Legends of Warfare
Germany's Early World War II Main Tank
The Legends of Warfare series of books published by Pennsylvania based Schiffer Publishing is an extensive and ever growing line of volumes on the famous and well known machines of war, divided by subject into Ground, Naval and Aviation subjects. These volumes share similar formats and production values, and are modestly priced at just $19.99 USD. Books in this series that I’ve examined were all found to be well worth the modest cost, and were useful additions to the modeler or military history buff’s library.
The subject of this book is the early World War II workhorse tank of the German Army, the Panzerkampfwagen III in it's many variants. Covered in this volume are Ausfs. A through N, as well as the special purpose variants such at the Tauchpanzer ( snorkel ), Panzerbefehlswagen ( command / radio ), Flammwerfer ( flame thrower ) and Panzerbeobachtungswagen ( artillery observation ) tanks.
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 128 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - 165 photos, mostly black and white, a handful of full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - several tables of technical / performance specifications
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
If you weren't aware of the many production models of the Panzer III, the table of contents ( above ) is a revelation!
Above - the book contains quite few clearly written performance / technical data tables.
From the early, short production run models of the Panzer IIIs, through the final "N" models produced in August of 1943, this volume covers them all in text, photos and tables of information.
Each chapter opens with a block of well written text discussing the development and production changes of the specific model of the Panzer III being examined in that chapter, along with some performance/ technical data given in table form. The author conveys quite a bit of information in the relatively short opening text block in each chapter.
Above - a big benefit to a pictorial history such as this, is the amount of space allotted to the great photos. Photos range in size from quarter page size up to full page size, with quite a few of the latter size.
Despite this being largely a pictorial history, the text and caption work doesn't take a back seat to the images. All text work contained in the chapter openings and photo captions is complete, concise and easy to digest.
Above - the many full page sized images allow for good study of the details in the photographs.
Above - there are several pages of full color images of surviving Panzer IIIs.
The Panzer III is pictured on all fronts, from the early successes of the blitzkreig in France and the Low Countries, to the campaign in North Africa, and then in the Russian maelstrom. The tank is seen in a great many varied situations and settings.
The photos chosen for this book are generally crisp and bright, with a few being just a bit less than perfect. All images are well selected for content and interest.
Above - the chapter on the special purpose variants of the Panzer III includes many interesting photographs, such as the pages pictured above on the snorkel tanks, originally planned for use in an amphibious invasion of England.
As is usual for a book authored by David Doyle, the photos selected for this book are uniformly interesting and well chosen. The blocks of text and photo captioning are very well done throughout, providing the reader with a lot of information in a concise, easy to read manner. The author always seems to get most possible out of the space allotted for text in pictorial studies.
This volume isn't a deep dive on any of the models of the Panzer III, but provides a nice overview of the entire line. As a pictorial examination of the Panzer III series, this book certainly hits the mark. Combined with the solid production value provided by the books in this series, this is a book that anyone interested in the Panzer III would be happy to have on their book shelf.
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President Midwest Region
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