The History of the Panzerwaffe, Vol.3: The Panzer Division...

...from Osprey Publishing

Title: The History of the Panzerwaffe Volume 3: The Panzer Division

Author: Thomas Anderson

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-3389-1

Another addition to this excellent series of books from author Thomas Anderson and Osprey Publishing. In this one we have a description of the organisation/structure of one of the most famous military units of WW2, the Panzer Division. The organisation, their origins and their combat experiences during the war plus the evolution they went through as a result of that experience.
The 288-page harbdback book starts with an introduction which sets out the background to the creation of the Panzer Divisions. How Germany learnt the lessons of their defeat in WW1, and how leader of the new Panzer forces, Guderian, saw the Panzer as not just a cavalry reconnaissance or infantry support weapon but as a whole new Breakthrough weapon, capable of being self-supporting in combat. This leads into a more detailed description of the Origins of this new organisation and how it should be equipped. The Elements of a Panzer Division takes us through the variety of equipment that was acquired. including the soft-skin cars and trucks as well as prime-movers, tanks, armoured vehicles, radio equipment and more, all with plenty of detail on each one. This in turn moves on to the structure of the Panzer Division, with plenty of unit organisation charts to help illustrate the text. As well as the Panzers, the teeth of the division, next comes the Rifle Brigade, again with detailed explanations of the various sections. So the book moves on to Combat Elements, with armour, anti-tank guns, reconnaissance, signals, pioneers and artillery among others. That leaves the final chapter to add the detail for the Ancillary Units, the supply & transport units, workshops, field hospital, ambulances, butchers, bakers, mail service and even the military police.
The author is one of the acknowledged experts on the WW2 history of the Panzers and this is another excellent reference he has shared with us all. Throughout the book there are a host of archive photos, most of which have not been published before, so there is some great stuff in here for not just the historian, but for modellers as well.  If you are interested in the history and equipment of the Panzer Divisions in WW2, then I'd suggest this and the companion volumes in the series deserve to be on your bookshelf.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin