Tuesday, September 10

We review Squadron/Signal’s PZ. KPFW.38(T) variations “In Action”

Captured and put to good use by the Germans and their allies in WWII – the Panzer 38t tanks and the chassis that bore them proved to be the equal of their homegrown brothers in service. Now Squadron has captured a bunch of the 38t variants in their latest “In Action" book on this hull and her incarnations. See what we think about it in our review..

Published by Squadron/Signal
Charles K. Kliment. –
80 pages
Landscape soft/hardcover
 186+ photographs, line drawings and colour profiles;.
Available from Squadron Directly

I am in the process of modelling the 16th scale Panzer 38(t) from Panda hobby. I have looked around and I have often came up against the very same pictures fo this interesting little tank ( the kit you are working on is always suddenly interesting it seems) and so when I saw this new book from Squadron/Signal Publications from their “In Action” series on the LT vz.38 or 'Light Tank model 38' as called by its Czechoslovak manufacturers before World War II I was very interested.

Physically it follows the trend set by it’s brethren in the series – a landscape type book with either a soft or hard cover ( ours is a softcover) and it is 80 pages long – in English packed with over one hundred and eighty pictures and colour profiles as well as some line drawings of the vehicles to boot.
Being an “In action” book from the series we do look at the service life of the vehicles that used the 38t chassis – from the most famous light tank PZ 38(t), through to the Marder, the Grille, the FLAK 38t and the small but deadly Jagdpanzer 38 'Hetzer. However the book starts off describing the origins of the chassis and the original vehicles it was used on – some going to Iran, Sweden, Switzerland and even as far afoot as Peru. The German invaders of Czechoslovakia saw the potential in this excellent base and soon got to use the 38t as an apt (and sometimes preferred replacement to their homegrown panzers.

The book is full of Pz.Kpfw.38(t) light tanks in service in Poland, France and Soviet Russia during the Blitzkrieg and after. There are some great shots of this tank in all types of conditions from factory fresh to wounded and destroyed in battle. With different load outs shown this was a great help to my research on the vehicle. Unfortunately this part of the book ended too fast for me. There was one colour profile of this tank and to me it could have filled a whole book.
We do see the book in allied/captured service as well, and in companion s t the text there are several comparison charts spread through the book showing performance of the different variants of this tank in comparison to each other.

 The chassis was later adapted by the necessities of war for heavier guns to be used as a basis for tank hunters, self-propelled artillery. There are a lot of pages dedicated to the Marder and GRILLE assault guns. These top heavy and ungainly looking tanks are captured in some detail by the authors in well written text as well as their photo collections.  You can see the basis of this chassis adapt and evolve – especially in very late war pics of the chassis in the reconnaissance version that never saw service, the Vollkettenaufklarer 38(t) Kätzchen (Kitten).
There is a short section on the camo and making of these vehicles and how it changed during the war then onto my second favorite the Jagdpanzer 38(t) (Sd.Kfz. 138/2), later known as Hetzer ("baiter")
 Most of the shots fo this I have seen before as I have researched this kit for several projects but there were a few shots I had not yet seen. Especially nice to see was the Hetzer compared with an SPG and the Jagdpanther! Several shots of this tank captured and damaged in battle are nonetheless great for your archive on this machine. All of the Hetzer development is captured here with not common variants explained as well.
There are also several colour profiles of the Hetzer in the book. I would have liked a few more especially of the 38(t) light tank but there is only one – along with the grille and Marder one each.  The one thing I thought could be changed about this book is the length. There is enough potential for three books here – the light tank, Hetzer and other variants. It is a shame that it was banged together in only 80 pages in a way.

I suppose if not enough pages is my only complaint I don’t have it that bad – there is more than enough for the casual historian and modeler with lots of inspiration for your builds in these pictures I liked this book a lot – bring on Volume II ! (if only)

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Squadron/Signal for sending this book for us to read and review