Friday, January 1

Read n' Reviewed: Panzer IV on the battlefield from Peko Publishing

PeKo Publishing has the mighty Panzerkampfwagen IV as its latest focus – and we think that a book on the main tank of the Axis is much deserved and hopefully worth the wait – Let’s see a few of the pages and what’s promised in this – Volume 10 of the popular series from the Hungarian publishers…
Read n' Reviewed:
Panzer IV on the battlefield
World War Two Photobook Series Vol.10
PeKo Publishing
Author: Craig Ellis
Languages: Dual English /Hungarian
Hardcover landscape 12 x 8.5 inches
Pages: 112 / No of Photos: 105
ISBN:  978-615-80072-1-4
Available by email directly from PeKo Publishing directly

The new book in the “World War Two Photobook Series” from Peko publishing is the tenth in the series – we have reviewed them all (I think) here on TMN and they are always right up there in quality of Photos, content and writing. We have high hopes for these books when announced and look forward to reading them when they arrive so we dived right into this issue. It features the workhorse of the Panzerwaffe – the Panzer IV on the Battlefields of WWII.
PeKo Publishing has this time focused on the very popular Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz.161.) This book takes a look at the Panzer IV marques (Ausf’s) 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. There are 112 full-page pictures from the wartime archives – many not seen before of the Panzer IV in service which is good. Several are part of a series of shots that further teach you more about the scene the vehicle is shot in.

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 series of books see each landscape format book filled with picture-to-a-page large format images of WWII vehicles and they included interesting cations for each picture in both English and Hungarian languages (the Publisher’s nationality) 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. A good thing as we like the others so far.

The author has confessed to searching (trolling?) the internet daily for information on his interests and with the help of a few noted contributors like Stefan De Meyer, the people of the Archive of Modern Conflict and series “Godfather” Peter Kocsis and it shows in his texts that he knows his stuff.
First up there are two full pages in English/Hungarian citing the development of the Panzer IV in its development and which factory made which vehicle type. This text in introduction gives a nice overview sets us up as a preface to better understanding the precise detail of each vehicle explained in the captions later in the book.

While the introduction is great, it is 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, (apart from a few blurred ones that somehow made the cut) and mostly from the viewpoint of the Germans as well as their counterparts in the case of some busted and wrecked tanks. They are both varied in location and the subject’s condition and for the most part looks very much like an interesting set of dioramas you may see on a national modelling competition table.
We start by looking at the early Panzer IV’s. The Ausf A,B,C &D’s in the “Blitzkrieg” in Poland and the race to the channel coast. These early dark grey Panzers with their snub gun and high cupola are distinctive and a lot of these shots are taken from German stock showing the tanks at rest, between battles. Lucky for us we are told on most pages what the sometimes very slight differences are between these early versions of the tank. Often you would have no idea unless someone in the know like the author told you so.
Mid war sees us looking at up-armoured Auf.E’s on the eastern front. We see them broken down on the road and in snow bogged in and immobilized, and the scope of the fighting of this time of the war is shown by four pages that go from Ausf.F’s in the snow whitewashed to the same types in the desert in North Africa. That is the end of the earlier short barrelled variants.
We go straight into the Ausf.G model with its immediately noticeably longer barrelled gun, these are a much more common to our eyes as it became more of a tank killer than an infantry support weapon. We still see this variant with applique armour placed on top as self-defence in several pictures.

Most of these shots of the G model Panzer IV are taken on the eastern front in snow, mud and disrepair whilst some are captured in the desert as well. We start to see the add-on sheets of armour the Schürzen that we also associate the later Panzer IV’s with. There are many shots of different types of turret and hull armour displayed in the pages in the mid-section of this book. The shot below is just an example of this in service in some pretty good pictures.
Several series of shots are in this section of the book which enables you to learn a lot more about the same vehicle and give you a view from a different perspective. The shots of these H models in Italy is interesting as we are seeing much more camo on these tanks as the allied air-superiority took hold. We see the Zimmerit on vehicles also in some great shots that show the vehicles (and their crews) up close.
Although there are many shots like the ones below of the late-war Panzer IV’s surrounded by their enemy blown up, there are just as many shots of them with German crews in action. This is pretty rare for late war pictures and it’s good that we just don’t see all of the late tanks wrecked with a GI standing on top of them.
Well, number ten hey? Who would have thought that in a pretty congested market like we have that a new(ish) publisher could do ten volumes and keep it looking fresh? Well PEKO keep on doing it. This is a great book that I learnt a lot from and it was a pleasure to read. My compliments to the author and publisher – keep them coming like this!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to PEKO for sending this book to us to read and review - This book and the rest in this series are available at this link or their website Peko Publishing