Review by Peter Brown
First along was the series using the Panzer IV medium tank chassis, at first this used the same 48-calibre gun as the later tank versions but later carried the long 70-calibre gun as used on the Panther. This includes the final type using a higher superstructure. Photo coverage shows all types and includes close-ups of the mantlet separate from the vehicle, along with drawings showing the design in perspective, armour thickness diagram and side-view cutaway.
Smallest but perhaps in many ways best of these series was the "Hetzer" or Jagdpanzer 38(t) using the Czech 38(t) tank as the mechanical basis with an all-new hull. Compact and well armed for its size, it also served the post-war Swiss army for some years. Photos are also comprehensive, the shot from above with the top plates removed shows how cramped the inside was with a closer view of the gun and mounting. Drawings show the same features as the Jadgpanzer IV and there are colour shots of a Swiss G13 in pseudo-WW2 colours.
Jagpanther may have been the best combination of firepower, protection and mobility in WW2. Its 88mm could take on any tank it was likely to face while it was not too big and heavy to compromise its usefulness. Coverage of this type includes incomplete vehicles in the factory, a shot of the driver’s compartment, three views of the engine and several colour photos of the Bovington vehicle in its older striped colour scheme, current "ambush" style and views of this scheme partially completed.
Final section deals with the Tiger-based vehicles, the ill-fated Elefant/Ferdinand as well as the massive Jagdtiger. Two interesting photos show incomplete hulls configured for both styles of suspension, and there are original interior views and close-up shots of the Jadgtiger.
Overall a workmanlike book, useful to newcomers its coverage is good though it does not contain much new for anyone who already has books on these vehicles. Text describes development and includes production figures. Most photos are black and white though there are several colour shots and colour paintings of each type though these do not attempt to name the units using them, while the perspective view of the Hetzer is not to the same standard as the rest and one side view of the Elefabt shows the vehicle without a muzzle brake.
Page created 8 January 2005