Foreign Panthers: The Panzer V in British, Soviet, French and other service 1943-1958
Osprey: New Vanguard 313
By: M.P. Robinson and Thomas Seignon
Illustrated by: Henry Morshead
The flurry of German armor kits in the past few years has also bought with it new books and research. Building the same old same old can become momentous, at least for me. The New Vanguard Book provides a modeler with an opportunity to do something new with a familiar subject! The Panther! That something new is a Panther in Foreign Service. Think of it, a Panther in olive drab! Or Russian Green! In Romanian or Czechoslovakian and Hungarian use! Just think how your Panther would stand out on a table at a show! That is what my good friend Rob Riviezzo says so let’s take a look between the pages of the book.
Forty-five pages of information and analysis as well as color plates, black and white photographs, diagrams, technical documentation and foreign assessments provide a good view of the Panther and who used them. The Introduction gives a brief history of the Panther and its development. This is followed by a brief history of the Panther in Axis allies.
The next area of interest in the Allied evaluations of the Panther between 1943-1944. Soviet, British and American thoughts are presented. This section provides how the Allies came into possession of them, how many, as well as what they did with them once in captivity. The authors state that the Russian capture of Panthers came by way of Operation Citadel and that the Germans deployed them in haste to provide them with a “technically superior medium tank to the Soviet T-34.” The British first encounter with a captured Panther included all allies and their observations and review of the vehicle “proved that the Panther was significantly superior in armour and firepower to the Sherman and Churchill tanks.”
In the section titled In Combat, it breaks down the use of them by the Allied forces and how they fared in combat. Remember using captured equipment has its limitations, such as, type of fuel, mechanical issues, parts, and ammunition compatibility. This part of the book provides great photo references of Panthers in Allied service, from France comes "Dauphine" and "Normandie", from Britain comes Deserter and Cuckoo, and other Allied and former Axis countries such as Bulgaria.
The Post War section focuses on the following countries and their uses of the Panther: Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia and the French Army. Photos and color plates provide the modeler with solid resources and information on recreating a Panther in foreign post war service.
The last section discusses the Panther as a template, that is how it influenced tank design specifically the French. The gun in the AMX-13 utilized the Panther’s 75mm KwK 42 barrel design. Different components of the Panther were improved in development. The shell of the Panther was considered when developing “the AMX 50 M4 medium tank for the AMX 50 120 heavy tanks.
The photos and color plates are worth the price of admission but the text enhances and provides valuable understanding of the Panther through the eyes of those who captured the tank. As modelers we can never have enough kits nor resources to rely on when building!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review book.
Reviewed by Steve Santucci
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