Wolfgang Faust was the driver of a Tiger I tank with the Wehrmacht Heavy Panzer Battalions, seeing extensive combat action on the Eastern Front in 1943-45. This memoir is his brutal and deeply personal account of the Russian Front's appalling carnage.
Depicting a running tank engagement lasting 72 hours, Faust describes how his Tiger unit fought pitched battles in the snows of Western Russia against the full might of the Red Army: the T34s, the Stalin tanks, the Sturmovik bombers, and the feared Katyusha rocket brigades. His astonishing testimony reveals the merciless decisions that panzer crews made in action, the devastating power of their weaponry, and the many ways that men met their deaths in the snow and ice of the Ostfront.
First published in the late 1940s, this memoir's savage realism shocked the postwar German public. Some were outraged at the book's final scenes while others wrote that "now, at last, I know what our men did in the East".
Today it stands as one of the great semiautobiographical accounts of warfare in World War II - a crescendo of horror, grim survival, and a fatalistic acceptance of the panzer man's destiny.
Originally published in the German Federal Republic as Panzerdammerung (Panzer Twilight).
The only other surviving memoir by this author is The Last Panther - an astonishing account of panzer warfare in the final hours of the Third Reich.
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This is NOT a Memoir. This is 100% War Porn.
So far as I can tell, Wolfgang Faust is not a real person. The name is probably a pseudonym for a ghostwriter, furnished by Sprech Media.
Anger, but not because of the content of the story. I'm mad because I'm fairly certain this is not a memoir, is not historical fact, and is most likely is a fictional story in which none of the people and events are real.
Early on in the book, I noticed that there was no reference to specific divisions, regiments or locations. That's pinged my internal "BS" meter. The author said the story took place in October 1944 and from his description, he faced IS-3 tanks. the IS-3 didn't make an appearance on the battlefield until the last weeks of the war in April 1945. That's pinged my internal "BS" meter some more.
The "author" is a Tiger tank driver that can apparently see every single detail of a battle from his driver position in the Tiger. If you've never seen the driver position of a Tiger, Google it. The vision slit is very small and provides a *very* narrow field of view. In fact, a Tiger driver cannot effectively drive in battle without commands and directions from the tank commander, who has a better view from the command position in the turret, but by no means could the commander be able to provide even a partial description of the battle occurring around the tank as Faust did. The description Faust gives of battles occurring around him are so detailed, it's as if he were either a field grade officer, directing the battle and observing results, or an omnipotent being, floating over the battlefield seeing and experiencing everything. I find it VERY hard to believe that he (if he is even a real person), an enlisted man in the driver seat of a Tiger, saw a tenth of what he described. Maybe he could have seen more of the battlefield if he were driving the tiger with the driver hatch open, but if the battles were as ferocious as he described, that would have been an instant death sentence. Being able to see aircraft dog-fighting during a tank battle? I don't think so. Being able to see and describe the tanks behind your own tank? Impossible. Being able to see the enemy tank crew through their own driver vision slit during a battle? Seriously?!? After listening to such unbelievable battle descriptions three or four times, my "BS" meter was going off the chart. I stopped listening and did some research.
I tried researching the author of "Tiger Tracks", Wolfgang Faust, and found no information whatever about him EXCEPT for information released directly from Sprech Media. According to the book, there's a Faust Estate, but there's no information ANYWHERE ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET about him or his estate. That's suspicious. Apparently, this book was released in 1948 and received heavy criticism. In my research, I cannot find any mention of this book or the controversy that followed it after its release (other than information directly from Sprech Media). Further research turned up multiple internet forums that bring into question the integrity of Sprech Media's releases. There are claims that Sprech Media is releasing a bunch of books that are advertised as memoirs, recollections, and interviews, when in fact they are entirely fiction and the authors are not real (e.g. "World War 2 Through German Eyes," "D Day Through German Eyes," and the "SS Panzer" series).
From what I've experienced and read/listened to so far, I'd have to agree with these claims and that what I'm reading is NOT true.
The fact that this book is advertised as a memoir, and most likely is not, is what makes me angry.
I'm really disappointed by books that are now flooding my Audible feed from Sprech Media. I'm a WWII enthusiast, and was excited to see some new "memoirs" from the German point of view. However, I don't believe this book, or any other book advertised as such from Sprech Media, is a memoir. I believe most, if not all, of Sprech Media's titles are 100% fiction written by a ghostwriters.
The story in "Tiger Tracks" is outlandish and reads like a movie script. Everything that happens just feels too extravagant and is too fantastic. There's a ridiculous amount of violence. Heads and arms and limbs flying. Spraying blood. Churned up bodies in tank tracks. Freshly dead bodies steaming in the snow. These gory details and their descriptions are repeated over and over throughout the book.
Many (not just a few) details are historically inaccurate or physically improbable. In a memoir, you'd think that specific locations, units, dates, etc... would be given, but that information is either absent all together or is suspiciously vague. In fact, there's no information in this book that provides the reader the ability to research any of the battles or actions described in the book.
I have no problem with reading WWII fiction. In fact, I think WWII is a great setting for a fictional story, and I wish there were more, better fiction novels set in WWII. "Tiger Tracks" is a pretty good read if you accept the fact that it's probably entirely fiction. It's a quick read, with lots of action. It's really a pretty enjoyable story. HOWEVER, because this book is advertised as a memoir, I have to give it a negative review.
I'd appreciate if Audible took action to correct this probable false advertising. I do not want to spend my money on books/audiobooks thinking that I'm getting an authentic memoir, when, in fact, I'm getting cheap, pulp fiction.
Finally, as a historian, I'm very disappointed that this book (and other Sprech Media titles) is advertised as a historical memoir, when it is not. I am worried that readers will believe the accounts within these books are true, when they are not. Misleading people to believe these accounts as true distorts history and is a dangerous path to go down. These fantastic, outlandish fiction tales, paraded as historic fact, dishonor the real veterans who experienced the horrors of tank warfare, who suffered and lost comrades on the Eastern Front, and diminishes their real and important stories.
If you are interested in this kind of book, but want a real memoir, I'd highly recommend both "Panzer Commander" by Hans von Luck and "Soldat" by Siegfried Knappe.
Don't waste your time....
Perhaps someone with little or no knowledge of WWII on the Russian front. And, perhaps, someone who has never heard a well-performed audio book.
I'm looking for something on Julius Caesar and the Roman Arny.
Disappointment - this is such a rich topic and this story is terribly weak.
I realize the difference between a memoir and a history and have read or listened to many of each. This "memoir" comes off more like an essay by a middle school student. Dry. Boring. Shallow. Generic.
- Steven K. Arnold