Camouflage & Markings of Axis Armor in the Balkans Campaigns, 1940-1941...

...from Model Centrum Progres, via Casemate Books

Title:  Camouflage & Markings of Axis Armor in the Balkans Campaigns

Author: Jeffrey Plowman

Publisher:  Model Centrum Progres

ISBN:  978-83-60672-31-0

Book number 16 in this series of Armor Color Gallery series we now have the companion title to their earlier number 14, which gave us the guide to Commonwealth and Greek Armor in the same period. A 72-page soft-cover book this one has lots of interest within it, for armour historians and modellers especially.

There are plenty of elements to the book, with a series of excellent archive photos, pretty much all of which I had neve seen before. The interest comes from covering a series of actions that took place in the Balkans as the German army secured Bulgaria and then made their way south through Yugoslavia towards Greece and Crete. It is all in the first half of WW2 so no Tigers or Panthers but lots on the earlier armour such as Panzers I, II, III and IV as well as early short barrelled Sturmgeschutz. Add armoured cars and half tracks, the German equipment is all in Panzer Grey, but with the added extra of some good clear illustrations of their national, unit and tactical markings. The main German units which are included are 2, 5, 11 and 14th Panzer Divisions along with Sturmgeschutz Abteilungs 184 and 191. Interesting to see they were already making use of the little Renault UE carriers captured in the invasion of France in May 1940.

More colourful multi-colour camouflage and marking schemes are seen on additional armour from both Italy and Hungary. These vehicles come from the Hungarian Motorised Corps and the Italian 131 Division Corazzata 'Centauro'. S we get plenty of images of the Hungarian Toldi 1 and Csaba armoured cars as well as Italian M13/40 tanks and the small L3/33 tankettes, including both the machine gun armed version and the flamethrower with armoured fuel trailers.

Add a final section of 7 pages (plus the back cover) of excellent colour artwork of a great variety of vehicles this will be very popular with modellers.  The large number of archive photos also provide lots of detail that will be helpful and some great diorama ideas, let alone the detail on unit markings for those which took part in the Balkans campaigns. A fine companion to the earlier book on Commonwealth and Greek Armour in the same period. The series is a very useful set of references for any WW2 armour modeller to have on the bookshelf.

Thanks to Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin