Tank Craft #32: Panther Medium Tank

- IV SS Panzer Division Eastern Front 1944

Author/Artists: Dennis Oliver


Pen & Sword


$24.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 64 pages, softcover, 200 illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-5267-9126-9

This book from Pen & Sword's series on military vehicles concentrates on the Panther tank as operated by the IV.SS Panzer Division during 1944. It was at this time that the German Army was on the retreat on the Eastern Front, and though the supply lines were shorter, industry and transportation networks were constantly under attack.

The Panther tank was Germany's answer to the Soviet T-34 and incorporated several of the same qualities of that tank. What was not incorporated was the relative simplicity of the T-34. Like most German armor of the time, the Panther was not an easy tank to make or to maintain. Its interleaved road wheels made changing inner wheels time consuming. Its gearbox was never really as robust as it should have been, requiring a skilled driver. There were also some issues with engine cooling. Though some areas were simplified, it was still a fairly complex piece of equipment.

Like all major Panzer groups, the IV.SS Panzerkorps was divided into many regiments and often these were spread out along the front where they were needed. This meant that this unit participated in campaigns from Poland to Hungary. With only a very minor exception, the unit spent all of its fighting time in the east. They also operated all the major variants of the Panther with the last replacement tank being delivered in mid 1944.

As is the case with a lot of the books in this series, we get a brief look at how each of the Army's armored divisions used the tank and their combat record. There is then a fairly large section of large profiles, often accompanied by a photo of the vehicle in question. Then we get to some feature model builds along with a rundown of kits and accessories that are available for the Panther. Not surprising is that most of the kit builds are the1/35 Dragon kits. These sections are by no means comprehensive but do cover most of what is currently available. This is followed by a brief section that helps one identify the major features of the tank as production proceeded.

These books where you have a mixture of history, camouflage and models are becoming more and more the norm. This one is well done, as are the other books in the series as they are by the same author. Well worth picking up.

May 2021

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