|PANZERWRECKS - Panzerwrecks 13 - Italy 2|
A look at the 13th in the series and the second based around Italy!
Panzerwrecks 13 - Italy 2
Authors: Lee Archer & William Auerbach
Price: £16.99 (£13.99 if pre-ordered)
Softcover; A4, 96 pages
Lee Archer & William Auerbach began the Panzerwrecks series of titles in 2004 with the aim of illustrating wrecked German armour from WWII through the use of period photographs. They're now up to the thirteenth edition in the main series, as well as beginning to publish several other series promising series such as 'Repairing the Panzers'.
The thirteenth in the series concentrates on wrecked German armour during the drive up through Italy, the second in the series to look at this area after 'Panzerwrecks 9 - Italy 1'. Although at first glance the title would appear to be divided into the four main sections listed below, it's actually not. Each of those four main sections listed on the inside front cover is actually a feature section on those particular subjects, interspersed between other content.
The four sections highlighted are;
Weapons Dump - Italian Style
The Story of Nashorn '214'
Elefants of 1./s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653
Dug-in Panther: Concealed Killer
The first section....as you would expect...shows various vehicles at collection points, beginning with a couple of Panzerspähwagen AB41 201(i)'s the German designation for the Autoblinda 41 of which Germany confiscated a number after the Italian Armistice, and even continued to manufacture themselves. This first section is really a mixture of types found at various collection points, with vehicles from the aforementioned AB41's, Sd.Kfz.10, various types of Marder 38(t)'s, and even an M4A1 that had been pressed into German service, and a Sherman III shown on its side during the advance to Florence that has the very unusual marking of a New Zealand Fern, an '80' for the 19th Armoured Regiment, and white Balkencreuz! There are some StuG.IV's shown, a series of pics being notable for the depiction of the Zimmerit pattern that has been applied and is shown really clearly.
The second section ostensibly is the story of 'Nashorn 214', the text indicating that the only unit to have operated the Nashorn in Italy was s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt.525. Over six pages, there are various images of this vehicle shown, offering good coverage from most angles. This vehicle was captured by Polish troops and was still operable upon capture, several of the images showing the vehicle being given a test drive! After this section, but before the next featured section, there are several pages showing other vehicles such as StuH.42, Panthers and several Tiger I's. Interestingly, the authors notes that a contemporary technical Report on the StuH.42 regarding its Zimmerit coating, makes the point that it seems to be evident on more and more German vehicles at that time, and that it was pointless since we didn't actually use magnetic mines, one contributing reason for its application being eventually discontinued, but another contributing factor may be that according to this technical report, it made it much more likely that 'sticky' bombs would work better. And we did use those....
The third section features Elefants of 1./s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653. Over sixteen pages, various vehicles in varying states of distress are illustrated, beginning with vehicle 113, which was knocked out by USAAF fighter bombers on Via Aurelia, just north of Rome on 5th Jun 1944, an attack in which Obergefreiter Lassig was killed. This series of pictures is interesting for a number of reasons, amongst them one image showing the rear portion of it's side armour having been blown away showing its original VK4501(P) armour. There's also a series of smaller images showing the vehicle in the process of being towed away, minus its tracks...which must have taken a huge amount of muscle! After this section, but before the fourth feature, we're presented with a series of images over thirty pages of much more varied armour including several different types of German halftrack, StuG's, a Semovente blown completely in half, the halves widely separated, and even some T34/76's that had been pressed into German service. One of the more unusual series of pics show an artillery piece that had been used by the Germans in Italy, that had originally been manufactured by the French at the end of WWI. This was a Matérials de 194 G.P.F. sur chenilles, a huge two-piece piece of equipment consisting of a rear 194mm cannon running on tracks and a front power unit.
The last featured section is centred around Panthers that have usually suffered some sort or irreparable mechanical breakdown, and as a result have been used as dug-in gun emplacements. There's a very clear photograph looking down into the fighting compartment from ground level, the armoured roof having been blow off. In addition, there's a good series of photographs showing various methods of concealing the exposed turrets. The final series of photographs show a variety of Panzer IV's, beginning with an aerial reconnaissance double page set of pics of a Panzer IV convoy, before moving onto pics of wrecked Pz.IV's,
The list of people thanked on the inside front cover, offers some indication of the work necessary to compile a collection of this sort. The photographs are not only difficult to source, but also to correlate, and then to discern exactly what they show, not only what, but where, and if possible the unit etc., they were employed by, and any special features that may or may not be present. You'll find the information presented in comprehensive captions beneath each of the photographs, giving as much information as possible on what the photograph shows, plus any salient points.
What can I say? Most modellers are by now well aware of what each new title in this series promises. This one continues the good work! If you're looking for project inspiration you'll find it here. If you're just interested in browsing great images of some iconic vehicles, then you'll find yourself coming back to it time and time again. You might even find a photograph of that one detail that's had you flummoxed, so you can finish that shelf queen! Recommended.
Get it now on Pre-order at the special price of £13.99 from the link below!
My thanks to Lee Archer of Panzerwrecks for the review sample.