Panther and its Variants
This is not a new book, first published in English in 1993, and it is the first volume in the four-volume Speilberger German Armor and Military Vehicle Series which also includes the StuG, Panzer III and Panzer IV as companion volumes. At 284 pages in a hardbound, 8 1/2" x 11" format this tome is what it appears to be on the surface, the equivalent of a Hunnicutt book for the Panther.
Lavishly illustrated with original German technical drawings, multiview drawings of many variants and period photos, most of which seem to come from technical sources, this book is definitely the best single source relating to the development of the Panther and its variants. It covers the mundane details of the development process of the Panther with incredibly detailed information on topics as diverse as suspension performance, engine power versus speed and temperature curves, gearbox shifting performance and welding methods for the armour plate.
Like Hunnicutt's books, there are also numerous sections dealing with various experimental and proposed Panther variants, covering topics as diverse as the development of the resilient road wheels and Schmalturm that were planned for the Panther F, details of the proposed E50 standard panzer, and the infrared fighting equipment. There is coverage of the production variants like the Jagdpanther and Bergepanther as well as a section on what we now refer to as paper panzers, various self propelled artillery and tank destroyer versions proposed, but not produced during the war.
There are 20 appendices covering a wide variety of topics from biographies of key figures in the Panther's development, to armour penetration tests performed in the US after the war, to minutes of meetings of the German armour technical board. The book ends with a rather short index and a bibliography.
While a goldmine of technical detail, this book has no information on the actual service history of the Panther. In addition, it would be difficult to tease out of this book exactly when the various production changes to the Panther were actually applied to production vehicles. There is no timeline or cross reference showing when or to which vehicles the various production changes were applied. If you know the details you want to model, they are probably in here, but the book will not tell you which serial number a detail showed up on. Notwithstanding, this is still an excellent reference book for anyone looking to build a detailed Panther.
Highly Recommended for fans of the Panther and its variants.
Thanks goes out to Schiffer Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Paul Roberts
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