Panzer Leader
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Panzer Leader

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,383 ratings  ·  36 reviews
General Heinz Guderian’s revolutionary strategic vision and his skill in armored combat brough Germany its initial victories during World War II. Combining Guderian’s land offensive with Luftwaffe attacks, the Nazi Blitzkrieg decimated the defenses of Poland, Norway, France—and, very neatly, Russia—at the war’s outset. But in 1941, when Guderian advised that ground forces...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published December 27th 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published 1952)
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Jacob
Apr 10, 2009 Jacob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in warfare and WW2
Shelves: military
I've read through most of the book and am nearing it's end, but I can't seem to get past the part where the author is constantly at odds with his leader, Hitler. I guess the frustration of Guderian, expressed throughout the book, just builds up to the point where it becomes hard to move forward.
Don't get me wrong, this book is awesome so far, it's just that the tragic incompetence of those at the top of the command structure is saddening.

I'd also have to agree with another reviewer: this book n...more
R.M.F Brown
Battlefield and politics should never mix, and nowhere is that clearer than in Panzer leader. Charting the developments of Germany's Panzer forces during the 1920s & 1930s, Panzer Leader provides valuable insights into the challenges Guderian faced within his own service branch from vested interests, and the political interference that dogged him at every turn.

As others have pointed out, Guderian takes credit for the works of others, and any serious student of world war two would do well to...more
Stephanie
I finally found time to finish this, although I have gone back to reread various sections that are of especial interest. What I wrote below remains true; however, I am struck by the relationships among senior military and civilian leadership and insight this provides into the period. I'm also struck by Guderian's candor regarding his obvious political divergence from the nazi political viewpoint despite his continued service.

I am also entertained by his comments on Churchhill. A very different...more
Charlie
I grabbed this book out of a group of my Dad's books. I was surprised that the author was the architect of Germany's armored warfare capability during WW2 (think 'Blitzkrieg'). He learned lessons from WW1 and applied innovations even while Germany was banned from owning tanks (workaround: develop techniques with wooden mockups). As he described his activities (day by day) during the war in France, I found myself wanting to hear more about the battle. Then, I realized (Duh!) that the title was "P...more
Graham
Heavy duty tactical stuff: Guderian was a military theorist and innovative General of the German Army during the Second World War. Germany's panzer forces were raised and fought according to his works, best-known among them Achtung - Panzer!

As some have already pointed out, this is not a cowboy action book like a "D-Day" or "Bridge too far". Instead, it is a detailed account covering the formation of german tank forces, key battles and an exhaustive analysis of the russian campaign. This book i...more
Michael
Well written autobiography of General Heinz Guderian, particularly from the development of the Panzer tank forces prior to WWII, their use in Poland, France and Russia, and the subsequent defeat of those forces at the end of the war. This book traces Guderian's rise from commanding a wireless station at the outbreak of WWI to Chief of the Army General Staff at the conclusion of WWII. A fair and insightful look at the disconnect between the life and actions of one that is entrusted to fight the w...more
Tunc
Feb 23, 2014 Tunc rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ww2 buffs
Shelves: ww2
"The War from the eyes of Guderian"

I've read Turkish version of this book. I must say I'm amazed. Herr Guderian did a very good job on writing his memoirs. Every World War 2 fan must read this.
Patrick
Apr 20, 2008 Patrick rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wishes to understand the military and how it does business
a rather nice book on the military carreer of one of the "inventors" of tank warfare.
here again, I think it is still used at some military academies
Matt
Guderian writes an extremely thorough recounting of his experiences in the German military before and during the Second World War. The detailed accounts of his operations, strategies, and activities both in combat and in developing the German armored branch are fascinating reading for those looking to gain insight on those areas. People more interested in a general overview of his WWII campaigns might find they get bogged down in the details, as Guderian often walks the reader line-by-line throu...more
Les Wolf
Stephen Ambrose called Panzer Leader "a great book by a great soldier." General Heinz Guderian was the mastermind behind the "blitzkrieg", or lightening war which utilized armoured forces in conjunction with air forces to overrun enemy defenses. The general was often involved in heated disagreements with Hitler on the subject of war stategy and he endeavors to give a fair account of the soldiers and political staff members whom he had to contend with during the war.
Guderian offers an interesting...more
Relstuart
Heinz was an early believer in the power of the tank to change the battlefield and the tactics of war. His views on the proper use of the tank found acceptance with Hitler early in the war when his tactics helped ensure victory against France and her allies on the European continent. He was sent to join the attack against Russia and was eventually relieved of command because of disagreements with Hitler on how to extend their efforts in Russia. You can read in between the lines about how disappo...more
Steven Peterson
Heinz Guderian's "Panzer Leader" provides an inside story of the development of the German armored forces before World War II and the operation of those forces during that war. Guderian was one of the major figures helping to develop the Panzer doctrine of quick striking and deep thrusting armored attacks. And the book portrays the resistance from more traditional army leaders in the German military.

The Introduction (by Kenneth Macksey) observes that (page vii): "'Panzer Leader' is about one ma...more
Fred
May 20, 2012 Fred marked it as books-that-i-couldn-t-finish
Not at all what I was hoping for or expecting. I made it a little less than half the way through this book and had to give it up. It was just too dry for me. Too heavy on detail and not heavy enough on the things that make military history exciting for me.

If you want to know the "how" of the way that Guderian fought and led, then this is for you. If you want to know more about the "why" don't pick this up. Go for one of the other WW2 books.

Discussing beans and bullets and whatnot is something t...more
Sethharding14
Seth Harding
10/9/11
English- Rich

Panzer Leader
Guderian, Heinz Panzer Leader (abridged) First Ballantine Books Edition. New York: Ballantine Books.
War brings the best out of us. Us, meaning our country. The fight for survival drives us to create new innovations. Innovations that will bring us to the top and outmatch any of our enemies. This is what Germany had intended to do with their various strategic plans that they had developed through World War II. This is Guderian’s
During World War II, t...more
Glen
I enjoyed reading this book ... I had to "keep at it" a bit ... It provided interesting insights into the German advance into Russia ... I personally though the author was trying in many respects to justify himself and his actions during and fate the campaign ... Certainly he seems to distance himself from anything questionable by falling into the old escape of "following orders" ...
Joe Owen
Written by one of the master tank strategists of World War II. An in depth read of General's thoughts about the Panzer Corps battles and tactics from 1939 to 1945.
Joshua Wojtowicz
a tough read, but very insightful. I enjoyed it, but had to take it in many small sections.
Zechy
Quite a good book. The bit about his time in command in France and later Russia are, oddly enough, the most boring parts of the book for me. Too textbook is all, with his personal reminiscences being few and far between. I almost gave up on the book there. Fortunately, it picks up when he is assigned Inspector of Armoured Troops, and later Commander-in-Chief, with his recollections of Hitler, et al. I particularly enjoyed the details of tank production, that might be just me though.

Overall, I wo...more
Joe Ervin
Very good autobiography by Heinz Guderian. The character sketches of Hitler and his cabinet were very informative, though it was interesting to see the efforts Guderian makes to distance both the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS from the atrocities of the Holocaust, instead laying the blame on Party functionaries and rogue units. Certainly not an impartial observer but he does provide another perspective and does so in a clear, well-written and interesting way.
Mike
It was interesting to read about general Guderian's experiences. It gets a little tiresome when he mentions where all of the units under his command are and what they are doing. After a while I learned to skip over the unit names and numbers and that helped to move things along. This book also gives you a little insight on how the German genersl staff and Germany's political leaders interacted with each other.
Tin Wee
This is an amazing memoir which gives a blow by blow acct of german success and subsequent defeats during WWII. What comes across is the early success of Germany was despite the incompetence of the political leaders and military high command, and how the subsequent defeats were the result of bad decisions taken at the highest levels.
Dikan
awesome book. Gives an excellent insight into the human part of the other side. Yes, it is written as an account of a german officer, but it is also written as an accountof a german patriot. No an ideology creator or even follower but a german soldier wanting to defend his homeland.
carl  theaker

What better lessons than from the master himself? A bit on the dry
side, but an invaluable perspective. Like all auto-biographies you
must compare and contrast with third party points of view.

My copy is the Ballanatine Book abridged version measuring in
at a mere 400 pages.
Steve
The self-serving autobiographical account of Nazi Germany's tank expert. As numerous scholars have noted, Guderian takes credit for the ideas and accomplishments of others, while masking his own involvement in Nazi Germany's atrocities and poor strategic decisions.
Jamie Morrison
His insights on the senior leadership of the Third Reich are almost the best part of the book. To truly follow the battles one almost needs a map as Guderian throws out place names like he is giving a tour of Eastern Europe.
Jim Graham
Memorable. I read this just after finishing the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. A must read for anyone interested in the development and deployment of armour during WWII.
Jeremiah
The auto-biography of the man responsible for the blitzkrieg strategy. Great read if you're a historian into that kind of thing, not so much anybody else.
Keith
Bogged down for a few chapters about 1/3 into the book, but then picked up. Provided some insights to Hitler I had not read about before.
Art Mitchell
Although it is not a read as von Manstein's book, it is by far a better history of armoured warfare in World War Two
Norbert
really interesting - expecially the part regarding Hitler and the last years of war
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Military theorist and innovative General of the German Army during the Second World War.

Guderian is considered to be the brain behind the Blitzkrieg strategy and one of the leading tank warfare tacticians.

After the war Guderian the allies failed to find any war crimes committed by Guderian.
More about Heinz Guderian...
Achtung-Panzer!: The Development of Armoured Forces, Their Tactics and Operational Potential Erinnerungen Eines Soldaten Blitzkreig In Their Own Words: First Hand Accounts From German Soldiers, 1939 1940 Heinz Guderian Blitzkrieg: In Their Own Words

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