Monday 23 May 2022

Book Review: Panther, Eastern Front Summer 1943, Dennis Oliver (Tank Craft 34)

I’m extremely lucky, inasmuch as I’ve got this as a free review copy. I mention this mainly because if I had to buy all these books, their sheer quantity would most likely exclude me from being able to do so.

This is, as Oliver himself says, the fifth title on Panther tanks in the ever-growing Tank Craft series. For me, in Dennis Oliver, P&S have found a very capable and impressive contributor. He’s very thorough, and systematic, which gives his titles a kind of consistency lacking in some of the books in these series by other authors/experts. 

Anyway, to the particular book in hand. After a brief Introduction to his subject, Oliver presents the overall situation, in a chapter titled The Eastern Front 1943, via a map and a four page timeline style synopsis. 

Then there’s a larger chunk devoted to the units, 12 in all, issued with Panthers, on the Ostfront. As well as giving concise unit histories for the period this section includes a two-page diagram giving a visual representation of Panzer Abteilungs 51 and 52. 

Then we have the colour-profiles, aka Camouflage and Markings, and a selection of beautifully built models, in 

the Model Showcase section. 24 Panthers are profiled in the Camouflage and Markings section, 16 in full side views, and eight via turret only views. There are three 1/35 and one 1/48 models in the Showcase chapter (I always want to see a 1/72, example, as that’s my favoured scale!). These are the two most colourful and visually beguiling chapters.

Modelling Products gives a pretty thorough overview of many of the available kits and a good deal of after-market stuff (inevitably not all, as there’s a huge amount of stuff out there!). 

Technical Details returns to the AFV itself, and devotes a decent chunk of the book - 15 heavily illustrated pages; roughly quarter of the 64 page title - to all the nuts and bolts type stuff. And then there’s a single page devoted to Product Contact Details. 

Throughout the book contemporary black and photos are liberally deployed - I counted roughly 45-ish - illustrating the subject. These range from crisp full page images to some small and rather poor quality pictures. 

This is another excellent and impressively thorough addition by Oliver to what is a very useful series for the WWIII German armour buff. 

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