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Book Review
Panther Ausf. D
Panzer Tracts No. 5-1, Panzerkampfwagen “Panther” Ausführung D
  • Panzer_Tracts_Panther_D_01

by: Scott Espin [ SPIFF ]

introduction
The Panzer Tracts series, created by Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L Doyle, is an attempt to correct many of the errors and misconceptions that have perpetuated themselves over the years both in print and on the internet regarding Germany’s armored vehicles. Volume 5-1 covers the Panther Ausf. D and the prototypes V1 and V2. The Panzer Tracts team used only primary resources for this book, spent hundreds of hours measuring the sole surviving Panther Ausf. D and Ausf. D parts in surviving Panther Ausf. A's. All this effort paid off big when they created the 1/1 scale drawings in AutoCAD subsequently converted into 1/35 and 1/10 scale drawings.

Contents
This book is the first of three volumes in the series documenting the Panther tank. The book consists of 72 pages, 44 rare black and white photos and over 100 drawings in 1/35 and 1/10 scale to clearly illustrate even the smallest details. The diagrams will prove to be very useful for the modeler, including original drawings of the prototype VK 2002 dated 2 May, 1942.

format
The formatting of the text at times seems amateurish and could really benefit from a once over by someone with even a little experience in formatting and text layout. Items listed as bullet points blend in with the rest of the text because there is no indenting and they insist on using the letter “o” instead of bullet points . C’mon guys, anyone who has even a little experience composing professional emails in a work environment can do better than that.

In depth
Clearly, the Panzer Tracts team have invested a lot of time and energy on the research that went into this book. Many of the photos have been reproduced from the original glass plate negatives and a lot of effort was put into creating the AutoCAD drawings and diagrams which are found throughout this book.

The book begins by documenting the initial development of the Panther including photos of prototypes V1 and V2. There is also an excellent photo of the engine compartment of V2 with all the hatches and covers removed. The 1/35 scale profile drawings of V2 along with the prototype turret and other details are a nice touch.

Most of the book is devoted to production versions of the Panther Ausf. D. Many 1/35 scale drawings are included along with some great internal diagrams showing the engine, drive train components, torsion bars and many other details of the internal components of the Panther. I was especially impressed with a set of 1/35 scale drawings of the hull plates that delineated the areas that had face hardened surfaces. The advanced modeler and scratch builder will really appreciate the 1/10 scale drawings of the track segments, drive sprocket, idler, road wheels, fenders, hatches, lights, gun travel lock, tool brackets, engine grills and screens, exhaust, storage bins, jack and many other details. Photographs are included to supplement the scale drawings where appropriate.

A large part of the book is devoted to covering the modifications introduced during the production run of the Panther Ausf. D. Descriptions, photos and scale drawings document and describe the modifications in detail. Scale drawings document the addition of the shürzen and shürzen brackets, among other things. Many, if not all, of the experimental reinforced road wheels are presented side by side in 1/35 scale drawings which show the many different configurations of bolts and rivets. The book finishes up with information on the command versions of the Panther Ausf. D including several different zimmerit patterns. I would like to have seen more examples of the different variations of modifications, especially late in the development of the Ausf. D including those with zimmerit. As it stands, however, this is an excellent addition to anyone’s reference library.

Conclusion
Overall, this is a great reference on the Panther Ausf. D including the prototype V2. It has been well researched and includes things never before documented. There are some inconsistencies when compared with Thomas L. Jentz’s earlier work published in 1995 “Germany’s Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy” which makes a great companion to this book.

This book is very focused and there is a lot of information crammed into its 72 pages, although it could benefit from better formatting and more pictures. I highly recommend this book as a reference, but you’ll also want to have other supplemental references with more photos and in action shots.
SUMMARY
Highs: Thoroughly researched, well documented featuring excellent scale drawings and descriptions.
Lows: Amateurish formatting and text layout.
Verdict: Great reference on the Panther Ausf. D and prototypes.
Percentage Rating
88%
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 0-9708407-8-0
  Suggested Retail: $24.95
  PUBLISHED: Jul 28, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.31%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.65%

About Scott Espin (Spiff)
FROM: NEVADA, UNITED STATES

I have been an avid student of military history for over 35 years, especially World War II with my focus mostly on German military equipment (tanks and aircraft). I'm especially interested in anything relating to the Eastern Front and North Africa. My Dad ignited my passion for modeling when I...

Copyright ©2019 text by Scott Espin [ SPIFF ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

I have to agree on the point about formatting, it IS a rather weak point in the Pt series, some good re-structuring might make certainly for easier reading. About that sole surviving Panther-D being measured, AFAIK there's only one left, and that was located at Breda in the Wilhelmina-Park. It is, IIRC, being re-stored, as it was completely stripped of anything even remotely removable from the exterior and to prevent anyone from moving the tank(duh, who's going to pull away a 50 ton tank unnoticed?) the interior was poured with concrete. Anyway, I can only echo the words in review, they are great sources of info but especially due to Jentz' insistence on only using documents to describe development, it lacks in certain areas where non-documented changes are concerned, and one can also find pictures that prove otherwise. Good example being a picture of an Ausf. G Panther at Elst, during Market Garden which clearly has a KampfRaumHeizung, 4 months before Jentz says it was introduced.
JUL 30, 2008 - 06:53 AM
Nifty review, Scott! Where is the best place for these kinds of specialized books in the US? RZM? Amazon? Most of the hobby resellers charge list and more.
JUL 30, 2008 - 07:18 AM
Here ya go .... http://www.panzertracts.com/ Rick
JUL 30, 2008 - 12:48 PM
Assuming you mean in the US: Aberdeen Bookstore ( http://www.aberdeenbookstore.com/) sells all the Panzer Tracts titles at 10% off. You will find them under German Weapons. I have purchased from ABS twice and was very pleased both times--the books arrived quickly in pristine condition. However, there is no shopping cart so you have to phone or email in your order. Aberdeen Bookstore also sells on eBay, but you get a smaller discount. Do a search for "Panzer Tracts". Michigan Discount Models ( http://www.discountmodels.com/ sells Panzer Tracts titles at 15% off. You will find them under Books and then Panzer Tracts. Once again, the store does not have a fully functional shopping cart. I ordered Panzer Tracts titles from this retailer once and the books arrived with some shelf wear. That may be an aberration, but it was my experience. -Doug
JUL 30, 2008 - 01:16 PM
With regards to the review, I would like to know exactly how Panzer Tracts 5-1 stacks up against Germany's Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy by the same authors. I know Panzer Tracts 5-1 was published a few years ago (when?), and that Germany's Panther Tank was published in 1995, but I have read that the former (along with 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4) does not completely replace the latter. Since I own the older book, I would like to know exactly how much value I will get out of the newer volume. I agree with many points in the review--Panzer Tracts books offer excellent, distilled information for the model builder, the drawings are very useful, but the formatting is terrible. The latter weakness plagues all of the Panzer Tracts titles I own (about 10). -Doug
JUL 30, 2008 - 02:09 PM
I have QFCS and I consider the PT 5-3 and 5-4 to be worth it to have as well. They augment the earlier book with updated info, plus the many 1:10 scale drawings are excellent additions.
JUL 31, 2008 - 07:36 AM
I have Germany's Panther Tank, the Quest for Combat Supremacy and I would have to say it is a good idea to have both. The Panzer Tracts books on the Panther (this one in particular was published 2003) are a good supplement to Jentz's earlier work and in fact includes some other recently discovered information that is sometimes contradictory. When in doubt, I go by the Panzer Tracts book. The other problem with using only primary resources is that no field modifications are taken into account and like someone already said in these posts there can be photo evidence to the contrary which only further confuses those researching a particular Panther or variant. To answer the question about whether or not you should buy it, well that's a tough one to answer. For me, I needed the information in Panzer Tracts 5-1 regarding the different variations of the experimental road wheels when I was researching for my review and build of Dragon's Panther D w/zimmerit. Many more variations of the road wheels were documented in this book that in Germany's Panther Tank. The additional drawings are useful, and will come in handy as I continue to work on that kit.
AUG 03, 2008 - 04:49 AM
There are several online stores where they are available. Many of them are available on Amazon.com sold by individuals. Also try Greatmodels.com as some are available there too.
AUG 03, 2008 - 04:52 AM
Thanks to both of you for your comments. I usually buy the correct Panzer Tracts book before starting a German armor project but have been on the fence with the Panther volumes. It appears I need to invest more money in the research library. -Doug
AUG 04, 2008 - 04:52 PM
   

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