Tuesday, March 29

Read n' reviewed: WWII photobook series Vol. 23 – Panzerwaffe on the battlefield 3 from PeKo Publishing.

Volume 23(!) of the "On the battlefield" series from PeKo Publishing hits the shelves recently. We spent the best part of today reading the book, and thought it pertinent to give you our impressions of the contents, photographs and text in our review...

Read n' reviewed: WWII photobook series Vol. 23 – Panzerwaffe on the battlefield 3,  
From PeKo Publishing
Author: Péter Barnaky
Hungarian-English languages
Binding: Hardcover
112 Pages
Weight: 750g
ISBN: 9786155583674
Price: €28.95 €25.00
PeKo Publishing's new book "Panzerwaffe on the Battlefield Vol.3" is authored by Péter Barnaky, and it is the is twenty-third in the series of popular "On the Battlefield" books from this publisher. Following the same format offered by the previous books in this series, this might be familiar to a lot of readers, but it is packed with all-new content and subjects. We will take you through it page by page in our review, but first, a brief description of the package and layout of the book...

The book in its physical form:
This book is a hardcover, landscape publication filled with large format black and white photographs throughout. The dual English and Hungarian language text are printed below each of the photos and in the block pages of the introduction. The photos are said by the publishers to be unpublished photographs and of the highest quality, and for the most part, that is true. We will look at this later on in the review. The package is of the usual high standard, and with a beautiful cover image that could start one hundred dioramas. We are off to a good start.
Page by page:
The book’s brief introduction in block Hungarian and English dual text is followed by a vaguely historical timeline of the Panzerwaffe during World War Two covering the entire war from 1939 to 1945 in all theatres. The large-format full-sized page photographs, are again accompanied by the dual language text. This text is never more than a paragraph, and often, because the author (and this team's contributions) are very insightful for the reader.

The tanks, self-propelled buns and AFVs in this book start small and end up a lot bigger, for the most part, starting with Panzer I & II's, beginning in the Polish campaign in various types, even the rare Flammpanzers on a train to Russia during the Barbarossa campaign. 
The popular Pz II Ausf L "Luchs" is also featured in several photographs with the accompanying text describing every photo. Some of these photos are very well known to this reader, so I did look at every photo after this to see if I had seen it before or not. The Panzer III is the next vehicle featured. A large section of eight pages showing a panzer repair depot on the eastern front with several short-barrelled H, F & J panzer III's amongst field guns and other machines.
The repair stations and tanks being recovered are always good for diorama ideas, and this book has many scenes just like this, with cranes and men at work. Other shots, with a heavily armoured Panzer III covered with extra tracks and a road bike on the side deck, tanks on transporters are a great insight into the lives of tankers and their mounts. The Panzer III Ausf G's with their longer barrels are featured as we go forward in the development of the type.
The Panzer II is featured next, with a series of pages dedicated to the Wehrmacht's main workhorse during the war. Starting with the short-barrelled Ausf. C, E and F's in various stages of repair, destroyed and being recovered, often in the harsh winter conditions of the eastern front. The long-barrelled Ausf. G's Panzer IV's with five great pages of this type in all weather conditions, with side skirts and zimmerit, in both captured, operational and stationary shots. The text, as always, describes each of the tanks in just enough detail to keep the reader interested, but not bogged down.
Panthers are next, with the whole production series shown, starting at Panther D's, to A's to the Ausf.G model in various guises and again described in detailed text. There are a few photos of what could be the same Panther that could make for a great reference. We also see a lot of the men that crew and capture these tanks in these shots.
The Tiger I is shown in six pages, with the early through late versions shown in both warm and bitterly cold climates. You can see the cold through these photos. Changes of the types are noted, with detail pointed out by the author. As with the Luchs earlier in the book, we do fluctuate a little in the timeline of the book. The title now progresses through to an earlier time with Panzer 38(t) in several pages during the heyday of Barbarossa. The Shorter barrelled StuG III's also feature, with one Ausf.B here in 1941 before we go straight into the long-barrelled Ausf.G models that seem to the be the modelling zeitgeist now.
Tank destroyers are solidly the focus of this part of the book, the smaller Marder II & III's give way to the Jagpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" next. These make way for the very much larger king of the tigers, the Jagdtiger in the latter war photographs. Most of these shots are seen totally destroyed, shot by allied sources.
We see a Hummel SPG, several armoured cars in four and eight-wheeled types, which are always popular with modellers and sometimes overshadowed by the Panthers and Panzers. It is great to see these types here. 
Halftracks are also featured towards the rear of the book. With Sd.Kfz 251's of several types and the larger Sd.Kfz. 7 & 10 features on the final pages. The coverage of vehicles has really picked most of the Panzerwaffe for us to look at.
It is hard to capture a roundup of all of these vehicles and to give it any meaning in only 112 pages, but the author has given us a great snapshot in this book. The variation in timeframes, climates of all fronts and types of machines shown, along with the real stories, the humans that captured, destroyed, crewed and repaired them, is shown in a great photographic record here.

That is what I would look for in this series, and again, PeKo and the author, Mr Barnaky has delivered.

Great work!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to PeKo for sending this book to us to read and review. You can find out more about this, and PeKo's other publications on their website...