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Pen & Sword- Panzer III German Army Light Tank North Africa El Alamein to Tunis, 1942-43 Tankcraft #40

ISBN Number: 9 781399 065122 Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
Published: Sunday, April 23, 2023 Retail Price: $29.95 USD
Reviewed By: Ashley Abernathy

Panzer III German Army Light Tank North Africa
El Alamein to Tunis, 1942-43 Tankcraft #40

Short Specifics
Author: Dennis Oliver
Price- $29.95
ISBN: 9 781399 065122
Overall: 11.75in  X 8.25in, softcover, 64 pages with dozens of B&W photos, color plates, callout illustrations, orders of battle details, four brief model builds, and currently available model kits and aftermarket products.

First Impressions

This is my first read of the Tankcraft series from Pen & Sword.  I believe this is a three book “series” covering the PZ III from 1941 through 1943.  This book covers the PZIII in North Africa from 1942 to the surrender of the DAK in May 1943.  The 64-page book is primarily focused on the Ausf. model J, L, and N tanks.  My favorite things in the book are the sections that identify the primary external features of each variant, the color plates, and the timeline of major events from November ’42 until May of ’43.

Lots of photos of each variant are included and there are 20 different color plate illustrations including, in some cases, the pictures of the tank illustrated.



The book is more like a text book, as its not intended to be a novel or historical flow of people and events.   The book is really divided up into separate sections, which make for a comfortable light reading over a few nights.

The first sections Introduction, and the North African Campaign introduce the set up for this book and with the Campaign section, is a nice full-page map (mostly Tunisia) as well as a well done and presented major date event by date event of the campaign from Nov 1942 to May 1943.   I found this to be a great reference and quick overall summary of that time.

Next up is a breakdown of all the units in North Africa with Panzer IIIs.  This is a great review of the units involved.   Then comes a 2-page summary layout of the tracking and deliveries/transfers for Pz. III’s in the campaign.

Following this there were 10 pages dedicated to large illustrations and markings of various Pz. IIIs.  My favorite part.  Very well done images.


After this there are four model build reviews.  While these are not complete reviews/builds it does provide the reader with a nice illustration of the kits out there and how they can be showcased.   This is then followed by brief review of the kits and some aftermarket details and sets currently available at the time of printing.  


On page 49 the book introduces the main variants of this book: J, L, N and some discussion about the H and M variants.  As you can see in the pictures below, several key components are pointed out on the exterior that can help differentiate the various models.  Between this section and the color plates to me as a modeler are the best parts of this book.  While its not a true every single component breakdown, the author has done well to comment on the history of the variants and the major changes from one model to the next through these 10 pages.  


The last section called the Kriegsstärkenachweisung (contemporary for War Strength Record) provides a nice unit strength breakdown of the units mentioned earlier.    It’s not totally comprehensive, nor is it meant to be as noted by the author, but a summarized unit order of battle level of information.  Especially of interest to me was the continuing “absorbing” of units as the war went on and units were merged together to maintain levels of strength.



I found this to be a great read.  As I noted earlier, the color plates and the variant identification sections were my favorite.  All the other parts were just as good.  I also think this is a great comprehensive way to target (excuse the pun) the modeler, historian and even the gamer community to inform them of the Panzer III and its history in North Africa.

I have a few years of German behind me so reading the German names/labels throughout the book were ok for me, however, for those not so versed they could find some of the reading a challenge. I would recommend a definitions page, or change the names to English to make it flow easier for future books.  It’s not a negative at all, not does it take away from an excellent book.  This is just a idea on my part.


Highly Recommended for anyone interested in the Panzer III and its deployment in North Africa. 

Thanks goes out to  Casemate Publishing for this review book.

Reviewed by Ashley Abernathy


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