Book Review
Panzer 38(t)
Panzer 38(t)
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Panzer 38(t) from Osprey Publishing LTD delivers a basic history of the Czech tank that made up a significant portion of the Nazi Blitzkrieg. Written by armor expert Steven J. Zaloga and illustrated by Richard Chasemore, it is the 215th book in the New Vanguard series.

When German was short of modern tanks and long on aspirations of world conquest, the Nazis had to find a way to give teeth to their panzer divisions. Czechoslovakia had a modern armament industry and produced some good equipment, including what became the PzKpfw 38(t). Germany swallowed their 'not made here' ego and found the PzKpfw 38(t) to be superior in mobility and reliability. The gun was marginally better, too, although the construction, armor and crew configuration was inferior.

Panzer 38(t) is available in the formats of paperback, PDF and ePUB, is 48 pages in length, with ISBN: 9781782003953.
    This title offers a detailed study of a successful but little-known German tank of World War II, the Panzer 38(t). Germany’s annexation of Czech provinces in 1938 gave it control of the large Czech armament industry, one of the jewels of which was the very modern LT 38 tank. The type was fully integrated into the Wehrmacht as the Panzer 38(t), becoming one of the few foreign designs to continue in production for the Wehrmacht. It was an important element in the 1940 battle of France, and its most famous use was in the hands of Rommel’s 7.Panzer Division. The Panzer 38(t) became one of the key weapons in the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, and was widely used in the Eastern Front campaigns of 1941–42. This illustrated study gives a uniquely detailed account of the technical history and combat record of one of the most successful early World War II tanks. - Osprey Pub.

Panzer 38(t) is explored through 13 chapters and sections:
      * Export Tank origins
      * Czechoslovak Army Requirement
    Into German Service
      * Combat debut
      * Early Revisions
    Technical Description
      * 37mm KwK 38(t) gun antitank performance
      * PzKpfw 38(t) Variants
    Glory Days in France
    Late-Production Versions
    The Swedish Diversion
    Battle on the Russian Front
      * Durability and losses of German tank types, Aug-Sep 1941
    Final PzKpfw 38(t) Production Types
      * German PzKpfw 38(t) deployment and losses
    The Decline of the PzKpfw 38(t)
      *Swansong of the PzKpfw 38(t): Fall Blau
      *Anti-Partisan Tanks
      * Festung Drehturm deployment
      * Next Generation: PzKpfw 38(t) n.A.
    Export PzKpfw 38(t)
      * Sweden
      * Slovakia
      * Hungary
      * Romania
      * Bulgaria
    Postwar Czechoslovak Service
    Further Reading

Mr. Zaloga writes in an easily followed style and the book is well organized. A short book with several pages of artwork, it is a quick read. It is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the PzKpfw 38(t) or the service history of it. It is meant to be a concise overview introducing the tank to those unfamiliar with it while providing some technical detail beyond the scope of 'battle history' books.

Fifteen pages detail the technical aspects including the performance the 3.7cm KwK 38(t) cannon antitank performance and how it fared compared to Germany's own 3.7cm KwK, armor, suspension, transmission and powerplant, radios, and variants. The next 25 pages recount the tank's war record. I was surprised how long lasting the PzKpfw 38(t) was. It is interesting how the tank became an important part of armored trains. The main example of Panzer 38(t)'s battle history is its use by Erwin Rommel in the 7.Pzr Div in France. There are no firsthand combat accounts.

PzKpfw 38(t) needed command and control vehicles so the Befelspanzer 38(t) was created. After the PzKpfw 38(t) was no longer survivable on the battlefield many turrets were utilized at pillboxes, known as Drehturm (Some surviving with a NATO member into the 1970s!). Both of those subjects are discussed. An experiment to make an amphibious PzKpfw 38(t) is also mentioned.

The final pages of the book relate the PzKpfw 38(t) in use with other countries, and attempts to export or improve the weapon. It expanded what I knew about PzKpfw 38(t) although there were no revelations. I can not think of anything to criticize.

photographs, artwork, graphics
Whoever selected the photographs for this book predominately used images shot in clear sunny conditions, and mainly sharply focused. Most look like they were exposed by professional photographers, although there are some amateur shots and images taken from movie films. A single color photo of an Ausf.E at a museum near Moscow opens the book. Thus the images should be valuable for researchers, artists, and modelers.

Artist Richard Chasemore created original artwork. The two main pieces are full color one-page action scenes;

1. PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf.F, II./Panzer-Regiment.204, 22.Panzer -Division, Crimea, Summer 1942.
2. Partisan War in the East: PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. G, Panzerzug PZ.62, Ukraine, 1944.

Further artwork includes profiles of the tank (including descriptions of the paint colors and insignias, with insets);

Early Exports
a. Praga TNH, 2nd (AFV) Regiment, Mechanized Brigade, Imperial Iranian Pahlavi Army, Teheran, 1939.
b. Tanque 39 (LTP), Peruvian Tank Battalion, Peru-Ecuador Border War, Summer 1941.

Early Blitzkrieg Operations
c. PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf.A, 3./Panzer-Abteilung.67, 3.Leichte-Division, Polish Campaign, September 1939.
d. Befelspanzer 38(t) (Sd.Kfz.267), 2.Panzer-Funkkompanie, Nachrichten-Abteilung.83, 7.Panzer-Division, France, May 1940.

Tanks of the Neutral Powers
e. PZW 39, Zug.7, 7.Division, Swiss Army, Toggenburg, 1941.
f. Stridsvaden STRV M/41 SI, Pansarregemente P3, 10 Sodermanlands Panserbrigad, Stragnara, Sweden, 1943.
g. LT-38, Slovak Fast Brigade, Ukraine, July 1941
h. LT-40, Slovak Mobile Division, Caucasus Campaign, November 1942.

Further illustrations are;

i. Cutaway showing the crew layout.

ii. Color 3-quarter cutaway of a PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf.E, keyed with 18 components, with an 18-item table of technical data.

Tables provide rows and columns for ready reference;

* 37mm KwK 38(t) gun antitank performance for standard, and tungsten-carbide core AT rounds, from 100 to 1500m.
* PzKfpw 38(t) Variants for Ausf.A-G & S, by;
    Chassis Number

* Durability and losses of German tank types, Aug-Sep 1941 by operational, In Repair, Losses;
    PzKpfw II
    PzKpfw III
    PzKpfw IV
    PzKpfw 38

* German PzKpfw 38(t) deployment and losses, (on) strength and losses, per month and year, January 1939-November 1944.
* Panzer 38(t) Drehturm deployment

Panzer 38(t) is an enjoyable and useful primer about this significant weapon of the Blitzkrieg. Mr. Zaloga has created a concise history of the tank. It is full of interesting facts and data. The selection of photographs are excellent for picking out detail or for inspiring a diorama. Artwork is top quality and presents a good spectrum of the Panzer 38(t), in a variety of colors and markings. Graphics help clarify elements of the text.

I can not think of anything to criticize. I am happy this subject has been addressed in this format and recommend the book.
Highs: Full of interesting facts and data. The selection of photographs are excellent for picking out detail or for inspiring a diorama. Artwork is top quality.
Lows: Nothing to criticize.
Verdict: Good concise overview not meant to be a comprehensive history of the PzKpfw 38(t) or the service history of it, yet introducing the tank to those unfamiliar with it while providing some technical detail beyond the scope of 'battle history' books.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781782003953
  Suggested Retail: $17.95£, 9.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 05, 2015

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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