Friday, December 10, 2010

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

Panzer Operations
The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945
Erhard Raus
Compiled and Translated by Steven H. Newton

Review by The Kiwi

It is basically a memoir of a German Commander who was captured by the Americans in 1945. Steven Newton has translated many of Raus’s documents (some that where published at some point in history and many that where not). He states that he tried to capture the original style and feel of Raus’s original writing.

I got a hold of this book a while back but recently decided to start re-reading it as it is so good and has so much packed into it. Many WW2 gamers tend to shy away from the Eastern Front conflicts and if they ever needed inspiration to give it a go on the table then this may just be it. The book is full of smaller and larger scenarios that can be translated to the table top. One such smaller scale encounter I am considering myself is one with a single KV tank effectively stopping food and ammo getting to front line Germans by blocking and parking on a road. A platoon of AT guns have a go at it and fail, An 88mm gun has a go and fails. Some combat engineers have a go with some demolition gear at night and fail….even when one soldier (who got left behind) places some explosives on the main gun and hides under the tank he fails. It could make a great demo game at a convention perhaps.

The book does not dwell on hardships or personal emotional experiences of individuals caught up in the conflicts like a lot of modern books on these subjects are doing. Its more a…. this happened on this day and then this happened and to counter that we did this. The detail at times though is incredible. It gives you a tactical guide as to how Raus conducted his forces as they battled across Russia. The book is littered with facts about how many tanks and guns he had available at various places. You get an incredible insight into combined arms tactics of the German forces and the conditions of the Eastern front. Summer, Winter and the Mud Season. At one point Raus mentions that in the heart of winter Russians and Germans had an understanding that buildings in villages where in general not to be destroyed in either sides front line territory. Such was the conditions that any shelter from the elements seemed to be out of bounds for fear of a likewise reprisal.

I highly recommend this book to any one interested in WW2. It's really, really good.


1 comment:

  1. Wholeheartedly agree with your observation - this is Raus' technical account of his war, rather than a memoire. I think it makes a good middle panel to the literary triptych of Gauderin, Raus and Von Luck. Perhaps its interestingly Teutonic that Gauderin, at the top of the military pile, puts a little of himself (his personal experience) into Panzer Leader and Von Luck, at the bottom of this trio, does as well - so Raus, the only one of the three with a position to maintain (perhaps no longer in reality, but in terms of his legacy as a Whermacht General Officer) produces a much more factually based work. Perhaps.