Osprey's The History of the Panzerwaffe Vol 2
304 pages, hardbound
Looking back through the book reviews, it seems I missed the first volume. No matter as this one was quite an interesting read. It basically covers the operations of the German panzer units from 1942 until the end of the war. Not surprisingly, much of it covers the eastern front where most of the tank operations occurred.
One thing about warfare is that it tends to provide not only new weapons but also a change in how these weapons are used. The Panzerwaffe was no different as there were fundamental changes to the unit structure as the war progressed and it was more and more obvious that the 'old way' wasn't working any more. In fact, I dare say that a goodly portion of this book goes into this aspect of German tank units.
The other was the introduction of new weapons systems and the upgrading of current ones. In addition, as older systems became obsolete, their weapons were put to other uses and the chassis were also repurposed, often providing effective vehicles.
A real plus to this book are the superb selections of photographs that accompany the text. I'm not a rabid armor fan so most of the images were new to me and did a great job of helping to follow along with developments over time.
I mentioned that most of the book covers the eastern front, but it certainly does not leave out North Africa, Italy, or the northern European front that opened up with the Normandy invasion. It was in Italy that it was realized that tanks were not effective weapons in most of the country due to the lack of suitable tank fighting terrain (as it flat). That was not the case in North Africa or most of the Soviet Union, which had broad, open spaces that are perfect for tanks. Tanks were also fairly effective after the Normandy invasion except for the French bocage areas and the heavily forested sections.
It is quite obvious that the author has put a lot of research into this book and if you want a good read with great photos, insights into what was right and wrong about the German armor and organization, you couldn't find a better title than this one.
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