Hans von Luck (1911-1997) can boast of having had an impressive military career!
This son of an old Prussian family joined the Reichswehr before joining the 2. Leichte-Division, which would later become the famous 7. Panzer-Division. It was with this division that he participated in the Polish campaign in 1939 and then in France in May 1940, where he was placed at the head of the reconnaissance battalion by Rommel. He was thus at the forefront of the mechanized ride of the "ghost division", passing through the Bay of Somme, Normandy and then heading south: it was von Luck who would collect the surrender of Bordeaux.
After a while, the officer took part in Operation Barbarossa, fighting in Minsk, but also in Smolensk, still at the forefront of the 7. Panzer-Division. Still, the German failure in front of Moscow and the harshness of the winter sounded the end of his career on the Ostfront. At the beginning of December 1941, he led a desperate rearguard fight, in dantesque conditions, to cover the retreat of the debris of his division, until he received an unexpected order: to return to Germany to serve… in North Africa!
After being decorated on January 2, 1942, von Luck learns that Erwin Rommel, who has taken over the Axis troops in Libya, wants him by his side. Arrived on the spot, von Luck is placed in command of the Aufklärungs-Abteilung 3 of the 21. Panzer-Division, thus becoming Rommel's eyes on the ground; our man will thus fight with the "Desert Fox" throughout the Afrika-Korps campaign, until the arrest of El-Alamein; it will only be narrowly evacuated at the beginning of 1943.
After a few months as an instructor, von Luck found the 21. Panzer-Division – reconstituted after its destruction in North Africa – in Normandy, where he commanded Grenadier-Regiment 125. He fought around Caen, narrowly escaping capture in the Falaise pocket. Appointed Oberst, he took the lead of the survivors of the 21. Panzer-Division in France and fought in Alsace, notably during Operation "Nordwind", then in the East against the Soviets, before being taken prisoner during the fighting. for the Halbe pocket.
An immersive and essential testimony to understand the operations of the Panzer-Divisions on all fronts!