Jagdpanzer IV Part 1 - L/48 (Sd.Kfz. 162)
by Joachim Baschin and Martin Block
Size - 8.25" x 11.75"
Format - Softcover, Portrait Presentation, Perfectbound, Glossy Stock
Page Count - 180
Photos - 368 (152 x Historic B&W, 193 x Colour, 23 x Model Images)
Extras - 1/35 Line Drawings, Illustrations And Numerous Tables
Text - English and German Throughout
Joachim Baschin and Martin Block's Jagdpanzer IV Part 1 - L/48 (Sd.Kfz. 162) is the latest release from Nuts & Bolts and is the 37th volume in this ongoing series on German AFVs in World War II. The book can be roughly divided into six major sections as follows: historical, organizational and technical development, wartime period photographs, 1/35 scale line drawings, colour profile illustrations, contemporary walk-around photo coverage, and to round it all out, a selection of photographs of Tony Greenland's Jagdpanzer IV L/48 models.
The first section of the book is composed of some 45 pages and is sub-divided into 'chapters' detailing the historical and technical development and production, the organization and structure of anti-tank units, further projects, camouflage and markings, a summary, and several paragraphs on modelling the Jagdpanzer IV series. This initial section winds up with an extensive bibliography and an explanation of abbreviations.
The success of the Sturmgeschutz III operating as circumstances required in an anti-tank role on the Eastern Front led directly to the development of a dedicated panzerjager based on the Pz.Kpfw. IV. Design work began in September 1942 with a wooden mockup delivered in May 1943. The first prototype appeared in October 1943 and the first thirty production vehicles were accepted in January 1944. Jagdpanzer IV L/48 production ran through November 1944, with a grand total of some 750 units produced. The highlights of the design included a very low silhouette, four man crew, and full armour protection; all in a purpose built self-propelled anti-tank vehicle. As with any self-propelled design though, the Jagdpanzer IV's major limitation was its restricted main gun traverse. Not unexpectedly, considering the pressure that German industry had to cope with, there were complaints about the lack of spare part availability. Overall though, the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 is judged to have acquitted itself well in operational service.
Of particular note in the first section of the book are a number of tables among others detailing the technical specifications, and production and inventory. The organization of Jagdpanzer IV units is presented with the assistance of silhouette organigrams which this reviewer always finds useful. The allocation of the Jagdpanzer IV receives an exhaustive treatment where each division that fielded them receives a full accounting, be they Heer, SS, or Luftwaffe field divisions. The short sub-section titled 'Further Projects' alludes to the unrealized plans to equip a Pz.Jg. IV with a rigid mounted 7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48) and also with an 8.8 cm Pak L/71. The paragraphs pertaining to camouflage and markings are succinct and are restricted to RAL colours, the use of zimmerit, and the application of unit and tactical markings.
This first section of the book concludes with a listing (albeit short) of the surviving Jagdpanzer IV L/48 in the world today. This is followed by a description and listing of model kits and aftermarket sets that have been, or are currently available for this vehicle, along with recommended references aside from the Nuts & Bolts series.
The second major part of the book concentrates on wartime photographic coverage of the vehicle and it encompasses some 47 pages of black and white images. While they obviously all weren't professionally taken, the authors have chosen their photographs carefully and for the most part their clarity can't be faulted. From a modeller's perspective, this section of the book is a veritable goldmine of information for tricking out a model. The photos are all reproduced in good size and are informatively captioned with historical and technical information of value to the modeller and historian alike. Interestingly, the last photograph is of a Jagdpanzer IV L/48 in Syrian employment in the post World War II period.
The third part of the book consists of 15 pages of 1/35 scale multi-view line drawings by John Rue. These exhibit fine detail and are crisply reproduced. The drawings begin with the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Versuchsfahrzeug and end with a May 1944 production vehicle. They run the full gamut by including a command version too. This section is rounded out by several useful diagrams illustrating the side skirt holders, radiator cover plates, and schematic layouts of the radios in a standard Jagdpanzer IV L/48, together with that in the Befehlspanzer variant.
The fourth section of the book presents the reader with a series of superb colour profiles created by Laurent Lecocq. Again, as with the line drawings, these are crisply reproduced and are based on period photographs. A thumbnail image of the reference photograph is included next to the applicable illustration. I find this to be so much better than simply attributing the artwork to some unknown photograph, as often occurs in other publications. The last of the colour illustrations includes the various ammunition types employed by the L/48.
The fifth major part of the book encompasses some 56 pages and concentrates on an extensive series of contemporary colour imagery of preserved exhibits and their components located in various museums. The photographic coverage is very much the 'walk-around' style that we've grown acustomed to. The photos here are all crisp, clean, and made all that more valuable for the modeller and enthusiast alike by the informative captioning that accompanies them. Just as with the earlier black and white wartime imagery, these photos are also reproduced in good size. Of particular usefulness for those who aren't that well versed with the vehicle are those photos where various features have been numbered and captioned accordingly.
The sixth and last section of the book consists of six pages showcasing some stellar Jagdpanzer IV L/48 models built by Tony Greenland. If, like this reviewer, you have a copy of Tony Greenland's Panzer Modelling Class from 1995 on your bookshelf, you'll be well aware of museum quality models he's built over the years.
In conclusion, Nuts & Bolts Publishing are well regarded for their exhaustive research, photo coverage, and quality artwork that is presented in all of their books. This current volume carries on that tradition in an able fashion. Combine the aforementioned with a professional layout and high production values, and what's not to like about this latest volume? Absolutely nothing! My one quibble, and minor it is, would be that the scale model specific material be presented altogether in one section. This is one-stop shopping for the Jagdpanzer L/48 at its best. No matter whether you're a newcomer beginning a reference collection or an old-timer looking to flesh out your library on this vehicle, this is a must-have for your shelf, and certainly not to be missed. All in all, a very valuable resource. I'm already looking forward to the second volume to round out the Jagdpanzer IV story. Based on what I've seen here, it can't come too soon.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
My thanks go out to Nuts & Bolts Publishing for this review sample, and to AMPS for affording me the opportunity to review it.
Reviewed by: Chris Johnson
AMPS Canada Region
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