Panzer IV 1939-1945 - Tank craft Series.      Written & Compiled by Paul Thomas.

Panzer IV 1939-1945 - Tank craft Series. Written & Compiled by Paul Thomas.

ARRSE Rating
2 Mushroom Heads
This could not have been an easy book for Paul Thomas to have written. Given the tankcraft remit of keeping the book to 64 pages, including models and the section on Camouflage and Markings and attaching it to probably one of the most well-known and well-used tanks during WW2, must have caused the author more than a few headaches. The Panzer IV (PzKpfw IV) was used on every front and in every front that the Germans fought on. It's predecessors cut their teeth during the Spanish Civil War, so by the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the tanks and crews were relatively battle experienced.

This book could never do justice to it's subject matter in double the number of pages and is therefore, more of an overview into an extremely popular armoured vehicle. Needless to say, with a popular vehicle came necessary upgrades and alterations. By the time the invasion of Poland had occurred, the Panzer IV was up to ausf D, (version D).

Thomas does his best, dividing the book into natural chapters, with an introduction and then origins and development. These are followed by the "War Chronology", split into three chapters; Blitzkrieg Years, On the Eastern Front and Kursk and Beyond. As is usual in the Tankcraft series, the Camouflage and Markings section follows with some excellent colour pictures incorporating the various camouflage used by the Germans throughout WW2. Also included in this section is a reference guide to the use of Zimmerit and it's patterns. The Modeller's showcase is the next section, devoting 10 pages of some pretty outstanding work by some top quality model-makers. A further five pages give details of aftermarket accessories and kits available.

The many variants used on the Panzer IV chassis are dealt with in the next chapter, including some good quality black and white photos and descriptions of gun type and camouflage scheme. There is also a glossary of regiments that used the Panzer IV or it's variants.

From a model-maker's point of view, this is a very useful book. The coloured pictures give accurate representations of the colour schemes used and the vehicle markings. Close up photos of the vehicles are helpful, giving reference to some of the puzzling little pieces that turn up in the kit's box. As a reference guide for the Historian I'm afraid the book is too brief for research purposes. The author makes a good first of his brief but this would have been better split over a number of volumes.

I have to say, this isn't the best history of a vehicle I have read, despite the author's best efforts. For that reason I will give it a 2 out of 5


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