Sunday, December 31

Read n' Reviewed: Panzerjäger on the Battlefield from Peko Publishing

Today we relay our thoughts to you of the contents of Peko Publishing’s fifteenth edition of the “On the Battlefield” series. This book features the big guns of the German tank destroyers of WWII, starting from the smallest tanks with big guns and then moving into the bigger tanks with even bigger guns. See what we thought after we read the book in our review…

Read n' Reviewed: Panzerjäger on the Battlefield (Vol 15)
from Peko Publishing
Author: Jon Feentsra
ISBN: 978-615-5583-07-0
Language: Dual English/ Hungarian Publication
No of Photos: 105
No of Pages: 110
Physical: Hardcover, 300x215mm, landscape
Price €28.95 at the Product Link

Fifteen books into this series of “On the Battlefield” book from Peko Publishing, and this time we see not a single vehicle and subtypes, but several of the German forces tank destroyers on the battlefield in a kind of compilation. We see a variety of tank destroyers, from the tiny Jägers, fielded in the early war to the monsters of the end of the Third Reich in 1944.

The author of This book, Mr Jon Feenstra, has enlisted the help of several well-known experts in the field to write the stories behind the pictures that were supplied by the series editor Peter Kocsis. The pictures in this book are previously unknown to me, and I am not sure if they are all unpublished, but I know that this is something the publishers look for in their books.

The book is in the usual, trusted format of this series, a glossy black and white hardcover in landscape format of 300mm W x 215mm H dimensions. This time with one hundred and twelve pages with nearly every page dominated by a large wide format picture with dual English and Hungarian text on each page describing the scene in front of you, time and place o the scene and the particulars of the vehicle, often shedding light on some things you might not notice until you look twice.
Before we get into the real meat of the book in the form of pictures and text to support it, we have a dual introduction into the book’s subjects in Hungarian and also in English. It sets the scene for you to better understand the tanks that are coming in the book’s following pages. The Panzer Jager I, PZ.SFL 7.62mm & PZ.SFL2, the Marder II & Marder III Ausf. H, the Marder III Ausf. M & Hornisse/ Nashorn. The Ferdinand / Elefant and lastly the Sturmgeschutz are all introduced to us as an appetiser before the real “action” starts.
Seeing that these vehicles are featured separately from each other, and not really broken up into chapters, I will follow the book chapter by chapter now and these aforementioned vehicles will be the titles of each of these “unofficial” chapter parts of the book.
The first part of the book, a sum of twenty-one pages features the very early war Panzer Jager I. Pictures of this tiny Panzer in the early war years, not always identified where, are shown with text that describes what is happening and the particulars of each tank. The differences between the series one and series two tank destroyers are pointed out along with different and individual tank’s markings featuring town names and lots of other tip-offs.

In a natural progression, we start looking at the PZ.SFL 7.62mm Pak 36 & PZ.SFL2 Pak 36 in the next part of the book. This larger vehicle is still an infant in the world of WWII tank destroyers, and the author describes this short-lived pair of TD’s over only six nicely illustrated pages.

The popular Marder II & Marder III Ausf.H are next to be shown. These two variants take up ten pages of this rather good (conventional) looking vehicle. The Marder II was used a lot in some of the battles after France, and snowy and muddy climes would suggest some of these are in Russia. The crews around the tanks give a good idea of not only scale, but of the uniforms and crew attire of that period also.
Page forty already and we are looking at the Marder III. The author explains the differences between the series 1, 2 and 3 in this line along with lots of interesting pictures of this (I think ugly but interesting) tank destroyer in action, travelling and at rest in many different climates and conditions.
By page fifty-three we are looking at the prettier looking Marder Ausf.H. It does look a little more capable by this marque. The climates and surroundings of the book seem to be changing as the war moves theatres from Russian to France, Tunisia and Italy. We are progressing into the Marder III Ausf.M on page sixty-three, with lots of pictures of this vehicle over the next ten pages. The longer nosed vehicle is looking more and more potent as time goes on. The pictures and text are just as helpful in identifying interesting notes and pointing out that an MP-40 actually did hang off the side of at least ONE tank destroyer in WWII. 😄
Bigger tanks with even bigger guns, at page seventy-two we see the  Hornisse with the 88mm come into the pages of the book. The author explains when the name was changed to "Nashorn" and shows the details of the vehicle over the next seven pages of interesting images.
 The Sturmgeschütz III is next over seven pages, there are several different versions of the Stug III here in a short space with two from the same unit showing the small differences in a unit. The Stug IV is fast on the heels of this, with another seven pages showing a lot of these tanks either hiding or blown apart or partially wrecked or immobilized. The tide of the war really has changed as you can see by the pictures of these tanks and the changes in the atmosphere of the photos being taken as the war, and the book progresses.
 You can't get bigger than an Elefant right? Well, we net go really big with the last ten pages. We see this version and the latter titled Ferdinand in transportation, looking pristine from many angles, at the front-loaded with gear, and in the last three pages immobilized or abandoned. A fitting end to the book I think.
Ok, so what do we think?

When weighed up against the others in this series it is the same, but a little different in its premise. The others in this series mostly deal with one particular vehicle, and follow it through the developments and marques. This one jumps from one vehicle to another. a little more like the Panzer Wrecks series does.

This isn't bad but the one thing that this series did have that was a selling point was that we looked extensively at this one vehicles through the whole war. In this book and in this review I noticed I was counting pages for you to show you what is where and in how many pages.

General fans will love the book. Tank destroyer fans will too, those looking for something deep are only going to be visually impressed, but that is the other selling point, those great photos and the short, concise text to support them. I do like the one-subject-to-a-book approach better, this is still pretty darn good for modelling inspiration...

Adam Norenberg

This book is available for €25.00 at the Product Link on the Peko Publishing website - Thanks to them for sending this book to us to read and review...