|THE OLIVER PUBLISHING GROUP|
by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
Recently released by The Oliver Publishing Group is another addition to their Firefly Collection, this time focusing on the Workhouse of the Germany Army in North Africa, the Panzer III.
The book was written and compiled by Claud Gillono and comes in the standard Firefly publication format being on quality A4 paper, featuring archive photographs, colour artwork and supporting text.
This is another useful and easily readable reference book for modellers interested in this genre.
Consisting of 37 pages cover to cover the book opens with acknowledgements to the many sources of information used within it. This is followed by a publishers note regarding the structure and accuracy of the colour illustrations.
Contained on pages 1 and 4 is a potted history of the deployment of the German Armoured forces in North Africa. This is a short text but a very informative one and provides valuable information about formations and deployment of the two Panzer Divisions that fought in the campaign. For the un-initiated like me this was very valuable information and it is supported by a number of tank strength tables on page 4, 5 and 6 showing the type and number of armoured vehicles deployed at given dates in 1941, 1942 and post 1942.
The book contains 50 black and white quality images of various Mks of Panzer IIIs, these being spread across pages 1 to 14 and 20 to 32. There are between 1 to 4 photographs per page, most contain two, which are of good quality and are supported by known information about the vehicles featured. These make excellent references for the modeller and a number of the vehicles are further described in the colour Illustrations.
The colour illustrations cover pages 15 to 18 and are extremely well done giving good finishing guides for the modeller although as noted by the publishers note mentioned above in a few cases they have been forced to speculate on actual finish. Lack of space means that the drawings are not reproduced to scale but to display known markings and painting schemes.
Page 19 contains some useful information about the uniforms of the Africa Panzertruppen and note-able within the text and referenced in some photographs are the number of captured Allied trucks and vehicles used by the Africa Corps to support their troops and similar could be said about uniforms.
Timelines; extremely useful for reference are the two time lines shown on the right hand side of page 9 for 1941 and left hand side of page 25 for 1942 , showing the major events within the campaign for those years.
Rounding off the book on the inside of the back cover is a diagram of the make-up of the Panzer Regiments tank establishment and company allocation as at May 1942.
Both the front and rear covers of the book are also in colour as can be seen in the accompanying pictures.
This is a short publication focusing on the various Mks of the Panzer III which formed the backbone of the German Africa Corps armour during the fighting in North Africa in 1941/42. It is not meant to be a detailed history but contains valuable and useful background information on the makeup of the Panzer regiments and their deployment/establishment strength at a given moment in time, quality photographs for reference and inspiration and good quality colour illustrations showing various tank marking and finished to aid the modeller.
Each photograph comes with a good explanation and covers the range of Mks for ausf E, F, G, H, J, L and N as well as the Panzerbeobachtungwagen III, so there should be something of interest for most modellers interested in this vehicle or who like me would find the general base information very handy.
The overall quality of the book is excellent, it appears very well researched and should make a very useful reference on the Panzer III or for general reading and those who want a fast reference.
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