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Book Review
Bazooka vs Panzer 1944
Bazooka vs Panzer Battle of the Bulge 1944
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Introduction
Bazooka vs Panzer Battle of the Bulge 1944 from Osprey Publishing LTD is the 77th title in their series Duel. Authored by Steven J. Zaloga and illustrated by Alan Gilliland and Johnny Shumate, the book is 80 pages long and available in softcover, PDF and ePUB. Osprey's short code is DUE 77 and the softcover has the ISBN 9781472812490.

According to Osprey;
    World War II saw tanks assume a dominant role in warfare, capable of tearing through the enemy lines if left unchecked. To combat the threat posed by these armoured behemoths the United States developed the M1 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, better known as the Bazooka. First employed in combat during 1942, the weapon required a great deal of skill and courage to use effectively. By late 1944 it was a mainstay of the US infantry's anti-tank capabilities, alongside towed weapons, anti-tank grenades and other longer-established measures.

    Focusing on the savage close-quarters fighting between Germany's armoured divisions and the US infantry during the Battle of the Bulge, Steven Zaloga's absorbing study compares and assesses the strengths and limitations of the cutting-edge technology used by both sides. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and explosive battle reports, this volume casts new light on the evolving nature of infantry-versus-tank combat in the closing months of World War II.

Whether one purchases this book for the history, technical information, or as a modeling resource, those who are interested in the Bazooka in WWII should be enthusiastic about this book.

Content
Bazooka vs Panzer Battle of the Bulge 1944 is told through 11 chapters and sections in 80 pages;
    Introduction
    Chronology
    Design and Development
    The Strategic Situation
    Technical Specifications
    The Combatants
    Combat
    Statistics and Analysis
    Conclusion
    Further Reading
    Index

Author Zaloga presents the background of the need for and development of armor side skirts (Schürzen) the Germans used to protect their tanks from infantry weapons, including the myths and legends about it. That includes the evolution of Schürzen from solid plates to the mesh variant known as Thoma-Schürzen.

The author also discusses the history of infantry rocketry in the US Army, and the subsequent development of the Bazooka. The Bazooka was developed through several models during the war, as was the rocket ammunition. The text explores the reasons for the continued developments, as well as improving the weapons. That weapon system effectiveness against the Schürzen in particular, and tanks in general, is recounted.

Schürzen was passive Panzer defense. Germany also developed active measures like smoke and grenade launchers. Germany also created a remote-control machine gun system, and a weapon system that has fascinated militaries and weapon developers for over 70 years, a curved barrel assault gun firing from a ball-mount and aimed via periscope, the Vorsate P. It was developed to defend assault guns from close-quarter attacks without exposing the crew outside of the tank.

Finally, the German Bazooka - Panzerschreck - and stablemate Panzerfaust were developed from captured Bazookas. Those anti-tank weapons are briefly discussed by both the author, and by US troops through wartime documents.

This duel focuses on the Battle of the Bulge fight in and around the towns of Krinkelt and Rocherath, and the Lausdell crossroads. With most American troops in retreat, a force of infantry tried to block an SS armored thrust that became one of the few large-scale engagements where Panzers and Bazookas were employed as envisioned. The fight witnessed an SS Panther and Panzer IV attack into an urban area without sufficient infantry support, resulting in what became known as a Panzer graveyard. It also saw an American command post surrendering to a Panzer training its cannon just feet from the front door, and American soldiers striding out of cover to engage tanks with Bazookas.

The book is full of first-hand accounts - American and German - from soldiers who were there, plus many excerpts from official reports.

Two warriors receive brief single page biographies, America's Panzer-killing Medal-of-Honor winner PFC William A. Sonderman, and Germany's tank ace Oberleutnant Otto Carius. (Carius was not in the recounted battle yet was included because of his personal close-quarter tank defense experience, and his views on infantry anti-tank rocketry as a tank threat.)

Mr. Zaloga is highly regarded as a historian, author and modeler. This book is an excellent example of why he is so well regarded. For me, the book is worth acquiring even without the exceptional gallery of photographs and artwork.

Photographs Artwork, Graphics
Remember my previous sentence? For me, the book is also worth acquiring for the exceptional gallery of photographs and artwork, even without the excellent research and text. Bazooka fans have probably seen all the images in the book yet many of them are brand new to me. They span the spectrum from portraits of heros and receiving their awards, inventors and production workers showing off the equipment, to intel documents displaying captured equipment and the effects of bazooka fire against German tanks, through a host of battlefield images. The later shows the carnage of the Krinkelt-Rocherath-Lausdell battle, and separate bazooka kills. Photograph quality ranges from studio quality through amateur "grab shots". I counted over a dozen photos that are beneficial for making models as well as inspiration for dioramas.

Artwork
Alan Gilliland and Johnny Shumate further enhance the book with great art.
    1. 2.36in Rocket Launchers: the M1, M1A1, M9 and M9A1 data for length, ignition, internal diameter, weight, maximum range and effective range.

    2. PzKpfw IV Ausf J Specifications, 6./SS-PzRgt 12, December 1944: four-view color spread with general data (weights, dimensions, engines, armor, etc..)

    3. 2.36in Bazooka Rockets: M6, M6A1, M6A3, M10; critical specifications.

    4. Panzer Self-Defense Munitions cutaways and specifications:
      a. S-Minenabwurfvorrichtung mine discharger and S-Mine.
      b. S-Mine
      c. Nahverteidigungswaffe
      d. Schnellnebelkerze 39 smoke bomb.
      e. Nahverteidigungswaffe with Kampfpistole
      f. 326 Lp Pz Sprenggranatpatrone mit Zeitzunder (explosive round with time fuze)

    5. Using the Vorsatz P: crewman firing the weapon.

    6. Bazooka Sights: range ladder; General Electric T43 bar sight; Polaroid T90 reflecting sight.

    7. Battle centerfold: Sonderman's private war, Lausdell crossroads, December 18, 1944.


Graphics
    a. Illustration of the shaped-charge effect.

    b. Tech manual image comparing the M1A1 and the M18.

    c. 2.36in Rocket production: HEAT and WP rounds, 1942-1945.

    d. 2.36in rocket launcher deployment and rocket expenditure in the ETO, June 1944-May 1945 by month, number of launchers and rockets shot.

Map
The fighting for Krinkeit-Rocherath and the Lausdell crossroads, December 17-18, 1944
: color symbols map showing;
    * German AFV knocked out by bazookas
    * German AFV knocked out by guns, mines


Conclusion
Okay, I think this is an impressive book. With an exceptional gallery of photographs and artwork with outstanding highly detailed text, Bazooka vs Panzer Battle of the Bulge 1944 should be very welcome to modelers, historians, technocrats, and fans of infantry anti-tank weapons. Perhaps a comprehensive bazooka history has been been available for a while, yet I think this concise explanation of the WWII bazooka, and the opposing German tank passive and active anti-infantry systems, is a thoroughly enjoyable resource. For me, it presents and explains the systems in detail that I can understand and appreciate without overloading me with superfluous technical information.

I find many of the photos full of inspiration for dioramas, and ideas for detailing models.

I don't have anything meaningful to complain about in this book and definitely recommend it.

Please remember to tell Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on Armorama.
SUMMARY
Highs: Exceptional gallery of photographs and artwork. Outstanding highly detailed text.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: I think this concise explanation of the WWII bazooka, and the opposing German tank passive and active anti-infantry systems, is a thoroughly enjoyable resource. Modelers, historians, technocrats, and fans of infantry anti-tank weapons should welcome it.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781472812490
  Suggested Retail: $20
  PUBLISHED: Dec 07, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.78%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.16%

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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