Author(s): Hans Von Luck
For all the millions of words that have been written on World War II, the list of truly noteworthy memoirs by ordinary fighting men is surprisingly brief. . . . For sheer breadth of recorded experience, no soldier's memoir can match Hans von Luck's Panzer Commander.... There seems little of the war in Europe and Africa that Luck did not take part in, and few of the German military leaders whom he did not know or meet. A professional soldier who joined the German army in 1929 at eighteen, he was taught battle tactics by Erwin Rommel and later became one of Rommel's favorite line officers. Military History Quarterly
T]his is one of the more valuable World War II memoirs to appear in some time. It is the story of a German tank officer who saw action from the Polish blitzkrieg to the fall of Belin and then spent five years as a Russian prisoner. His is the portrait of the best sort of soldier in one of the best armies of modern times, and it also provides insights into North African campaign commander Erwin Rommel's leadership, thoughts on why Germans made an idol of Hitler, and much else. An exceptional volume, recommended for most World War II or military collections. Booklist
Panzer Commander is the story of a remarkable soldier who was awarded his country's highest military decorations, including the German Gold Cross and the Knight's Cross. Commander of Germany's 21st Panzer Division during World War II and a protege of Field Marshall Rommel, Colonel Hans von Luck served in an army that is widely regarded as one of the most powerful in history. His memoirs provide a detailed firsthand account of German tactics in combat. Von Luck was present at several historical junctures of the war--the invasion of Poland in 1939, the battle for France with Rommel in 1940, the march on Moscow in 1941, and the fighting at Kasserine Pass in North Africa with Rommel in 1942.
After being wounded in North Africa, von Luck was eventually posted to Paris in 1943 to school junior officers in tactics. Returning to action, he participated in the struggle to repel the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, and battled French and American forces in 1944. Finally, he was part of the ill-fated defense of Berlin in 1945. Von Luck anticipated that the Axis powers were likely to be defeated after the failed invasion of Russia. By recounting his tale of the war with sensitivity and humanity, he gallantly validates the longstanding tradition of an officer and a gentleman.