by: Scott Espin [ ]
introduction“Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J/L” is the 6th in the AFV Super Detail Photo Book series from Model Art. Like the other books in the series, this is an excellent photo reference for anyone interested in this tank. Photos are included for not only of the Ausf. J and Ausf. L, but also an Ausf. N. This book is loaded with Black and white period photos, color detail shots, diagrams and color profiles.
ContentsThe book consists of 96 softbound pages measuring 11.57 by 8.25 inches and contains 500 photos. The color photos show the details of the subject Pz.Kpfw. III variants often from several angles. There are black and white period photos scattered throughout the written portions of the text. The book is well organized and includes text and diagrams to further explain the design features. Unlike the Pz.Kpfw. II book of this series, the English Translation is pretty good.
Three preserved specimens are used as the subject matter for the color photos from the following three collections:
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J early at the Kubinka Museum, Russia
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. L at the Tank Museum
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. N at the Ordnance Museum Aberdeen MD
A really nice touch is the use of different colored borders around each picture so you can easily tell which of the three tanks is the subject vehicle in the photo. Unfortunately the specimen at Aberdeen was in fairly bad shape and it shows. The paint is peeling pretty badly and there are many rust spots which often makes the details hard to see in some of the photos, but that’s not the fault of the photographers.
the book in detailHistory (pg. 1-11)
This section includes the developmental history of the Pz.Kpfw. III including black and white photos, diagrams of the 3.7cm KwK and 5.0cm KwK 39/L42 and the coax machine gun. There are three well detailed profile drawings of the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J, L and M.
Camouflage Schemes (pg. 12-13)
There are seven attractive color profiles with a good representation of the schemes used on the featured variants. They include:
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J early - 2nd Pz. Div., Russia, Autumn 1941
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J early - 11th Pz. Div., Russia, Autumn 1941
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J early - 5th Pz. Div., Russia, Autumn 1941
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J 20th - Pz. Div., Russia, Summer 1943
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J early - 5th SS Pz. Div. “Wiking”, Russia, Summer 1942
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J - 2nd Pz. Div., Russia Summer 1943
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. L - 10th Pz. Div., Tunisia, Spring 1943
Front Hull (pg. 14-17)
Detail photos of the front hull including the transmission access hatches, light mounts and spare track bracket.
Fighting Compartment (pg. 18-24)
Bow machine gun, antenna mount, drivers visor, 20mm spaced armor plates, vision ports, lifting hooks, turret front and coax machine gun.
Engine Deck (pg. 25-31)
Photos of the engine vents, grill screens, lifting hooks, hatches, the top side of the engine, fuel tank, starter crank, exhaust and smoke dischargers.
Rear Hull (pg. 32-33)
Photos of the tow hooks, muffler, exhaust and access plate.
Front Hull/Fighting Compartment (pg. 34-37)
This section includes text which discusses some of the design features and includes more B&W period photos. There are diagrams of the armored visors of the G-H and J-N, the air intake covers and the engine compartment.
Fender (pg. 38-55)
Photos of the fender details, brackets, spare wheel holders, tool clamps, grill screens and fender supports. The last two pages of this section include text describing the various design features of the fenders but oddly the pages are titled “Hull Interior”. Mixed amongst the text of the fenders are interior hull photos.
Hull Interior (pg. 54-62)
As mentioned above, the first two pages discuss the fenders, while the photos are of the hull interior. Photos document the brake housing, brake cooling air inlet, drivers' position and periscope, pedals, instrument panel, steering levers, drivers' seat, gearbox, bow machine gun mount, radio operators' position, radio rack, fighting compartment floor, ammunition racks and finally the gunners' position and seat.
Turret Exterior (pg. 63-77)
Photos of the gun mantlet, spaced armor, turret mounted smoke dischargers, armored gun sleeve, gunners vision port, turret hatches, commanders cupola, anti-aircraft MG mount and the storage bin on the rear of the turret both inside and out.
Turret Interior (pg. 78-87)
Photos of the gunners sight, hand wheels for turret traverse and gun elevation, gunners seat, interior of the hatches, commanders seat, cupola vision blocks, co-axial machine gun, communication box, turret roof interior and the vents. There are some great photos of the gun breach assembly and recuperators for both the 5cm KwK39 L/60 and the 5cm KwK39 L/42. The last three pages include text and diagrams documenting the various design features of the turret and there are diagrams of the gun assemblies and all the different types of ammunition used in these Pz. Kpfw. III variants.
Running gear (pg. 88-96)
Great photos of the drive sprockets, idlers, road wheels, suspension arms, return rollers. The last three pages include a line drawing of a Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J and as expected, text documenting the design features of the running gear.
ConclusionThis is an excellent, well organized photo reference of the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J, L and N. The text and diagrams supplement the photos very well. If you need detailed photos of these tanks, then this is the book for you.