Panzer IV On The Battlefield 2

Published: June 11th, 2018     
Product Image
Cover of book
Reviewed by: 
Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Company: Casemate Publishing
ISBN #: 9786155583087
Price: $41.95
Product / Stock #: World War Two Photobook Series: Volume 16

Around 1970, Monogram Models released a "Panzer IV" kit in 1/32nd scale. There was no mention on the box top as to what version (Ausfuhrung) it was, simply that it was a Panzer IV "with 75mm gun". As military vehicle historians dug deeper into the history of German military vehicles from the Second World War period, they learned that the Panzer IV, for example, was produced in a series of "Ausfuhrung", or versions: Ausf. A, Ausf. B etc. Eventually, model firms figured this out too so that by the early/ mid-1970's, Italeri was producing kits such as their "German Tank Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf (H)" while Tamiya had their "Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H".

As historians dug deeper into the records, it was discovered that within a series run, changes on the tank manufacturing lines produced distinctive "Early" or "Initial" variants of the tank, together with "Mid" and "Late" production variants. Dragon Models seemed most into this sort of kit, with 2010 seeing, for example, the release of a "Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H Late Production". Or "Pz.Kpfw. IV Mid-Production Autumn '43". And some great books began to appear on the subject such as those from Thomas Jentz and Hilary Doyle in their "Panzer Tracts" series. Finally, it was figured out that not only were there differences within an Ausfuhrung production run such as "Early" and "Late", but there were also differences in vehicle fittings based on which manufacturing firm produced the vehicle. So, for example in the case of the Panzer IV, within the month of January 1944, there were three different firms producing the Panzer IV: Krupp, Vomag, and Nibelungenwerke. And each firm had their own little "tweaks" on the theme on any given day. Who would have guessed!

Craig Ellis is well known to WW2 German vehicle modelers as a meticulous researcher, and he seems to specialize on the Panzer IV. This is his second book on the Panzer IV in the "Peko Publishing" library, and it is a gem of a book. The book is printed on good quality paper, and the pages measure 11.5" by 8.25". The book starts off with a 3-page written Introduction to the Panzer IV, pointing out that the tank's production should sensibly be divided into two main stages, Kurz (short) and Lang (long), as in Panzer IV's main gun barrel length. Initially, the Panzer IV had a short barreled L24 75mm gun designed to fire high explosive shells in support of the infantry. And initially, the Panzer IV Kurz vehicles were very good at their job. However, with the invasion of Russia by German forces in 1941, the German military ran smack bang into Soviet army tanks with very thick armor and armed with more powerful main guns than previously experienced by the Germans. A change needed to be made to the Panzer IV's main armament to deal with this new threat. So, starting with the Panzer IV Ausf. G, a new more powerful weapon was deployed in the turret of the tank, a long-barreled L43 75mm gun, derived from the Pak40 anti-tank gun.

The Introduction then goes on to explain that there were three producers of the Ausf. G and follow on Ausf. H, those being Vomag, Nibelungenwerke and Krupp. A useful list of the main features present on each vehicle from each manufacturer is provided. The Panzer IV as a tank came close to cancelation during the production of the Ausf. H, but was saved thanks to the intervention of General Guderian, who became involved with Panzer production. As this occurred during late Ausf H production, there was also a handover from Krupp as the main Panzer IV manufacturer, to Nibelungen.

The guts of this book, however, is the 100 pages of black and white period photos. Each page is limited to one photo, the photos being very large at 10.25 inches by 6.25 inches in size. For the most part, these are well reproduced, and under each photo is a detailed description of what the vehicle represents, in terms of Ausfuhrung as well as the vehicle's manufacturer, and any identifying features that make this so. The photos are new to me and come from various private collections. All the photos are of long barreled Panzer IV's, and there is a great variety from blown to bits, to fully intact.

If you have a strong interest in WW2 German tanks as I do and knowing the importance of the Panzer IV (the only Panzer to see continuous production during the war), then this book is a gem definitely worth having for your reference library. Great photos, well produced, and expertly captioned: what's not to like? HIGHLY recommended, period. My thanks to Casemate Publishing for providing this book for IPMS USA to review. Casemate has been a supporter of the IPMS USA National Convention the past many years by having vendor tables at the event, including this year in Phoenix.

  • Sample page from book
    Sample page from book
  • Sample page from book
    Sample page from book
  • Sample page from book
    Sample page from book

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
homepagelink