Viewers of a Hollywood film from the 1960s, “Battle of the Bulge”, are familiar with the nazi “Panzer Song” sung by German WW2 tank crews before their attack on the Americans, during late 1944. In PZG’s “Panzer Marches”, listeners will be able to hear this popular tune as it was originally performed and recorded more than sixty years ago by the men who actually drove the usually outnumbered but never out-classed “Panther”s and “Tiger”s against Allied “Sherman”s, “Matilda”s and T-34s.
Other nazi tank music featured on this BRASSY CD include “Heil, Motorenstandarte” (“Hail, Standard of the Motorized Divisions”), “Mit vereinigten Kraeften” (“With United Forces”), and “Landser und Panzer”. Included are two versions of “Marsch der Panzergrenadier”, but both are so different from each other, they each make unique contributions to the collection. The same applies to the “Adolf Huenlein Marsch”, performed with and without chorus. Huenlein was the founder and leader of the National Socialist motorcyclists — SS Stormtroopers on wheels, who provided escort for Hitler and his colleagues as they drove across Germany from one mass-rally to another. Known as the “Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahr Korps” (“National Socialist Motorcycle Corps”), we hear the “NSKK Marsch”, with one of the Nazi Party’s most catchy melodies.
Lovers of traditional military music will search in vain for better performances of the classic “Steinmetzmarsch”, the “Fehrberliner Rittermarsch”, or “Fredericus Rex Grenadiermarsch”. These orchestral pieces, composed long before the Third Reich, were not banned by the postwar occupation authorities, unlike the fate of other PZG 200’s selections, all of which are still outlawed in today’s German democracy.
Some of the music on “Panzer Nazi Marches” may be identified with specific campaigns. For example, “Ade, Polenland” is one of the few songs to come out of the brief fighting in Poland, during 1939. Set, appropriately but unconventionally to a polka beat, one wonders if it was revived for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, some years later.
“Panzer rollen in Afrika vor” (“Panzers roll ahead in Africa”), and “Heia, Safari!” are obvious veterans of the Afrika Korps. In the former, the chorus sings, in part, “Go forward trough the wicked sand, and the hot, burning sun. Hi, ya, Safari! Whenever the British lion roars, we’ll shut his big mouth!” Lyrics for “Panzer rollen in Afrika vor” begin, “From all over Germany, the Fuehrer’s soldiers in their black uniforms came to defeat France. Now, the Panzers are rolling through Africa. The treads clank, the motors roar. The sun shines hot over the German Afrika Korps, but our Panzer engines sing their song, as we drive through the sands against the English. The Brits are afraid of the Fuehrer’s soldiers, but we fear neither death nor the devil. Miserable English arrogance is collapsing.” A contemporary song about the Desert Fox, “Unser Rommel” (“Our Rommel”), runs, “We are the German Afrika Korps, the Fuehrer’s stalwart troops. We fight like devils, taking the Tommies by surprise, and march to the beat of our drum. Forward with our Rommel!”
As far as this reviewer knows, “Panzer Nazi Marches” is the only collection of German music to include “Lied der Panzergruppe Kleist”, named after Ewald von Kleist, who was promoted to Fieldmarshal for his successful campaigning on the Eastern Front, in the Caucasus. Although retired from the Army a year before war’s end, the 65 year-old man was arrested by the Americans in 1945 and turned over to the Soviets, in whose tender mercies he died nine years later.
Lyrics for his Panzer song read, “In the West, we showed the enemy that we were the greater power. Whether in the mountains or on the plains, no obstacle hinders us. We roll on, and if we have to make sacrifices for victory, for our country, why then, roll on! We are the Panzer Group Kleist.”
TITLES ON PANZER MARCHES CD:
Deutschland über Alles choral
Die Fahne hoch (Horst Wessel Lied-choral)
Panzerwagenlied Nummer 8
Ade Polenland (choral)
Lied der Panzergrenadier (choral)
Mit vereinten Kräften
Adolf Hühnlein Marsch
Adolf Hühnlein Marsch (choral)
Landser und Panzer (choral)
Fredericus Rex Grenadiermarsch
Marsch der Panzergrenadier (choral)
Brucker Lager Marsch
Grenadier – Paradenmarsch
Lied der Panzergruppe Kleist (choral)
18. Husaren Marsch
Marsch der Sturm-Artillerie (choral)
Marsch aus ‘Das Nachtlager von Grenada’
Panzerwagenlied Nummer 9
Panzer rollen in Afrika vor (choral)
Heia Safari! (choral)
Unser Rommel (choral)
TOTAL PLAYING TIME 77.01