German Panzer II
...a visual history of the German Army's WW2 Light Tank
Title: German Panzer II...
Author: David Doyle
...a Visual History of the German Army's WW2 Light Tank
More in the excellent series of landscape format books by Ampersand Publishing, though this time in a hard-back format. It holds 168 pages of good, clear archive photos that illustrate the story of the Pz II. The introduction fills the first two pages, and has some comments I have to say I hadn't really considered or been conscious of before. When the Pz II was first built, and following the restrictions placed on German industry by the Treaty of Versailles, the companies lacked experience in working on armoured hulls. Hence the manufacture of the Pz II was extended and shared between production companies so the experience could be widened, ready for the production of larger, medium tanks such as the Pz III and IV.
The content is broken down into sections covering the different versions of the tank, starting with the Ausf a, and worth pointing out at this stage if you are not already aware if it, that with the Pz II the first variants had a lower case designation, to be followed by others identified by the upper case letters. So, first up is the Ausf a, the Ausf b and the Ausf c. These are added to with the early variant A-C, then the Ausf c, A, B, and C modified versions. The various differences and identification features are well noted in the picture captioning, and some good clear pictures to illustrate them. There are the early girder style suspensions, the rounded or the flat front plates to the hull and other detail features of each one. Then it moves on to the Ausf D, which had a very different style to the main road-wheels, and while some gun tanks were issued, most were recalled and converted to flamethrower versions, which became the Pz II (F) Ausf A and B. Then we get to the later variants, the Ausf F, the Ausf G and the Ausf J. To round things off, the final elements shows the Ausf L, better known perhaps as the Luchs, which saw service in the later stages of the war.
For modellers, whatever is your preferred scale, there is bags of detail to be seen on all the different versions which will allow you to check detailing on your models and to build them with stowage, colours and markings that reflect what we see on all these in-service examples. In many cases the photos also provide plenty of ideas for potential diorama scenes as well. From pre-war, through the summer months in France in 1940, to the desert of North Africa as well as the snow of the Russian Front, there is a lot in here to provide information to the Panzer enthusiast. I think it is perhaps the best and most comprehensive collection of archive photos I can remember seeing that is devoted to the topic of the Pz II.
The Ampersand series of books are imported to the UK these days by Casemate UK.