The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
The term Panzer grenadier was introduced in 1942 and applied equally to the infantry component of Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and later Waffen-SS Panzer grenadier divisions.
As this classic new Images of War book describes, these elite divisions fought as mechanized infantry and escort for and in close cooperation with panzers and other armoured fighting vehicles. Trained to fight both mounted and on foot, their priority was to maintain the fast momentum of armoured troops on the battlefield.
Using a wealth of rare, often unpublished, photographs with detailed captions and text, the author charts the fighting record of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe Panzer grenadier truppe units.
This includes their initial successes on the Eastern Front. But as defeat approached, they were forced on the defensive on all fronts including the bitter fighting in Italy and the Western Front. As well as describing their many actions, the book details the vehicles and weapons used and main personalities.
This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Images of War series concentrates its attention on the Panzer grenadier units, from their inception until the end of WWII in photographs. The author of this release is Ian Baxter, and he offers us a title in the form of a soft backed book, with a card cover protecting 128 matt pages. The contents of this publication are as follows:
Chapter 1 Birth of the Panzer grenadiers
Chapter 2 1943
Chapter 3 1944
Chapter 4 1945 - The last months
Appendix I Heer and Luftwaffe Panzer grenadiers
Appendix II Re-organisation of Panzer grenadiers Divisions, 1944
Appendix III Panzer grenadier Battalion, 1945
The written content of this offering as part of Images of War is very light, but then that is not the intent of the Images of War series. What text there is, is well written but is definitely not a book for someone who wishes to read about the Panzer grenadiers of WWII. Where the written content of this book is a very high standard, are the captions that accompany each and every photograph in the book.
Most of the photographs look to have been taken by the Panzer grenadiers themselves, and so exhibit men who are not in action, but exhibit in may cases the stress of having been or preparing to go into battle. In addition to the images taken by the soldiers themselves, there are also training photographs, which do a very good job of showing you how things should be done and very good detail of the uniforms. For me, the images taken by what I believe are the soldiers themselves, I find particularly appealing due to the natural presentation of the persons in them, with some exhibiting the effects of cold and tiredness on the part of the soldiers. With some showing them on moving tanks, asleep with likely the only thing keeping them on the vehicle being his mates. An image that I found particularly amusing in on page 81, showing no less than 26 Panzer grenadiers riding on a Stug.
With the principle behind the Panzer grenadier being mechanised infantry to support armoured attacks, and as such can be thought of the early days of combined arms. You get to see a very large number of vehicles in German service during WWII, as well as infantry on foot. The vehicles covered range from those intended to be transport such as half-tracks, to self propelled guns, but more commonly tanks and anti tank vehicles. This title brings together a very good selection of photographs from WWII with only one I can recall having seen before.
The Panzer grenadiers having been spread across both the army and air force, are a group of infantry that the armour modeller will find of particular interest. The many and varied images of these soldiers that are presented naturally in these photographs make this a particularly appealing title, which is further enhanced by well written captions.