Professor Porsche's Wars...


...The Secret Life of Ferdinand Porsche, the Legendary Engineer who Armed Two Belligerents through Four Decades, from Pen and Sword


Title: Professor Porsche's Wars

Author: Karl Ludvigsen

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52672-679-7

This is a new paperback edition of a book first published back in 2014.  It takes on the subject of Ferdinand Porsche, a name known not only for the modern sports car and of course the VW Beetle, but also for his work on some famous military equipment for Hitler's Germany during WW2.  In over 270 pages with 18 chapters following the initial introduction this features those well known WW2 developments but a lot more beside, going back to the early 1900's.

The story starts out with his work as a young engineer at the turn of the century, when he was designing cars with a petrol engine used just to generate electricity which was used to drive the wheels.  It has taken us 100 years to get to the point where a hybrid car is now commonplace but it isn't a new idea in many ways.  He was involved with trying to interest the Austro-Hungarian military in cars and artillery tractors, and he did have some success with these, including a large 'Land Train' and 'Mortar Movers'.  I for one hadn't rea;ised his involvement with aero engines, which were used during WW1.  Of course the story goes on, with his involvement with Daimler-Benz and Mercedes in the 1930's, and when he came to the attention of Hitler who had a great interest in his designs.  Again there was work I didn't know he was involved with.  It goes on to explain his involvement with the VW Beetle project, and the later designs of both the Kubelwagen and Schwimwagen, both of which had great success.  Add to this his tank developments, including the Elefant/Ferdinand and the huge Maus.  Less well known, then how about the engine used to power the German Army assault craft and post war, work on the Leopard 1, what was to become their very successful post-war tanks.

The author has spent many years working on the life of Porsche, and this is a book that concentrates on his military based projects.  The engineering expertise and sheer variety is eye-opening.  Easily one to recommend.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for my copy.