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Panzer Commander Audiobook

Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck

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Publisher's Summary

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 and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman. Told with the vivid detail of an impassioned eyewitness, his rare and moving memoir has become a classic in the literature of World War II, a first-person chronicle of the glory - and the inevitable tragedy - of a superb soldier fighting Hitler's war.

©1989 Hans von Luck (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (107 )
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4.7 (100 )
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4.4 (101 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R Wokingham, United Kingdom 27/08/2014
    R Wokingham, United Kingdom 27/08/2014 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Shame he was on the wrong side"
    If you could sum up Panzer Commander in three words, what would they be?

    Honest, forthright and non-sensasional


    What did you like best about this story?

    The very sincere way he felt about the fighting


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The journey back home and his feelings of the world he was now away from


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    He was a very honest man who must have felt bad that he was tarred with the brush of Nazism

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Les Epsom, United Kingdom 03/05/2015
    Les Epsom, United Kingdom 03/05/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating funny and horrific read"

    This guy took part in almost every theatre of the war. Gives a fascinating insight into the life of the average soldier in detail rarely told, a must read for anyone interested in military history, especially from the German perspective!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    frank Isle of Anglesey 10/01/2015
    frank Isle of Anglesey 10/01/2015 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating read"

    Superb book for those interested in the German viewpoint - honest and sometimes brutal a must for anyone interested in WWII

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    paul WORTHING, United Kingdom 20/09/2014
    paul WORTHING, United Kingdom 20/09/2014 Member Since 2016
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    "Incredible story of survival against the odds"

    Remarkable that a man could have survived so many theatres of battles in WWII, to say nothing of 5 years in a Russian Gulag. Had this man been on the winning side we would have become a much celebrated war hero. He comes across as a real gentlemen from the old school with respect for his enemy and he politely avoids the obvious blood and gore he must have witnessed. The narrative is a bit lilting at times with the unusual accent but convincing all the same. I liked the story within and at times wanted to listen way beyond bed time . a good read

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Pell 31/10/2016
    Simon Pell 31/10/2016 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "An Unmissable Different Perspective"

    As a British person growing up watching war movies you believed all Germans were bad and emotionless. Listening to this book my eyes opened to the German cause and suffering. It also highlighted to me how crazy some of the actions the German high command made during the war. Would you believe that half way through I started to feel sorry for the ordinary German soldier who didn't stand a chance in many aspects but was forced to carry on. Excellent book, highly recommend to anyone to read or listen and get a perspective from the other side of the front line. RIP Hans Von Luck

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roystoned 29/08/2016
    Roystoned 29/08/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Enthralling insight into the life of a German Army Officer"

    There is a lot of material regarding the 2nd World War yet very little from the German perspective. This book provides a fascinating insight into the view from a German Officer who started his career in a reconnaissance regiment. Became familiar with Rommel and fought in most of the campaigns, finally defending Germany from the Russians. After his capture the Russians held him and his fellow soldiers for 5 years paying the price for reparations demanded by the Russian state. Fascinating and enthralling, a true masterpiece. Well worth the time to listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Carter 29/06/2016
    Steve Carter 29/06/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent alternative perspective of entire war"

    This book provides an excellent perspective from a high ranking non-Nazi from before the war to becoming a POW in Russia and life after all in a first person autobiography. Very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Border Collie MIDHURST, United Kingdom 20/06/2016
    Border Collie MIDHURST, United Kingdom 20/06/2016 Member Since 2013
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    "Barely believable personal history"

    This book is read by someone with a German accent which is very off-putting in the opening chapters but soon helps the account, particularly when there is reported dialogue.
    The Author is involved in the Polish campaign, North Africa, Normandy and Eastern front. He meets or works with just about every German General: Rommel, Guiderian, Manteufel and Jodel.
    Sometimes I had to smile and think 'is this even possible?', but I wanted it all to be true.
    Historically this book is useful, it describes experiencing the use of rocket launchers from aircraft as well as Russian captivity.
    It gives an insight into the high level of training of the Wehrmacht on the eve of the War and how, for example, at the end of the war there was no shortage of tanks, just no experienced crews to man them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs 03/04/2016
    Mrs 03/04/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "A good German."

    Epic story of war and captivity. The author was on the wrong side. Great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    17/03/2016
    17/03/2016 Member Since 2014

    poibug

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    "Fascinating listen"

    Very interesting humbling account of a professional soldier caught up in the bloody mess that is war.A great insight and nice stories of the occasional humanity despite all the chaos.Only minor downer is the choice of narrator.Sounds like a Frenchman doing a German accent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • A Texan 2
    15/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A compelling look into WW2 from the "other" side"

    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 book is not a glorification or romanticization of war. It is not a defense of Hitler's Germany, nor an apology. It is an explanation of how men who were patriots of their country had that loyalty twisted and abused in Hitler's quest for world domination. It is a view "from the trenches" and gives great insight into both the details of the battles von Luck fought in, and the thoughts and feelings of him and his men through the various stages of the war.

    While I did find the narrative bog down from time to time with the details of movements during some of the campaigns, what really makes this book a standout are von Luck's insights into how the German army viewed the war as well as the descriptions of encounters that he had with his enemies both as captor and prisoner. von Luck also brings into this collection additional stories from his companions who got separated from him over the course of the war - of people he befriended in Paris during the time Germany initially occupied it, of subordinates captured by the Americans in North Africa and the time they spent in POW camps in the American Midwest, of the woman who was for a time his fiance before his capture and five year internment.

    In war, governments seek to make their citizens see the enemy as something not human. von Luck makes nots of the Nazi propaganda machines efforts to make the German citizens see the Soviets as "sub-humans" at the time that Hitler broke his non-agression pact with Stalin and started the disastrous invasion of the Russian homeland. This book shows that all of these peoples - Russians, Germans, French, Brits, even the Americans - weren't just "others" but were men doing their best to follow the orders of the civilian leaders under difficult circumstances. It is a book anyone who would claim the mandate of leader of a country should read to better understand the human face of war and the young men whose lives are spent engaging in "politics by other means."

    For the narration - Bronson Pinchot did an excellent job of bringing this story to life. His inflection, rhythm and accents really made me feel like Colonel von Luck was sitting down in the room with me and telling his story.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Neil
    San Francisco, CA, United States
    03/06/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "Fantastic Read of an exceptional life"

    Han Von Luck was in almost all the theaters of the war. The invasion of France, North Africa, Invasion of Russia, then Normandy and defense of Berlin. He takes you though the battles and politics of the war. Von luck was not a Nazi, but had to live with the insanity of the war and prison in Russia. He was an exceptional man who was not bitter after years of war with limited supplies, and then he endured years of captivity in the Russian coal mines including a punishment camp. Yet he has good things to say about everyone, North Africans, the allies and even the Russians. He was later released and was not able to get a good job since he was a war officer. He endured all over a decade, and kept his spirits and head up. He is an example of a great spirit, a survivor, and a man of character. Someone to look up to.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Joseph Hayek
    Casper, WY, USA
    10/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "From a former tank commander"
    If you could sum up Panzer Commander in three words, what would they be?

    Delightful, Humbling, Forgive


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Von Luck


    What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

    Nice accent...sometimes German...sometimes French...but always delightful. He tried hard to sound German


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Reconciliation is Necessary for Soldiers


    Any additional comments?

    I was a tank commander with D. Co. 2/112th AR, 49th Armored Division. Military History was my minor in college. I needed to listen to this book. The reader does a great job. He tries the accent. Sometimes it sounds German...sometimes French. But always delightful. It only takes about 15 minutes to get used to it. The book is delightful!! But...if you want to hate someone...Germans, Russians, Blacks, Democrats, Republicans, Gays, Straights, Muslims, Christians...whoever!!!! You will not like this book Von Luck ends up saying that "forgetting" is good..."forgiving" is better..."reconciliation" is the best. He should know! Think you have a reason for hating??? You should have lived his life. I don't think he ever reconciled with the Nazis, but he did with everyone else he fought or suffered under.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Wilson Rondini IV
    23/03/15
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    "A much needed perspective"

    I am moved by this story. Ive never been exposed to the German perspective of the war. It humanizes an enemy I've been taught to hate my whole life. The fairness of war that was frequently mentioned changed my perspective on the war as a whole. It was great learning about the African campaign from a firsthand account. This is a must rrad/listen

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Charles Tate
    16/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Part of the whole story of WWII"
    Would you listen to Panzer Commander again? Why?

    Yes, the subject was interesting, the author erudite and engaging, and the performance delightful


    Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

    Hans von Luck, and many of his conversations with various other military figures


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The pathos of a cultivated and decent fellow caught in the dirty maelstrom of the Second World War.


    Any additional comments?

    A splendid book to gain insight into aspects of the war not in the common American narrative. Contrary to the usual story the Germans were not monsters, and not even largely Nazi. Also provides that the Russians weren't quite as monstrous as we have been led to believe too. And like most, only wish they had never been subjected to the pernicious ideology of their insane government.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Jean
    Santa Cruz, CA, United States
    30/11/14
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    "Eminently Readable"

    Von Luck was born in 1911 in Flensburg, the son of a naval officer and descends from an old military family. Von Luck joined a Cavalry regiment in the 100,000 strong Reichwehr in 1929 but was soon transferred to the motorized infantry. In 1931 he came under the tutelage of Erwin Rommel. By 1936 he was a company commander. He served in every battle from Poland, Russia, Africa and France. He was a battalion commander under Rommel. He was captured by the Russian at the end of the war and put into a punishment camp in Kiev. He was released in 1950 and repatriated to West German. He obtained a job working for a coffee company. In 1960 he was on the staff of the British Military Camberley Staff College. He instructed students about the German Tank corp. in various battles in WWII and in particular the battle at Normandy. He did the same for the Swedish and French military. He made a military staff training file with Major General “Pip” Roberts. Von Luck died in January 1997.

    Through Von Luck’s memoir you can obtain a rare perspective of the German soldiers and get to see a unique behind the scenes look at the German Army during WWII. Von Luck writes with an easy to read direct style. He offers no excuses and begs no forgiveness for serving his country. He fought because he was a soldier. The book contains hundreds of anecdotes and observations that bring the story to life. If you are interested in World War II this is a must read book. Bronson Pinchot narrated the book.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Tyler
    05/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More interesting than the cover."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    You won't get bored.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Panzer Commander?

    Hans lives through some pretty extraordinary experiences and escapes death more than can be count. The circumstances leading up to his surrender in Berlin are the climax of the story.


    What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

    German accent appropriate for the conditions of the book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hans recounts an extraordinary example of wartime civility and respect between the Axis and Ally armies.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stephanie
    24/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An inside view between bird's eye and ground zero."

    I found this book fascinating because it gives a very tangible impression of what it really meant to play an active soldier's part during WWII. Compared to allied accounts, the book is also unique because Hans von Luck took part in action on all fronts, sometimes repeatedly, over the entire duration of the war. This perspective is completed by his subsequent experience of 5 years imprisonment in Russia.

    Although the tone of the book appears at times a bit old-fashioned today, together with the matter of fact style of reporting it also conveys somehow the mindset at the time. Overall, I found the book to be a very balanced account, also when it comes down to the level of his individual interactions. A particular strength of this autobiography is that Hans von Luck was a commander in the field. This brought him close enough to upper level decision making and strategic overview, while not removing him too far from the hands down action (thus the title of this review). In summary, in my opinion a credible account of the war, and also of the depressing injustices individuals have to suffer in times of unrest (thinking particularly about the stories of fellow prisoners, like communists imprisoned by the nazis in Germany that were re-interned by the Russians into USSR camps, etc.).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reverend
    17/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing story"
    Where does Panzer Commander rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book ranks at the top!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Von Luck


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole book is an amazing story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    Bronson Pinchot gives a 5 star reading of this story. Von Luck was sent to every war campaign. the eastern front, to Africa with Rommel to the western front then back to the Russian front. He fought a losing battle and faced his challenges with dignity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Narayan
    Dallas, TX, United States
    25/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must have for any history buff"
    What did you love best about Panzer Commander?

    The unique perspective of Colonel Hans Von Luck makes for an amazing read. He is a relic of the aristocratic past, a sophisticated, honorable fossil like Bertrand Russell. He is surprisingly modern when it comes to his interactions with other cultures, the chapters where he lives alongside North African tribesmen shows a surprising respect for other cultures, races and religions that you would not expect from someone in the German Army in the 1940s. Very unique read, and refreshing point of view.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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