Book Review
Panzer IV Medium Tank

by: Delbert [ DELBERT ]

The Book
This book is a good history lesson about the Panzer IV, but it is not aimed at being a technical reference book, and if you buy it for that reason you will be very disappointed. The book has a nice cutaway diagram of the interior of an Ausf. H and 12 color plates of various Ausf’s in various paint schemes. There are also about 29 B&W photo’s with good captions, but the photo’s themselves are on the small side as they are meant to compliment the text that you are reading.
In Depth
The first chapter gives a general overview of the historical development of the Pz IV from Ausf. A to J detailing the stages of its development and its general performance in its various Ausf’s. Also detailed is a little bit of the tactical reasoning of how the tanks would have been used in the German Army.

Chapter 2 gives us a sampling of the many variants developed from the Pz IV, such as the Nashorn, Brummbar and Hummel to name a few. Although this chapter is interesting in the variants it covers, you only get some very basic information on these vehicles and that is mostly on what was changed to make the variant.

Chapter 3 has to be my favorite part of the book. The Pz IV Described, which at about 6 pages of text covers a great deal of technical data on the Pz IV. This chapter is subdivided into Armor, Automotive, and Gunnery and Optical systems. Information found here is things like how the welding of the armor plates was found lacking and hits were found to break welds, how often the oil was to be changed, or even the fact that the 75 mm L/24 was rifled clockwise with 28 grooves, to just name a few tidbits.

Chapter 4, Organization and Tactics is an overview of how the Pz IV was organized in the panzer formations, and how they were to be used. This chapter also touches a little on tactical doctrine and how the new Pz IV’s were parceled out to units.

Chapter 5, The Early Campaigns 1939-1942 covers the early deployments of the Pz IV’s starting in Poland, going into some detail about their use in France, then ending in their campaigns in Greece, Yugoslavia, and then going into their use in operation Barbarossa and their attack into Russia. The section give number of tanks in use and types along with casualty figures.

Chapters 6, The East, Details the use of the Pz IV’s in Russia. This section gives quite a bit of detail on the ebb and flow of the struggle for Russia while touching on several key battles the Pz IV’s were in. Again I’ll say that a lot of numbers are tossed in to keep you on your toes.

Chapter 7, North Africa, logically enough covers the use of the Pz IV’s in North Africa, covering Rommel’s capture of Tobruk. You get a bit of information on the struggle for North Africa, and again a lot of numbers to keep up with. These sections give us lots of information and tidbits such as the fact that the British referred to the up-gunned PzKpfw IV as the “Mark IV Specials”.

Chapter 8, North-West Europe is the final installment of the Pz IV story and how they unsuccessfully tried to keep the Allies out of Europe. There isn’t that much in the way of numbers in this section as it’s the smallest of the deployment chapters but you do get some good information such as the last major offensive was the 1944 Ardennes deployment, and that after that the tank was only found in declining numbers.

Chapter 9, Postscript, is a little about their use after the war. This chapter is very short and to the point as its only about a page long, but there are 2 photo’s of post WWII Pz IV’s that were captured by the Israeli’s. One of the most interesting bits of information in the book was found here and that was the fact that the last Pz IV to be destroyed in battle was in Syrian service as was destroyed by an Israeli Sherman in 1967, some 20 odd years after WWII. More information on this battle can be found in the book.

The final section is detailed captions on the color plates found in the middle of the book.
in Conclusion
I enjoyed this book as I took it own its own merits and didn’t try to compare it to other books that were written as in depth technical reference books.

So if you are looking for a book with a lot of photo’s and information for building a model of this tank, then this is not the book for you, and you will be disappointed.If however, you are looking for a book that gives you a nice overview of the Panzer IV, and are wanting to learn about its history and how it was used and where, then this book would be useful as a starting point.

Panzerkampwagen IV Medium Tank By Bryan Perrett, Illustrated by David E. Smith and Jim Laurier
Osprey Publishing
New Vanguard series
Price $14.95
7.25 x 9.75 inches
48 pages
29 B&W captioned photos
12 Color plates
1 cut away diagram.

1. Development History
2. Special-Purpose Vehicles
3. Pzkpfw IV Described
4. Organization and Tactics
5. The Early Campaigns 1939-1942
6. The East 1942-1945
7. North Africa 1942-1943
8. North-West Europe
9. Postscript
10. The Plates
A good reference book for an overview of the Panzer IV, but not so good from a modellers' point of view.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 1855328437
  Suggested Retail: $15.95
  Related Link: Osprey
  PUBLISHED: Jul 15, 2006

About Delbert (Delbert)

I'm 51. I've been model building since Dec 2001 and I build everything from wingy things to ground hugger's. esp WWII era. also built a car or two. Some people think my stuff isn't too bad.

Copyright ©2021 text by Delbert [ DELBERT ]. All rights reserved.


Im glad to read this review, because I have the older Vanguard (18)version of the book, and apart from the cut-away drawing on the front cover, there doesn´t appear to be much difference. I compared my book to the sample pages shown in the review, and everything is the same except the layout. In the newer version, the photographs have the narrative text to their side, reducing the size of the photographs. The older book has them below, therefore the images appear to be much larger. Text and contents-order appear to be identical. The newer book appears to have an "layed-out order" and list of contents, but reduces the photograph size to accomodate this. I would agree with Delberts review. Probably not 100% geared towards the modeller, but still useful. I picked up the older book from E-bay for a few pounds. With the amount of details on some of the new PIV kits, it could still be very helpful though, with parts placement and markings!. Another book I have, and would be a much superior book, and definately better for modellers, is Tanks in Detail 1 - PzKpfwIV Ausf A to J, by Jonathon Forty. Some excellent detail photographs, and a helpful explanation of the changes between each ausf. It also contains line drawings, modern coloured photographs of preserved vehicles and 4 pages of tactical and division signs.
JUL 14, 2006 - 07:47 PM
Good review Delbert, and a fair rating. I second Franks choice of 'Tanks in Detail', I have that one (as it is, that's my first reference on the Pzr IV I ever bought..) and it's an excellent introduction to the Pzr IV, both for the enthusiast and modeler alike. One of the modelers Bibles must be 'Achtung Panzer' it's just such a pity the text is in Japanese... come on, somebody translate the series.. I spotted two things, the text in one of the photo's with the review mentions 'casually' that the mounting of dozerblades was not unknown... so it may be, but I've not heard about that before, nor have I seen pictures of Pzr IV's with a dozerblade.. And the caption with the drawing of the Panzer in Snow camouflage states it's a Panzer IV Ausf J in North Russia, in early 1944. Must be an early prototype, as the Ausf. J was not produced untill June 1944... Cheers Henk
JUL 15, 2006 - 08:15 AM

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