In This Review

Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945
Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945
By Erhard Raus, comp. and trans. by Steven H. Newton
Da Capo, 2003, 384 pp.

Raus was one of the Wehrmacht's most accomplished generals, and his memoirs are a welcome addition to the literature on World War II. Raus entered Russia in June 1941 as a brigade commander in Germany's sixth Panzer division and quickly led his troops to the outskirts of Leningrad. Even after the German invasion faltered, his career prospered; by the end of 1943, Raus was in command of the fourth Panzer army. As Germany's position deteriorated, he moved from one army to another, until his failed effort to defend Pomerania resulted in his dismissal. (He delivered the bad tiding to Hitler himself, "physically broken-down, embittered and suspicious.") This account was mostly written after the war, and excerpts were later used for U.S. military training. Newton has performed a valuable service by reassembling and translating the original into a vivid account of operations and an insightful study of how the German army showed such tactical aptitude even when saddled with bad strategy.