Personally, Panzer III is one of my favourite vehicles from WW2 and I always wondered how it could have been missed by PeKo so far. The situation changes now with a new, 14th volume of their “World War Two Photobook Series” narrated by Tom Cockle, the researcher that consults Dragon Models on their Panzer III series. Great images and excellent author, what else do we need? Let’s have a look under the cover!
This title is a landscape format book with a hard cover and 112 pages inside. Printed on high quality glossy paper it is written in both English and Hungarian and besides the two page introduction it contains full page photographs of Panzer III in different conditions with bilingual captions. The photographs come from private collections of Peter Kocsis, James Haley, Thomas Anderson, Wolfgang Zimmermann, Hilary Luis Doyle and a number of archives. Most of them are unknown to me and a few of those I have seen in a poor resolution.
The introduction written by Tom is very thorough and I really like that he described all modifications of Panzer III from Ausf. A to Ausf. N highlighting the key changes and various features. Clearly, this is a comprehensive guide for those who would like to understand differences between various versions in a simple way. It also includes production numbers which contain both original chassis and converted.
Similar to the introduction the photographs start with Ausf. A in Poland in 1939 and follow the path of Panzer III until the last days of war in Norway, 1945. Under each photograph the author highlights important aspects that allow identification of production version, one also gets to know the unit (where possible) and time of photography. Interestingly, many of the photographs show vehicles that have mixed features like different road wheels, or early style tracks on the 95mm wide road wheels and vice-a-versa. Other mixed features include L/42 gun but without armour upgrades or Ausf. F in the middle of the upgrade to Ausf. G features. Many of those Panzer III are shown during the movement or stationed, while there are plenty of knocked out examples. The high quality of photographs allow seeing different details and would be a great source of inspiration for a modeller as they show small nuances that can be used either during build or painting. All theatres of war are present – Poland, France, Africa and of course Soviet Union. Many tanks have interesting camouflages including some very attractive winter paint schemes that would be great to show on a model. Or how about making a field workshop turret stowage bin on an early version? Or S-mine dischargers on the Ausf. L? And already mentioned Panzer III in Norway have interesting Zimmerit patterns and side skirts.
What to say? This is a great title for those who like Panzer III and you will find a lot of inspiration for modelling in it. The comprehensive introduction and professional narration make it stand out.
Highs: Finally we have a Panzer III dedicated volume from PeKo! Very good photographs with excellent research from Tom Cockle (consultant of DLM on Panzer III series).Lows: NoneVerdict: Very highly recommended.