Well today I finished another book (do not worry I still take my time to read… I finished Blood Red Snow a couple of days ago). This time it is:
Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius by Otto Carius
Now the book itself has 365 pages and includes a lot of photos from the authors combat career (the majority from his time when he was not commanding a Tiger). Now the actual narative (including forewords for the various edtions, afterword) only goes to page 230. The rest is glossary, translations of official reports and copies of his award citations (both the German originals and edited ones in English).
The emphasis of the book is hard to grasp from the begining. For example the time from his enlistment in the Panzer forces, the deployment, Operation Barbarossa, officer candidate training, till the summer of 1943 take a mere 16 pages! It is like he never felt that his time before he commanded a Tiger are of any importance. But given the title, this might have been expected.
Unfortunately the rest is not that mush better. Some engagements are described in little detail. Often he anounces them in way that the reader actually expects something interesting, only to say that they were relocted after taking part in the operations. Other engagements are described in more detail, but read rather like an official report and do not really go into detail. And at times they were not quite chronological either.
All his accounts are intersperced by describtions of his colleagues, which would be fine, except most of them do ot play any role in the book except for the paragraphs decribing them.
He often goes on why his way of leading leading a unit or doing things in his tanks were the right thing and any other way could only lead to failure. He is not to say that he did not make mistakes, but that is rare and most of the book depicts him as more capable then those around him. Often he also goes on about how society has betrayed the German soldiers after the war, how everyone was just fighting because of their comrades or for their honour, but to be honest… It did not sound convincing to me. These sections were most annoying for another reason, since they usually did not add up. Hardly any paragragh would would end in a way that fit its begining. It often is rather a strange rambeling.
Over all this mix of battle reports, stories from the front, characterisation of colleagues, philosophy on unit leadership & battleskills and historical justification is at times quite hard to follow and does make for a below average read. There are some interesting parts, but for me this was a very short part of the book.
So how is my final verdict. Official retail is 19,95 US$, but is is worth only about 4,00 US$.