Panther...

...a new book from Osprey Publishing

Title: Panther

Author: Thomas Anderson

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-2703-6

A new hardback book from Osprey and author Thomas Anderson, one of our best known experts on the subject of German armour in WW2.  In taking the Panther as the subject, it does make an ideal companion to their other book on the Tiger, which has just been re-published in paperback format.  The Panther, the Pzkpfw V, was a large beast, with heavily sloped armour and a powerful main gun.  Though it did suffer from some teething problems with reliability it proved a tough and resilient tank.

There is a slightly different structure to the chapters in this one compared to the Tiger book. After an Introduction this one starts off the 7 main chapters with 'Tank Shock'.  With the war underway, the appearance of the Soviet T34/76 and the KV-1 came as a surprise to the German Army, despite their initial successes in the invasion of Russia in 1941.  It looks at the impact the appearance of these new tanks had and a German need to come up with a new tank.  That then leads into chapter 2, 'Technical Challenge'.  That leads to chapter 3, 'VK.3002 - A New Tank Emerges'.  This gives the detail of the development of the new tank, which was done in just one year, quite a remarkably short time for the first prototypes to be built.  The early prototypes appear among the many archive photos in the book, and are interesting for being that bit different having a single large exhaust on the rear plate.  The details of the new tank are broken down into sub-sections, including engine, transmission, armour and firepower.  Drawings and data tables all accompany the text and photos.  It also includes the requirement and development of the Bergepanther recovery variant.

Then things move on to the Production story, which starts with that odd fact that it was the Ausf D that came first and the Ausf A that followed.  Within this section there are also a number of fascinating photos showing the factory assembly halls and details of the development of versions such as the Ausf G and potential for the Ausf F and the fitting of the Infra-Red sights along with the Jagdpanther tank destroyer.  With production under way, chapter 5 details the Organisation of Panther Units, including their support sub-units.  The largest single chapter is number 6, The Panther in Combat, which looks at how it performed in all the various theatres it was deployed.  This includes Russia, Italy and Normandy and as a result of battlefield experience, the reports which highlighted issues that needed to be tackled.  The last chapter is The Panther in Comparison.  This compares the tank to its' main opposition, which include the T-34, the KV-85, ISU-152, JS-2, Sherman and Pershing.  This section also features some of the fine colour profiles that Osprey are so well known for, an ideal accompaniment to the great collection of archive photos which feature throughout the book and many of which have not been published before.  Written by a subject expert, this is a book I am sure many AFV historians and modellers will be keen to have on the bookshelf.  RRP is £20.00 and in my view is good value for money.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin