The Panzerwrecks series is a series of books which focuses on German armor in the later war years (1944 and 1945) The other thing is, as the title suggests it primarily shows disabled vehicles… Panzerwrecks 4 is no exception except it also deals with a few other things outside damaged vehicles. In Panzerwrecks 4 you will also find pictures of vehicles in use by surrendering German troops and pictures at a vehicle collection point.
Panzerwrecks 4 consists of 96 pages filled with 126 black and white pictures (inserts or enlarged details included.) The book is divided in 5 main features separated by numerous pictures of vehicles and locations. The 5 features are: Jagdpanther of s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt.559, Pz.A.A.20 Surrenders at Pilsen, 4,7cm Pak(t) auf R35 Walkaround, Stabskp./Korps Pz.A.A.FHH surrenders and last but certainly not least a trip to the Tiger factory. There is something in this book for everyone. And, the subjects of the pictures show a wide variety from tanks to wheeled vehicles. Some surprises can be found in Panzerwrecks 4… An Ersatz M10 for example. What do you think of a Panzer IA late in the war?
As mentioned in the introduction the books has 5 main features. I will tell something about all of them.
The book starts off with “Jagdpanther of s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt.559” which runs from page 1 to page 7 and shows a Jagdpanther which was knocked out by Polish forces in the southern Holland. The series of pictures show a fully kitted and camouflaged jagdpanther with zimmerit in several time frames ranging from just being knocked out to what appears to be a couple of weeks later where the vehicle is more or less stripped and pushed to the side of the road where it sunk in the roadside.
Then on to “Pz.A.A.20 Surrenders at Pilsen”. This section runs from page 18 to page 24. These are also the first pages in the book that do not deal with disabled or abandoned vehicles. And these are also the first pages to deal with wheeled vehicles instead of tanks. In this case armoured cars of the SdKfz 234 type and several variations can be seen driven by their German crews to the American lines at Pilsen to escape captivity by the Russian forces. Again there are some interesting vehicles, for instance a SdKfz 234 with a 2 cm Schwebelafette. The fun thing about these pictures is that the vehicles are not knocked out or abandoned and this means that it gives you a good view as to how these vehicles looked fully kitted up at the end of the war and how stowage and camouflage was added.
Next up in line is a walkaround of a 4.7cm Pak(t) auf R35 going from page 34 to page 38 showing 5 pictures of a knocked out vehicle but showing great detail which should be a big help of people scratchbuilding the vehicle or superdetailing an existing kit. The walkaround sadly doesn’t show pictures of the inside of the gun area although the picture on page 35 shows some details of the ammo arrangement on the back of the vehicle.
Following the “4,7cm Pak(t) auf R35 Walkaround” is “Stabskp./Korps Pz.A.A.FHH surrenders” and runs from page 48 to page 65 making it the biggest feature of the book. Also in this section German troops surrendering at the allied lines. A welcome feature of the section is that it deals with a nice variety of vehicles. A little list of what can be seen in this section is a SdKfz 251/3 ausf D Funkwagen, a VW Kubelwagen, a fully kitted SdKfz 234/4 Pakwagen with a missing front wheel and a really nice three tone camouflage paint scheme, an SdKfz 250 “Neu” funkwagen, Several types of trucks like Mercedes Benz L1500 A, Ford V3000 with a nice camouflaged scheme and a Mercedes Benz L3000 with a Holzvergasser.Krupp Protze, Steyr 1500 and even a Kfz 13 armored car which at this time in the war really is a rare find.
The book closes with the last of the 5 features and this is called “a trip to the Tiger Factory”. From page 88 to page 96 and the inside of the cover you will find pictures made by a USAF cameraman of the Henschel & Sohn Plant in Kassel Mittelfeld. The pictures show primarily King Tiger Hulls and turrets. These were the last ones the assembly line before the war came so close they had to stop assembly. The nice thing is that a lot of the pictures show the last steps in the assembly of late war King Tiger turrets and therefore have the latest modifications. Next to the King Tiger turrets on their assembly dollies in picture 91 you will also find a Tiger I turret. Picture 88 shows you a place in the yard where a lot of parts are stacked up, among them a huge stack of air vents. In the background under a friescrane there are several hulls King Tiger hulls.
The features are linked together with a wide variety of pictures of disabled vehicles or knocked out vehicles or vehicles at collection points. You will find, among others; several Panthers among them 3 pictures of an Ersatz M10, a Panzer IV Ausf D with Stadtgas racks attached to the back deck, a Panzer IA, 2 RSO 03’s, a Panzer II, a really nice Bergepanzer III with ambush camouflage, A Hummel with ambush camouflage, a Panzer Befehlswagen IV Ausf G nicknamed “Rita” with a really nice zimmerit coating. There are also several Stugs and Jagdpanzers, several 38t’s or 38T chassis, pictures of a vehicle collection point at Amersfoort in the Netherlands and a lot more.
With Panzerwrecks 4 both Lee Archer as William Auerbach have a winner on their hands. The concept of showing pictures of wrecks late in the war is a very nice one and does give an opportunity to find some true surprises. Yes the pictures might not always be the clearest and sharpest but as the authors state at the beginning of the book that the source for many of the pictures were from private collections and were taken by soldiers in the field. The subjects make up for the less than perfect photos. I own Panzerwrecks 1 and like that book very much. This is absolutely an equal if not better. A book I will recommend to everybody.
Highs: Very nice design, High quality paper, good subject shown in a wide variety of pictures and some very nice surprises. Lows: I have not really a low here. Maybe that some pictures are a bit too blurry... But then again. Having seen a lot of pictures from rivate collections it is a common thing with wartime pictures taken by soldiers. Verdict: Absolutely a book I will recommend to everybody.
About Robert Blokker (FAUST) FROM: NOORD-HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS
Started modelling when I was about 7 or 8 years old had a little break in between (school, girls partying) and eventually returned when finding this site in 2002. Main interest WW2 German army, wheeled vehicles and radio and communication troops or every other thing that manages to catch my interest...