Saturday, November 12

Read n' Reviewed: PeKo Publishing's "Panther on the Battlefield II"

It's usually a good day when we get one of PeKo Publishings books in the mail – and this one looks pretty promising. We have already reviewed their first edition of "on the Battlefield" series about the Panther tank, now we have number II in our hands, we thought we would read it and let you know what's inside in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: Panther on the Battlefield II
World War Two Photobook Series Vol.11
Published by PeKo Publishing
Written by Péter Barnaky
Hardcover: 112 pages – most with full page photos
Languages: Dual English /Hungarian
Hardcover landscape 12 x 8.5 inches
ISBN: 9786158007290
Price: €28.95
Available directly from PeKo Publishing directly

PeKo Publishing has already released a book on the Panther. This version is the second series, (we reviewed the first book a while ago) that again focusses on all of the variants of the very popular Panzerkampfwagen V or Sd.Kfz. 171, better known to us all as the Panther. This second book aims to bring us more exclusive or rarely published books of the Panther on the Battlefields of WWII. This book takes a look at the Panther marques Ausf.D, A & G in German service. It is advertised as a pictorial guide for modellers and history/ tank/ Panther buffs to better identify which Panther you are looking at in a picture.
The same format is adopted for this book as the other ten in this series. Again 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 of this book is also of a familiar but welcome format, the one-picture-to-a-page with a large photo format. The text at the bottom of these pictures is in English & Hungarian, and it is meant to help the reader find details about what they are looking at , the vehicle's manufacturer and where the vehicle was pictured.
The author Péter Barnaky, often draws the reader's attention to certain items that they might have missed out on if not informed in this text, including specific batch and factory construction detail that only an expert on these tanks might only know. If you did know many of these details it is great for backup from a passionate source on the Panther.

Now we know the format and physicalities of this book, let's look at what is in this volume in a walk through...

First up there are two full pages in English/Hungarian citing the makeup of the panther tanks in their units. This text is a little shorter than I would have liked, and concentrates on which units were assigned the Panther until the war in Europe ended in 1944. Not really anything about the panther, just who go them, and a little about the "fire brigades" set up to combat sudden enemy aggressions. A little more about these tanks is mentioned in the first volume of this series, and it would be nice for the people who only have this one volume.
We start into the main part of the book with a study of the Panther D model. Several pages of this type, from fresh in the factory to stuck in ditches on the side of the road to burnt out are shown, along with helpful text telling you where and how the photos of the vehicle was captured in that setting. The small details the author picks out in the text to further shine a light on, and strengthen your knowledge of what details fit which marque of Panther are right through this book, and they are very helpful.
Pictures in a series are a highlight in this book they give you more angles to ponder if you use one of the scenarios in the book for a diorama. We see lots of photos that illustrate the use of Zimmerit and the differences of how it was applied in the field on to different vehicles. Although a lot of the pictures of these tanks see them in need of repair, some are from Russian sources as "war trophies" as well. 
Even "movie stars" like this one which was used in a film released straight after the war are included.
We then switch models to look at the Panther "A" model. The differences in this model and in each vehicle in these pictures are again deftly pointed out subtly by our author along the way. Especially present here in these pictures are the early Panther A's without the ball mounted MG on the front of the tank. I had not realised some were made without this feature.
There are some really beaten up Panthers in this lot, of course with perfectly working types and those that have soldiers working on or around them, the pictures seem to jump all around into different theatres and we see Normandy, western European, Italian and Russian front veterans all in here.

The last third of the book features Panther G's in active and not so active service. Every now and again we see a really clear shot like the one below – these pictures are about 70 years old now, and the clarity of some of them really is top class. In fact, there are no really bad shots in here that you might see in other books. The quality of the research and the hunt for the best pictures must have been exhausting.
One thing I noticed in this issue was the (sometimes) lack of explanatory text to accompany the photos. Although some of the evidence brought to the eye is really astounding, there seems to be jus that little less text in this volume. A minor point but it is what I have noticed in this volume.
All in all,though this is another great book in this series. The breadth of scope in theatres of war, the difference in the condition of the tanks seen here and the space around them, snow, forest, plains and cities, means that there is something in here for anyone hunting for a diorama scenario.

The pictures, insight and general feel of this book match the other ten in this series quite well, we wonder how they keep doing it – plenty of work we guess! Great work on this volume – now get back to it for Volume 12!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to PeKo Publishing for sending this book out to us to read and review. You can now order these books directly from the PeKo website which is great – they have a cart system now so no need to email, just add what you like to your cart and off you go.