Panzer IV, Hitler's Rock...
...an Images of War Special from Pen and Sword
Title: Panzer IV, Hitler's Rock
Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
This new Images of War Special from Pen and Sword is another from author Anthony Tucker-Jones, who has previously covered both the Tiger and Panther tanks. This time he gives a nicely balanced and informative book on the Panzer IV, the one tank that remained in production throughout the war. There were 8,500 gun tanks built in various marks between 1937 and 1945, along with 4,900 other variants that used the same chassis, including flak, assault guns, SP artillery and special purpose vehicles. It was a proven, and reliable armoured vehicle. Smaller than both the Tiger and Panther, but the lighter weight also meant it didn't strain the engine and transmission in the same way, nor did it present such a problem to recovery units.
The book is organised into 10 chapters, each one with an informative section of text, accompanied by a fine set of archive photos to illustrate each of the chapter topics. There is also a section of good colour art illustrations done for the book by David Lee Hemmingway. The chapters start with Early Days - Ausf A-C: then Ramping Up Production - Ausf D-F. These focus on the short barrelled 75mm armed versions, before moving on to the long barrelled variants. Chapter 3 is Something Special - the Ausf F2: next comes Panzerwaffe Backbone - Ausf G-H: No Frills - Ausf J, all chapters which look at the developments of the Pz IV in terms of armament and protection, while looking to extend the range and to simplify production.
Chapter 6 moves on to the other uses for the Pz IV chassis, The Rhino and Other Beasts. These include the Hornisse/Nashorn, Hummel and Brummbar along with assault guns and tank destroyers, such as the Stug IV and Jagdpanzer IV, plus assorted SP Flak units, bridgelayers, ARVs and Command vehicles. With the basics covered, the book moves on to consider the different theatres of the war where the Panzer IV family were used. So chapter 7, in the Desert and Mountains, which looks at North Africa and Italy. From Barbarossa to Berlin deals with the largest battlegrounds face by the Panzer force, the Eastern Front. Chapter 9 moves back to North West Europe, in Beyond the Seine. This is all rounded off by the short final chapter 10, Hitler's Rock, which considers how important the Pz IV was to the German armed forces during WW2.
All in all a comprehensive coverage of the Pz IV and a good selection of archive photos to illustrate the story throughout it's service life. Another informative piece of work for anyone interested in the German Panzers by author Anthony Tucker-Jones.