TankCraft 3, Panther Tanks...
...more for the Armour modeller from Pen and Sword
Title: TankCraft 3, Panther Tanks
Author: Dennis Oliver
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
The sub-heading for this one narrows the subject area of the Panther down to German Army and Waffen-SS Panthers in the Normandy campaign of 1944. Author Dennis Oliver is doing an excellent job with this TankCraft series of paperback books by Pen and Sword, aimed particularly at the modeller. The 64 pages are packed full with some excellent material which offers an excellent reference at a very reasonable price (RRP £14.99).
It opens with the development story and how the appearance of the T34 on the Russian battlefields came as something of a shock for the invading Germans. It raised a call for new, more powerful tanks, and the call went out for a new medium tank. The design work went quickly and the first Panthers went into service/action in 1943. It does include the odd thing about the Panther, which had the variants lettered as with other German tanks but it was the Ausf D that came first, followed by the Ausf A and then the Ausf G. This is followed by pages that cover the Normandy battleground, and a chronology of events in the fighting from 7th June through to the 20 August when the German units finally retreated across the Seine. Then there are details of each of the Panther equipped Wehrmacht units in the campaign. This in turn is followed by 12 pages of some excellent colour profiles and accompanying notes.
It's the turn of some very fine models to come under the spotlight next, with galleries of the models from a number of very fine modellers. These include an Ausf G by Lester Plaskit; an Ausf A by Sergey Kovalyov; an Ausf A by Sheng Hui; an Ausf A by Shin Oikawa; and an Ausf G by Du Weijie. Staying with the model theme, the next 10 pages give a good broad look at all the various kits and their manufacturers in the different scales that are available, as well as various update and detailing sets from the likes of Eduard, Voyager and RB Models, among others.
Then it turns back to the real thing, and gives the same style unit histories, but this time for the Waffen -SS units that operated the Panther in Normandy. This leads into the final element, which looks at the Technical Details and Modifications, which includes such things as the Command variants (Befehlswagen) and application of Zimmerit, the anti-magnetic mine paste. Comments that apply to all the sections are the numerous and well chosen archive photos which illustrate the text well, tables of unit strengths and unit organisation charts. Very much a modellers book by tied in so well with the details of the tank and the context of the history surrounding it. Good value and well worth adding to your reference shelf.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.