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Recommended WWII memoir books


Mord
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I am getting ready to make my Christmas list and am looking for some WWII first person accounts. I am mostly interested in straight up memoirs from a single guy, but I wouldn't mind specific battles or the like if there are cool anecdotes and descriptions by the dudes that fought. Looking for anything with lots of action and excitement, visceral, infantry or armor, (preferably ETO for now), American, British, German, or Canadian perspective.

Here's a list of what I already have,

DDay, Band Of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers by Ambrose.

Foot Soldier by Roscoe Blunt Jr.

To Hell And Back by Audie Murphy

With The Old Breed by EB Sledge

Black Edelweiss by Johann Voss

Alamo In the Ardennes by John C McManus (haven't read yet)

Enemy At The Gates by William Craig (haven't read yet)

A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (saving for the Market garden Module)

A Blood-Dimmed Tide, The Bloody Forest by Gerald Astor

Soldat by Siegfried Knappe (couldn't get into it)

Four Stars Of Hell by Laurence Critchell (haven't read yet)

All The Way To Berlin by James Megellas (couldn't get into it)

Those Devils In Baggy Pants by Ross S. carter

Roll Me Over by Raymond Gantter

Currahee, Seven Roads To Hell, The Road To Arnhem, Beyond The Rhine by Donald R Burgett.

Donald Burgett and Audie Murphy's books are probably my all time favorites of these...lots of kick ass action...I liked Foot Soldier a lot too, from what I remember.

Black Edelweiss was pretty disappointing.

So any suggestions would be helpful...throw them out there!

Mord.

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Von Mellenthin's "Panzer Battles" is a great first-person account of the war, primarily in North Africa. He's a general staff officer, mind, which means he fires a weapon himself all of a handful of times, but he does a great job of putting you in the moment and making the campaign interesting (and more than occasionally exciting). He also spends the entire campaign at Rommel's side and offers a great glimpse of him from the perspective of someone who understood why Rommel made the decisions he did.

There's some anti-Hitler General Staff apologia in there, no doubt, but in my experience that's to be expected from any German author in a position to testify regarding / be tried for war crimes post-war.

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Burgett's books are amazing in detail. Currahee is the best of the Normandy paratrooper memoirs that I've read.

Some of the "Band of Brothers" troopers have published their memoirs including Dick Winters. I've only read "Parachute Infantry" by David Webster which is an interesting contrast to Burgett's style.

edit: The Black March is excellent if you can find it but it's East Front.

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  • 18 Platoon, Sydney Jary (infantry)
  • By Tank Into Normandy, Stuart Hills (armour)
  • Armoured Guardsman, Robert Boscawen (armour)
  • pretty much anything by Ken Tout, but especially Tank! and Tanks, Advance! (armour)
  • And No Birds Sang, Farley Mowat (Italy) (infantry)
  • The Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby, Alex Bowlby (Italy again) (infantry)
  • Company Commander, Charles McDonald (infantry)
  • Clay Pigeons of St Lo, Glover S. Johns (infantry)
  • Flamethrower!, Andrew Wilson (armour)
  • Troop Leader, Bill Bellamy (armour)
  • Other Clay, Charles Cawthon (infantry)
  • With The Jocks, Peter White (infantry)
  • Quartered Safe Out Here, George McDonald Fraser (Burma) (infantry)
  • The 'Guns' trilogy, George Blackburn (artillery)
  • Milligan's War, Spike Milligan (North Africa and Italy) (Seriously. It's really good) (artillery)

You might also want to check here:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=113192

Larso's done some good work in that thread.

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These are excellent fellas, I am gonna research each one on Amazon to get some more background info and see what really jumps out at me.

@Pak40...I was riveted when I read Burgett's stuff...man, there's a ton of coolness packed into those slim volumes. I remember I only had the first three and couldn't wait to get Beyond the Rhine.

@Jon...the link looks excellent...and your list has a couple titles that jump right out.

It's gonna be fun and hard trying not to list everything you guys have written down.

Mord.

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Best ever that I read is "Panzer Commander" Written by Hans von Luck with Stephen Ambrose.

This guy was the German's Forrest Gump. He fought in Poland, France under Rommel, Barbarossa, in Afrika when they took Tobruk and was part of the 21st Panzer at D-Day. Amazing story.

One of my favorite books period. I highly recommend it.

Jet

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Someone recommended this book in the other thread and I ordered it immediately and it's been quite fascinating story.

Ste-Mere Eglise, June 1944: No Better Place to Die: The Battle for La Fiere Bridge, by Robert M. Murphy

The book illustrates very well how confusing the fight was for the paratroopers in the bogace just after the landings.

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Wing Leader by J. E. Johnson.

The First Team and The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign by Robert B. Lundstrom. These aren't first person accounts, but the descriptions of the combats are sometimes so detailed that they read as if they are. Very highly recommended.

Brazen Chariots by Robert Crisp. I can't vouch that this account is totally accurate, but I am a sucker for a good NA book and this one pulled me right in.

Michael

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"Dying for Saint-Lo" Didier Lodieu

1944 Americans in Brittany the battle for brest Jonathon Gawne

Both of these have great diagrams,maps,profiles of uniforms and AFV's in addition to good text.

Having read "If you Survive" I better understand why the high casualty rates among junior officers. These high casualty rates among leaders and officers seem to be replicated well in CMBN,as I have noticed other members wondering if the high casualty rate among leaders in CMBN is accurate. The first thought that came to mind was the' if you survive" book.

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Someone recommended this book in the other thread and I ordered it immediately and it's been quite fascinating story.

Ste-Mere Eglise, June 1944: No Better Place to Die: The Battle for La Fiere Bridge, by Robert M. Murphy

The book illustrates very well how confusing the fight was for the paratroopers in the bogace just after the landings.

I'm making a campaign based on this now ;). Hopefully will be out sometime after Christmas.

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As a child of the '60s and '70s, I got used to seeing good new WWII soldier memoirs emerge every so often. Now it saddens me to realize that (1.) I've already read most of the good ones listed so far, and (2.) Pretty soon there aren't going to be any new ones because WWII soldiers will all have passed away. I envy those of you who are still to discover some of these thrilling reads!

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Company Commander.

Battle of the Bulge then and now (large format photo book).

Panzer Commander.

If you can read German "Im Schatten der Siege", written by a surgeon during early East Front combat.

I also like Sajer's Forgotten Soldier. Personally I haven't seen anything convincing me it's not real, and in any case the impressions he transports of what it was like match what you read elsewhere (just written down better).

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Company Commander.

Battle of the Bulge then and now (large format photo book).

Panzer Commander...

I have read Panzer Commander (good read). I have Company Commander, but have not read it yet... sigh.

I would recommend

"The Forgotten Soldier" German infantry account, From Russia 1942 to West Front in 1945...

I picked this book up in the summer. I plan on reading it very soon.

Here is some of my collection for suggestions:

Panzer Aces I, II and III - Kurowski

Infantry Aces - Kurowski

Armor Battles Of The Waffen-SS, 1943-45 - Fey

Michael Wittmann Vol. One and Vol. Two - Agte

Tigers In The Mud - Carius

Death Traps - Belton Y. Cooper

Brazen Chariots - Major Robert Crisp

Tobruk and El Alamein - Carver

An Army At Dawn - Rick Atkinson

Panzer Tactics - Schneider

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I am steadily looking at all these recommendations on Amazon, so thanks again fellas. Man, I go there and end up getting side tracked by fifty other selections in the suggestions area...I love that place.

Seeing that there so much to choose from, for the time being I think I am gonna focus on the stuff that covers CMBN's focus...or try to. Though, I have wanted to read Sajer's book for a long time now...not to mention there seems to be a lot more German perspective stuff based on the East Front...but I'll see what I can find based around France or at least Europe so as to keep me in the mood for CMBN...if I get a bunch of Russia based books I'll be pining away for CM Bagration or whatever the first title is gonna be.

Panzer Aces I, II and III - Kurowski

Infantry Aces - Kurowski

I was just eying those up last night...Stackpole looks like they have lots of good stuff.

Mord.

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