The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
In July 1943 the German army launched what was to be its last major offensive on Soviet soil. Codenamed Operation Citadel, the attack had initially been scheduled to commence in May but was postponed by Hitler on a number of occasions to allow the divisions in the East to be reinforced and to ensure that the new Panther tanks could be deployed. In the fifth book on the Panther in this series Dennis Oliver examines the first vehicles that left the assembly plants to go into service against the Red Army as part of Operation Citadel and the units that arrived in the late summer and early autumn of 1943. In addition to archive photographs and painstakingly researched, exquisitely presented colour illustrations, a large part of this book showcases available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined, providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of the Panther tanks that fought in the East in 1943.
This offering from Pen and Sword is number 34 in the Tank Craft series of books and is authored by Dennis Oliver who has been the author in a great number of books in this series. This is a soft backed book of 64 pages printed in portrait. The glossy card cover protecting the pages does a good job with reasonable handling. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The Eastern Front 1943
The Panther Units
Camouflage and Markings
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact Details
This offering from Pen and Sword covering the Panther medium tank German army and Waffen SS, Eastern Front, Summer 1943 is laid out in typical fashion as other books in the series. The book provides a chronological order of what was going on, when and where. You are provided with a brief history of the units using the Panther during the period covered. The text in the book as a whole is well written, with a good sized font making the reading of the title easier for those of us who are getting older. The text is accompanied by a good number of period photographs, with captions which I believe the modeller will find of interest. The section under camouflage and markings presents a number of Panther tank schematics either from the side, or in some cases just the turret. Many of the drawing are accompanied by period photographs or detailed drawings of specifics of that vehicle. The drawings also do a good job of presenting the reader with a number of camouflage schemes seen on the Eastern front during this period.
The section looking at the finished models covers the following :
Panther Ausf D SS-Panzer-Regimnet 2 by Theodoros Kalamatas in 1/35th Scale
Panther Ausf D Panzer- Abteilung 52 by Kentaro Takabayashi in 1/35th Scale
Panther Ausf A Eastern Front by Sebastian Keudell in 1/35th Scale
Panther Ausf D Panzer-Abteilung 51 by Sungjun Jang in 1/48th Scale
This particular section looking at the model showcase, I find of limited value not because the models are of a poor presentation, but because of the limitations in the information I can garner from them. The section looking a model products that are available covers a good mix of products available to the modeller, but it needs to be remembered that except for companies such as Tamiya products quickly become unavailable or in all cases superseded. The section that is particularly good in this publication looks as the technical details and modifications, what I like about this section is that it provided details that the modeller can use to quickly identify specific Panthers and the modifications shown gives the modeller the ability to accurately depict a specific Panther that looks different from many standard builds.
This particular release from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series is I believe the 5th or 6th title covering the Panther tank. As with any release, there are aspects I like and those that don’t do anything for me. I like that the author has got the text in a single area of the book, rather than splitting it front and back as has been done numerous times in the past. I found the technical details and modifications area of particular interest, as it covered a wide variety of information in a visual and written format that enables anyone to identify specifics of the Panther. The modelling showcase is an area that does not do a lot for me in this title, as while the models look exceptionally well finished, the information I can draw from them is minimal.