Author Topic: Franz Kurowski - Panzer Aces - Fact, fiction or just Glorification and apologist  (Read 2200 times)

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Offline Destraex

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I got a book called Panzer Aces in paperback novel form by a gent called Franz Kurowski and transl;ated from German by David Johnston over 10yrs ago because I thought it would be fun to read some novel style action from the other side of the fence. Playing war thunder kinda brought me back to wanting to read it. So I picked it up and started to read. From the Michael Wittman part. I read about an action in which Michael Wittman ran around with a STUG with a snub nosed "stump" canon beating off a soviet tank attack. The text was in novel format with feeling and dialogue that was typical of a novel. Not a history book. So I was curious about how much of it was actually historical. Considering that the book is split into six parts each on a different historical figure, the format is very strange. Why would you write a book about specific historical figures and then fill in the gaps with your own fictional take of how the dialogue etc may have played out? I mean I loved the bernard cornwell sharpes series, but he specifically used made up characters and blended them with other historically researched characters. He made up the  dialogue between the fictional and historical figures. Bernard though is very particular not about his sources exactly, but about what and what did not happen in a dedicated section at rear of each novel. The fact that this panzer aces novelisation of events actually seemed to put words into historical figures mouths kind of wierded me out, unless he really had memoirs with specific dialogue? I don't think so though.

This is where things got even stranger. After doing a search about the Author, the author served in the German forces in ww2 and wrote some stuff for germany during the war. He is accused of glorifying the german soldiers with no regard for war attrocities and also just writing whatever he wants.

Am I being too harsh on this author? Should I just enjoy the read? It's really like reading a bernard cornwell novel without the fictional characters. I really don't like it when things are made up unless the characters are fictional because I may absorb some as fact! It's hard to know whether authors like this simply get panned because they are not towing the allied perception of events. I like to read both sides to get a balanced insight.

Has anybody got any experience with this author. A lot of people seem to have loved the read on amazon. Perhaps I should be reading The Memoirs of Colonel Hans Von Luck instead. I have read steel inferno (ww2 library) and enjoyed that way back. Loved the book death traps about shermans as well. Has tank ace lafayette pool got a biography?
https://www.amazon.com/Panzer-Aces-Franz-Kurowski/dp/0345448847/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Interesting concerns that you've got.

I've not read the book and know nothing of the author, so I can't answer your questions, but I would enjoy seeing what you uncover.
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Offline besilarius

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If you are looking for small unit combat in the Wehrmacht, have you heard of Gunner Asch?
The author, Hans Helmut Kirst, was a lieutenant in World War II, and wrote about life in the army.  Not all combat, but done with experience and authority.
Think he wrote about five books on the Gunner and his crew.
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Offline Destraex

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Besilarius Gunner Asch sounds like a lot of fun.
As for what I uncover brant, I hope somebody else has a few answers here.
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Offline Dammit Carl!

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Kinda how I took Killer Angels to be; historically based but with dialog installed in to paper over the gaps between the numbers/statistics/dry, recorded history bits.

So my take: enjoy the read for what it is, but perhaps double check against the actual, recorded facts (if they exist) if desired.

Offline Sir Slash

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I've read and re-read Panzer Aces many times and enjoyed it a lot but I never saw it as actual history and thought of it as more a dramatized version of history. Reminded me of Paul Carell's books on WWII. You're right to be questioning the authenticity of the author, nobody likes to be deceived. Still a good read with a grain of salt. My 2 cents.
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Offline JasonPratt

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On the OP, I was thinking of Holger Eckhertz and "Sprech Media" since there have been similar concerns about those books. I enjoyed both volumes of "D-Day Through German Eyes" but there are definite suspicions about the author spicing things up (with wonder-weapons for example, including some on the US side, such as planes shooting WP rockets into the bunkers, and a German fuel-air artillery experiment that didn't quite get into gear.)
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Offline OJsDad

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Isn't this what historical fiction is. 
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Offline Pete Dero

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Isn't this what historical fiction is.

Only these people sell their books as historical non-fiction.

Offline Jarhead0331

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I have found this to be a tremendous problem overall on scholarship focusing on the German military of the Third Reich. I have found that it is frequently glorified, sometimes in the extreme, with the German fighting men being described as brave and righteous knights fighting against barbarians or savages. The writing, imagery, etc. can be very troubling, in its biased depiction of the German soldiery. You really have to be careful and discriminating as to what you read and believe...there is so much Nazi pr0n out there.   
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Offline Sir Slash

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National Geographic has some really good shows on recently about WWII battles without all the PC Pro or Con German stuff. Hitler's Last Stand for the ETO and Nazi Megastructures for the Eastern Front. They often include individual soldiers stories on both sides along with some digital views of the battlefields that look a lot like CMBN as well as views of the sites today. Nazi Megastructures seems to be an English production so maybe it's already run there as something else. Not great shows but entertaining.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline bayonetbrant

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with the German fighting men being described as brave and righteous knights fighting against barbarians or savages.

I also think that the further East the fighting takes place, the more true this is.  Depictions of the Germans on the East front sometimes border on idolatry.
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Offline JasonPratt

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I have found this to be a tremendous problem overall on scholarship focusing on the German military of the Third Reich. I have found that it is frequently glorified, sometimes in the extreme, with the German fighting men being described as brave and righteous knights fighting against barbarians or savages. The writing, imagery, etc. can be very troubling, in its biased depiction of the German soldiery. You really have to be careful and discriminating as to what you read and believe...there is so much Nazi pr0n out there.


I will say that the two Holger Eckhertz / "Sprech Media" books that I've read, don't go that far. In presentation it was similar to other reminiscence-study books like, say, Hargreaves' The Germans in Normandy. Obviously the people being interviewed try to give their points of view at the time, but the bias is natural and makes sense within the context, and they're sometimes critical of Nazi government after the fact.

There's Nazi propaganda pr0n of course, but there can also be an overreaction in the other direction, and moreover the Germans (and occupieds) were so very saturated with Nazi propaganda at the time that an actual historical reminiscence will naturally be somewhat affected by this, too.

What made me suspicious of some fictional salting in Sprech Media was (1) the author's own sketchy provenance as a writer; and (2) the unarchived usage of some weapon systems in the fight (or ever). Even those were plausible in concept, though. The fuel-air arty system is at least based on actual combat-experiments on the Eastern Front, even though the explosive in that case didn't have an arty delivery. If it had been captured, or destroyed, would anyone on the Allies even have been able to recognize it for what it did? I dunno.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline demjansk1942

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I liked the book by Otto Carius, Tigers in the Mud.  He dies a few years ago, also anything by Gunther Rall, fighter ace