book Panzer Tactics
German Small-Unit Armor Tactics in World War II
By Wolfgang Schneider
400 pages, 400 b/w photos, soft cover
ISBN 0-8117-3244-4
Published by Stackpole Books

Review by Jon Bailey

This book has been available since 2000 and in its current soft back form from 2005 by Stackpole Books although this copy has only just been received for review. As with all of the soft back Stackpole Books the value for money out ways any criticisms of the books content at 352 pages with hundreds of photographs.  

That said most of my criticism is directed at the illogical layout of some potions of the book and the usual poor or misleading captions.
After the forward the book is divided into eight sections covering, Attack, Defence, Control and Command, Logistics and Supply. The complete lack of a bibliography or any reference section however is greatly missed.

The author is convinced the Germans had it all as far as armoured operations were concerned and that these superior tactics are what gave them the edge right up to the point were they lost the war. Irony not being a particularly strong German trait.
A big concern is that lack of definition regarding what ‘small units’ the books tactics apply to? The reader has to jump from division to platoon then Company often within the same paragraph. 

The reconnaissance chapter completely ignores the fact that the 1944 panzer battalion had its own organic reconnaissance unit made up from the battalion’s tanks (panzer IV or Panther) and instead just talks about Sd.Kfz. 250 and 251 vehicles.  The Logistics chapter is also poor concerning actual supply technique concentrating more on maintenance and recovery. Nonetheless this information is quite useful.

There are numerous extracts from German training manuals, which don’t reprint all that well and no dates are provided from the original manual so it’s hard to apply panzer I and II tactics to later war vehicles and circumstances. Enough information is contained however to hopefully get the reader to broaden their research.

Panzer Tactics is rich in photographs used by the author to demonstrate various points being made in the main text. Most of the photographs are ‘new’ to the reader and some offer great inspiration or information. Here is the main falling of the paper back edition that the photos are of indifferent quality and not as sharp as the hardback editions. This is really a minor quibble as there are just so many good shots that on the whole make this great value.

In soft back it’s a must have.

See the Stackpole Books website for ordering details

Page Created March 27, 2007

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