I recently purchased a model kit of a Panther tank. Actually, I purchased a lot of model kits of tanks, one of which was a Panther. Looking around for some information on the tank, I came across Dennis Oliver’s “Panther Tanks, German Army and Waffen SS, Normandy Campaign 1944.”
Well armoured and with a powerful 75mm gun, the Panther was a shock to Allied tank crews, surviving many hits whilst dealing out destruction to all the Allied AFVs. The German Army and Waffen-SS deployed around 300 Panthers in the west prior to the Allied invasion. There were more powerful German tanks in the west (the Panzer VI – Tiger for example) but only in small numbers, and more numerous (Panzer IVs) but it was the Panzer V, the Panther, that caused the greatest grief to the Allied tank crews.
Design of these tanks was commenced in 1941 with prototype vehicles being demonstrated to Hitler in May 1942. With haphazard design changes, the first tanks off the production lines suffered from a number of issues including engine fires, and whilst these were to some degree addressed during the production of the model D, a number of the faults still plagued the vehicles in service.
The book itself is shirt, some 64 pages only but contains a background to the Panther, details of its use operationally, some great photographs and best of all for the modeller, models! The book contains the following chapters:
- The Normandy Battlefield
- The 1944 Panzer-Regiment
- The Army Panther Battalions
- Camouflage and Markings
- Model Showcase
- Modelling Products
- The Waffen-SS Panther Battalions
- Technical Details and Modifications
- Product Contact List
This book is primarily written for the modeller and is part of Pen & Sword Books, Tank Craft Range and as such the modelling, detailing and camouflage information is extensive. Oliver presents 12 pages of colour and markings information of 24 tanks. He then illustrates with colour photographs builds of 1/35 scale vehicles from different modellers and manufacturers, Dragon and ROCHM Model (conversion kits). The modellers are from different countries and some are simply models, others part of dioramas.
Oliver then goes on the survey the model kits available and lists in:
- 1/35 scale – Dragon Models,Tamiya, Italeri
- 1/56 – Italeri
- 2/48 – Tamiya
- 1/76 1/72 – Arifix, Italeri, Revell, Zvezda
- 1/100 – Zvezda
HE then goes on to list some of the aftermarket suppliers as well supplying etched brass additions such as zimmerit, straps, radiators and fans,periscopes and the like. Also listed are replacement items such as aluminium gin barrels. Replacement tracks are also listed.
For the modeller or the wargamer, this is a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf. Colour details are excellent and accurate as are the marking details. I am looking now for both my glue for the model sitting on my workbench as well as hunting around for the wargame vehicles for my late German Army. Highly recommended and best of all, on sale currently.
Panther Tanks (Paperback), German Army and Waffen SS, Normandy Campaign 1944
By Dennis Oliver
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Tank Craft
Published: 4th September 2017