by: Russ Amott [ ]
• Tankograd Publishing Wehrmacht Special no. 4016 "Panzer II", History, Technology, Variants, Combat, by Markus Zollner
• 64 pages
• 123 black and white photos
• In German and English
The panzer II was developed in the 1930s as an interim solution between the panzer I, which had been intended as a training vehicle, and the larger panzer III and IV, which were still not ready for production. Used for training and teaching purposes, and later as a significant part of the German panzer divisions, both in the early war when other tanks were not yet available, and later to fill in for losses sustained in combat and in the reconnaissance role, and as a base for self propelled artillery and anti tank weapons.
Tankograd has released a new volume on the Panzer II, covering development in detail of the all versions of the vehicle, changes in suspension and armor protection, upgrades in the armament and commander's hatch and engine, and information about where it was deployed. Production numbers are also included.
Text is covered in five pages, divided in two columns, with German on the left and English on the right. The text is carefully divided in sections with a bolt text header. The information is easy to follow and the descriptions are clear and concise.
The main portion of the book is the black and white photos. Many of these, as I understand, are from the personal files of the owner of Tankograd publishing. The photos were taken in both training scenarios and combat. There are good, clear photographs of the Panzer II from above, in side profile and at various frontal angles. The photographs give detail information about the variant depicted. The photographs are broken down by variant, as ausf. a, ausf. b, ausf. c/A/B/C (the largest section of photos), ausf. D/E/F and some specialized variants including flammpanzers, driving trainers and four photos of the Marder II and Wespe. There is one photo of the bruckenlegepanzer ausf. D/E in profile.
Of particular interest to modelers, and diorama specialists in particular, are photos of the Ausf. a and b tanks in Poland, including several knocked out in combat. Some are in two tone gray and brown paint schemes. Close up photos of the up-armored versions show armor thickness on the turret front.
There are also several knocked out c/A/B/C variants, some having suffered catastrophic damage. Many of the photos include clear images of the panzer I and III, as early war panzer units carried a mixture of tank types.
As a reference, especially for modelers, the book is invaluable. It includes not only detail photos of the vehicle but stowage and crew members. Considering recent releases from Dragon, Bronco, Tamiya and Tasca, the subject is well covered in plastic, and now, in photographs as well.