Panzer III - German Army Light Tank: Operation Barbarossa 1941

Published on
March 15, 2021
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dennis Oliver
Other Publication Information
Portrait Square-Back Soft Cover; 8.25” x 11.75”, 64 pages
Product / Stock #
Tank Craft #27
Company: Pen & Sword - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site

The origin of Pen and Sword Books is closely linked with its sister company, the Barnsley Chronicle; one of the UK's oldest provincial newspapers – established in 1858 – and one of the few weeklies still in private ownership. The first books published by the company were in response to public demand following a series of articles published in the newspaper. Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks told the story of crash sites in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, and a further weekly feature on the history of two Kitchener battalions, known as the Barnsley Pals, aroused a thirst for more information. Following on from the success of Dark Peak Wrecks and Barnsley Pals books, a number of local history paperbacks were produced along with a series of battlefield guide books. Battleground Europe proved immediately successful and as more and more titles were produced the company made the decision to launch a book publishing arm of the group. The company acquired the Leo Cooper military history imprint and "Pen and Sword" was born. Leo Cooper, the husband of the famous novelist Jilly, had established a strong reputation for publishing military history titles and had some famous books in his list. With the Leo Cooper imprint and its backlist, Pen and Sword became established as one of the UK's leading military history publishers. With over 350 books published every year, Pen and Sword has established itself as a specialist book publisher.

Dennis Oliver has authored twenty books in the Tank Craft series for Pen & Sword as well as more than nine additional titles, all Second World War armored vehicles.

Pen and Sword Books’ 27th entry in this Tank Craft series is a square back soft cover includes 64 gloss paper pages. The cover features Sungjun Jang’s 1/35 Panzer III Ausf H submersible tank (more photos are found on page 36) on top. The color side profile of the Panzer III Ausf G (also found on Page 19) is on the bottom. The three black and white photographs in the center are of Panzer IIIs in the early stage of Operation Barbarossa, a Panzer III Ausf J, and a submersible Panzer III preparing to enter a stream. The rear cover (top to bottom) features a black and white photograph of a Panzer III Ausf J in late 1941; A Dragon 1/35 Panzer III Ausf H fitted with E.T. Model photoetch; a color photograph of a Panzer III Ausf H fording a river in a training exercise; and a color side profile of a Panzer III Ausf H (also found on page 26). I counted 98 color pictures and 59 black and white photographs. There are also 24 color illustrations, primarily side profiles, and plenty of supporting scrap views to highlight markings.

The Tank Craft series is targeted at armor builders providing period development and service photographs along with color side profiles of selected tanks in the monograph. This monograph focuses on the German Panzer III during Operation Barbarossa of 1941. Dennis Oliver kicks it off with a brief overview of the Panzer III that was the backbone of the German tank divisions early in World War II. Each Panzer unit is addressed utilizing Panzer IIIs is described from its unit formation to the end of 1941. The color profiles are well captioned and many of them accompany an actual photograph of the profile subject. Other profiles include additional color scrap illustrations detailing the Panzer III markings. Six excellent models, all in color, show off what can be done with the current models available. A short description of all current Panzer III models and detail accessories follows next. The final chapter addresses each version of the Panzer II and includes detail photographs of the changes of all the major variants. The sections include:

  • Introduction
  • The Eastern Front 1941
    • Eastern Europe Map – Late 1939
    • Timeline: 21-June-1941 to 2-December-1941
    • German Panzer Units in the East, June 1941
  • The Panzer III Units
    • Panzer-Regiment, 1941
    • 1.Panzer-Division
    • 2.Panzer-Division [Page 14]
    • 3.Panzer-Division
    • 4.Panzer-Division
    • 5.Panzer-Division
    • 9.Panzer-Division
    • 10.Panzer-Division
    • 11.Panzer-Division
    • 13.Panzer-Division
    • 14.Panzer-Division
    • 16.Panzer-Division
    • 17.Panzer-Division
    • 18.Panzer-Division
    • Panzer-Regiment 203
    • Panzer-Abteilung (F1) 100
    • Panzer-Abteilung (F1) 101
    • Panzer-Abteilung zbV 40
  • Camouflage & Markings [Page 24]
  • Model Showcase
    • Tamiya 1/35 Pzkpfw III Ausf G by Mike Tipping
    • Tamiya 1/35 Pzkpfw III Ausf J by Masahiro Doi
    • Tamiya 1/48 Pzkpfw III Ausf J by Masahiro Doi
    • Dragon 1/35 Pzkpfw III Ausf H Tauchpanzer by Sungjun Jang [Page 38]
    • Dragon 1/35 Pzkpfw III Ausf F by Sungjun Jang
    • Bronco 1/35 Pzkpfw III Ausf A by Sungjun Jang
  • Modelling Products
    • Summary
    • Tamiya Inc.
    • Dragon Models Ltd
    • Brach Model
    • Miniart
    • Attack Hobby Kits
    • First To Fight
    • Milicast Models
    • Voyager Model
    • Aber
    • RB Model
    • Eduard Model Accessories
    • E.T. Model
    • Panzer Art
    • Black Dog
    • Aftermarket Tracks [Page 48]
  • Technical Details and Modifications
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf A
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf B
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf C
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf D
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf E
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf F
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf G [Page 61]
    • The Umbewaffnung Programme
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf H
    • Pzkpfw III Ausf J
    • Tauchpanzer III
  • Product Contact List
  • Acknowledgements

I am currently finishing up a Miniart Panzer III Ausf B and have started up a second Ausf B. Although this variant is not a focus of this tome. I found it quite interesting to see the detail in photographs and the description of changes as the Panzer III evolved to its final form (see Page 61 for an example).

Dennis Oliver has done many volumes in the Pen & Sword’s Tank Craft series and has more of these monographs on the way. I was able to read this easily over three nights. The modeler is well served as there is a good ratio of action and detail photographs of the Panzer III. If you are looking to build any of the Panzer IIIs, especially the late models, this is a handy reference book. My thanks to Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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