Pen & Sword's Hitler's Anti-Tank Weapons 1939-45

Author/Artists: Jon Diamond


Pen & Sword


$22.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 236 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-52-6757400

This addition to the Images of War series concentrates on German anti-tank weapons. At the start of the war, the calibre of these weapons was fairly modest as most tanks of the time were not thickly armored. There were exceptions, but they were fairly minimal in number. For that reason, anti-tank rifles and the 37mm gun were usually sufficient for most purposes.

However, as the war continued, these weapons became in-effective. This was discovered during the invasion of the Soviet Union when German forces came upon the KV series of tanks and the T-34. Here were tanks that needed more punch to put out of action. This back and forth between gun calibre and armor  continued throughout the war.

As time went on, obsolete and captured tank chassis were used to provide the basis for a number of different mobile anti-tank guns. These were generally referred to as Panzerjaegers. They had some fairly thin armor shields to protect the crew from rifle fire, but their main benefit was that they could quickly be moved to another location as needed. With the towed guns increasing in size so did the weight and it was not unusual later in the war for the positions to be over run befor the guns could be moved.

The Panzerjaegers came in a bewildering number of vehicles and one of the big bonuses of a book like this is that it helps to separate them out. In addition, some of these guns were put on half tracks, providing even more mobile platforms. These would be like the US GMC (gun motor carriage), though not that many were actually converted.

The final type was the panzerfaust and panzerschreck. The former is the father of all RPGs and was a hand held, soldier-operated single shot weapon that was very effective at close range. The panzerschreck was not so widely used, and was basically an upsized bazooka. These last two items were very widely used in the last year of the war.

In line with other titles in this series, the author has divided the book into several sections, each covering a certain part of the war. It starts with what was available to the army in 1939 and continues up until the last year of the war in Europe. As usual, this is a photo book so each section has an introductory history followed by a superb selection of period photos covering the vehicles and equipment of the period. This is an excellent offering for the modeler and a good primer for those who are looking for a one stop book on the subject.

This is another excellent addition to a fine series and one that I can easily recommend to both the historian and modeler alike.

June 2020

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