Tankograd Publishing is very well known for their paperback books covering all areas of military hardware used in every aspect from supply to the frontline. These books are also for the most part duel language being written in German and English and consist of 60 to 70 pages. This release from Tankograd Publishing is something special being a hard backed book that consists of 328 pages and looks at the T-34 Tank as Beutepanzer and Panzerattrappe.
The following text is the introduction that Tankograd Publishing has published on their website. Beutepanzers, captured foreign tank designs in service with the Wehrmacht, played a much more influential role in German Panzer deployment and tactics than previously thought. While the bulk of Beute tanks were relegated to hinterland policing and anti-partisan duties, it was the hundreds of Soviet-built T-34s in German hands that were supporting Panzers in the medium tank and tank destroyer roles in combat everywhere along the frontlines in the East.
For the first time, this book sheds comprehensive light on the German Panzerkampfwagen T 34 - 747 (r), and underlines this detailed research with hundreds of photographs of the German T 34 in action. Unlike other publications so far released on the topic of Beutepanzers, this monograph focuses on the hardware rather than on the organisational paperwork of unit designations, readiness reports and unit deployment histories. It is consequently highly pictorial, showing tanks in service, their Soviet technology and production batches, as well as their German modifications and markings and it looks at the life of their crews. Furthermore, it outlines the T-34's development in the Soviet Union based on the most recent discoveries. As it is crucial to understanding the astonishing extent to which the T 34 was used in German service, and what an immense and important impact it had, the background of the German Beute principle is highlighted in an extended introduction.
Another major chapter in this book is devoted to T 34 Panzerattrappen dummy tanks that, to a hitherto unknown degree, were most influential in tactical anti-tank training and tactical doctrine for the Wehrmacht. The extent to which these T 34 dummies were used strongly underscores the thundering impact this Soviet medium tank had on the German side. The Panzerattrappen require a similarly extensive introduction in this book. Dating back to Kaiser and Reichswehr days, it allows readers to fully understand why ‘wooden T 34s' played such a decisive role in German land warfare training.
Consequently, there is much more to the story of T 34 Beutepanzers than to merely paint a Balkenkreuz marking on a T-34 and use it against its former makers. And there is much more to T 34 Panzerattrappen than being just an oversized wooden toy. Twenty years of research and collecting have been invested in this project to allow this monograph to tell the full story for the first time!
Starting this review by looking at the book for what is I was impressed with the high quality of it in terms of paper and print quality. The paper is a glossy paper of what I would describe as heavy paper, this I believe means the book will survive a lot of thumbing. While this may not be important to you, it should be considered if concerned about the cost of the book. The print is clear and easily readable by me without the need to switch to reading glasses. These aspects of the book give you a sense of quality before you have even opened it.
The book begins by taking a fair look at the German habit of using Beutepanzer’s, and how this had more or less become a doctrine of the German armed forces. This section also provides a good look at Beutepanzer’s in German service that were from a number of countries, most notably French vehicles but British and Russian vehicles also make a showing. The next main section looks at developments that led to the T34 and development of the T34 itself. This section then continues to identify areas of the T34 tank which will allow in this case the modeller to identify specific T-34 types.
The book now moves onto the rude awakening the Wehrmacht got when they met the T-34 tank on the battlefield. The German tanks of the period were no match for the T-34 and the anti-tank guns were only capable of giving the T-34 crews a headache; the 88mm gun was able to take on the T-34 but it was best suited to defensive actions rather than offensive ones due to the time it took to set up. The Germans did get a dedicated anti-tank gun that could tackle the T-34 in the form of the 75mm Pak 40, however until these guns arrived the Germans had to depend on the 88mm anti-aircraft gun or taking on the Soviet armour at close range. This section also looks at some T-34 tanks that were captured and sent for evaluation, this facet of the book pointed out where to look for the German ID marks on these tanks.
The next section of the book is the real high point for me and I suspect for everyone else regardless of why you purchased this book. I feel that this section which looks in-depth at the various T-34 models in use with the Wehrmacht will be fantastic reference for modellers and I believe will be of great interest to those interested in in the T34 and its use by the Germans in World War II. The T-34’s covered here are the ;
T-34-76 Model 1940
T-34-76 Model 1941, 1941/42, 1942 with welded turret
T-34-76 Model 1941, 1941/42, 1942 with cast turret
T-34-76 Model 1942, 1943, 1944 with Hexagonal turret
T-34-85 model 1944
Sturmgeschutz Jagdpanzer T-34 (r) SU 85 (r)/SU 100 (r)/SU 122 (r)
The images in the above subsections are of a stunning quality and I believe a very high number of them have not been published previously.
The next section covers rarities and oddities based on the T-34 and while short in length it does present the modeller with some interesting options. The vehicles touched upon are the;
Propagandapanzer T 34 (r)
Flakpanzer T 34 (r)
Panzerjagerwagen T 34 (r)
T 34 Turme auf Panzerzugen
T34 (r) mit Gasantrieb (gas used as a fuel)
The last subsection here looks at the T 34 (r) – Mythical conversions and which while short should appeal to the ‘What if’ modellers. Basically it looks at some conversions that were said to exist and which there are currently no pictures of, the book quickly assesses the possibilities of actually producing the conversions detailed and the ability of German forces at that time to manage the task. There is also a short text that shows how mythical vehicles enter into the fray with the story of man who had served in the Panzerwaffe, the man said he had served on a Ferdinand during WW2, as the conversation continued the man stated it was in France in 1940 and that his tank only had a 75mm gun. The listener pointed out that this could not be true but failed to convince the old soldier he was mistaken. Next day the old soldier turned up with a photo album with a picture of a short barrelled Panzer IV in France 1940 and down the side of the tank was written Ferdinand.
The last section of the book looks at the T 34 Panzerattrappe or ‘The T 34 dummy tank’. This section starts by covering the dummy tanks of the 1st World War which the Germans made; the next section looks at the dummy tanks prior to the outbreak of World War II which were used to train tank crews while restrictions in arms were still in place. One picture that I particularly liked is of a dummy tank with four horses legs sticking out of the bottom and the riders head poking out of the top. The various sub sections then go into using dummy T 34’s to train infantry in the hunting and killing of enemy armour, a skill at which the German infantry excelled and causing great losses amongst the Allied forces. This section has a surprisingly large number of pages dedicated to it, covering the dummy tanks mounted on many different vehicles.
I am sure a number of you take a look at the price of this book and think ‘this is not for me’, if that is the case I urge you to reconsider as this book is stunning. The images are for the most part incredibly clear and bring this aspect of the German forces into sharp focus. The book does not have a huge amount of text but what there is is pertinent and informative. I would suggest that there are no other books on the market that tackles this aspect of the German Army in World War II to this depth currently available. If you have any interest in German Beutepanzer’s during World War II or specifically the T34 in German service this book is for you and I very highly recommend it.
Highs: High quality pictures that are clear and in focus which considering the age Tankograd has done a great job of finding them all.Lows: Some may have liked to see more text but as a modeller I was very happy.Verdict: Very highly recommended.
Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...