The term 'workhorse' is rarely more appropriately used when talking about the Panzer IV. From 1940 until the collapse and capitulation of Germany in 1945, the Panzer IV saw frontline service in every area of operations in the European theater. From the first (major) battles of the (succesful) summer campaign of 1940 to the 'Gotterdammenung' of 1945, the Pz IV was to be seen in many variants. However, curiously enough, the story of this vehicle was not to end here (as was the case of other German tanks), but in two unlikely and diverse places: the Golan Heights in 1967 and in Spain, in the 1970s when the vehicles' history finally ended. The PzIV was produced from 1937 until 1945, going through TEN variants and with a final production of around 8500 vehicles.
Panzerkampfwagen IV in Combat - Wermacht Special # 4006, is written by Markus Zollner and is published by the German Publishing House, Tankograd Publishing. The book follows the usual Tankograd format, being published in A4, soft-cover format, with 64 pages and 107 black and white photographs.
The text in this book is brief (but succinct). It assumes that the reader will have some previous technical knowledge of the history of the PzIV as the book is not in 'competition' with other more technical books, it takes a somewhat different approach. This is by presenting the book as a photo-gallery of the PzIV.
Hold on! A collection of photos of the PzIV? Just HOW is that different from other similar books from a variety of other publishers?
Yes, the book is VERY different, in a VERY significant way. The majority of books of this type follow the same format, chronologically with the variants. This book uses different sources - the personal photographs of the troops at the time rather than the (frequently-seen) archive photos which are good but all too often repeat themselves in a number of books.
Apart from a chronological structure (the Model A to the Model J) no chapter headings are provided. Each photo, whenever possible, is provided with an excellent technical description. This is used to indicate items such as non-standard fittings such as extemporised additional armor plating or , whenever possible, details such as hatches and even some invaluable interior shots are included.
Quality of the images (as we have come to expect from Tankograd) goes from 'Good' to 'Superb'. Far too many publications are spoiled by muddy images which could have been corrected by some work with good imaging program. As one would imagine, considering the use of the PzIV, every possible theater of operations is represented. The varied conditions of the vehicles also makes for some interesting images. Everything from factory 'fresh' to vehicles under maintenance and from battle-damaged to complete wrecks all find their own representation.
Apart from the obvious value to the vehicle builder, the diorama specialist should find something to inspire as well. There are some VERY interesting images just waiting to be reproduced.
Due to the depth and complexity of the subject, I would hope that this is not the last book on the PZIV from Tankograd. Personally, I would have preferred this to have been the first in a series of volumes dealing with the vehicle in it's various forms. In other words, volumes on Early, Mid and late period vehicles. I strongly applaud the approach by using 'private' rather than archive images, this guarantees originality and freshness in the images presented. Although the book is deliberately aimed at NOT being a technical manual, the well written captions do serve as a useful guide. The author indicates a familiarity with the subject and a good ability to identify those little 'anomalies' which make life both interesting and frustrating for the modeler/researcher. I would have preferred a degree of seperation between the various 'ausfs' but with the concise descriptions, this is not as necessary as it first seems.
My thanks to Tankograd Publishing for providing the review sample.
Another of the 'Specials' from Tankograd Publishing, this time a VERY welcome title covering an increasingly popular subject amongst armor modelers and manufacturers, - the Panzer IV.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...