Axis Tanks of the Second World War...


...a new Images of War from Pen and Sword


Title: Axis Tanks of the Second World War

Author: Michael Green

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47388-700-8

This is another addition to the Images of War series from Michael Green, a well known author on the topic of AFVs.  This tackles the topic of Axis tanks of WW2, and confines itself to the Gun Tanks.  The book is organised into 4 chapters, tackling Light Tanks: Early War Medium Tanks; Late War Medium Tanks and finally Heavy Tanks.  It also includes German, Italian, Hungarian and Japanese tanks along with captured equipment.  Each if the chapters is started with informative background text that is in turn broken into useful sub-headings.  This provides the development stories and how experience from the war influenced that development.  Weight, armour protection and mobility were always a challenge to balance.  It does also cover the building of certain prototypes, not all of which went into production.

While the German tanks are the most significant part of the book, there is good coverage of both Japanese and Italian equipment as well, along with others such as the Hungarian Turan and Toldi, the Czech Pz 35(t) and Pz 38(t) and Polish 7TP.  Though the Japanese didn't get to building heavy tanks, there are plenty of light and medium tanks which are featured.

The photo collection in this one is a bit different to most of the books in the Images of War series is that a high proportion of the photographs this time are modern day images from examples preserved in various museums around the world.  These include a handy selection of good quality colour photos of interior elements of tanks such as the Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II.  A number of these preserved, and in most cases restored examples give some very useful colour references for modellers as there are a growing number of kits these days which include the interior details.  For both Tiger I and Tiger II these are already on the market and we are expecting Panthers with interiors to be released soon.  The archive images add to the story, though many of these are quite well known.  I'm not sure I would go for the standard description of 'Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives' for this particular title in the Images of War series but the pictures we see are quite fascinating thanks to them showing the vehicles in colour and with a lot of useful interior pictures of various crew positions in tanks such as the Panther, Tiger and Tiger II in particular.