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SOUS LES ORDRES DE ROMMEL
Under Rommel's Command
From the deserts of Africa to the beaches of Normandy
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Born in 1921 near Wiener Neustadt, the Austrian Hans Höller lived through the upheavals of the Second World War as an amazing saga, which he takes us through energetically in this extraordinary autobiography. He served in the 15.Panzer division at 20, first as a simple Schütze in the Afrika Korps in Egypt (at the Halfaya Pass, known to the British soldiers as the “Hell and Brimstone Pass”) then at Tobruk, in Libya.
Promoted to Leutnant a year later in the autumn of 1942, he was sent to Tunisia as section commander and took part there, with the 10. Panzerdivision, in one of the last battles German troops fought on African soil. As a young officer, Höller was ordered to lead an infantry attack in which he was seriously wounded during terrible hand-to-hand fighting with British soldiers.
Once he had recovered, he was sent to France to rebuild the famous 21. Panzerdivision within the PzGrenRgt. 192. In command of a section of Panzerjäger in Normandy, he was ordered to recapture the famous Pegasus Bridge from the British in the first hours of D-Day. Hidden in a copse near the majestic Bénouville Chateau, he blocked all attempts by the British to progress towards Caen along the banks of the canal, and even destroyed three Shermans on 6 June 1944.
This solid Austrian subsequently took part in the hard fighting that lasted several months around Caen (Hérouville, Cambes-en-Plaine in June) and just managed to save all his II.Bataillon during Operation Goodwood at the end of July 1944. In August he fought furiously near Mont Picon, then in the Falaise pocket which he managed to get out of. After a long retreat through France with some of his section’s rare survivors, Höller was finally “surprised” in Lorraine and captured by elements of Leclerc’s 2e DB...
In these moments of intense distress, he owed his survival only to his group of “Afrika” mates. During those hard years, his supreme commander was nearly always Erwin Rommel, the famous German Feldmarschall whom the allies had christened with respect the “Desert Fox”. Rommel’s decisions determined the destiny of Hans Höller and each of his comrades.
Today at 94, Hans is still incredibly fit and his memory is still fresh. His very numerous personal photos and his poignant, accurate, authentic and even critical accounts give an unusual insight into the experiences of a young Austrian who, given the particular moment in History he was born at, had no choice but to confront them.
|Format||21 x 29x7 cm|
|nombre de pages||240|
|Author(s)||Markus Reisner, Hans Höller, Andreas Hartinger|
Forthcoming April 2022
Pegasus bridge and the Merville Battery
Historica n°42 (HS 84) juillet 2005 - El Alamein