According to Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law describes the action of warfare as well, and so when the Allies introduced the revolutionary “tank” onto the battlefields of Western Europe in 1916, the opposing German forces quickly attempted to blunt the tank with the introduction of anti-tank weapons together with dedicated anti-tank units, known as Panzerjagertruppe. During the Second World War the anti-tank units were known as Panzerjager, or “Tank Hunters”, a separate arm of the Wehrmacht dedicated to the destruction of enemy tank forces. These troops utilized a wide variety of weapons, from man portable items such as anti-tank rifles, to towed artillery pieces such as the 3.7cm PaK and 8.8cm Flak 18, and self-propelled weapons such as the Panzerjager 1.
Thomas Anderson is a well known expert on Second World War German AFVs, and has published many books on this subject. He is also a modeler, with numerous published articles over the years. With this new book he publishes the first volume of a primer on the history of the Panzerjager troops and their weapons, starting with their genesis in World War One, and moving on to the interwar years. He then covers German participation in the Spanish Civil War, which allowed for the testing of weapons and tactics in actual combat scenarios. These tactics and weapons were then utilized first in the Battle of Poland in 1939, and then in the Battle of France in 1940. Analysis of the battles from these two campaigns identified the urgent requirement for more self-propelled guns as opposed to the towed (by horse or vehicle) units from Poland and France, and also weapons of a heavier caliber. The need for heavier caliber weapons was amplified when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and ran smack bang into well armored tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1.
Anderson’s Panzerjager book is 300 pages in length, with the pages measuring 9.5” by 7”, and is divided into the following chapters:
- Introduction: Pages 6 - 15
- Chapter 1: The Interwar Years Pgs. 16 - 53
- Chapter 2: Spanish Civil War Pgs. 54 - 59
- Chapter 3: Early Heavy AT Weapons Pgs. 60 - 73
- Chapter 4: Poland Pgs. 74 - 89
- Chapter 5: France Pgs. 90 - 131
- Chapter 6: Preparing for Seelowe Pgs. 132 - 137
- Chapter 7: Close-combat Weapons Pgs. 138 - 149
- Chapter 8: Technical Changes Pgs. 150 - 165
- Chapter 9: Preparations for Russia Pgs. 166 - 191
- Chapter 10: North Africa Pgs. 192 - 213
- Chapter 11: The Invasion of Crete Pgs. 214 - 225
- Chapter 12: The Invasion of Russia Pgs. 226 - 299
Each chapter consists of a well written text supplemented with numerous period photographs as well as diagrams covering unit makeup, etc. The quality of the paper used in the book is good, with the photos being generally well produced.
For someone like myself who was not familiar with the history of German anti-tank development, unit organization, and tactics, this book proved very enlightening. If you have an interest in the subject, but not a great deal of knowledge, then I can highly recommend getting this book for your reference library.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for allowing me to review this book on behalf of the members of IPMS USA.