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Panzer-divisions at War 1939-1945 (Images of War) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2006/11/6
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From the beginning in 1935 this attractive book describes the different elements that went into the Panzer-Divisions. It describes how the Germans carefully built up their assault forces utilizing all available reserves and resources into making an effective fighting machine. It depicts how these awesome formations grew to be used four years later in war, and provides much historical information and facts about the vehicles and its components that fought in all the campaigns of the war from the early victorious Blitzkrieg in Poland and France to the last ditch defense in Germany in 1945. Each chapter features unseen photographs of light tanks, main battle tanks, assault guns, anti-tank destroyers, artillery, reconnaissance units, support vehicles, pioneers with their bridge building platforms and the motorized infantry or Panzergrenadiers.This book is a visual treat for the military enthusiast and collector and a worthy addition to the Images of War series.
Also, the author's description of many pictures makes little sense. A Hummel (Panzer IV undercarriage) self propelled gun that is hanging on its rear end against a tree at the bottom of a 60 degree slope is captioned as a "Wespe" (Panzer II undercarriage) moving in position during operation Zitadelle, despite the fact that a vehicle like that can't move in that position and despite the pile of rubble that is hanging out of the back and lying below the rear end of the vehicle.
Another example is the picture of a 12 ton halftrack of which the rear is not visible in the picture. The author makes up a whole story about the famous 88mm FlAK gun, while it might as well be an artillery piece that is towed behind this particular halftrack!
The really interesting details, such as the Panzer crews painting the inside of their white German crosses yellow, as can be seen in a few pictures, to make them less obvious aiming points for the Polish gunners, are simply forgotten. instead he says something about the pictures being from the first days of the Polish campaign. Unfortunately for him that practice of painting the inside of the white crosses yellow was only happening later in the Polish campaign!
Describing a disabled Jagdpanzer IV with a 75mm L48 (short) gun as having a 75mm L70 gun is less obvious, but just as annoying to better informed readers.
So it's an interesting book for the rare pictures, if you don't feel too frustrated by the often nonsensical caption and the sometimes grave errors that accompany those pictures. It's not a really useful book for those with little knowledge about German 2nd World War armour, because all the misidentification and incorrect captions can be very confusing.
The "Panzer Divisions at War" title avoids the first problem: the text stays on topic. The captions are somewhat informative. But oh my, the spelling and grammar continue to give us fits! He uses it's when it should be its; panther's (twice) when it should be panthers; "try and" when "try to" is correct; Tiger IV when he meant to say Tiger VI; and he misspells Byelorussian. Mr. Baxter, or someone at Pen & Sword Books, if you're reading these reviews, please, please hire an editor or at least a proofreader.
I give this book three stars for the excellent photos and fewer errors than some of his other books.
The book contains over 250 never before published photos that encompass all stages of Germany's panzer divisions, from their inception in the 1930s to their virtual destruction in 1945. The photos appear to be taken primarily by amateur photographers and, with a few exceptions, do not appear to be staged for propaganda purposes. The photos were reproduced digitally, apparently because negatives in many instances were not available, but the author claims they were not enhanced in any way. Most of the photos are nonetheless crisp and clear. All are in black and white. (Panzer divisional insignia, drawn in black and white (or shades of gray), also provided in an appendix.)
Included are chapters on the major campaigns: Poland, France, the Balkans, Barbarossa, Afrika, the Eastern Front, Normandy, and the fall of Berlin. Each chapter includes a 2-3 page well-written summary of the action in the campaign, emphasizing the role of the panzer divisions and the numbers and types of tanks and other vehicles involved from start to finish. Each summary is followed by 15-20 pages of photos, with a paragraph of explanatory text for each photo.
The photos include rare snapshots of several late model German tanks, tank killers, and the like, e.g., the Panther, the Elefant, Hummel SPG, and the Nashorn tank destroyer. But the photos are not just of tanks, etc. Also included are photos of the many other types of vehicles and weapons used in support of the panzer divisions, such as half-tracks, motorcycles, and artillery, as well as of panzer troops themselves, but the book is not all-inclusive either.
One drawback is that the book does not include an appendix explaining the short-hand names (and meanings) of the many tanks and other armored units and listing the capabilities and armament of each vehicle. (There are also no maps or index but I would not consider that a drawback for this book.)
All in all, though, an interesting photo-study of the panzer divisions at a reasonable price.