by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
Germany’s blitzkrieg warfare was unleashed during the 1939 invasion of Poland. It was a huge success and was used during following campaigns with continued success. Germany’s armored divisions met with great success during blitzkrieg warfare and Concord Publications Company has released a book in its Armor at War Series that discusses Germany’s early panzer victories.
Concord Publications Company book 7064, Early Panzer Victories, is a 72 page book by Frank V. De Sisto and is published by the Concord Publications Company for its Armor at War series. The ISBN is 962-361-145-5. The book is one of the latest releases in the Concord Armor at War Series. It is a soft cover book and contains 167 black and white photographs, and 16 color prints by artist Laurent Lecocq. This book covers the time period of 1939 to 1942. The coverage includes German campaigns in Poland (1939), Scandinavia (1940), Western Europe (1940), the Balkans (1941) and Russia (1941). The book begins with a nicely written 4 page history which discusses things such as the formation of the different panzer units and the areas of operation to which they were sent. The remainder of the book is dedicated to a wide array of photographs and the color prints.
Shown throughout the book is a wide variety photographs. The photographs range from action scenes to casual scenes. The photographs cover various times of the year including all four seasons, different types of terrain such as snow, mud and different settings such as river crossings. There are several excellent photographs showing different camouflage, weathering, gear storage, etc. There are also some nice close-up photographs showing excellent details that will help the military vehicle modeler. There are three photographs that I particularly like and so I thought I would describe them. One is on page 11 and it shows Schwerer Panzerspahwagen Sd.Kfz. 231 6 RAD that has broken down and it shows how the spare tire mount folds down to allow access to the rear hatches. Another is on page 24 and it shows a Panzer II stopped on a roadside with Russian troops (P.O.W.s?) standing and sitting on the tank and there is a German motorcycle with sidecar and crew driving past. The caption states that the Soviets are on the tank "quite probably as a protective measure". I don't know if that is correct but it does make for an interesting scene. The other is on page 59 and it shows a SS Panzerjager I and its SS crew leaving an area with a building in flames in the background. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them. I have seen several photographs from WWII that have this look to them so maybe that was just typical for the period. I do know that several WWII photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could part of the reason as well. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author.
THE COLOR PRINTS
Artist Laurent Lecocq has provided sixteen color prints. The color art work prints are done very well. They show nice representations of different WWII German light armor and their variations and show different markings and camouflage colors. They also include detailed captions describing the represented armored vehicle, the unit to which it is assigned and other items such as the colors the vehicle is painted in and the official German numbers of the paint used.
The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and are very detailed. As with the color prints they include information about the armor vehicle shown as well as the unit to which it is assigned and the area/theater/campaign in which it is shown. They also point out things such as the vehicle graffiti in the form of names given to the vehicles by their crews. Also identified are items of interest on the mentioned armor and vehicles as well as on the troops shown. Upon reading through the captions I noticed that some of them are not clear as to the military unit or division shown. Some of them are not specific as to the model of the vehicle shown in the photograph. The following is an example, "what appears to be a Kleiner Panzerfunkwagen Sd.Kfz, 260 or 261". However, I am very impressed with how detailed and informative the majority of the captions are.
As with my other book reviews I like to mention certain things shown and discussed in the book that I hope will provide additional information and will be of interest to others.
Some of the German units covered throughout the book are the:
1st through the 24th Panzer Divisions
1st through the 4th Light Panzer Divisions
SS "Wiking" Division
Grosdeutschland Infantry Division
Some of the German armor and weapons shown and discussed throughout the book are the:
Saurer RK-7 (Sd.Kfz.254
Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8-ton Sd.Kfz.7
3.7cm Pak 35/36
10.5cm I.FH18 Light Field Howitzer
5cm Pak 38
7.5 cm I.IG18
Some of the German soft skinned vehicles covered throughout the book are the:
Wanderer W11 Light Field Car
Mercedes-Benz Model L4500A 4.5 Ton Tactical Truck
Henschel 33D1 Towing truck
PF.11 and PF.12 Pontoon Trailers
Magirus 3-Ton Truck
Horch KFZ. 7/1 Radio Car
One of my long time favorite military subjects is captured/commandeered armor, vehicles, weapons and equipment so I was very pleased to see that this subject was covered in this book. Some of the captured/commandeered items discussed are the:
Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) - Czechoslovakian
French Renault UE Tractor
Soviet STZ-5 Artillery Tractor
Soviet T-26 Model 1939 Light Infantry Support Tank
Various civilian cars pressed into German service.
Some Russian armor and weapons shown and discussed in the book that are not listed as captured/commandeered but as destroyed or otherwise include the:
BT-7 Model 1937 Tank
37mm Model 1939 Anti-Aircraft Gun
All in all I am very impressed with the book. The variety of subjects covered will appeal to the armor enthusiasts, armor and diorama modelers and military historians interested in early panzer warfare. I believe that it would be a welcome addition to anyone’s personal reference library. This is the sixth Concord Publications Company title that I have reviewed and I would have no hesitations to add other Concord titles to my personal library or to recommend this book to others.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Worlds Tanks and Fighting Vehicles, Christopher F. Foss, Chartwell Books, Inc.
German Leichte Panzer at War, Frank V. De Sisto, Concord Publications Company
Leichte Panzers in action, Uwe Feist, Squadron/Signal Publications
Panzerspahwagen in action, Uwe Feist, Squadron/Signal Publications
Blitzkrieg, Robert Wernick, Time-Life Books.
German Tanks of World War Two, George Forty, Arms & Armor