...the Lost Signal Corps Photos, from Panzerwrecks
Title: Panzerwrecks 21
Author: Lee Archer and Darren Neely
Publisher: Panzerwrecks Publishing
It's hard to believe that Panzerwrecks has got up to 21 books in the series, while each one has been a pleasure to look forward to. I have to say this one is no exception. In a landscape format, it provides a selection of large pictures, in which loads of detail is clear to see. With 128 archive photos, mostly sharp and clear, one or two are not quite as clear as the originals have suffered a bit over the year. It's also nice to see 5 of them have been reproduced by skilled artist Felipe Rodna. Three or four of the photos I've seen before, though shown here in a larger format, while the rest were all new to me.
The selection of vehicles is varied and interesting. They all show late war equipment, some seen after the war was over, when much of Europe needed to have the wrecks cleared. A good number of them were clearly taken by GIs who wanted their pictures taken alongside the captured equipment. One or two of the photos provide additional angles on wrecks that have been seen in previous volumes in the series. There are Panthers that have been used by US units for target practice, and look more like a sieve, and others such as a Hummel which has suffered a catastrophic explosion which has blown the vehicle apart. There are Jagdpanzer IV and Hetzer, Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger, half-tracks and Bergepanthers as well of course, the Panzer IV. A couple of pictures I found particularly interesting show a Jagdpanzer IV/70A captured by US troops, and clearly identifiable by the distinctive damage to the armour as the one now on display at the Musee des Blindes at Saumur, France.
Another slightly unusual inclusion with number 21 is a full reproduction of the US Technical Ordnance Report on the small Springer demolition vehicle. Along with the text are some photos of captured examples. Interesting and it may make you pause that little bit longer when you see the example on display at the Tank Museum, Bovington next time you visit. Another couple of Panthers seen in the book display an interesting modification modellers might like to consider, with the final road wheel on each side having been replaced with the late pattern resilient wheels, though only on that rear suspension unit. Plenty to interest the armour historian and with the level of detail it will be a great modellers reference, as these show them as they were, not just 'as per specification'. The one sad thing about one or two was the visual evidence that some had suffered internal explosions and while we look at the 'tank', I find myself wondering if they were destroyed by their crews with demolition charges as they were abandoned, or were their crew still inside when the vehicle blew up from an incoming round.
It is available now from Panzerwrecks.