The Panzerwrecks series of books are brought to us by William Auerbach and Lee Archer. They feature many rare and unpublished photos of wrecks or captured German WWII panzers. All of the volumes of Panzerwrecks follow the same soft cover, A4 landscape format, with black and white photos. Volume 5 of Panzerwrecks contains 153 rare and unpublished photos from various sources worldwide. This volume differs from previous ones in that it re-visits Panzerwrecks Vol. 1. The book is broken down into four main sections titled: “Panzerwrecks 1 Re-visited”, “Tiger II Joyride”, “Wrecks in Russian Newsreels”, and “Three Maus at Meppen”.
The first section that re-visits Panzerwrecks vol. 1 contains all new photos that relate to quite a few vehicles that were featured in the previous volume. 27 full pages are devoted to these new photos that include many inset shots, showing details that were not shown before. This re-visit to Panzerwrecks 1 allows Auerbach and Archer to clarify many of the missing details or specifications that weren’t available when volume 1 was published. Between sections one and two are 7 pages of wrecked Tiger 1’s, a Panther G, and a Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H and G. These photos are of exceptional clarity and the captions provided offer a good description of the scenes.
Section two entitled “Tiger II Joyride,” is dedicated to a captured Tiger II belonging to s.H.Pz.Abt.506 by Co. B of the 129th Ordnance Battalion in December, 1944. This tank was covered briefly in Steve Zaloga's "Panzers in the Gunsights", but not in the detail that it is here in Panzerwrecks 5. The series of photos covers the preparations and starting of the Tiger II and consists of 6 full pages. Many unpublished photos are presented here and reveal key details that are of excellent value to historians and modelers alike.
Section three, entitled “Wrecks in Russian Newsreels,” brings us 9 pages of photos from the Eastern Front. The quality of these photos is not great, being dark and grainy at best, with little detail noticeable on many of the photos. They show an assortment of destroyed vehicles, but I question the usefulness of including these sub-par photos given the excellent quality of the others. Between sections three and four are 25 pages of various wrecks from the western European Theater. Everything from Tiger Is to various marks of Panzer tanks, even a captured T48 Gun Motor Carriage in use by the Germans is included. These are very interesting photos, and their inclusion is a definite plus.
The last section entitled “Three Maus at Meppen” has 5 pages of photos dedicated to unfinished Maus tanks. The photo quality is good, but they are a little dark. The book closes with some photos of Bulgarian soldiers inspecting abandoned German equipment presumably on the Eastern Front. They show excellent photos of the before and after effects of an explosion inside of a 7.5cm Pak 40 tank destroyer.
As with all the Panzerwrecks books, this one is a must have. It brings many rare and unpublished photos together at a great price. The variety of the photos is a credit to the research efforts of Mr. Auerbach and Mr. Archer. A few grammatical corrections to the captions accompanying each picture is really all that is needed to make this book better, but they don’t effect the overall usefulness of this book. Highly Recommended.
Highs: Variety of photos included is great. The price for this book is very reasonable.Lows: Quality of some photos is poor. A few grammatical and description errors are included, but don't affect the overall usefulness.Verdict: Panzerwrecks 5 is highly recommended.
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