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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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spent most of his time in hospitals.

very little detail given. contradicts himself a lot. says he was always leading. but was always going on about his men report to him on something so he could make a decision. if he was leading he would not need this. he was surprised the French disliked him. with all the time he spent on rail networks, as it's the only way to transport tanks, he says he was unaware of the transport of prisoners and why. never once mentioned killings of military prisoners. think he might have been telling pork pies... the performance was like Hello hello

3 people found this helpful

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Gripping

Gripping account of a panzer soldier who worked his way up the ranks serving in Russia and Normandy and an account after the war great listen a must for ww2 fan !

2 people found this helpful

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Superb

So rare that the narration adds to the content but this is a marvellous account of a very brave and good man.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

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

4 people found this helpful

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Military History

This book gives a perfect understanding of war from a very personal perspective. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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great book very interesting

this was a very interesting book, I really enjoyed it. a well put together book.

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Lucky rich mans war

I found these memoirs frustratingly dull. The author has clearly experienced the war and served in several theatres of the war. But I found his telling of his story lacklustre and unimaginative. He spends most of his time in this book describing either being injured, on leave or his accommodation and the fun parties he had. To him the war sounds like a jolly old bit of fun.

He conveys little detail concerning panzer combat in terms of positioning, hunting and fighting with his own tank. He commanded legendary tanks like the Tiger and the King Tiger but for me he comes across someone describing being out for a Sunday drive. Clearly, he was no Michael Wittmann.

He provides little (or omits) detail concerning atrocities committed by Wehrmacht and SS during the war and describes reckless attacks ordered by command regardless of casualties as merely “silly”.

Also his chronology of events sometimes lurches from one point to the next with no relation. At one point he is in Hungary fighting an action against the Soviets then he leaps to one of his men being hurt so he takes him to hospital in Vienna.

I can understand the monotony of maintenance or boredom of war followed by the thrill and adrenaline of combat. The author seemed to greatly lack his description of the latter.

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Story of someone we once called the enemy

My Grandad served in WW2 in British Intelligence so i have always been rather keen on the subject, I'd also definitely call myself a keen reader of WW2 stories and memoirs, but as would be expected these stories have all been from a British or American perspective. I found it quite interesting reading about a persons experiences of the war from the German side of things. For the most part i found myself sympathising with his struggles and had to keep reminding myself that he would have been the enemy from my point of view. However, at the end of the day he was just a small cog in the massive machine that was WW2 and like many others he was just doing his part and fighting for his country, he deserves to be able to tell his story and I'm glad that he did.

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Not bad

It’s very interesting hearing war from the German side, with all the chaos in the last months of the war, overall it’s a good book, but for me it wasn’t as gripping as I was hoping

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A real eye opener! Action packed.

Well narrated and a real eye opener for me to hear things from the opposite side of the war. Not only the intricate battle details, superiority in technology, but also the about the war itself both during and after. How information was used or omitted to keep and how soldiers felt towards this. A fantastic book that will keep you gripped!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-07-18

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.

14 people found this helpful

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  • D.A. Nygaard
  • 23-07-18

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 ~

8 people found this helpful

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  • Gabriel
  • 04-01-19

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • David B. Dickinson
  • 19-07-19

Simply a great book

The story is fascinating, albeit one has to consider the perspective. The author is clear and the story coherent, unlike so many memoirs. But to my kind what sets this apart is the narrator whose language ability is fantastic and who glibness exactly matched the content of the work.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mary A.
  • 25-04-19

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-08-18

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick Hankey
  • 16-06-19

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rodman
  • 18-03-19

no action

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rich Kreitz
  • 02-02-21

Very good

A very good description of Soldier life during the war. I highly recommend the book.

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  • T. Adams
  • 06-01-21

Fascinating Perspective

It’s often difficult to find quality memoirs written by German belligerents in WW2 and it can be disorienting associating their accounts with events we know of in the West. However, Van Rosen’s story is a testament to a quality man who did his duty and nothing more. The action and events are thrilling to read and imagine how oneself could survive such ordeals. The narrator has some great experience in pronouncing German and French terms, which is always amusing to imagine. Overall, I recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the Wehrmacht soldier and the great iron horses they called home.