Tank Craft 32: Panther Medium Tank IV.SS-Panzerkorps Eastern Front, 1944 written by Dennis Oliver and published by Pen & Sword Books – £16.99 – Softcover – Pages 64
During the summer of 1944 a series of massive Soviet offensives threatened to destroy the entire German army on the Eastern Front. As the Wehrmacht scrambled to hold what ground it could many formations simply disappeared and the available armoured units were used to plug the gaps in the frontline. One of the most important elements of the defence was the newly raised IV.SS-Panzerkorps which contained the veteran Totenkopf and Wiking divisions. Although both were well equipped their real striking power lay in the battalion of Pzkpfw V Panther tanks with which each was outfitted, perhaps the most effective armoured fighting vehicle produced by Germany during the Second World War. In Dennis Oliver’s latest volume in the TankCraft series he uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the Panther battalions of these famous units that fought to hold back the Soviet advance during the last months of 1944. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks.
This Panther Medium Tank is part of the intriguing Tank Craft series designed both for those into history and those who like to build models. Always a fascinating series that looks into the roles of individual tanks, why they were developed at origin and how they were developed over time and into newer models. What is always good is reading about the development and then being able to see the progress through pictures and photographs. Credit must also go to the author Dennis Oliver who writes a good and informative book as he seems to author most of these, certainly the ones I have read. I always love the actual history, the calendars of information as they are very telling and the top class photos. There are also great diagrams of the tanks in various livery to suit the environment of the battle, but these are aimed more at the model maker. Another great book written to another high standard and highly recommended.