Wednesday, July 2

Review: Panther on the Battlefield from PEKO Publishing…

In today’s news we review PeKo Publishing’s latest full page pictorial on the mighty Panthers of the German armed forces in WWII… Much favored by modellers the Panther takes centre stage with lots of pictures and info in this title. Let's take a look.
World War Two Photobook Series Vol.6
PeKo Publishing
Hardcover: 112 pages with full page photos
Languages: Dual English /Hungarian
Hardcover landscape 12 x 8.5 inches
ISBN-10: 9638962356
Available directly from PeKo Publishing directly

In the world of military publishing there is a distinct section of books that is spearheaded by the likes of the “Pazerwrecks” series of books and indeed this set from Peko publishing – devoted to large format images of WWII vehicles with well thought out captions on each telling us of the history of the photo, vehicle and the setting. It is a solid template that usually provides a lot of inspiration for modellers and historians alike. This new book from Peko Publishing has followed the earlier books in this series in format. We always look forward to seeing new volumes – especially on new vehicles in the series, and that’s what we have here today.
PeKo Publishing has this time focused on the very popular Panzerkampfwagen V (Sd.Kfz. 171.) ….or better known as the Panther on the Battlefields of WWII. This book takes a look at the Panther marques Ausf.D, A & G in German service. It serves as a pictorial guide for modellers and buffs to better identify which Panther you are looking at in a picture.

Physically this book is a hardcover with a glossy finish in an A4 (11.6 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches) landscape format. Each page has one picture on each with a deft description in precise detail of the type of vehicle marque, the series and production factory quite often along with any vehicle details that you may or may not for the most part noticed “this Panther has mostly 16 bolt road wheels with one 24 bolt wheel” that type of thing – but it really did draw my eye to the detail of each and it does open your mind to making your model a little different.
First up there are two full pages in English/Hungarian citing the development of the panther in model makes and which factory made which vehicle type. This really sets us up as a preface to better understanding the precise detail explained in the captions later in the book.

The pictures of this book really are what we want to see, and the black and white stock in this book is in good focus, varied in location and the subject’s condition and for the most part looking very much like an interesting set of dioramas you may see on a national competition table.
There are 102 full page pictures from the wartime archives – many not seen before of the Panther in service and as a destroyed wreck on operations. Not just from the German perspective but from her enemies as well. Peter Kosics always does a great job with producing these books and he has overseen along with some involvement from Lee Archer from Panzerwrecks in the development of this book. The author Peter Barnaky’s collaboration in words and pictures with these people is a winner in my eyes. The book is easy to read and has a real pick-up, put-down ease about it. It is one of those books you can just leaf through to get inspiration.

The book takes us through the early Panther D’s (why they are made out of alphabetical order always frustrated me) notes of smoke dischargers, tool layouts and communication ports along with  the slit shaped slit mounting and sliding front hatches. A Panther D that was used as a test bed vehicle by the yanks is pictured in a series of photos which is common in these titles and volume, firstly it was seen being unloaded from a dragon wagon, then as a target and then totally destroyed – what a shame!
Next we see (of course) the Panther A model. The author carefully notes in each picture the difference of this type, with new commander turret the deleted pistol/ communication ports and loader hatch on the turret with 16 or 24 bolts on the roadwheels. The panthers here are seen in a variety of locations from Russia to Italy. Again there are several individual shots and a great series of panthers along with some other panzers wrecked or deserted in the carnage of France near the D-Day beaches. The Panther A’s in this section feature a lot of Zimmerit of different patterns (also included on many G models here) - and many vehicle specific additions of extra bits and camouflage.
My favourite in the series is the Panther G model. Just the fact of having the circular MG position on the glacis and the higher turret ring often with an AA MG mounted on it – it kind of looks more business-like, and this is the marque that features in the book next. 
The evolution of the panther into the G model, the changing of vehicle numbering to confuse the enemy, the disk and the ambush along with the MAN camouflage pattern are featured. Also there are several pictures of the command version of the Panther along with more than a few pictures in this part of panther abandoned or with a G.I. standing close to their wrecked skeleton.

We have already heard that the next in this series features the Tiger I – but this book I feel features something just as popular for modellers. The Panther has a real soft spot for many Axis loving model makers and historical buffs who highly rate the tank. The pictures and detailed description of this vehicle in each of the shots serve as a great modelling motivator and a lovely casual bit of reading for the armchair general.

This book is a long awaited and valuable addition to the series that I am sure will sell very well.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Peko Publishing for sending us this book to read and review - you can get the book from Peko directly via email ..and to keep up with news look at their Facebook page at this link