by: Paul A. Owen [ ]
I bought this book so that I could sort out all of the little changes that the Pz.IV underwent in its later versions, specifically the H and J versions. It does go a long way in sorting these features out. I was surprised to note that there is really no distinct difference between the later G and early H tanks, at least none which a modeller can see. The J lacks the extra muffler at the back however.
The text starts off describing why the long 75mm gun was installed, to counter the Soviet T-34 and KVs, as we all know. A short history of the versions up to the G is next and then a more detailed chronicle of the longer 75mm installation. The next section deals with the Pz. IV naming, "Official Designations", I was interested to find out that the "F2" and "G" were the same vehicle and that the "F2" name was ultimately dropped. Next there is a short section describing the vehicle but the really good stuff is in the next section "Modifications During Production Run". Each version, G, H and J, is described along with the modifications introduced during that version's production run, blocks of chassis numbers for each version are given too. Retrofitted modifications are also explained. One modification I found missing was the joint between the lower hull and back plate, on the H (to late H) it included an extra angled piece while on the (late H?) and J the rear plate extended all the way down to meet the lower hull. I'd still like to know when this was changed.
The next section "Operational Characteristics" describes firepower with various "us vs. them" charts, mobility and survivability. The biggest section is "Operational History" which is based on first hand accounts. The last section describes two variants, the Panzerbefehlswagen and the Panzerbeobachtungswagen which had a StuG. III cupola, there is a side view scale drawing, one photograph and one colour illustration of this vehicle. The other colour illustrations have descriptions for marking and paint schemes also.
The several colour illustrations are very good, although most of them are of the J version. A new "standard" camouflage scheme is illustrated too, it being overall red-brown (primer) with patches of dark-yellow outlined with thin stripes of white, this is described as being a late war winter scheme and is similar to a scheme applied to the late Hetzer. The book is worth getting just to have reference on this new scheme. Also worth mentioning is the profile showing a G serving in Russia 1942 but in Africa Corps colours, this is explain in the text too.
I recommend this book. With perhaps the Achtung Panzer Pz. IV book for a detailing reference too this book should provide enough background on the later Pz. IV vehicles for building the newer Tamiya kits.
Copyright ©2020 text by Paul A. Owen [ ]. All rights reserved.
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