's studious disavowals that he or his fellow officers really knew what was going on with the Jews. Dagmar's own father was locked up in a camp (just a prison camp; they hadn't become death camps yet) and Luck tried to exercise his influence to free him. There are also an awful lot of stories about how noble and generous he and his men were to local civilians, and how grateful they were, and it was only in other places where less honorable German soldiers treated non-combatants with less humanity. Not that I doubt Luck's personal conduct — I'm sure he was a conscientious commander who followed the Geneva Convention. But still, he never seems to encounter anyone who actually dislikes Germans, or has reason to. Later, Luck relates the increasing desperation of the German army as they realize (from about 1943 onward) that the war is lost and they are fighting for survival and increasingly diminishing chances of being allowed something more than unconditional surrender. As this happens, he talks about how Hitler and the High Command were increasingly detached from the reality at the front, how Hitler was trying to micromanage divisions (which often no longer existed except on paper), and how the Nazi police state even affected officers at the front. At one point, one of Luck's platoon sergeants is summarily executed by one of the infamous "flying drumhead" judges who were going around shooting soldiers for any reason they could drum up. Luck is furious, but even a highly decorated colonel can't do anything about it. This was a good book for its look into the mind of a Wehrmacht officer, but I found the anecdotes like those above more interesting than the actual war, which Luck describes in dry detail. The chapters about life in a Russian labor camp were interesting too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karl Lazanski

    What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said by others! This memoir is really easy and enjoyable to read. Whether it is intentional or just plain honesty it is hard not to like and respect, not just the officer but the man that was colonel hans von luck! He describes in depth every theatre of the Second World War he was involved in, not just briefly but I believe in a very easily understandable way. His experiences were and still are relevant for today's people, of not just the br What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said by others! This memoir is really easy and enjoyable to read. Whether it is intentional or just plain honesty it is hard not to like and respect, not just the officer but the man that was colonel hans von luck! He describes in depth every theatre of the Second World War he was involved in, not just briefly but I believe in a very easily understandable way. His experiences were and still are relevant for today's people, of not just the brutality but the human side of war, of being himself able to understand and forgive harsh treatment in the gulags of Russia! This is a book that could be read quickly like a novel, but in doing so one will miss the opportunity to ponder on things that are said by a very human individual that has experienced war at its worst!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    One of the best war memoirs I've read. The author is balanced and realistic about war, about the nazis, about his own point of view, about his opponents. He was present in virtually every theatre of war from the first day until almost the final day, and often involved in the crucial battles, so the account is full of interest from a historical point of view -- not to mention his close connection to Rommel. Von Luck was clearly an outstanding soldier and his battle accounts are fascinating, but t One of the best war memoirs I've read. The author is balanced and realistic about war, about the nazis, about his own point of view, about his opponents. He was present in virtually every theatre of war from the first day until almost the final day, and often involved in the crucial battles, so the account is full of interest from a historical point of view -- not to mention his close connection to Rommel. Von Luck was clearly an outstanding soldier and his battle accounts are fascinating, but the outstanding feature of the book is the maturity and compassion of Von Luck's writing, especially in describing his relationships with the many people who fill out the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Clay

    "What madness to fight to the knife and then become good friends!" This is a deceptively simple book, written in a matter-of-fact voice, as almost a travelogue of Colonel von Luck's experiences and travails in war and imprisonment. I wondered, more than once whilst reading, if the dispassionate distance of 40 years -- the approximate length of time from events to writing -- might have allowed a bit of a selective memory patina to colour his discourse. The Ukrainians welcomed the invading Germans "What madness to fight to the knife and then become good friends!" This is a deceptively simple book, written in a matter-of-fact voice, as almost a travelogue of Colonel von Luck's experiences and travails in war and imprisonment. I wondered, more than once whilst reading, if the dispassionate distance of 40 years -- the approximate length of time from events to writing -- might have allowed a bit of a selective memory patina to colour his discourse. The Ukrainians welcomed the invading Germans, the Georgians embraced them, even many French took a "c'est la vie" attitude towards the 'sale Boche.' Of course, even though it is hard to know the exact truth, it is well-known that many denizens of the various SSRs (Soviet Socialist Republics), for a multitude of reasons, had no lack of antipathy for Russians, Stalinists, or both. As well, the French are survivors. But in von Luck's account the Russians are not the villains either. Merely soulful children under the cynical boot of Stalin and his corrupt and inept functionaries. Perhaps a bit too simple of a caricature. Regardless, this neither a deep political thesis nor a memoir of military strategies and tactics. In then end it is a experiential personal story of survival, reconciliation and renewal. And as such, it shines. "As a professional soldier I cannot escape my share of the collective guilt; but as a human being I feel none. I hope that nowhere in the world will young people ever again allow themselves to be so misused." Would that it were so.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorin

    It's always hard to see memoirs as objective stories - Hans von Luck's memoirs make no exception. His evolution in the German army to the rank of colonel is interesting - he fought in France under Rommel, on the Russian front, almost reaching Moscow, in Africa under Rommel again - at his request, becoming quite intimate with the Desert Fox, then defended in France during Operation Goodwood, escaping the Falaise pocket, and defended against the Russians while commanding one of the combat units tr It's always hard to see memoirs as objective stories - Hans von Luck's memoirs make no exception. His evolution in the German army to the rank of colonel is interesting - he fought in France under Rommel, on the Russian front, almost reaching Moscow, in Africa under Rommel again - at his request, becoming quite intimate with the Desert Fox, then defended in France during Operation Goodwood, escaping the Falaise pocket, and defended against the Russians while commanding one of the combat units trying to escape the Halbe pocket. He surrendered to the Russians and was held as prisoner in GULAG camp for 5 years, then released back to West Germany. The memoirs are not really a collection of technical details - it's more about human interactions, about things he personally did or felt. That's why I think the memoirs become more interesting when he reaches the prison camps in Georgia, where he has a lot of interesting insights on his Russian captors. His draws a positive picture for Rommel (which is contested nowadays) and some of his account of the Goodwood operation is contested; however, it makes sense as you read it, but, as always with memoirs, you have to take it with a grain of salt. It's a well written memoir, though, it focuses on the essentials, and it makes up a good read - and obviously makes you want to read more on the WW2, as if you needed an incentive for that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dhiraj Sharma

    Col. Hans Von Luck served under all theatres of WW-II be it France, Africa or the ill fated Operation Barbarossa in Russia. If you want to read a book from the German Army's prespective this is the book for you. The author writes in a crisp and precise manner and gives an insight into the German's soldier's mind and the reader comes to know how a professional army officer should behave. The book also touches upon the charismatic personality of one of the greatest german Field Marshalls 'Erwin Romm Col. Hans Von Luck served under all theatres of WW-II be it France, Africa or the ill fated Operation Barbarossa in Russia. If you want to read a book from the German Army's prespective this is the book for you. The author writes in a crisp and precise manner and gives an insight into the German's soldier's mind and the reader comes to know how a professional army officer should behave. The book also touches upon the charismatic personality of one of the greatest german Field Marshalls 'Erwin Rommel" under whom Col Luck mostly served during the War. The book ends up with Col Luck getting released from Russian Prison camp after spending harrowing 5 years as POW and trying to start a new life in post war Germany. Highly recommended for militory history buffs and for anyone aspiring to be an officer in the armed forces.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Olethros

    -Si bien su fuerte no era narrar, estuvo allí y eso es lo que cuenta.- Género. Biografía. Lo que nos cuenta. Autobiografía del Oberst der Panzerwaffe Hans von Luck que, tras comenzar hablando de la parte final de su cautiverio en manos rusos tras la guerra, nos muestra su juventud, su formación militar y, a partir de ahí, la parte del león que consiste en su intervención en los combates de la Segunda Guerra Mundial para, después, contarnos su destino al terminar ésta. ¿Quiere saber más de este libr -Si bien su fuerte no era narrar, estuvo allí y eso es lo que cuenta.- Género. Biografía. Lo que nos cuenta. Autobiografía del Oberst der Panzerwaffe Hans von Luck que, tras comenzar hablando de la parte final de su cautiverio en manos rusos tras la guerra, nos muestra su juventud, su formación militar y, a partir de ahí, la parte del león que consiste en su intervención en los combates de la Segunda Guerra Mundial para, después, contarnos su destino al terminar ésta. ¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite: https://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    Your feelings about this book are almost certain to be determined by your willingness to believe that there were "good Germans" serving in Germany's armies in WWII. The only way these Germans may have existed, you may think, is for them to have had no idea of what went on in the German concentration camps. German Colonel Hans von Luck claims that he and his men had no idea of what went on "behind the barbed wire" of the concentration camps, which then raises another question - is it possible for Your feelings about this book are almost certain to be determined by your willingness to believe that there were "good Germans" serving in Germany's armies in WWII. The only way these Germans may have existed, you may think, is for them to have had no idea of what went on in the German concentration camps. German Colonel Hans von Luck claims that he and his men had no idea of what went on "behind the barbed wire" of the concentration camps, which then raises another question - is it possible for a German who served in such a high position in the military during that time to have remained ignorant of Nazi atrocities in the camps? Luck only brings up the Nazi position on the Jews at a couple of points during this recounting of his wartime experiences. Once when retelling how various Muslims tribes encountered in Africa praised the official German position and then later when reporting how he tried to get his fiancée's Jewish father out of Sachsenhausen, the Nazi prison and concentration camp outside of Berlin. Luck does, however, make his disdain for Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials like Himmler and Goebbels clear at numerous points. Luck also references a conversation he had in Africa in 1942 with legendary German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in which Rommel declared that Germany's best hope was to sue for peace with the Allies as it was even then clear that Germany no longer had any realistic chance to win the war. Regardless of whether Colonel Hans von Luck knew of the atrocities happening in the concentration camps or not - and I am inclined to believe him when he said he did not - I think a strong case could be made that Luck and many men like him weren't fighting for Hitler and the spread of Nazi ideology but for the survival of their own friends and family. "Panzer Commander" is, I am pleased to say, a riveting, fascinating book by a man who remarkably fought on all the main German fronts in the war. He was part of the initial invasion into Poland, then fought with Rommel in France and North Africa, then was back to France where he was present in Normandy for the D-Day invasion, and then finally back to the Eastern Front where he was captured by the Russians in the war's final days. He then spent nearly five years in various Russian prison camps. Somehow, throughout, Hans von Luck maintains his unshakeable optimism and sense of purpose. Military enthusiasts may be disappointed that Luck doesn't get into the tactical details of tank warfare, but I found his more anecdotal account of his experiences and fateful encounters with former rivals far more compelling. For that reason and others, this memoir of Colonel Hans von Luck is a deeply personal one and, at many points, particularly during the many reunions at the end, I found myself deeply moved. "I have often felt", Luck writes, "that in the first half of my life I was, in a double sense, a prisoner of my time: trapped on the one hand in the Prussian tradition and bound by the oath of allegiance, which made it all too easy for the Nazi regime to misuse the military leadership; then forced to pay my country's tribute, along with so many thousands of others, with five years of captivity in Russian camps. As a professional soldier I cannot escape my share of the collective guilt; but as a human being I feel none. I hope that nowhere in the world will young people ever again allow themselves to be so misused." Like the man himself, "Panzer Commander" is a deeply human account that never wavers in its sense of what is good and just in a world that is too often neither.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Kraai

    This is a fucking great war memoir and belongs alongside Ernst Juenger's In Stahlgewittern. I'm going to just make a couple personal points. -Like with Juenger I kept coming back to now and thinking: You think you have problems? You don't have problems. And also, as Americans, we didn't really suffer in WWI or II. The Civil War was our drama. -As a young person reading about WWII Germany I thought, like many others, that 'I' would have done something if I had been there. Burned some shit down, I d This is a fucking great war memoir and belongs alongside Ernst Juenger's In Stahlgewittern. I'm going to just make a couple personal points. -Like with Juenger I kept coming back to now and thinking: You think you have problems? You don't have problems. And also, as Americans, we didn't really suffer in WWI or II. The Civil War was our drama. -As a young person reading about WWII Germany I thought, like many others, that 'I' would have done something if I had been there. Burned some shit down, I don't know. But now with Trump I have done basically fuck-all. -Luck highlights what a disaster it is when someone like Trump or Hitler thinks they know better than the generals. -Dude went through true shit, Hitler and five years Stalin. He never gave up and he never lost his humanity. -The Prussian Oath is a hellofadrug. -The father-in-law story makes me cry every time We need a new edition with better maps, action sometimes hard to follow.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    I alway find it hard to write a review about Memoirs because its an individuals story but I will say this, it was interesting and a I felt an honest detail of Hans von Luck experience during WWII . I might write more after I have time to think about it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    No spoilers. In all my reading of World War 2, this is my first reading of memoirs of a German soldier. With that I must say that the writing was smooth, and was more of a character study ythan dates, facts numbers which was a departure. Probably for me, the passages regarding Rommel were the best. To see the human side of a historical figure portrayed is always illuminating. The flip side of this memoir, has been argued why this soldier didn't quit if he knew what Hitler and the Nazi's were doing. No spoilers. In all my reading of World War 2, this is my first reading of memoirs of a German soldier. With that I must say that the writing was smooth, and was more of a character study ythan dates, facts numbers which was a departure. Probably for me, the passages regarding Rommel were the best. To see the human side of a historical figure portrayed is always illuminating. The flip side of this memoir, has been argued why this soldier didn't quit if he knew what Hitler and the Nazi's were doing. There are two sides to this argument which I will not get into at this point. For the students of the War, they each have their own opinions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James

    An officer of great character and ability, though his army was serving an evil cause, tells his story with clarity and humanity. Von Luck was the kind of officer under whom soldiers want to serve, because he cares deeply about them and puts their welfare above his own. A solid study in leadership under extreme hardship.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cerisaye

    I am about a quarter of the way through the audio version (for some reason the voice actor puts on an obviously fake German accent and reads with a downbeat tone, which take a bit of getting used to) of this Second World War memoir. Von Luck has reached Smolensk, on the road to Moscow, and I want to jot down a few thoughts on the book so far. It certainly makes an interesting, total contrast with my previous wartime read/listen, Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier. Hans von Luck- the 'von' is key here I am about a quarter of the way through the audio version (for some reason the voice actor puts on an obviously fake German accent and reads with a downbeat tone, which take a bit of getting used to) of this Second World War memoir. Von Luck has reached Smolensk, on the road to Moscow, and I want to jot down a few thoughts on the book so far. It certainly makes an interesting, total contrast with my previous wartime read/listen, Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier. Hans von Luck- the 'von' is key here- was a professional career soldier in an elite motorised unit, from an old Prussian military family, educated, cultured and multi-lingual. Before the war he hobnobbed within an international elite 'set', so he later encounters opponents on the field whom he'd last seen in an English gentleman's club. Unlike Guy Sajer, whose wartime experience was limited to the Eastern Front, mostly during its retreat phase, von Luck saw action in Poland, France, North Africa, Italy, Normandy, and Russia. He was there for the invasion of Poland in 1939, and for Belgium and France in 1940. It all sounds rather jolly seen through his eyes, war as a gentlemanly, chivalrous affair. Welcoming locals, minimum of bloodshed, good behaviour, honourable intentions. In France he takes the opportunity to build up his wine collection, making clear he pays for the fine bottles he is able to collect and send back to Germany for safe-keeping. All the while, von Luck is at great pains to point out he was never a Nazi nor had any sympathies with Hitler or National Socialism. He makes disparaging comments about Party functionaries, shows distaste for Himmler and the SS including the Waffen SS, set up, he says, to make sure the Wehrmacht could be kept under control. The memoir begins with a brief account of von Luck's postwar captivity in a Soviet work camp for German POWs, where he was kept for 5 years before his release and return to civilian life. Von Luck seems surprisingly forgiving of his Russian captors and displays no bitterness or anger. He wrote these memoirs nearly forty years later, and time is a great healer, but he seems truthful and honest. Von Luck comes across as fundamentally decent, a gentleman, the kind of man who would make convivial company. Von Luck represents the ideal German officer from a generation that grew up during the Weimar years before Nazi propaganda took control of hearts and minds. He supports with the regime's initial moves to win back German pride and control of territories lost by the punitive retribution of the Treaty of Versailles. Yet he makes sure to distance himself, and the Wehrmacht, from politics and ideology. It's the old line, "We were soldiers merely doing our duty in fulfilment of a binding oath". I suspect there's a bit of a gloss going on in von Luck's account, but the fact he appears to have become friends with some old adversaries signifies the respect this German officer had from those in a position to judge fairly. I will update. ******************************** At the halfway point, I must call attention to the way von Luck's service in the desert marks the stark contrast between the experience of war by the men of the Afrika Korps and those sent to the Eastern Front. For e.g., von Luck describes the 'Gentleman's agreement' between his battalion and a nearby British unit, whereby at 5 o'clock each day hostilities ceased and information exchanged as to their respective captured prisoners, with messages of respect and goodwill, and taking of tea. Unimaginable on the Russian Front, where at the same time the Sixth Army suffered appallingly in Stalingrad from a combination of ruthless winter, starvation, and merciless savagery (understandable given what was done to Soviet prisoners by the advancing Germans). Of course von Luck's anecdotes are selective, and there was undoubtedly savagery in the Africa campaign, too, but it was a different experience, nonetheless, with Bedouin locals lending hospitality and assistance to both sides, as recalled by von Luck in glowing terms, not at all like Partisan attrition in Russia. In Africa and Russia alike German forces were bedevilled by chronic lack of supplies, materiel and poor decision making in Berlin. Von Luck makes very clear, too, that Rommel by late 1942 told him the war was lost and the best course for Germany was to sue for peace with the Western Allies, getting rid of Hitler, to unite against their true enemy, Stalin. Would the Field Marshall really have been so frank with a junior officer, even one who was a special favourite with longtime service under Rommel? It seems unlikely. I do get the impression von Luck's memoir bears more than a tint of rose-coloured hindsight, charming as he is in the telling of his story. In this he is perhaps more like Guy Sajer than it might at first appear. Sajer wanted to shine light on the appalling suffering of the ordinary German soldier in the East, whereas von Luck's (worthy) agenda is to bring together former enemies in an embrace of mutual respect, forgiveness, tolerance and understanding, unity to make sure the conflict that engulfed the world 1939-45 is never allowed to happen again. ************************************ Finished. I enjoyed this memoir very much. I don't know how typical Hans von Luck was of the German officer class. He comes across as being quite special despite what seem genuine natural modesty and reticence. Interestingly, during the section covering his time in the gulag he gives his account in third person, we not I, shared suffering and endurance. He learns to knit and churns out socks to replace inadequate cotton foot coverings, even has guards buying them! As he says early in the book, what the Germans had that their enemies never matched, was unit cohesion and as a consequence, a strong sense of comradeship...They will fight and die for their units and for their comrades. It comes down to this: no one wants to look the coward before friends, or to let them down at critical moments. Very Prussian. Von Luck was resilient, resourceful, held himself to a very high standard and expected the same from fellow officers and soldiers. He observes during the early days in Poland how the stalwart and robust-seeming men often lost their nerve under combat conditions, while the supposedly weak proved to be strong and kept their heads. He has emotional reunions with old fighting comrades and fellow POW camp survivors who share a common feeling of solidarity. Luck never appears to waver, no matter what came at him. He also had a fair degree of the luck his name implies (pronounced Look, I know). In later years, von Luck gave talks to British, Swedish and American audiences and military groups, and attended commemoration ceremonies with former enemies: What madness to fight to the knife and then become good friends. As an aside, it amused me greatly when von Luck in Hamburg after his release finds a job in an international hotel as Night Manager...I now can't help picturing him as Tom Hiddleston. I'm not sure what to make of his claim not to have known anything about the camps before learning of the fate of his prospective father-in-law in Sachsenhausen. Perhaps a case of not wanting to know? Or a busy, preoccupied, fully engaged professional soldier seldom exposed to the realities of the home front? He never mentions atrocities. Feels sympathy for officers he knows forced from the Wehrmacht into SS service without choice or possibility of refusal. In any case, von Luck did his time for five years as a Russian POW, without any suggestion he had been anything other than a 'good' German officer and commander. I have often felt that in the first half of my life I was, in a double sense, a prisoner of my time, trapped on the one hand in the Prussian tradition and bound by the oath of allegiance, which made it easy for the Nazi regime to misuse the military leadership; then forced to pay my country's tribute, along with so many thousand others, with five years of captivity on Russian soil. Some might see this as self-serving apologia, that the Wehrmacht and cultured, educated men like von Luck were quite happy to go along with the Nazis, until the tide of war turned so disastrously against the Reich. On the basis of his memoir, I am prepared to give him the benefit of doubt. He accepted his share of collective guilt as a professional soldier, but as a human being I feel none, and dedicated the remainder of his life to making sure it could never happen again. I can't help thinking he would be disappointed by the direction things have taken in Europe today, that lessons have not been learned, or, forgotten, as the Second World War recedes from popular memory.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Née

    This book had me hooked from the first page. And maybe that was all a clever trick on von Luck's part because by the time I got to the point in the book where the military jargon and the (sometimes) dry descriptions of various missions was annoying me - I was too hooked to give up. I'm glad I stuck with it. Hans von Luck's story is worth reading if you're a WWII history buff because it gives a unique perspective I had yet to encounter: a story from the other side. So much of what I've read about This book had me hooked from the first page. And maybe that was all a clever trick on von Luck's part because by the time I got to the point in the book where the military jargon and the (sometimes) dry descriptions of various missions was annoying me - I was too hooked to give up. I'm glad I stuck with it. Hans von Luck's story is worth reading if you're a WWII history buff because it gives a unique perspective I had yet to encounter: a story from the other side. So much of what I've read about WWII - and I realize that I haven't even begun to touch the surface of what is out there - has been based on the Allies, the British and/or the Americans, with the Germans being the bad guys. When you do read about the German 'side' of things, it's predominantly to understand why the good side reacted the way they did. This is why I loved this book so much. Hans von Luck was a mid-ranking military official from the pre-war years right through to the end when he was captured by the Russians and kept prisoner for five years. And he writes as though he is both staunchly proud of being German and having fought in this war, but then also very sympathetic to the other side. While I've since read criticisms that von Luck's position in this book makes it appear as though he distances himself from Hitler and the Nazi's partly to save face, I do believe after having read his story that he was simply a good man doing his job, and was not a war criminal like so many of his counterparts. I could go on about this book for quite some time given its astonishing depth and ability to convey a great deal of emotion, but I will leave my review at this: if you don't read any other WWII book, read this one. I like that it made me think about the Germans on a different level, and despite my obvious allegiance to those who were oppressed by Nazi Germany for so many years (including my Dutch grandparents), I was glad to have the chance to try and understand another perspective.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Von Luck was born in 1911 in Flensburg, the son of a naval officer and descends from an old military family. Von Luck joined a Cavalry regiment in the 100,000 strong Reichwehr in 1929 but was soon transferred to the motorized infantry. In 1931 he came under the tutelage of Erwin Rommel. By 1936 he was a company commander. He served in every battle from Poland, Russia, Africa and France. He was a battalion commander under Rommel. He was captured by the Russian at the end of the war and put into a Von Luck was born in 1911 in Flensburg, the son of a naval officer and descends from an old military family. Von Luck joined a Cavalry regiment in the 100,000 strong Reichwehr in 1929 but was soon transferred to the motorized infantry. In 1931 he came under the tutelage of Erwin Rommel. By 1936 he was a company commander. He served in every battle from Poland, Russia, Africa and France. He was a battalion commander under Rommel. He was captured by the Russian at the end of the war and put into a punishment camp in Kiev. He was released in 1950 and repatriated to West German. He obtained a job working for a coffee company. In 1960 he was on the staff of the British Military Camberley Staff College. He instructed students about the German Tank corp. in various battles in WWII and in particular the battle at Normandy. He did the same for the Swedish and French military. He made a military staff training file with Major General “Pip” Roberts. Von Luck died in January 1997. Through Von Luck’s memoir you can obtain a rare perspective of the German soldiers and get to see a unique behind the scenes look at the German Army during WWII. Von Luck writes with an easy to read direct style. He offers no excuses and begs no forgiveness for serving his country. He fought because he was a soldier. The book contains hundreds of anecdotes and observations that bring the story to life. If you are interested in World War II this is a must read book. I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible. Bronson Pinchot narrated the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ravi Singh

    One of the most readable German accounts of WWII. This book has been written with a wide audience in mind and will appeal to the whole range of readers, military, non military, allied, axis , young and old. The writing is simple with the content being king. The author participated in an impressive list of significant theaters and battles of WW II from Poland to Russia to Africa and Normandy. He even survived five years in captivity in Russian camps. Forget the criticism and some of the negative One of the most readable German accounts of WWII. This book has been written with a wide audience in mind and will appeal to the whole range of readers, military, non military, allied, axis , young and old. The writing is simple with the content being king. The author participated in an impressive list of significant theaters and battles of WW II from Poland to Russia to Africa and Normandy. He even survived five years in captivity in Russian camps. Forget the criticism and some of the negative reviews, this is the kind of story which underlines "fact is stranger than fiction". This is a great first hand account of a German officer doing the best job he possibly could. He doesn't get into too much tactical details some military men would prefer but that makes it very readable for the wider audience. His personal acquaintance with some of the well known personalities like Rommel that gives the reader some interesting insight, is an added bonus. Guy Sajer's "Forgotten Soldier" is hands down the best and most raw German account I have read and still ranks on top. However this is a a more rounded, higher level account. It's pointless to focus on the author's political correctness and "balanced views" as a flaw. He was there, he fought and survived and has written a great account of it. That's what makes this makes this a great read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    I pick this up as an addition to my WWII library as I had already read the books about the more famous generals of the Germans and I am starting to read about some of the lesser know leaders. This is a well written account of Colonel Lucks experiences in WW II and I did get to read some of the first accounts of what it was like for German POW's post WW II held by the Russians which I had never read before. The book as a whole though seemed to lack an awareness of the human cost of the war or it I pick this up as an addition to my WWII library as I had already read the books about the more famous generals of the Germans and I am starting to read about some of the lesser know leaders. This is a well written account of Colonel Lucks experiences in WW II and I did get to read some of the first accounts of what it was like for German POW's post WW II held by the Russians which I had never read before. The book as a whole though seemed to lack an awareness of the human cost of the war or it might have been that Colonel Luck had such a relentless positive outlook on the future he didn't allow anything that was emotionally troubling to enter his narrative. What ever it is though I found the book a polished recounting of his experiences but I had no real awareness of how the author was impacted by the war. Interesting but not really riveting reading for a first person account. Pithy Review - Luck is good at war

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    von Luck is no great writer and his memoirs written 40 years after the vents he skirts and evades the basic issue of fighting for the Third Reich and hitler to the bitter end. Certainly the military professional will receive limited insight from his often superficial description of the battles and his personal reflections are fairly unreflective and one-dimensional. All of which is a shame insofar as he did participate in the campaigns in Poland, France, Russia, North Africa, Normandy, Lorraine von Luck is no great writer and his memoirs written 40 years after the vents he skirts and evades the basic issue of fighting for the Third Reich and hitler to the bitter end. Certainly the military professional will receive limited insight from his often superficial description of the battles and his personal reflections are fairly unreflective and one-dimensional. All of which is a shame insofar as he did participate in the campaigns in Poland, France, Russia, North Africa, Normandy, Lorraine and East Prussia - and spent 5 years in Soviet POW camps. Certainly that could have provided for a fascinating story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hamish Davidson

    As you read this book you feel as though you are right there beside von Luck on the battlefield and in his beloved Mercedes experiencing the campaigns he was involved in during World War Two. His descriptions of each country's local people are fascinating, particularly the Behouins in North Africa and the Russians during his time in captivity. Despite wearing the swastica during WWII, von Luck really does seem to be a grounded human being with a sincere heart.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laurence

    Fascinating. So many famous European theatres of WWII from the perspective of one man.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul Brimhall

    I would recommend this book to anyone having an interest in history, especially WWII. I really enjoyed the book and hated to see it end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    An interesting and also curious book. Hans Von Luck had an amazing career that sent him from Poland, to the invasion of the lowlands, to the Barbarossa campaign, and then to North Africa with the Afrika Corps. But it doesn't stop there of course. Von Luck was then a key figure in the German defence against Overlord, before eventually being transferred back to the Russian Front where he was captured and sent to a Russian Camp. The actual second world war component of the book is to me, curious. The An interesting and also curious book. Hans Von Luck had an amazing career that sent him from Poland, to the invasion of the lowlands, to the Barbarossa campaign, and then to North Africa with the Afrika Corps. But it doesn't stop there of course. Von Luck was then a key figure in the German defence against Overlord, before eventually being transferred back to the Russian Front where he was captured and sent to a Russian Camp. The actual second world war component of the book is to me, curious. The battlefields and battles he is involved in make up an incredible experience for one person to have gone through. But throughout the book there is no real mention of the holocaust, the oppression of the invaded countries and so on. Also having read "Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany" by Norman Ohler recently I was interested that there is only one mention of Von Luck taking drugs (Pervitin which is methamphetamine, and during the retreat from Moscow if you're interested). A very interesting part of the book is the story of Von Lucks time in Russia after the war, before he was released back to Germany. The book ends in the early 1950's and although he mentions that he goes into business after the war, he clearly leaves everything behind. Until his "rediscovery" in the 1970's by the various European militaries who ask him to advise on their defence. I enjoyed the book - but it tells nothing of the hardships the invaded countries suffered at their conquerors hands.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Another great memoir from the enemy's perspective. Stands out as one of the best. Always interesting to have the story from a leader. Most of the WWII war-stories are told from the front-line soldier's POV. Few commanders lived through the war and fewer lived long enough to experience the bottomless interest in WWII starting in the 90's. This is one of the special cases where Luck decided to leave us with a wealth of knowledge. Not just a commander, but a human. Involved in some important operat Another great memoir from the enemy's perspective. Stands out as one of the best. Always interesting to have the story from a leader. Most of the WWII war-stories are told from the front-line soldier's POV. Few commanders lived through the war and fewer lived long enough to experience the bottomless interest in WWII starting in the 90's. This is one of the special cases where Luck decided to leave us with a wealth of knowledge. Not just a commander, but a human. Involved in some important operations; the East, Afrika and Western Europe. Fantastic overall combat record from a German front line officer.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    One of the better WWII memoirs I've read and from an individual who basically saw it all from the invasion of Poland and France to North Africa to the battle on the West and Eastern fronts. The Memoirs is simple in prose and is at times very thought provoking. This and "Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier" are the two best German WWII memoirs I've read. This one told from a commanding officer in the Tank Corp the other a lower level officer in the infantry, combined they give you a perspecti One of the better WWII memoirs I've read and from an individual who basically saw it all from the invasion of Poland and France to North Africa to the battle on the West and Eastern fronts. The Memoirs is simple in prose and is at times very thought provoking. This and "Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier" are the two best German WWII memoirs I've read. This one told from a commanding officer in the Tank Corp the other a lower level officer in the infantry, combined they give you a perspective from the two main sides of the Wehrmacht and a completely different appreciation for the trials it went through. Worth the read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Seamus Mcduff

    Well-told real life tales of combat and life on the front from a Wehrmacht officer in several theaters of WWII. One thing I find curious. I've read similar accounts from the German side, of highly-principled professional soldiers doing their duty, despite the mistakes and excesses of the regime and senior leadership. Of German officers and men behaving in exemplary fashion towards their enemy and civilians alike, under extremely trying circumstances, etc, etc. But where are all the brutal Nazis c Well-told real life tales of combat and life on the front from a Wehrmacht officer in several theaters of WWII. One thing I find curious. I've read similar accounts from the German side, of highly-principled professional soldiers doing their duty, despite the mistakes and excesses of the regime and senior leadership. Of German officers and men behaving in exemplary fashion towards their enemy and civilians alike, under extremely trying circumstances, etc, etc. But where are all the brutal Nazis committing atrocities, exterminating Jews, and other 'Untermenschen'? Were they only limited to the SS, Gestapo, and Police Battalions? Perhaps nasty Nazis don't write autobiographies.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Mikołajczyk

    German tank Colonel Hans von Luck's memoir about his service during WWII. He served on the initial invasion of France, the first invasion of Russia, in Africa under Rommel, defending Normandy, defending the western front from the Allies, and then finally the eastern front against the Russians. After the fight for Berlin, he was captured and sent to a gulag in the Caucuses for 5 years. Upon his return to Germany, he switched to professional life and eventually wrote this memoir. A really fascinat German tank Colonel Hans von Luck's memoir about his service during WWII. He served on the initial invasion of France, the first invasion of Russia, in Africa under Rommel, defending Normandy, defending the western front from the Allies, and then finally the eastern front against the Russians. After the fight for Berlin, he was captured and sent to a gulag in the Caucuses for 5 years. Upon his return to Germany, he switched to professional life and eventually wrote this memoir. A really fascinating story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim Pafundi

    This one got more interesting as the book progressed. In the beginning, the author sounded like he was on a grand vacation instead of being in war. However, as the war progressed and things turned sour for Germany, he was moved around to the various theaters of war. After being captured by the Russians and taken prisoner after the war, he gave a very insightful behind the scenes look at how they dealt with the Russians and how on many occasions, beat them at their own corrupt games. Overall, not This one got more interesting as the book progressed. In the beginning, the author sounded like he was on a grand vacation instead of being in war. However, as the war progressed and things turned sour for Germany, he was moved around to the various theaters of war. After being captured by the Russians and taken prisoner after the war, he gave a very insightful behind the scenes look at how they dealt with the Russians and how on many occasions, beat them at their own corrupt games. Overall, not a bad read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Outstanding book. A must read for any WW2 history buff. The book covers von Luck's experiences from Poland, to Dunkirk, to the Russian front, to North Africa, to Normandy, the Russian front again and his 5-year internment post-war in Russia. I found the Russian internment period some of the most interesting part of the book. It gives fascinating insight to the world of Soviet communism. Von Luck explains the bleak economic realities of living in the Soviet system. As he put it, he said something Outstanding book. A must read for any WW2 history buff. The book covers von Luck's experiences from Poland, to Dunkirk, to the Russian front, to North Africa, to Normandy, the Russian front again and his 5-year internment post-war in Russia. I found the Russian internment period some of the most interesting part of the book. It gives fascinating insight to the world of Soviet communism. Von Luck explains the bleak economic realities of living in the Soviet system. As he put it, he said something like, "I was a prisoner in a land of prisoners."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eric Hudson

    I found this book amazing. It swept me away with it's story, and I found myself getting lost in it many times. It was a brilliant book, and it was one of the most fascinating retelling's of one soldier's perspective of the war I had every read. I found myself loving and hating 'the enemy' at the same time, and it gave me a interesting perspective on the war. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Phil Jeffery

    What a brilliant story! Covering all theatres of war except the Pacific, this book gives the reader an insight not only into the German perspective of the Second World War, but also insight at a company and regimental level not often told. Most memoirs are from either the fighting soldier or general, so to have the memoirs of someone at the front and who is also in command is somewhat unique. Will come back to read this again.

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