During the summer of 1944 a series of massive Soviet offensives threatened to destroy the entire German army on the Eastern Front. As the Wehrmacht scrambled to hold what ground it could many formations simply disappeared and the available armored units were used to plug the gaps in the front line. One of the most important elements of the defense was the newly raised IV.SS-Panzerkorps which contained the veteran Totenkopf and Wiking divisions. Although both were well equipped their real striking power lay in the battalion of Pzkpfw V Panther tanks with which each was outfitted, perhaps the most effective armored fighting vehicle produced by Germany during the Second World War.
In Dennis Oliver's latest volume in the TankCraft series, he uses archive photos and extensively researched color illustrations to examine the Panther battalions of these famous units that fought to hold back the Soviet advance during the last months of 1944. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeler needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks.
Dennis Oliver is the author of over twenty books on Second World War armored vehicles.
The Development and history of the Panther has been covered many times of in many publications so I will focus on this publication. This book was first published in 2021.
This is a one page history of the development and initial combat deployment of the Panther.
The Eastern Front 1944
Here a map of the Eastern front is provided along with a chronology of events from January 6, 1944 through December 27, 1944. A single paragraph of events for each date is included. There are six pages in this section.
IV. SS Panzerkorps Units
here we have historical and organizational information. Although the Germans were retreating from the Russian armed forces they could on ocaission put up a stiff defence to blunt the advances or cause signficant losses to the other side.
Camouflage and Markings
Ten pages of color plates are included in this section Depicting ausf A and G versions. Black and white period images are also included for details and markings. Scale modelers will appreciate this section.
A Panther Ausf A SS-Panzer Regiment 5 in 1/35th scale by Kevin Potts is featured first. Next Theodoros Kalamatas offers a 1/35 th scale Panther Ausf with PE zimmerit and winter white-wash, and a Bergepanther Ausf D. Stanislav Noskovic present a Panther Ausf A with zimmerit and a very nicely done tri-color camouflage scheme. This section has some very nice images of the completed models that will be quite inspirational for armor modelers. The text offers bare information on the models construction, detailing, aftermarket accessories or painting, but is still useful.
Plastic kits and available accessoris are noted in this section.
Technical Details and Modifications
The various modifications and upgrades to the Panther series are addressed in this section. Vehicle profiles are included with notes identifying the upgrades and modifications, along with period photos with text and notes showing the changes.
Product Contact Details
The last page offers a list of the various kit and accessories manufactures with addresses and websites information. Several of the names were new to me and I was sure to check them out.
My thanks to Casemate Publications for the opportunity to review this publication. There is a nice balance of modeling information, historical and technica facts to make for quick and enjoyable reading. This soft cover publication will offer a nice reference source for the armor modeler's library.