Review: Panzer Gunner

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Posts: 173
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 19:54
Location: Canada

Review: Panzer Gunner

Post by sniper1shot » 21 May 2011 21:18

Title: Panzer Gunner
Authour: Bruno Friesen
Publisher: Stackpole
ISBN: 978-0-8117-3598-8 (paperback)
Stars: 5
(out of 5)

Saw this book few years back and managed to find a copy after it was published by Stackpole. It's a biography of a panzer gunner who fought on the Eastern front.
Book starts off with a brief into in Bruno's family upbringing in Canada. Why his dad sent him and his brother to Germany just before the outbreak of war, and how he was treated by ethnic Germans when he was sent to work on their farm.
The chapters cover his enlistment in the German armed forces, and then his training as a panzer crewman.....which ultimately leads him to the gunner position. He describes some of his various tasks and a couple of brief encounters with the Soviet tank forces including when his tank was disabled. Also mentioned is what happens to soldiers in the rear when there are no tanks available for them to use.
The last few chapters cover him and his crews as they are equipped with the new Jagdpanzer IV and how they were used. Mostly in individual or real small groups. There is a really detailed chapter that covers how the gun worked for those that are interested in a lot of technical talk.
There are only a few pictures and some copies of hand drawn maps or of his certificates. The book ends with his return to Canada, his marriage and his volunteer work with the Canadian War Museum. Another good biography of a German soldier and his fight in WWII.

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Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Review: Panzer Gunner

Post by Yoozername » 10 May 2017 19:49

This is an interesting book for some of the detailed insights into his military service, but some of the technical 'blurbs' seem so outlandishly filler that they are almost comical. An example is his description of infantry climbing aboard and having to sit on the roof which he describes in terms of area (ZZZ cm x YYY cm). Another is when his unit over-runs a Soviet tank killing unit and he describes the booty, SMG, panzerfaust and other items, but he goes into a description of the German magnetic antitank weapon that they didn't find. What about everything else they didn't find? It has a very stilted prose to it also.

It really seems that the book was edited by someone that was putting in bad historical quotes and inappropriate technical facts. I have my suspicions that foggy memories had modern information filling in. A motive may be to cash in on all the latest memoirs craze from WWII vets.

Some things seem odd like his alluding to the factory workers zeroing the main gun and doing a good job. This would be done by units in the field also. It would seem very odd that he would not know that claiming to be a 'Panzer Gunner'.

I guess it is worth a read if you can get a copy, but a must-have that is a must-buy? Maybe not. It would be better if he had a detailed translation of his actual combat reports.

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