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Panzer Ace

The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy
Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (254 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Richard Freiherr von Rosen was a highly decorated Wehrmacht soldier and outstanding panzer commander. After serving as a gunlayer on a Pz.Mk.III during Barbarossa, he led a company of Tigers at Kursk. Later he led a company of King Tiger panzers at Normandy and in late 1944 commanded a battle group (12 King Tigers and a flak company) against the Russians in Hungary in the rank of junior, later senior lieutenant (from November 1944, his final rank). Only 489 of these King Tiger tanks were ever built. They were the most powerful heavy tanks to see service, and only one kind of shell could penetrate their armor at a reasonable distance. Every effort had to be made to retrieve any of them bogged down or otherwise immobilized, which led to many towing adventures.

The author has a fine memory and eye for detail. His account is easy to listen to and not technical, and adds substantially to the knowledge of how the German Panzer Arm operated in the Second World War.

©2017 Verlagshaus Würzburg GmbH & Co. KG; English language translation copyright 2018 by Greenhill Books; Robert Forczyk foreword copyright 2018 by Greenhill Books (P)2018 Tantor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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terrific insight from the German side

I'm not sure why so many people don't want to hear bother sides of this amazing and tragic story. I love to hear the other side story in any conflict as one can not truly understand the conflict unless you hear both sides. The victor always writes the story and everybody buys it. I'm not that guy. It's well written and much respect goes out to the German soldiers, well most of them anyhow.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriel
  • LAS VEGAS, NV, United States
  • 01-04-19

Not what I expected

You would figure that a tanker who experienced front line tank combat on two fronts would present a memoir that would be full of battlefield specifics, unique battle descriptions, details of tank operations, descriptions of tank particulars, etc. None of that is really in this book. Apart from a detailed recitation of an early Eastern Front close call where his tank was disabled and he had to hide out from Russians for a couple days, this book is written as more of an outline of places visited and battle outcomes. There are absolutely no descriptions of how the tiger tank actually worked, or how the King Tiger crew did what they did. Battles are included as an afterthought. Most of the book involves name dropping of buddies and commanders known to the author and an overview of where his unit fought. The book is written in a very old-fashioned and stilted manner. Russian attack? "Unpleasant." Russian rocket attack? "Very unpleasant." "Elbow almost blown off?" "Very, very unpleasant"

The greatest detail in the book involves the continuous efforts of the Germans to tow swamp stuck tanks or disabled tanks. I think the author is most proud of his accomplishments in towing various expensive tanks out of soft mud or because of damaged engines or tracks. Towards the end of the book, it seems the only thing the Wehrmacht was doing was towing tanks to safety. Seriously, if you have a tank towing fetish, this is the book of your dreams!

To be fair, for hardcore WW2 buffs like me, it's not a horrible book because there are tidbits of info (mostly about towing tanks) I learned about, but if you're looking for the German version of Brad Pitt's "Fury," this isn't it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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First Person Warrior Story

As the book summary states, Panzer Ace is the first-person account of a soldier caught up by and thrown into the second world war. The book was composed in 2012, apparently from his personal journals. In Panzer Ace the reader rides along in German tanks invading Russia and fruitlessly trying to hold back the overwhelming material advantage of the Western allies. The story concludes in a Tiger tank fighting Russians in Hungary and then Austria before the wounded soldier's final battle against the bitter French occupation. Here is an account of actual industrial warfare--inhumane and indifferent. Here, too, is the story of the comradeship that perhaps only soldiers can know; because they've seen into the abyss ... and lived ~

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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great read!

loved it! great book for anyone interested in world war 2 from the other sides point of view. very much enjoyed this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great view from the other side

Rarely heard in our country, this story brings to life the war from the side of enemies. An enlightening account of a heartbreaking war also fought by our enemies, people very much like us.

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Order of battle

While I was hoping for a little more of the human side of this epic tale, for those that like full details on the order of battle, this is your book. Lots of facts and very Germanic/orderly telling leave little to the imagination. Comes across as a little cold for me but still a fascinating look inside the chaotic life that was a German tanker.

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  • Mary A.
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • 04-25-19

Unique and interesting

This is a well-written and exceptionally well read audiobook.
I came upon it while browsing.
Always interested in first accounts by the enemy of the war from their eyes, this more than filled the bill.
Anyone with an interest in WWII will enjoy this much as I did.
It is very, day by day, you are there, story of a young man who spent WWII in a Tiger tank, fighting Russians.
There little talk of the whys of the war, but a you are there on the many battle fields he was in.
The book gives a riveting account of what carpet bombing really is and what it does. Having read of the trauma so many German soldiers suffered in their wild flight to escape through the Falaise gap, here it is, as graphic as to give one the unvarnished truth of what Hell is like.
The author was 17 when the war started so I probably shouldn’t be as I was irritated at his whining about his treatment after the war. But, the book as a whole is a treasure for anyone who wants to know what fighting a long and terrible war in a fearsome Tiger tank was exactly like.

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Great short memoir

Excellent story about a man who saw both fronts of the war. not as long or detailed as many other memoirs, so it's a good quick listen.

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strengths & weaknesses

Decent all around book. Vague in combat stories, but detailed in personal thoughts & experiences during the war. Why it was read by a British narrator I do not know, listening to a British man recount the story of a German tanker really keeps you from becoming fully engrossed in the book. Cant imagine there wasn't an English speaking German who could have narrated instead. Poor choice by whoever was responsible for that decision.

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no action<br />

could not finish this book, very slow and with really no theme. I finally gave up and returned it about half way through it.

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  • slick0074
  • 08-03-18

Amazing!

I really enjoyed this one, good story and interesting facts.
Liked hearing from a German perspective.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-19

Authentic, interesting and accurate.

This is definitely one of the better WW2 memoirs I've read or listened to and probably the best tank crew memoir I've encountered so far.

The story is very interesting and from what I can tell, I think it's authentic which sadly isn't a given when it comes to WW2 memoirs especially from the German side. Every detail about the events and equipment was accurate, didn't notice any errors there.
The writing is decent, nothing spectacular but it conveys the events well and at times its even quite gripping.

Some reviewers have complained about the last chapters where the author talks about the issues with French occupation, saying it was hypocritical. I didn't get that feeling at all, first of all two wrongs don't make a right, so the amoral things the French occupation forces did were amoral even if it was after having been occupied by the Germans. The author also wasn't responsible for the occupation of France, so its not justified how he or other Germans were treated. There's also the factor of pride, France lost the war, but they still occupied Germany so for a military man of the author's generation, it probably felt humiliating to be occupied by the losing side in the end. You don't hear much about this topic, so I think it was very interesting to hear about it.

Overall if you are interested in WW2 and especially in tanks, I would highly recommend this book!

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  • ripster
  • 03-31-19

Enjoyable memoir

enjoyable listen of the authors memoirs until it got to the last couple of chapters.The irritating hypocrisy was hard to listen to when he was talking about the so called French occupation after the war hard to stomach

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  • Justin barker
  • 03-19-19

great author great insight

have read most ww2 worth reading and this book is up there with the best

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  • Maria
  • 02-22-19

Incomplete

Much left unsaid. Much edited. BUT..... yet it retains a sense of honesty of its depiction of a tank man's war and its daily pressures.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it if it is to be read as just that. The author is what he is and to his credit doesn't try to hide his background, prejudices and his arrogance borne of a privileged family.
A remarkable man who lived through remarkable times.

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  • G Marshall
  • 01-30-19

Gripping & Eye Opening Account of Panzer Warfare

Well written account of a young tank commander during WW2.. The harsh realities of war are well told in a book that I couldn't put down.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-23-19

Interesting historical account

Autobiographical account of a tank ace from WW2. Author was obviously a staunch nazi and has glossed over this to record his memoirs. A lot of "not down to me or anything I did" prevails throughout the account. Its worth a read to help understand the view the Nazis had about the justification of their actions. An alarming fact is that this guy became a post WW2 officer of senior rank in the German Army. It is not representative of the behaviour of the German Army in WW2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-22-19

Fabulous story!

This was a great story and the narrator rant did it justice. I thoroughly loved listening and found myself wanting to listen to it all the time

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Herod
  • 03-10-19

A compelling insight and a unique piece of history

Some other reviewers complain about the lack of description of combat, but that feels like demanding someones personal history be turned into a video game for entertainment purposes.

Like many other German histories, theirs a strong claim to innocence in relation to National Socialism. I'm starting to wonder if there were any Nazi's in WW2. But that aside, his recounting of the training and daily routine of a Panzer unit is compelling.

If you are a military history buff looking for something quite different to the ordinary, you need to read this one.

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  • Hamish
  • 08-10-18

Outstanding Account of the Panzer War.

Great book that offered some interesting insights. It had a little more detail than many accounts which are just too big picture, though perhaps still not quite enough. Pretty well balanced though.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful