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Panzerwrecks 13, Italy 2. By Lee Archer and William Auerbach. Soft covers, landscape format, 98 pages including inside covers. Contains: 129 B&W photos. ISBN (USA) 978-0-9841820-7-7; ISBN (UK) 978-1-9080320-3-4.
The latest title in this expanding series concentrates on German-manned AFVs as seen and recorded in Italy. Although the contents focuses on German-built AFVs, there are a number of images of Italian AFVs and even a few shots of Soviet T-34s as well as US-made M4A1 and M4A2 Beutapanzer (booty armor) deployed in-theater. As the title implies, these vehicles are in various states of destruction, although many were simply abandoned when Allied troops arrived with their cameras.
Following a very brief introduction and the usual acknowledgments to their nefarious band of international enablers, the books authors get right down to business.
Vehicles covered include the following: Various Marder IIIs; 1-ton, 3-ton and 8-ton halftracks; Pz.Kpfw.IV; Tiger I; Panther (mobile as well as dug-in); StuG III and StuG.IV; Panzerjäger IV; Nashorn; Elefant; Sd.Kfz.250 and Sd.Kfz.251 SPWs; Panzerwerfer; ex-French Matérials de 194 GPF sur chenelles and finally, ex-Italian M40-75/18, M43-105/25 SPs and AB-41 armored car.
However, simply listing what vehicles are shown in the photos only tells part of the story. Some of the highlights include a total of 16 pages devoted to the Panzerjäger Elefant. These depict several different vehicles and in particular, one set of images, showing an Elefant flipped-over on its side, gives excellent views of both the casemate roof and the entire belly plate. Detailed coverage of dug-in Panthers takes another half-dozen pages, while the Sturmgeschütz IV and Panzerjäger Nashorn also receive similar coverage. The images of the 3-ton Sd.Kfz.11 variants are interesting because they mostly depict the less-often covered /4 version that carried the 15cm Nebelwerfer rocket re-loads. The French GPF is also an unusual beast as is the relatively rare and little-known Italian 105/25 SPG.
In many, many instances, the photos are full-page. Reproduction is excellent, but is, of course, dependent upon the condition of the originals. A number of images were taken from (quite probably 16mm) motion picture film negatives and they are also very well-rendered, especially considering their sources. The paper is, as usual, glossy coated stock of a good weight. The captions combine the observations of the books compilers as well as those of their legion of assistants. In addition, a number of captions are taken directly from the Allied intelligence officers who inspected the various vehicles at the time. All-in-all, this is good stuff!
This is another worthy addition to the Panzerwrecks range of books, which also lends more complete coverage to events on the Italian peninsula from 1943 to 1945. The photos depict plenty of the details that modelers crave, especially those that show less-often seen aspects of the depicted AFVs, such as their roofs and bellies. In short, this title should not disappoint fans, and should duly impress first-time buyers.
Frank V. De Sisto
Note: pre-order available May 10; book due in June. Panzerwrecks publications are available worldwide from their web-site at: www.panzerwrecks.com. In North America, e-mail Bill Auerbach at: email@example.com; in the UK, Lee Archer at: firstname.lastname@example.org.