Pen & Sword's Hitler's Light Tanks
|Pen & Sword|
|$22.95 from Casemate|
128 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
The German army started WWII with mostly light tanks in service. The Panzer I and Panzer II were the main types, though there were also a considerable number of Czech built Panzer 35(t) and Panzer 38 (t). The latter was probably the best of the light tanks as it was the most heavily armed. German tanks often had little more than light machine guns for armament though later Panzer IIs had a 20mm gun.
Initially, these vehicles did quite well as the opposition was not all that much better off, however, they did take fairly significant losses to anti-tank rifles and guns due to their thin armor. Even during the initial blitzkrieg in Poland, it became obvious that they were not as effective as hoped. Still, they did a fairly good job as infantry support. It wasn't until the Soviet invasion that it was painfully obvious that they were obsolete and not useful in their prime role.
However, the end was not over for these vehicles as their chassis were later used for all sorts of anti-tank guns and infantry support weapons. Many of these guns were based on all the light panzer chassis and on the Lorraine tractor chassis. Thus we have the various vehicles in the Marder series as well as the Panzerjaeger I/II and the Hetzer assault gun.
The author has divided the book into several sections, each with an introductory history. Those sections are; blitzkrieg 1939/40, Balkans and eastern front 1941, battles in Russia 1942/43, and the last years 1944/45. There is also a nice appendix of all the panzer variants. As always, it is the nice selection of photos that are the real draw of the series.
This is another excellent addition to a fine series and one that I can easily recommend to both the historian and modeler alike.
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