Darren Baker takes a look at a Pen and Sword release as part of their Images of War series in the form of 'Hitler's Panther Tank Battalions, 1943–1945'.

Introduction

The following introduction is as provided by Pen and Sword:

From July 1943 to the Nazis’ final defeat in May 1945 the Panther main battle tank and its variants were the mainstay of Germany’s armoured forces. This superbly engineered fighting vehicle offered a lethal combination of firepower, mobility and protection.

As this classic Images of War series title reveals, the Panther saw non-stop fighting on the Eastern, Western and Italian fronts. Using rare and often unpublished contemporary photographs with full captions and authoritative text, it provides a comprehensive coverage of elite Panther battalions in action.

The book traces the development of the Panther, for example into tank hunter(Panzerjäger), and also covers the other supporting vehicles that formed part of the Panther battalions’ establishment. These included armoured recovery, Bergepanther, halftracks, Sd.kfz.2 Kettenrad, gun tractors and communications vehicles.

Review

This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering ‘Hitler's Panther Tank Battalions, 1943–1945’ has been authored by Ian Baxter. This title from Ian Baxter is just one of 35 titles listed against this authors name in this Images of War series. The contents of this title are provided over 123 pages of good quality semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are presented as follows:

 

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Eastern Front Battles, 1943

Chapter 2 - Italian Warfare, 1943 - 44

Chapter 3 - Eastern Front, 1944

Chapter 4 - The Last Year of the War, 1944 - 45

Appendix 1 Panther Tank Specifications

Appendix 2 Panther Variants, 1943 - 45

Appendix 3 Composition of a Typical Panzer Reconnaissance Grenadier Battalion, 1943 - 44

 

This offering from Pen and Sword covers the Panther Tank Battalions of 1943-1945 and its progression is covered in photographs by the author. The Panther tank is possibly the best tank of World War 2 when considered as a complete package. The images of the very early tanks during initial testing are not the greatest as regards quality, but I do feel they benefit the title by their inclusion.

 

The text in this offering is minimal but well worth taking the time to read as it is well written and provides some interesting snippets of information. These books are aimed at giving the reader a background on the subject matter and then bringing together a huge number of good images to show the subject matter at its best. The result of this approach is that the viewer is inundated with a huge reference in the easiest way to comprehend, photographs.

 

The photographs in this title are broken down into areas of conflict and this enables the reader to pick up what units where active in those regions. Each photograph is presented with a well written caption that provides mixed levels of information on each image that the author has managed to attain and the captions really make this title a must have offering.

Conclusion

This offering from Pen and Sword as part of the Images of War series is another great release and covers one of the tanks that has a huge following; the Panther tank. The author has done a good job of presenting these images in a manner that helps the viewer find what they are looking for and so get the most from what is offered. An aspect that I like is that the photographs present different aspects of the Panther and its crews which appealed to me greatly.

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