In their Batailles et Blindés series, Caraktere editions release a first volume of a study of the German Panzerwaffe from the early development to the eve of operation Zitadelle. A second part is dedicated to the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
This special issue of the Batailles et Blindes series is mainly dedicated to the history of the German armored troops of WW2. At the end of this issue, there are two articles about the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Coming in the usual format with a soft cover, it is written in French only and covers the period 1933 to the first quarter of 1943. The last years of the war will be covered in a further issue.
The history of the Panzerwaffe is divided into 5 chapters. In the 81 pages, the author included 99 pictures, 11 color profiles and 15 3 or 4-view drawings, of which 3 concern Soviet tanks. The first chapter is entitled Le temps des doctrines, Period for doctrine, and covers the period 1933-1939. The main focus is the development of the armored units, not only tank units, in the Wehrmacht and the way their organization moved until the breakout of the Second World War. Of course, the Spanish civil war is covered.
The second chapter is entitled Succès et premiers doutes, Successes and first doubts, and covers the period 1939-1941 until the invasion of Russia. Despite the successes of the campaigns of Poland and France, the German tanks proved not enough armored and moreover most of their guns were unable to defeat the French armor. However, the Panzer IV confirmed its efficiency as well as the SturmGeschütze III.
The third chapter is entitled L’invasion de l’URSS, Invasion of Soviet Union, and covers the period from the beginning of operation Barbarossa to the winter 1941. The initial success of the operation did not allow the complete destruction of the Red Army before the arrival of winter. The Panzerwaffe was ill-prepared for this type of weather and was stuck on the muddy lanes of Russia and could not reach its objectives. Moreover, the Soviet T-34 proved a remarkable opponent.
The fourth chapter is entitled Retournement de situation, Turn of events, covers the period 1942 to the end of the battle of Stalingrad. During this period of time, the Panzerwaffe has seen some considerable improvement in the armor and the gun equipping the tanks. This also was the period when the Tiger entered service.
The fifth and last chapter is entitled, Ultima Ratio Regum, King’s last asset, and covers the period from the defeat of Stalingrad to the preparation of the battle of Kursk. This period has seen the entry in service of the Panzer V Panther and the Ferdinand. The armored artillery was not forgotten as the Wespe and the Hummel also began to be fielded. Despite of the arrival of these news vehicles, the Red Army managed to create a wedge between both Heeresgruppen Mitte and Süd in the vicinity of the city of Kursk. Operation Zitadelle will be covered in another special issue.
The second part of this special issue covers in its 32 pages the Soviet war in Afghanistan. It is divided in two chapters. The first one, entitled The Soviet Vietnam, covers the whole campaign from a general point of view and describes the tactics used both by the Soviet Army and the Afghan Mujahideens.
The second chapter is fully dedicated to the use of the armored units to protect the logistical convoys. A number of testimonies by Soviet veterans give an interesting understanding of the difficulties that an armored force faces in such a hostile environment. This final part is illustrated with many color profiles and 42 photos, a number of which from the Russian press agency Ria Novosti.
As usual with this series, everyone can find something of interest in this issue. The detail lovers will be delighted by the technical details given by the authors. The modelers will find great ideas for dioramas or painting schemes.
Highs: Most of the pictures come from the publisher's collection.
The tables of organization help the reader understand the evolutions of the Panzerwaffe throughout the war.Lows: The Soviet war in Afghanistan deserves a full issue.Verdict: A welcome release from Caraktere editions that will provide a wealth of information to many.
About Olivier Carneau (bison126) FROM: AUBE, FRANCE
I have been in the hobby for years and I'm still learning.
As a modeler, I only build 1/35 modern military vehicles, mainly armored ones.
I also run a website where I share a lot of walkarounds. Just click on my banner to pay a visit to it.