A German Officer’s World War II Combat Memoir

It has frequently been told that history is written by the ones who win the victory. That may well be right, but every so often, it’s also written by the conquered, as is the case of Five Years, Four Fronts. This was written by Major Georg Grossjohann, a man who began his profession between wars in the Reichswehr as a man that was enlisted and rose through position to leave as a major. This work combines bleak memories of battle and candid portraits of peers, subordinates, and superiors on four fronts from corner to corner of Europe.Georg Grossjohann is the son of farmers of East Prussia. He was at the military of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic at age 17 in the year 1928. A superior sergeant in the attack of Poland in 1939, he was commissioned by the year 1940 and has served in a rising diversity of battle infantry management positions during the attack of France in 1940, the USSR campaigns in years 1941 – 44, and the Vosges Mountains and Rhône Valley in years1944-45. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for bravery; and was captured by the American Army when the war finished. Not capable of returning to his Soviet-occupied residence, he built a tailoring that was privately-owned and a fashion production in the German Federal Republic. He also declined a commission in the Bundeswehr in the 1950s.Georg Grossjohann recounts his point in time as division of a substitution unit that saw him in battle on four fronts all the way through the period of 1939 to 1945. Starting with Poland’s invasion in September of 1939, a maneuver in which the author saw a modest action, he would finally see combat, at periods grave fights, in France throughout the German attack, Russia, and once more in France at the time the Allies landed by June 1944.This is different from a lot of books that are also dedicated to the views from a single soldier; those of Mr. Grossjohann are steeped in broader vision. A good read since the author provides devastating glimpses of the chaos and horror of the war, and of deep insights into the everyday life of a Wehrmacht. This book holds a stimulating look at the past as told through the eyes of a normal participant. It gives a very appealing viewpoint on World War II.  The author does not get spellbound into the place of apologizing or defending for the actions of the whole German war group. A reader can take pleasure in Grossjohann’s voyage in appropriate circumstances without feeling anger, disgust or pity. Fairly, one can walk away feeling he/she has gotten an extraordinary peep into the life of a really honest and reasonable warrior who fought courageously for his country.The readers won’t get an in-depth view at a big number of battles across the entire war. Rather the reader will be able to see how a good lower-level official can be moved from one circumstance to the next as required and how officer Grossjohann supposed his place. The battle discussions are in fact fairly good but not many. In general, this book gives insight into the every day culture of the Wehrmacht service and is also laying out detailed and full-fleshed accounts of proceedings. It is a considerable historical work which as well reads attractively sufficient to keep the reader paying attention throughout.The preface sets the phase for a work that is more than just one more German soldier’s story, but on the story of a fighter challenging respect from peers of every nationality. The past commentaries at the start of every chapter further put Grossjohann’s book temporally and spatially inside the bigger background of the war. These details as one with Grossjohann’s approach make Five Years, Four Fronts a rock-hard star book. It is easy to pick up and read but also hard to put down!The Bomber Pilot by author Philip Ardery, is an account of his command and combat experiences with the North Africa and Eighth Air Force in Europe, of him training as a flyer, and his ultimate fine chance in returning home to his beloved wife and son in Texas in the late 1944. He flew 24s on numerous missions from freezing Norway to boiling North Africa. Several Eighth Air Force crews were separated to Libya to unite in the battle to force the Axis as of Tripoli, Bengasi and all of the Mediterranean.Ardery starts by connecting his adventures as a flying cadet in Nebraska, Lincoln, and then in Texas, apprehensive to make his wings and leave for the obviously inescapable conflict against Japan and Germany. His ability for command and possessed skill as a pilot got in his way, on the other hand, and for an instance he was retained at Texas as a flight coach, to teach the rising number of fresh cadets as America’s preparations for combat amplified in force. While he was in Texas, he married and then fathered a son, other than the unwillingness to depart from them, Ardery eventually decided that he had to stick together with the fray and by June 1943, he departed for England as a squadron commander.He was then rerouted to go to North Africa to connect with General Timberlake’s alleged Flying Circus, which worked outside Libya and bombed targets in Crete, Austria and Italy in bearing of the American and British operations in the area of the Mediterranean. The author’s description of his existence as a B-24 pilot is outstanding. Beginning with all the training it took get into flights, to fight in the skies over Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, Ardery’s story is a fair account of a bomber pilot’s life. Afterward, in Europe, he was set to the London public life by well-connected friends. He also worked in wing operations with his wingman, Pete Hughes who has surrendered his life for his assigned task.The author, Mr. Ardery, has written an excellent description of a military Air Corps pilot’s experiences. His tale illustrates that the danger of death or injury was invariable for every affiliate of the team, and that whichever was just as likely to occur whether flying through flak, trying to avoid German fighters, avoiding mid-air collisons while flying in tight formation with your squadron mates or when one was in training. The readers will have a brilliant thought of what our airmen have endured during World War II.Bomber Pilot is a fascinating version of heroism above in the skies. It is one of the most excellent accounts to come out of the sky war in Europe. Mr. Ardery’s experiences at the time of the epic low level raid at Ploesti were particularly interesting. Similar to the majority memoirs of war, this book is flavored with exciting, frequently incredible vignettes that exemplify the vagaries of possibilities and the often bizarre nature of battle. His discussion of the crews’ pre-hand flight preparations is above all interesting, and yet comical at times.This story is overflowing with that combination of the strange and of the universal that makes memoir prose a precious tool of chronological study. Through his exceptional standpoint, we become familiar with something of what thousands of other individuals endured in preparation for and combating the air war above Europe throughout World War II.Moreover, I admire Ardery’s absolute courage, sense the power of his convictions, and empathize with some of his sacrifices. Ardery is clearly a thoughtful, intellectual man, who, yet beneath the pressure of battle, took the time to learn sense and reason in the innumerable horrors and extraordinary wonders he has experienced.The two books share a similar topic which is about World War II and the many sacrifices a lot of men gave for all the combats. While Five Years, Four Fronts was written by a German soldier, Bomber Pilot was written as an account of a Pilot at war. As an effect of his position, Ardery did not appear to undergo some of the inconveniences and indignities of military life like that of Grossjohann’s experiences that would cause pity for his predicaments. Both serve as valuable memoirs of history as the two books were written with honesty from different viewpoints. However, Five Years, Four Fronts was too brief.  The lack of the actual battle detail leaves much of the readers wanting more.Ardery had the propensity to center too often on his rank and the rightness of his performance as a commander. Whilst he makes steady references to his inappropriateness for military life, it is obvious that Ardery sees himself as an effectual, if ever-learning, head of men, while Grossjohann is a soldier of soldiers. As a result, Ardery glosses over stories of episodes of near-panic in the air or pre-flight jitters or in favor of emphasizing the significance of a commandant keeping his cool so as not to misplace the admiration and submission of his men. Ardery continually compares the performance of his regiment or division to those commanded by other men, with his own habitually proving one way or another superior. If anything, his story seems too premeditated. Ardery reveals uncommon sparks of sensation, particularly when reminiscing about his family, newborn, son and wife back in the States, but in general the tale is very detached.In my opinion, both are great stories about war and its predicaments, but Five Year, Four Fronts raises more thumbs for its readers.ReferencesArdery, P. (1978 ) Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II.  KY: University Press.Grossjohann,G. (2005) Five Years, Four Fronts: A German Officer’s World War II Combat Memoir. CA: Presidio Press.;