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BDW

Need WWII tank book advice (off topic but worthy cause)

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Hi everyone - I need your help in finding a book to read on WWII tank combat. I can't think of a better place to ask for this advice!! I am looking for a personal account type of book - with tactics and a feeling of what it was really like to be INSIDE a tank in WWII. Here are two possibilities that I found on amazon.com:

Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945

Armor Battles of the Waffen SS, 1943-45 (Stackpole Military History Series)

Has anyone read these? If so can you recommend them? Any other suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

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Ken Tout's books - Tank, Tanks Advance, A Fine Night for Tanks, etc.

Also 'Tanks for the Memories' by Aaron Elson (Review of an earlier edition)

The South Albertas by Don Graves. (Review)

Dmitriy Loza 'Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks' (Interview with Loza)

Of course, they are all about Allied tankers, and coincidentally all about Shermans too. So, no steely eyed, lantern jawed supermen panzer-grog-porn (SELJSPGP) there.

I haven't read it, but I suspect that Raus' book won't deliver what you say you are looking for. On the other hand, von Mellenthins book 'Panzer Battles' is written at the same higher level, and I quite enjoyed that (despite a touch of SELJSPGP).

Regards

JonS

Fairly extensive list of books on tank and anti-tank operations

[ June 17, 2004, 01:36 AM: Message edited by: JonS ]

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Hi BDW,

I could recommend this huge album, a bit expensive, but definitly a goldmine for panzer amateurs :

Panzertaktik German Small-Unit Armor Tactics (Wolfgang Schneider).  Hard cover, large format (9”x12"), 512 pages, 600+ photos, maps and diagrams.  Wolfgang Schneider has written the definitive account of German Army small-unit tactics in World War 2. Using period training manuals, after-action reports, countless interviews with Panzer veterans and his own experiences as a highly successful armor commander in the Bundeswehr, Schneider describes period Panzer tactics and couples this narrative with related maps and diagrams and hundreds of exciting photographs. Indeed, the photographs alone are worth the price of the book. Drawing on many previously unpublished sources, the photos illustrate all of the concepts presented in the text.

    Concentrating at the battalion level and below, Schneider discusses the major types of small-unit operational art — the offense and the defense — as well as road marches, reconnaissance, command and control, working with other arms of service, life in a tank, armor training and gunnery and the future of armor. The text provides useful insight into armor tactics for both the layman and the armor professional.

    This title plugs a gap in the available literature, since very little has been written on the topic for the general public by soldiers who are intimately familiar with the demands of armored warfare.

    This is the third title written by Wolfgang Schneider for J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing. It joins the hugely successful titles, Tigers in Combat and Tigers in Combat 2, as an indispensable reference work on World War 2 armor. Price $85 USD / $120 CDN.

Direct link to "Album" webpage here.

PT.jpg

There is a chapter about life in the panzer, task and training of each member of the crew.

Taken from the Fedorowicz publishing website

There is also a good article in a recent "Military Illustrated" magazine. I've to check the issue number...

PS : you are #30 registered member at BFC :eek:

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Originally posted by BDW:

Hi everyone - I need your help in finding a book to read on WWII tank combat.

In addition to the recommendations already made, I would urge you, and for that matter anyone else, to try to get hold of a copy of John Foley's "Mailed Fist", a superb personal account of his time as a troop commander in Churchills in 107 RAC (The King's Own).

Also worth a look are Ken Jones' "64 days of a Normandy summer" (Cromwells, 2 Northants Yeo), Andrew Wilson's "Flame Thrower" (Churchill Crocodiles, 141 RAC (The Buffs)), the late lamented Stuart Hills' "By Tank into Normandy" (Shermans, Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry), Charles Farrell's "Reflections" (Churchills, 3rd Scots Guards) and Stephen Dyson's "Tank Twins" (also 107 RAC, and mentions "Mr. Foley").

All the best,

John.

[ June 19, 2004, 09:05 AM: Message edited by: John D Salt ]

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I recently picked up the most AMAZING personal account' type armor book.

"Tank Tracks: The 9th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment at War 1940-1945"

by Peter Beale (Hardcover - June 1997)

$34 on Amazon with used going for about $20

British Churchill (yes, CHURCHILL!) regiment in NW Europe right through to the end of the war. 250-odd pages. Dozens of veteran interviews action-by-action. Maps, photos, battalion war diary, personal accounts, lists of military honors, individual tank names, battalion dead, etc. etc. Plus it's a really entertaining read. The combat accounts read like high-stakes CM played for real! A must for CM players, in my opinion.

An example of the personal accounts in this book, the last anecdote i read was of a Churchill south of Caen that moved through a gap in the hedgerows and got holed right through the front turret by a Panther they thought had been knocked out. Perforated the driver's eardrum, went right through the gunner, hit a pack of white phosphorous grenades ,covering the turret interior - and loader- with WP dust. Real harrowing stuff.

[ June 17, 2004, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: MikeyD ]

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I have read Raus's book and the first part up to 1943 is fascinating. He commanded a brigade in the summer '41 drive to Leningrad, took part in operation typhoon and the fighting around Rzhev in early 1942. He also commanded the Panzer division that spearheaded Manstein's drive to relieve Stalingrad in December 1942. He describes alot of the tactics used by the German and Russian forces, he was a commander who led from the front and his often first hand and personal descriptions of the tactical actions in that period is riveting.

After Stalingrad, he was bumped up to corps and army command and the book becomes less interesting. He was removed from the front line and it is obvious that he is relying more on secondhand accounts and after battle reports.

But it's not a tank book per se, it is a memoir of a german general. I heartily recommend it though, it really gives you an understanding of the tactical challenges faced by the German army in Russia.

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Originally posted by Bogdan:

Hi BDW,

I could recommend this huge album, a bit expensive, but definitly a goldmine for panzer amateurs :

Panzertaktik German Small-Unit Armor Tactics (Wolfgang Schneider). 

In a similar vein, but on a more modest scale:

Charles Sharp "German Panzer Tactics in World War II" (Review)

Some full-text regimental histories available online:

18 Armd Regt

19 Armd Regt

20 Armd Regt

Div Cav

[ June 17, 2004, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: JonS ]

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Thanks guys! I am going to check these out. I knew I could count on people here for some good recommendations. thanks again

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Anybody read "Tigers in the Mud"? I scanned it at Borders and was interested, but some of these German author books get very boring very fast. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who likes good information combined with a good read.

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Another vote for:

64 Days of a Normandy Summer (very good account of the TOTALIZE offensive)

Tank! (Stonking!)

Tank Tracks (Excellent)

The South Albertas is quite different, not being a personal memoir, but a regimental history by a writer who was not present at the events. It is probably the best regimental history out there.

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Originally posted by Lawyer:

Anybody read "Tigers in the Mud"?

I enjoyed this book... but then again, I've never met a WW2 book I didn't like... just some more than others. smile.gif

Otto Carius (and his gunner/crew, whose names escape me) would be considered "Elite" troops in CM terms.

Carius commanded at the Company level so the accounts are of small unit tactics.

Of special interest to me were the "non-combat" duties that were required, and also the team-work that makes for a good unit.

This book is the opinion and experience of the author (which you may or may not agree with), but it is hard to argue with his results.

Hope this helps,

Ken

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Brazen Chariots, by Robert Crisp

Commanded M-3 Stuarts in the Western Desert.

Panzer Commander, by Von Luck

Memory's fuzzy, but I believe his tank battalion would've been on the Normandy beaches, had it not been recalled. I do recall that the book was an excellent read.

Regards,

John Kettler

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