Panzer Commander, The Memoirs of Hans von Luck

B1832

The quality of writing is excellent. It is vivid and engaging. It paints the finest of verbal pictures and it does so without demonstration of ego. Only pride in service, according to the rites of a military cast that has existed in Central Europe for a thousand years, guarding the East Gate to the benefit of Western Europe.

This is one of few the books that MUST be part of any library that covers any of the aspects covered by the author. It is a book that must be read by Germans and by Europeans because it is one of the building blocks of knowledge that creates the palace of history. That the strong motivation was to honour a young wife’s wish that their children should understand their father and his part in an epic conflict between nations, and to understand their heritage, is, in itself, commendable. That the completed work is shared with any who have the wit to pick up the book and read it is an inestimable bonus.

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NAME: Panzer Commander, The Memoirs of Hans von Luck
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1832
DATE: 310513
AUTHOR: Hans von Luck
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Frontline Books
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 280
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Panzer commander, armoured warfare, Panzerwaffe, Western campaigns, Western Desert, Rommel, Eastern Front, ground attack, flying artillery, close support, WWII, Second World War, World War Two, land warfare
ISBN: 978-1-84832-694-1
IMAGE: B1832.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/m3erh58
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: In a rare fundamental error by this publisher, the dust jacket contains a flash attributing the foreword to the author when in reality, the foreword is movingly contributed by his widow and his comments are reproduced as a preface. It is an error that might have passed without comment in the same way that reviewer might make no comment on occasional typographical errors that slipped under the editorial radar. This reviewer decided to make comment on the error because the actual foreword contains much of importance and adds a valuable perspective to the book.

Hans von Luck may have been born in Flensburg, but his heritage was in Silesia coming from a military family, joining the Reichswehr as a cadet in 1929. He served in the Panzerwaffe from its earliest days until the end of the war and may be regarded as a professional soldier and military gentleman who was highly regarded by Rommel, under whom he served, achieving the rank of Colonel at an early age, one of the youngest to serve the German army during WWII. Captured by the Russians at the very end of WWII, he spent five years in a Soviet prison and was one of the fortunate minority to servive Soviet hospitality. After working in a hotel, he built a coffee business and married 20 year old Regina, with whom he had three children, dying in 1997.

Regina von Luck has written a very moving foreword that places the book in a very special perspective. Many soldiers write memoirs for personal justification or self-advancement. A few write in apology and some because they feel they owe their recollections to a general readership. In all cases, there is a degree of ego and self-importance. This book is a very refreshing departure from the normal. It came about because Regina wished to have a detailed account of an accomplished professional soldier that his children could cherish and know the value of a father who deserved remembrance. His widow was young when they married and the age difference meant that her knowledge of the Nazi period of German history was of her father’s experiences as one of those who opposed Hitler and was twice jailed by the Nazis. As a young German woman, only recently having completed High School and Business School, she suffered the form of guilt felt by many of her generation and a lack of discussion of the events from the 1930s and 1940s. That secret aspect of the period may prove to be a significant error as a reunified Germany again struggles to come to terms with its past and its future, potentially destabilizing Europe once more.

From the foreword and from the book comes the image of a professional soldier from a long heritage of professional soldiers, a patriot and a gentleman. The author paints a picture that shows the finest face of an officer class who were brought up to fight according to a set of rules in much the same way as their British counterparts. It shows that there is much more than a Germanic heritage in common between two countries that have fought for the same cause and fought against each other, but where the professional soldiers of both countries follow a common creed. The British concept of playing the game and the Prussian concept of military honour may have their differences, but they also share common ground and particularly in the idea of a clean fight. It is perhaps unfortunate the politicians are not often from the military professionals.

The quality of writing is excellent. It is vivid and engaging. It paints the finest of verbal pictures and it does so without demonstration of ego. Only pride in service, according to the rites of a military cast that has existed in Central Europe for a thousand years, guarding the East Gate to the benefit of Western Europe.

This is one of few the books that MUST be part of any library that covers any of the aspects covered by the author. It is a book that must be read by Germans and by Europeans because it is one of the building blocks of knowledge that creates the palace of history. That the strong motivation was to honour a young wife’s wish that their children should understand their father and his part in an epic conflict between nations, and to understand their heritage, is, in itself, commendable. That the completed work is shared with any who have the wit to pick up the book and read it is an inestimable bonus.

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