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Book Review: Ott-Helmuth von Lossnitzer, Technical Director of The Mauser Company

Book Review: Ott-Helmuth von Lossnitzer, Technical Director of The Mauser Company

Ott-Helmuth von Lossnitzer led a fascinating life. One of Germany’s leading arms industrialists during the Third Reich, von Lossnitzer served as technical director of the Mauser Works in Oberndorf for a dozen years before immigrating to America and continuing his gun-designing career with the U.S. Ordnance Corps. By the time he retired from the industry in 1968, von Lossnitzer had become a foremost authority on aircraft weapons, having specialized in that field for both Mauser and the Springfield Armory.

Edited by Leslie E. Field and Bas J. Martens, this autobiography came to be when Field convinced von Lossnitzer to publish his life story. However, due to severe eye issues, von Lossnitzer was no longer able to type or write easily, so an arrangement was made with the local high school to have him dictate his memoir to the students of an advanced typing class for the purpose of producing a manuscript. 

The end result of their work is an absorbing look behind the scenes at Mauser in the years leading up to and during World War II. While his contributions after leaving Germany are equally intriguing—including work on the M61 Vulcan rotary cannon and the AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter—the scope of this book focuses mainly on his tenure at Mauser. A collection of first-hand accounts of historical events, Mauser production details, technical specs and humorous anecdotes from the life of von Lossnitzer, this book would be of great appeal to anyone with a particular interest in the history of Mauser or 20th century aircraft firearm designs. Price: $50. Contact Mowbray Publishing; (800) 999-4697; gunandswordcollector.com.

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