Sunday, January 31

Read n’ Reviewed: We go south to the Balkans with Panzerwrecks #19 - “Yugoslavia”

Issue nineteen of Panzerwrecks sees us travel to a land not stocked with Tigers and Panthers. A country filled with the weird and wonderful obscure tanks that we do not often see in these series – but would that make a page turner? Let’s see in our review of Panzerwrecks new title “Yugoslavia”

PANZERWRECKS 19: Yugoslavia
Authors:  Lee Archer & Bojan Dimitrijevic
No of Pages: 97
 151 B&W Photos
Size: 280 x 210mm Landscape format
price:  £16.99 (US $24.30)
ISBN: 978-1-908032-12-6

Where did the Yugoslav Army collect and overhaul captured German AFVs?
Panzers in Post War Yugoslavia

If you are unfamiliar with the “Panzerwrecks” series, then I reckon you must have been in a dark room until now. One of the best known and longest running series of still relevant military and model driven publications, this book is the nineteenth in this series that is famous for exactly what is in the title – panzers and WWII armour wrecked and left on the battlefield. #19 features a landscape format publication (280mm x 210mm) with a soft but very glossy cover. Filled with large format pictures – usually one shot to a page, but sometimes as many as five to a page. This is supplemented by text that sheds light on the scene and some of the more interesting points of the photos. A simple template often copied but the writing and shots in these books are hard to top for originality and quality of information inside the text. 
This book looks at covering the war (and some post war) in Yugoslavia, and it is made up of three main chapters or groups of similar photography topics.
Panzer Zug Wrecks
5.(verstärkte) Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie
Panzers in Post War Yugoslavia

Although this is the third time we have been to Yugoslavia in this book series so would there be enough here for an interesting read in a full book? Would the departure of William Auerbach – dearly missed comrade and co-author of this series in many books make the job harder for the publishers? What would guest author, Mr Bojan Dimitrijevic ‘s input be a worthy addition to the series? These are three questions I wanted to answer when I got this book.
The only way to know as to read the book and so on to what’s inside…

After a brief info we look at the late war period in Yugoslavia with the Partisans and their efforts to up-gun the French made Somua S35, several of these were captured from the German who borrowed them from the French. This modified tank met an unusual fate. This joined several other tanks that were left destroyed on the roadside and examined by the partisans. 
Some interesting pictures of captured German vehicles used or examined by both Partisans and The advancing soviets are also here, along with pictures of wrecked or broken down RSO/01’s which are always a favourite of this reader.
Several pictures of armoured trains in the theatre are next. Nearly all different types this will be a very good source of inspiration for those who like armoured trains and their variations and camo patterns.
We see a lot more of PZ ABT 202’s captured tanks over the next twenty or so pages. Little modifications of that unit pointed out and an interesting question about one of their overturned tanks is asked. We have several pictures of Russian soldiers, Partisans and civilians posing with destroyed “Beutpanzers” and German origin vehicles including the smallest armoured cars to several pictures of StuG’s. There is a really interesting set of pictures of German tankers posing as allied tankers waving at civilians during a retreat which is thought provoking!
Speaking of “Beutpanzers”, in the second main chapter which documents No.5.(verstärkte) Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie with some very good quality (and some in lesser of quality) shots of T-34’s used by the Germans near Trieste along with several other captured German tanks. Many of the shots in the book and especially here have a few pictures from a different angle of the same vehicle or the others from that unit captured in film at the same place.  Several shots of the mighty little Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzers with partisans posing are of note in this section.
We go post war now – with the Partisans in post war Yugoslavia and their armoured vehicles the focus. Several pages of parades with captured German AFV’s proceed some more pictures of the oddly named Jagdpanzer 38 “Ferdinand” in service post war. We then see many more large format pictures of vehicles of German origin on exercise. Interesting to see the modification and colours pointed out here. The text on some of the larger one-image pages was a little disjointed in its layout though.

As a point of interest so you know all of the vehicles listed in this book I grabbed them off the Panzerwrecks website – hold your breath..
Panther Ausf.G, Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G,Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F, Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N, Stug III Ausf.G, Pz.Kpfw.38 (t), Jagdpanzer 38, Sd.Kfz.9/2, Sd.Kfz.8, Sd.Kfz.7, sWS Sd.Kfz.10/5, 10cm GW (Train), Panzerägerwagen (Train), schwere Spah Zug (Train), Pz.Kpfw.T34 (r), Pz.Kpfw.35 S (f), Pz.Kpfw.35 S (f) with 6 pdr, Pz.Kpfw.38 H (f), Pz.Kpfw.35 R (f), gp.Muni-Schlepper 630 (f) modified, Pz.Kpfw.L3 (i), Pz.Kpfw.L6 (i), Pz.Kpfw.M14 (i), Pz.Kpfw.M15 (i), Stug L6 (i), Stug M41 (i), Pz.Sp.Wg.AB41 (i), gp.M.Trsp.Wg.S37 (i), gp.M.Trsp.Wg.FIAT 665 (i), Art.Sch.VA 601 (b), Croatian armoured train, Littorina Blindata Mod.42 (Train)
Post war vehicles were made from the scavenged parts of these: Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N, Stug III Ausf.G, Jagdpanzer 38, Pz.Kpfw.38 (t), Pz.Kpfw.II, Pz.Sp.Wg.AB41, Sd.Kfz.251, Sd.Kfz.251/21, Sd.Kfz.251/22, Sd.Kfz.9/2…. So there are a LOT of vehicles in there that you may not often see. Often not after the awar also which is always interesting to those “What if..” lovers out there. The vast variety of vehicles on display cannot be denied.
Lastly we see the workshops in Mladenovac where these captured German vehicles were modified after the war with row after row of all sorts of vehicles. I would think that seeing this that there may just be a fourth in the series of Yugoslavian books on the way. We even go right up to 1947 with Panzer 38T’s, Panzer IVs and other vehicles (called by their engine makers names Maybach IV’s etc) on exercises and being repaired in some very nice quality series of pictures.
Well I thought that there would be a huge mountain to climb and the team at Panzerwrecks seem to have done it. This book is the equal to any other books in the series I have read and indeed the unusual nature of the vehicles captured make it superior in some reader’s eyes.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Lee at Panzerwrecks for sending us this book to read and review