Sunday, September 4

Read n' reviewed: Panzerwrecks 24 "German Armour 1944-45" from Panzerwrecks Publishing

Panzerwrecks #24 promises several stories within stories featuring the German vehicles captured in photographs 1944-45. Packed with new and unpublished large format photos with insightful text throughout. We look to see if it lives up to its forbears in our review...

Read n' reviewed: Panzerwrecks 24 - "German Armour 1944-45"
From Panzerwrecks Publishing
Author: Lee Archer
Artist: Felipe Rodna
Softcover, 280mm x 210mm, landscape format
Language: English (UK)
Pages: 128 / Photos: 141 / Artworks: 7
QR-codes: Yes
ISBN: 9781908032249
Price: £24.99 from the Panzerwrecks Website
Every few months we are lucky enough to get to see a new Panzerwrecks issue is released to the public. There are certainly many fans of this well-known series, and we have shown you why in several reviews of these books throughout the years. The key for us is to examine every issue on its merits and content, but also to compare them to previous issues in quality and in interest or inspiration factor for modellers.
The challenge must be a mountain to climb each time you would think. To serve a regular bunch of fans who know what to expect and a new audience that is always looking to find books like this. I do not envy them in their task.

Let's look at volume #24, first in its physical form, then in the contents before we wrap it at the end.

The book's physical form:
Soft bound glossy covered, with lurid hot pink and white graphics, Panzerwrecks #24 "German Armour 1944-45" is in keeping with the colourful covers we have seen in the past. Inside the 280mm x210mm, landscape formatted book we have 128 pages, filled with mostly large format black and white photos (141 thereof) with an additional seven commissioned diptych artworks (in this case, two images that make up a whole picture) from the talented Felipe Rodna.
Text throughout the book is in English, although of course there is a share of German titles and words with Abrv. (abbreviations) for the vehicle names especially. Inside, the text serves to illustrate the circumstances of the vehicles, often their owners previous and present, and sometimes their fates.  The photos in the book are of mostly great quality, especially for their age, although some are casualties of the times passed. None are unworthy of inclusion. The text also by Lee Archer is as usual informative and to the point. Interesting and immersive in the information gleaned with the settings and circumstance, particulars and the human involvement in each frame.

Page by Page:
Issue #24 is dedicated to the German machines of land war in 1944-45. It is broken up into four sections, with a multitude of single pages with smaller series of shots in-between them that focus on a single or a related subject. The four "features" if you like, that are included amongst the pages are:

- Concreted Jagdpanzer IVs of 9.SS
- Panther Joyride
- Jagdpanther 212 inside and out
- Pz.Kpfw.I in 1945

For some reason (odd pages?) the index is supplied as a separate page. I like this, as you can easily access the vehicles, locations and German units identified in this book. The extensive lists enable you to pinpoint quickly and accurately what you want to see within the 128 pages.
After a brief author's note, we go straight into one of our special collections that the author has said was in his collection for a long time. A selection of images showing concreted Jagdpanzer IVs, specifically of the 9th SS. in full sized photos with supporting text. An interesting study of several vehicles, mostly captured in Belgium, with either members of the public, soldiers or alone after the war. A famous TV adventurer's grandfather was involved in the inspection of one of the vehicles that can be seen in a small series. We learn how and why these concrete ad-hoc armours were added and their effect on the tanks themselves.
After more StuGs that follow the  concrete Jagdpanzers, we see the first of artist Filipe Rodna's seven works showing the colour reproduction of the large formatted images that  present themselves throughout this book. These are the only colour (of course) in the book apart from the front cover, and they relay in a vivid fashion many more of the details of the photos and vehicles you see before you. Theses seven artworks are a trademark of this series, and they have added so much for the reader, the enthusiast and especially the modeller, looking for understanding and inspiration. If the original photos weren't enough, these ice the cake.
Old friends (a soldier this time) from previous issues show up out of the blue, we look at the Panzer III's in several guises next. These were getting rare to see in 1944, and even rarer in 1947 when one of these photos was taken. Most of these Panzer IIIs were seen in training grounds or Pioneer training establishments. 
A Panzer IV, a Wespe & a Hummel also get some more airtime, with a series of shots on a road near Hamburg, while Panzer IV/70V tank destroyers are featured in several pictures, knocked out, being inspected by British tankers and even in Canada in transportation to its final destination (later) in a museum in Ottawa. The Jagdpanther, a favourite of mine, is seen in a series of photographs and a great drawing by Mr Rodna showing starkly the hard-edged camouflage that makes this machine so much more interesting to the modeller, especially. Several pages of Panzer IVs, mostly Ausf.J & G's are seen in the next few pages. Some in a series of two shots which helps the reader and modeller understand the schemes and damage to the wrecked and abandoned vehicles.
In the second large section in a feature called "Panther Joyride", Ausf.G captured by the US 125th Cavalry Squadron doing just that with their new prize. The Panther looks very much like a tank from a propaganda or Hollywood film, the Panther is seen with a lot of "bling" on the barrel and a hard-edge camouflage which is picked out perfectly in the accompanying coloured illustration. In this photo you also see the google maps QR code to pinpoint the location as it looks nowadays. This tank is seen in a series of captured images in excellent quality that shows the "joyriders" in equally good detail. Other Panthers, in Germany, Greece and France are also shown in two photos each. Great to see multiple mages of the same thing, this is a modeller's dream to have great period original references with expert commentary on each images like these present.
The next large feature section is called "Jagdpanther 212 inside and out" and guess what it features? Another great expose of this vehicle is seen over seventeen( 17!) pages. Giving you one of the best walk around exterior and interior photo essays anyone could hope for on this vehicle. You can see every detail in very sharp focus. Close-ups and whole vehicle shots are the order of the day. A soldier is here for good scale (in hindsight).
The images include another artwork from Filipe Rodna that shows the shades of the vehicle and the whitewash applied over it. I could not ask for more if I wanted to model this particular tank, this section is another invaluable part of this volume.
In a case of it keeps on getting bigger before it can return to normal, we are treated to several photos of ever increasing sized tanks over the next thirteen pages. Tiger I's knocked out by six pounders in a series of three, and a tiger slumped on the side of the road lead into Tiger II's. Not only a series of shots showing the circumstance and fate of one, but the famous "Octopus" Tiger II of previous volume's fame is shown here in new sots with excellent supporting text for both. The largest of these vehicles is next, with the Jagdtiger in six pages. Two shots of single JT's and two other examples, all with severe damage from the enemy or their own crews. These were indeed monstrous vehicles, and the colour artworks and scale presented by the people in the photos really show that. Some great photos in here. 
The last part of this book really goes into random, with so many types captured in large format photos. Captured  French conversions, a Sherman with in ill-looking balkenkreuz plus some more StuG III's over seven pages, the always cool Sd.Kfz 251 halftrack in two guises (plus a rarer Sd.Kfz 250) Jagdpanzer 38t's in four photos, Marder II's in a hard-edges camo are interesting. The great QR code scan feature is shown in action here, where the modern scene can be shown against the book's historical shot to compare and contrast. I think most people would be able to use a QR code by now - I don't have to explain the process any more.­čść
The last section of the book features the collection called "Panzer I's in 1945". Weirdest I found were  the Panzer I variants from an airfield in Denmark. There are plenty of other odd ones that survived the war, with a tank captured by Czech Partisans, a Danish freedom fighter, and the images taken from a film showing surrendering Germans, and those soldiers baring white crosses is poignant.  

Well, that is it for volume #24!

What can I say? I look for a slip up, for a lack in quality with all of the long running book series that I review. How Mr. Archer and his team keep on coming up with rabbits out of his hat I really do not know. This is the top of the tree in armour and AFV book series. Others look to capture the recipe, but this cake can only be baked in such a unique way that you see in the Panzerwrecks books alone. 

Another excellent must have in the series.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the team at Panzerwrecks for sending me this book to read and to review. You can purchase this book from the Panzerwrecks Website directly...


Vehicles covered in this book:
Jagdtiger (Henschel Laufwerk)
Jagdtiger (Porsche Laufwerk)
Tiger II (Octopus camo)
Tiger II
Tiger I
Panther Ausf.G
Panther Ausf.A
Panther Ausf.D (MG carrier?)
Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J
Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H
Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G
Panzer IV/70(V)
Jagdpanzer IV (concrete armour)
Sturmgesch├╝tz IV
Flakpanzer IV ‘M├Âbelwagen’
Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N
Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.L
Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.F
Sturmgesch├╝tz III Ausf.G
Sturmhaubitze 42
Pz.Kpfw.III Schlepper
Marder II
Jagdpanzer 38
Flammpanzer 38
Sherman Firefly
4·7cm Pak(t) auf GW R35
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A ‘Holzvergasser’
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A ohne Aufbau
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A ohne Aufbau ‘Holzvergasser’
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A mit Pz.II Bugpanzer & Turm
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B ohne Turm
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B ohne Aufbau
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B ohne Aufbau ‘Holzvergasser’
kl.Pz.Bef.Wg. (Sd.Kfz.265)

Identified German Unit's vehicles:
Pz.Rgt.16 or Pz.Jg.Abt.228
s.Pz.Abt.301 (Fkl)