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Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
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Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,479 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A stunning look at World War II from the other side...

From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front--von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers.

Awarded the German Cross in Gold a
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Mass Market Paperback, 355 pages
Published January 5th 1991 by Dell Publishing Co., Inc. (first published September 1st 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,536)
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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
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James
Mar 07, 2008 James rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of military history and of leadership
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.
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 ...more
Clayhaus
"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
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Edward
This is not a book I would have normally found on my own. But, a good friend recommended it and I am most grateful that he did. It is a recollection of World War II that everyone should read.

These are the memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck and in it he shares his experiences of his life as an officer in the German army leading up to and through World War II. It also gives his account of the five years he spent after the war in a Soviet POW camp and his eventual return to life as a civilian.

This bo
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Bookwombat
These memoirs are very well-written as well as providing an interesting view of the war from an officer who happened to be close to several top commanders and "at the spot" at crucial moments of the war.

However, the book is also marred by a sort of "retroactive damage control". It is perhaps inevitable that Hans von Luck would try to distance himself from the Nazis, and indeed his choice of a Jewish fiancé suggests that this distance was genuine.

What I find less credible as well as less excusabl
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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
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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 ...more
R.M.F Brown
One for the military historian

Few military men have the skill to produce engrossing and engaging memoirs (Julius Caesar being a rare exception) their work is often reduced to dry anecdotes, or bogged down in technical detail which is of little interest to the general reader.

Panzer commander does little to change this viewpoint. Charting the military career of Hans Von Luck, it is part travelogue, part cultural history, and part military history. At times, Luck writes lucidly, describing the var
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Michael
Probably the all around best account of tank warfare through the eyes of a German Colonel of the 21st German Panzer Division. Hans von Luck had the fortitude to fight on almost all fronts. Including Poland, France, Russia, in the Afrika-Korps, then again in France during D-Day. At the end his battle-group was thrown into the defense of Berlins southern flank to fight the unstoppable Russian juggernaut.

Hans was a scholar of Rommel, with whom he shared a special relationship of professional apprec
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Joe Wisniewski
The genesis of this book had to with the acquaintance or friendship that the author has/had with Stephen Ambrose. Colonol von Luck was giving a talk about his life during WWII. He was met with incredulity when he stated that he knew nothing of the Nazi death camps. So, apparently, this book was written, at least partially to address how that was generally true, as he claimed during the war.

The book doesn't really accomplish this task. However, I will say that I have a new appreciation for the sk
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Malquiviades
There are many WWII soldiers that put their memories to print.

Here you have a memorable view of the other side of the hill (the loser side), told by a simple man and soldier that made it through the killing in most fronts (Poland, France, Russia, North Africa and Italy) and abode prison in a USSR gulag in the aftermath of the war.

He met most of the renown German commanders. He put a fight when it was time to do it. The accounts of those are remarkable.
But this is not a tale of how he fought a
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Amit
A simple and concentrated memoir of Von Luck. One factor which particularly attracted me is, that Von Luck has always improvised with inadequate man power, machinery and support of superiors.

Von Luck has kept himself afloat under these dire circumstances. He did not tried to connect his failures to his compromise on resourcing front.

This books also provided me details on another factor which made me understand the gaps in civil and military society. Luck was not able to mold himself in civilian
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Hugh
A top-notch memoir of World War II. However, I frankly have difficulty believing the author's war record. He claims to have been sent on a special mission by Guderian, Kesselring and Rommel to persuade Hitler and OKW to allow the Afrika Korps to withdraw to Sicily after the Americans landed in Morocco and Algeria. Maybe it is true--the verifiable parts of Luck's record are equally astonishing (he was one of the youngest Colonels in the Werhmacht, was repeatedly elevated by Rommel to high positio ...more
Deodand
I wonder why this book disappeared into near-obscurity in the last few years? I'd think that any amateur historian would want to at least sit down and talk with Von Luck - and this is as close as you're going to get, now that he is deceased. His story is quite well-polished for civilian audiences, which may be a liability to some. Like the rest of us, Von Luck tends to throw a veil of nostalgia over the grosser aspects of war.

Still, this book is quite a full meal. You're not going to hear tell o
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Thomas
The quotation "History is written by the victor" has lost its meaning in modern times. The memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck not only gives a view from the other side, but a thorough one at that. Luck's military experience began in the Reichswehr of the 1930s as Hitler was rearming Germany in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. He went on to participate in the Polish campaign at the start of the war, the early campaign in France under Rommel, the Russian invasion, North Africa back under Romme ...more
C. Lewis
What an amazing book! I found this memoir compelling and difficult to put down. I enjoy reading about WWII and this was the first memoir I've read from a German soldier's point of view, which gave me valuable insights. I highly recommend this book.
Grant Kisling
This is an interesting memoir. I enjoyed reading through his experiences as a officer in the German army through all fronts in the war (eastern, western, north Africa, some of Italy).

The only issue is that I find myself comparing this memoir to another German memoir called "forgotten Soldier", which is an amazing story of a German foot soldier on the eastern front. That book is amazing detailed and heartbreaking.

Hans von Luck didn't provide enough details about certain events and characters to
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D.R. Pitcock
A successful tank commander shows leadership against the odds. Riveting stuff.
Kent Forrest
A very thoughtful reflection on the Second World War by a distinguished, intellectual, and ethical soldier in the face of disparity. He made friends with his enemies both during and after the war. His years of imprisonment in a Russian Stalag did not destroy his faith in his fellow man. In his latter years he was invited to speak at numerous military reunions by allied groups. He provides an insight in the daily life of the "warrior" in Russia, Africa, France, and Germany.
Michael Bradley
This would have received five stars from me except for one thing - Colonel von Luck spends too much time trying to distance himself from the faithful Nazis and trying to state that early on he knew the war was lost. It simply does not ring true. The Colonel fought from start to finish during the war though and his first hand accounts are very informative of the actual combat my armored German forces.
Richard
Insight into war from a German Office's viewpoint

A great book on WWII from the viewpoint of a German Officer. von Luck covers the war from all the main fronts Germany faced, the western front, north Africa, and the dreaded eastern front. He also covers his five years of captivity by the Russians. A great historical book on WWII.
Joe Ervin
Excellent memoirs of a German officer who served on all three fronts - Africa, the Eastern Front, and the West - and was involved in the war from the invasion of Poland until just before the fall of Berlin. He also talks about his years in captivity in a Soviet gulag. I really enjoyed reading this one.
Kitty
A wonderful view of "the other side" ofthe war. I was fortunate to meet Colonel Hans von Luck twice in connection with history classes in the 1980s taught by Stephen Ambrose, my professor and von Luck's friend. He was a wonderful, courtly gentleman, an interesting writer, and a gifted speaker and lecturer.
Larry
As with all these memoirs, it is the tale of a life less ordinary. The style of the memoirs is a little disjointed and hopes from one battlefield to another. Unlike a number of other war memoirs (by German authors) Von Luck was everywhere during the war.
Builyyy
Fascinating life of a man caught in the grips of WW2. He brings to life some very poignant moments and does justice to the men fighting and dying on the front lines. His memoir focuses on the people and places he sees and not on the battles.
Jon
This autobiography is very good. Col. von Luck was on "the otherside" during WWII, but gives a fair description of what it was like to be a German soldier, during the victories, losses and as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union.
John
Loved it!! Read it in '91 while in Ft. Riley. In late '92 met Mr. von Luck while he was visiting my unit. He autographed my book for me. He was a very impressive man. I cherish my now worn out copy because I've read it three times.
Steve
Fascinating book. I have read it twice and bought it for others. Von Luck's time as a prisoner of the Soviets for about five years after WWII was interesting "new ground" for me.
Cactuskid
I've read other books about Hans von Luck but this was his memoirs where he did not add any glory to himself but told about his life. A very interesting man who cared about all people.
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Hans-Ulrich Freiherr von Luck und Witten (a.k.a. Hans von Luck) was a German army officer from 1929 until he was captured by Soviet forces in 1945; by which point he had earned the Knight's Cross, German Cross in Gold, and Iron Cross 1st & 2nd Class. By that time he had also been promoted to the rank of Colonel. He served in several theatres during World War II, including France and North Afri ...more
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