Pen and Sword Images of War: Hitler's Light Tanks
Author: Paul Thomas
Series: Images of War
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Pen and Sword Military
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
This release in the Images of War series from Pen and Sword Books is an overview of the history and development of light tanks serving in the German army during the Second World War. The work focuses on four vehicles and their variants; the Pzkpfw 1, Pzkpfw 2, 35(t), and 38(t). There is a brief written history of the vehicles covering in a broad overview the initial successes, growing challenges from Allied vehicles (primarily on the Eastern Front), and development of variants such as panzerjagers. These include the Marder series, SPGs like the Wespe and other types like flak and command vehicles. But these books are all about the archival photos covering the subject, so after the brief but broad history it's on to the Images.
This book has approximately 250 photos of the subject vehicles in 4 chapters
Chapter 1: The Blitzkrieg '39-'40
Chapter 2: Balkans and Eastern Front '41
Chapter 3: Battles in Russia '42-'43
Chapter 4: Last Years '43-'45
The photos offered here are all shots of vehicles in action, and are offered in a nice, fairly large, format. They are either 2 per page or one covering 3/4 of the page with room for informative captions. There are no factory photos or line drawings or walk-around images of museum samples. This is my first time seeing some of these images and many of them offer informative views of the vehicles in service and in the field. This is a great resource for the modeller, showing field modifications, stowage, and a wealth of great diorama possibilities. Here are some typical samples from the 4 main chapters showing typical layout and subject matter, from Polish 35(t)s and PZ 1s to Hetzers and Marders in ambush camouflage during the last days.
There are a few notable and curious omissions. First and most significant is the lack of any pre-war use of these vehicles, specifically the Panzer 1 in service with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War, which proved to be a significant test for the panzers. There are action photos available of these, and the 47mm Breda modification. There were also some PZ 1s sent to China but they were few and there might not be many images available. The other omissions are around some of the later models of the Pz1 and Pz2. There is mention of the Pz2 ausf L Lynx, but unfortunately no photos, There is no mention of the Pz1 ausf C or F or the Pz2 ausf J. These vehicles, although not made in great quantities, had enough produced to be sent to units in combat. Now I don't know if there just are no any photos of these vehicles in action, but they could have been listed in the variants list in the appendix.
I think this is an excellent overview of the light tanks and their descendants in German service during World War Two and their appearance in the field. There are better sources I'm sure for technical history and detailed images of vehicle specifics and, as all the photos are in black and white, you can only guess as to the actual colors (notably difficult on early war vehicles as the brown and grey cloud pattern is sometimes hard to see in photos of the era).
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders and others historians.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing and Pen and Sword for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dave Mckenny
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