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Tigers In The Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius

by Otto Carius (translated by Robert J. Edwards)

Published by Stackpole Books, Pennsylvania USA, 2004, ISBN number 0-8117-2911-7. Paperback, 365 pages.

This book, originally published by J. J. Federowicz back in 1992, chronicles the wartime service of German Panzer commander Otto Carius. The Federowicz book was a larger hardcover publication with hundreds of photographs and ran in the larger price group. Stackpole has produced a more affordable version that despite having only a handful of photos, offers readers one of the best series of tales from a “Tiger” commander that I have had the opportunity to read.

Carius begins by sharing his thoughts andexperiences as a young loader in a Czech built Panzer 38(t) at the early stages of World War Two. The journey through the Eastern Front battles as a member of the 502nd Heavy Panzer Abteilung are told in sufficient detail to put the reader in the seat of the new “Tiger” tanks. Earning respect and popularity with the troops who served with him, he describes some of the successful combat tactics that won him numerous decorations including the Knight’s Cross.

After being wounded, Carius talks of his convalescence and subsequent posting to the Western Front to lead a battalion of the later “Jagdtiger” tank destroyers. His description of final surrender and captivity makes one consider the injustice between victor and vanquished.

The book is more than just a series of detailed battle stories; Carius tells of his experiences through the eyes of a sensitive and humble soldier. He tells of his mistakes made, lessons learned, and the frustrations of having to serve under less-than-adequate superiors. There is also a healthy measure of humour in the vivid and dramatic episodes described in the text.

There is a large amount of appendices and documents at the end of the book. One, from the 502nd Maintenance Platoon, describes some of the technical and mechanical problems encountered with the Tiger tanks. Several After-Action Battle Reports are also shown, along with Carius’ citations and awards.

This book is a must read for any enthusiast of World War Two tanks.

The book is priced at $19.95 US, and can be purchased at Stackpole's website www.stackpolebooks.com, Amazon, and most major bookstores.

Gary Edmundson