by: Adie Roberts [ ]
Hitler's light tanks (Wehrmacht) led the way in armoured warfare as the successful blitzkriegs in Poland and North-West Europe in 1940 so convincingly proved. The contribution of light tanks such as Panzers I, II and 35(T) was critical.
As the war spread to the Balkans, North Africa and the invasion of Russia, German engineers worked tirelessly modifying existing light tanks and developing new models
The book is a softback book with a glued spine covering pagination of 126
Published by Pen & Sword
Author Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas is an expert on WWII fighting vehicles and, an avid collector of contemporary images. His previous books German Halftracks at War 1939-1945, Panzer III at War 1939-1945, Panzer IV at War 1939-1945, Hitler's Tank Destroyers and German Reconnaissance and Support Vehicles are in Print in the Pen and Sword images of War Series. He lives in Braintree.
The Balkans and the Eastern Front, 1941
Battles in Russia, 1942-43
Last Years, 1943-45
As the war clouds gather over Europe and Hitler's vast army was poised to attack, his Panzerwaffe (comprising over 2,700 Panzers) formed up along the borders of Poland ready to strike. Only 60 per cent of Germany's armoured force was committed to operations against Poland due to maintenance issues. Most of the Panzers used were known as light tanks.
The book is a picture heavy book which is superb for reference with plenty of pictures I have not seen before ( I have an extensive library of various books covering most conflicts mostly World War 2) covering quite a large period as well as miles? The book starts with its introduction which gives you some idea of the 'little tanks' that took part in the blitzkrieg Poland, the low lands of Europe, the fall of France, Balkans and finally the early part of the war against Russia. Several pictures show tanks in training exercise just before the invasion of Poland. The picture, almost ghost-like in low light yet still fantastic in its atmosphere. Each of the photos comes with very well detailed information making it easy to see where and what is happening in each picture. One of the first pictures showing the invasion of Poland shows columns of smoke and dust from the fields as the light tanks advanced in support of the advancing infantry.
Some of the first early winter pictures of 1939 showing the crew looking fairly relaxed, if not very cold in their winter uniform.
One of my favourite photos id that of an Sd.Kfz.9 Famo crossing a pontoon bridge towing a tank transporter trailer with a Pz.Kpfw. 38t. A real fantastic photo giving me enough enthusiasm to look at making a diorama showing the same maybe adding some infantry. Another photo to catch my eye is a Panzerjager1 on a road somewhere in Europe or the Balkans with two of its crew standing looking very proud of their modified Pz.Kpf. 1 Ausf B chassis, these were the first of the fully tracked self-propelled anti-tank guns in German service.
As you continue through the book you can see the physical changes of the light tanks and some of the captured tanks like the French R35 that has been converted into a Panzerjager on the eastern front in 1941. An interesting photo shows an Auflarungspanzer 38(t) rolling along the road. This 38(t) has been converted into a reconnaissance vehicle. The old turret had been removed and fitted with a 2cm KwK 38 gun. A single MG42 was also installed, the open top of the turret has been fitted with anti grenade grills.
Chapter 4 was another one of those that had me gleaming with joy at the photographs of some of my favourite tanks like the battery of Sd. Kfz 124 Wespe (Wasp), A Marder 1 at a rail depot with the crew and one of my favourite of all tanks the Hetzer 38(t) several of them are shown in action and at rest.
Pen and Sword have tapped into a style of book that does cover all the bases from modellers, historians, military enthusiasts and wargamers alike, for modellers you have right in front of you an exact example of a tank that may want to build showing you what tools may be on it, what extra armour they may have put onto it like some spare track links, or it is the whole picture that interests you as you look for background information for an accurate diorama it is all here in the Images of War books. It is hard to critic this book as I find it very useful as someone who loves dioramas and the making of them and having so many photographs with factual information/captions it has to be a must for people interested in Hitlers Light Tanks