Following the previously-published Hot Motors, Cold Feet, Helmut Günther's exciting personal accounts of his service in WW II continue in this volume. Suffering from bad frostbite in December 1941 at the approaches to Moscow as a member of the reconnaissance battalion of Division "Das Reich", Günther was evacuated. After a long recuperation he attended an officer candidate school. Promoted to Untersturmführer, he was assigned to the reconnaissance battalion (SS-Panzerafklärungs-Abteilung 17) of the 17.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Götz von Berlichingen", which was being established in Normandy. Initially a platoon leader, he rose to command a company. His account begins in early June 1944, just before the Allied invasion of Normandy.
The author recounts the early reconnaissance before and during the early stages of the invasion, the confused fighting in the Carentan-Coutances-St.Lo area on the Cherbourg Peninsula, the escape from the Roncey Pocket, the retreat toward and through Paris, and the fighting around Metz. That is where Günther was wounded and left the unit. Recuperating in Dresden, he witnessed the apocalyptic bombing of the city. He entered American captivity and recounts the horrible treatment the prisoners received. Finally, through accounts of his former comrades, he describes the history of SS-Panzeraufklärungs-Abteilung 17 from the fighting at Metz until the German surrender.
The author's readable writing style is laced with cynical observations and humourous incidents. The reader experiences the day-to-day life of riflemen in a motorised armour reconnaissance unit. Movement, observation and combat as a mobile reserve were the missions of Günther's men mounted in Schwimmwagen. The first to advance, and the last to withdraw, that was their daily lot.