Decorated WWII veteran Frederick B. Karl recounts the thrilling, gritty, and chilling experiences of a young tank commander on the treacherous battlefields of Europe. Python Tales is a first-person account of a young man from a small town who left the comfort of his family and friends to take part in the terrible battles raging across Europe in 1942. Like thousands of other Americans, he willingly volunteered to leave his homeland and fight a war thousands of miles away, so that freedom and democracy would t be defeated. Before his 19th birthday, Fred Karl had enlisted in the army, earned a commission as a second lieutenant, trained in tank warfare, and was shipped overseas, where his stamina and personal courage were severely tested. As a young tank commander confronting the enemy at the Battle of the Bulge, he never knew whether or t he would ever return home alive. Mr. Karl's tales recall the particular events in Europe during the time he served in the army, specifically the 67th Armored Regiment - better kwn as Python, its wartime code name. The book does t chronicle the strategy of generals and admirals. Rather, it gets down in the foxholes and the cramped quarters of the Sherman tanks to vividly portray the day-to-day experiences of soldiers in combat. It is about regular people who were essential to the Allied victory. Mr. Karl describes the personal sacrifices of all the brave soldiers who participated in the war effort. Our worlds were turned upside down, he recalls. Some were killed, others were wounded, and most went home without physical evidence of having been in a war. But make mistake: every single one who was called to participate in the shooting war was indelibly marked by that experience.
Frederick B. Karl's 50 years of public service was dedicated to the honest pursuit of public service. He became known as a problem-solver who saw to it that government worked for the good of the people. He was one of a select group of individuals to have served in all three branches of state government. His public service career also extended to municipal and county governments in Florida. Fred Karl was born in 1924 in Daytona Beach. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled at the University of Florida but left his studies in 1942 to join the Army after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. At his own expense he traveled from Florida to Fort Knox, Kentucky, so he could enlist at its Armored School to study tank warfare. Just 18 years old, he was accepted into Officer Candidate School and earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant. He soon saw action as a tank platoon leader in Europe, serving in the 2nd Armored Division, where he was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart medals. After the war, Mr. Karl opened a law practice in Daytona Beach upon earning a law degree and later became the City Attorney for Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. In 1956, he successfully campaigned for a seat in the Florida Legislature. He took office in 1957, joining 38 other freshman representatives. In 1964, he ran for governor, . It was the only election he lost. Mr. Karl continued his public service in 1974 as Florida's first Public Counsel, but it was in 1976 that Mr. Karl realized a goal he had sought for many years: election to the Florida Supreme Court. Moving to Tampa in 1988, Mr. Karl answered yet another call to government service, first as the County Attorney for Hillsborough County and then as the County Administrator. In 1994, Mr. Karl took the helm of Tampa General Hospital, which he re-established as one of the premier hospitals in the state. In 2003 he was asked to serve as Tampa's city attorney, and officially retired in 2004 at age eighty. In his retirement, Mr. Karl wrote The 57 Club, a first-hand account of the turbulent era of Florida politics in the '50s and '60s. He completed Python Tales shortly before his death in 2013.