bookPanzerkampfwagen III in Combat

By Markus Zollner

Tankograd Wehrmacht Special No 4005.
Soft cover, A4 size, 64 pages

Review by Peter Brown

The Panzerkampfwagen III was designed as the main tank of the Panzer Divisionen. When introduced it was on a par with the early-war British Cruisers or the Russian BT and T-26 series. It was up-armoured and up-gunned to keep pace with its opposition, but eventually outclassed and replaced as a battle tank though its chassis was used as the basis for self-propelled guns which were in service until the war’s end.

As with earlier Tankograd Wehrmacht Specials, this book uses photos taken by German soldiers to show the PzIII series in action. It gives us a brief development history, basic statistics of armour protection, armament and numbers produced before launching into a series of 100 well-produced black and white photos. Coverage is of both gun tank and command variants. Some photos are shown full-page and most are no smaller than two to a page.

Few if of these photos will have appeared in print before. While they were not intended as part of a technical study they do show the tanks and often their crews as they were. The tank is shown type-by-type with the differences between marks described and illustrated. The photos include some rare machines, such as the initial variants with suspensions using five or eight roadwheels and various combinations of springs before the change to six wheels per side with torsion bars. Coverage is on all fronts, from Poland through Belgium and France, North Africa and the Russian campaign and even Greece. Tanks are shown on the firing range, in ditches, carrying extra stowage, knocked out, bogged down, on trains and in great detail. Some call out to be modelled, such as the one having its engine changed using a truck-mounted crane or another in Russian hands.

This is not a full study of the tank, so that while details and changes are pointed out, anyone wanting to know all the changes made to these widely-produced and widely-used tanks may want to look elsewhere. But that is not what this books is about as they show what they looked like in the field, in action and in day-to-day use. Text and captions are dual German and English with only a few cases where something could be lost in translation. Where possible locations and even units are identified, and anyone wanting to model the Panzer III will find plenty of inspiration in this excellent book.

Available from Tankograd distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created March 6, 2006

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