Item description for PANZER GUNNER: From My Native Canada to the German Osfront and Back. In Action with 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Division 1944-45 by Bruno Friesen...
There are few memoirs available of German Panzer crews that focus on the climactic last 12 months of the war on the Eastern Front, 1944-45. What makes Bruno Friesen's account virtually unique is his family background: his parents came from a German-speaking Mennonite community in Ukraine, and were to all intents and purposes culturally German. To make matters even more complex, in 1924 his parents left the Ukraine for Canada, where Bruno was born. In March 1939 he and his brother Oscar found themselves on a ship bound for Bremerhaven in Germany. He barely spoke German, and had never been to Germany, nevertheless his father envisaged that a better life awaited them in the Third Reich. Needless to say, Bruno became caught up in the Second World War, and in 1942 was drafted into the Wehrmacht. The author provides a full account of his family background, and how, through these unusual circumstances, he found himself a Canadian-born German soldier. The bulk of the book is a detailed account of the author's training, and his subsequent service with 25th Panzer Regiment, part of 7th Panzer Division. As the title suggests, Bruno Friesen served as a gunner aboard, initially, Panzer IVs, before crewing the lesser-known Jagdpanzer IV tank hunter. The author provides a fantastic amount of information about these two vehicles, and how the crews actually fought in battle with them. This kind of 'hands-on' detail has almost never been available before, particularly such extensive information concerning the characteristics and combat performance of the Jagdpanzer IV. Apart from providing a large fund of information about specific German tanks and their combat performance, the author writes in great detail about the combat the experienced on the Eastern Front, including tank battles in Rumania, spring 1944, Lithuania in the summer of 1944, and West Prussia during early 1945. If one wants to know how German tank crews fought the Soviets in the last year of the war, then this book provides an outstanding account, containing material simply not found elsewhere. The author closes his account by reflecting on his post-war efforts to return to Canada, which eventually succeeded in 1950, and his subsequent life there. This book is not just a critique of armored fighting vehicles and tank warfare, it is above all a very human story, told in a lively, conversational and fluid manner, and is a remarkable contribution to the literature of the Second World War.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.12 lbs.
Publisher Helion and Company
ISBN 1906033110 ISBN13 9781906033118
Reviews - What do customers think about PANZER GUNNER: From My Native Canada to the German Osfront and Back. In Action with 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Division 1944-45?
A Personal Account Jul 22, 2008
I found this book to be a very personal account of battles on the Eastern Front of WWII. Whilst it might be a little thin on excitement, I prefer the author's honesty, especially with regard to their training regime. I was amazed at how many Russian tanks the Panzers took out in comparison with their own losses. Imagine if Manstein had been permitted to perfect his elastic defence option during 1944/45 instead of Hitler's preferred rigid defence - the losses on the Soviet side would have been far, far greater.
Lastly, the writing style of this book is at times hard to follow, with overuse of commas, etc - but this adds to the authenticity of the account being that the author is not a noted writer.
I enjoyed the book and it gave me a renewed interest in the events of the Eastern Front.
At last, a view of war from the turret of a tank! May 11, 2008
For those of you who are keen to read about the fighting on the Eastern Front 1944/45, from the point of view of a German tank crew member, then look no further than this book!
The author was born to ethnic German parents in Canada, and was promptly shipped back to Nazi Germany in early 1939 with his brothers, to help the Third Reich! He ended up learning German, joining the Army, and serving with a Panzer Division fighting the Russians.
This account is humourous, and also detailed, with plenty of technical information about the two vehicles in which the author served, the Panzer IV and Jagdpanzer IV tank hunter.
There are plenty of gems of information, and superb accounts of tank combat against the Russians at the end of the war, about which very little has been published in German or English. Highly recommended, particularly for those interested in armour tactics at the small unit level 1944/45, and for understanding in detail how German tank crews operated their vehicles.
Thin on interesting experiences May 9, 2008
Some good insight on personal experiences but not much more. A lot of extra material added to beef up the book. There are better books on the personal experiences of a German soldier. This rates way down on the list of being really interesting.
Great book for anyone interested in panzers May 1, 2008
Lots of info about the panzer IV and Jagdpanzer IV and how the crews operated them.