bookTanks in Detail 7
PzKpdfw III Ausf A to N

by Terry J Gander.
Published by Ian Allan Publishing.
Hersham, Surrey, KT12 5RG, England
Soft covers, 96 pages.
ISBN 0 7110 0315 2

Review by Peter Brown

Germany's Panzer III was the mainstay of the Panzer Divisions before it was eclipsed by later versions of the Panzer IV and heavier tanks from 1943 onwards. Throughout its life it was steadily improved, fitted with thicker armour and better guns until the basic design could not take any more. PzIII series chassis remained in use the self-propelled StuG III series.

Terry Gander follows the tank's history from the from its initial development in the 1930s, with brief accounts and photos of the first sub-types Ausf A through D with their different suspension layouts which were only produced in small numbers, more detailed descriptions of the Ausf E which was the first version to be built in quantity through to the later types with the Ausf M getting the most detailed coverage. All the main guns from which the early 3.7cm gun, short 5cm and long and the final batch with the short 7.5cm gun are described along with mechanical details. Photos include several clear views of the tank's interior plus close-ups of tracks, wheels and suspension though compared to earlier books in this series there is less coverage of the engine and gearbox. Text includes a listing of manufacturers and factory locations, as well as production figures and chassis number batches for each type.

Original photos show various types in action. Wartime scale plans of an Ausf E with 5cm gun are included though beware as these are too printed smaller than 1/35 scale. Other drawings show a the layout of the torsion bar suspension clearly and there are views of the 5cm KwK39 and driver's instrument panel taken from a wartime intelligence report. Along with the gun tanks, command, artillery observation post, recovery, ammunition carrier and deep wading variants are described. The StuG is briefly mentioned, a separate book is promised for a later date though the Soviet SU-76 conversion is included.

Photos are mostly black and white though there is one wartime colour photo, four colour shots of the Tank Museum's Ausf L in grey and in a change of style for the series there are ten colour side view drawings showing typical camouflage schemes as well as three pages of division and tactical markings.

This account may not give much new to modellers who already have books on the PzIII, but it is a good start for newcomers.

Page created 18 May 2004

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