By Thomas Anderson
The History of the Panzerjager is packed with previously unpublished wartime photographs, combat reports, and detailed charts to give an unparalleled account of this unique arm of the Wehrmacht.
The German Panzerjager, or Panzerjagertruppe, was one of the most innovative fighting arms of World War II and its story has never properly been told. Many books have focused on an element of the story - the Hetzer, Jagdpanzer, Jagdpanther - but this is the first time that the whole story of the development and organization of Nazi Germany's anti-tank force will have been covered, from its earliest origins in World War I, through its development in the interwar period, and its baptism of fire in the early days of World War II. This is the first of two volumes that will trace the story through the glory years of Blitzkrieg and the improvements that were made when Soviet tanks were first encountered, leading to new weapons, tactics and organisation.
I thoroughly recommend both this book and the second volume.
Thomas Anderson is a German author and his Osprey books are based on the results of research from German-language primary sources. Volume one of The History of the Panzerjager covers the WW1 origin of anti-tank artillery; inter-War experience including German rearmament and the Spanish Civil War; and then the events of the Second World War. In Poland, the 3.7cm PaK was an adequate anti-tank weapon. In 1940, British and French armour was more of a challenge and the 88mm saw service in the anti-armour role. The real challenge to German anti-tank weapons and tactics came in the Summer of 1941. Germany rose to the challenge, introducing new 50mm and 75mm weapons, as well as using or adapting captured anti-tank artillery. The impression given from the German army reports quoted in the book is of a Germany struggling to meet the material and tactical challenge of defeating Soviet armour.
As well as the Eastern Front, this volume also covers the fighting on Crete, and in North Africa.
The whole range of anti-tank weapons is explored, from hand-held infantry equipment, to field guns re-rolled to deal with T34.
The illustrations are well-chosen and appropriate and I had not seen many of them before.
The book is good value at the current (at the time of writing) sale price.