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Osprey- GERMAN TANKS IN FRANCE 1940 - Armor in the Wehrmacht's greatest Blitzkrieg victory

ISBN Number: 978-1-4728-5944-0 Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2024 Retail Price: $20.00
Reviewed By: Brian Campitella


Armor in the Wehrmacht's greatest Blitzkrieg victory




Author: Steven J. Zaloga

Illustrator: Felipe Rodriguez

Osprey Publishing - New Vanguard Series #327

Price: $20

ISBN: 978-1-4728-5944-0

Paperback, 48 pages, 7.25 x 8.75, 41 black and white photos, 10 color profiles and 7 data tables

Excerpt from the book's back cover:

In this Book, renowned armor expert Steven J. Zaloga reassesses the armored force (German Tanks in France 1940) that made this triumph possible, and explains that although the Panzers won their reputation in France, they were far from being a technological juggernaut. The vast majority were the small Panzer I and Panzer II light tanks while the more effective medium tanks such as the Panzer III and Panzer IV were relatively few in number."

That statement is a most effective synopsis of the contents of this book.

In the first half of the book the author provides an excellent overview of the equipment and organization of the German Panzer Armies.  Nearly every page has one or two small pictures (approximately  3"x3") or a data table.  The various technical specifications tables cover tank strength for each panzer division, panzer status for each division on a given date (operational, under repair, lost, etc...) and other interesting statistics.

The second half provides a brief but thorough analysis of panzer battles in the conquest of France.

What's Inside  

The Table of Contents:

DOCTRINE AND ORGANIZATION - discusses the formation, training and organization of the early panzer forces.

TECHNICAL FACTORS - discusses the armor, armament and cross country ability of each of the five panzer types used in France.  They are compared to their French, British and Soviet counterparts and their shortcomings are highlighted.  There is also discussion of design changes made to remediate these shortcomings.  Included are sections on tanks the Wehrmacht obtained from Czechoslovakian army after the annexation of the Czechoslovak provinces in 1939 and early conversions of Panzer I hulls into Panzerjäger and Sturmgeschütz variants. 

All of this information was clearly presented and the data tables provided the reader with a great sense of the numerical tank strength of the German forces at the beginning of the invasion. There are also discussions on the technical parity and sometimes superiority of the French and British Armor.

The example page below shows one of the data tables and the beginnings of the Panzerkampfwagen I Technical Factors description.

There are several well done profile illustrations of various Panzers.  Below is an example of a Panzer III illustration. (This particular Panzer III Ausf F has inspired me to build one with these camouflage and markings.) 


THE CAMPAIGN - begins with a short discussion of Fell Gelb (Plan Yellow), the Ardennes invasion plan, and then dives into the major engagements between the German and French armor forces. 

The section begins with Heeresgruppe B attack through Belgium and the first large scale tank battle at the Gembloux Gap.  The Germans dubbed the clash the "witches cauldron" due to the violence of the battle. Next Guderian's advance through the Ardennes, crossing of the Meuse river and the Allied retreat to Dunkirk are covered.  This is the longest and most detailed section of the book. The author then presents a summary table of German tank losses and a description of French and British losses.

BATTLE ANALYSIS and TECHNICAL LESSONS -discusses the differences in the use and deployment of tanks between the German and French armies. Training and German experience gained from the invasion of Poland are also considered as a major contributor to the Wehrmacht's success in France.


This is another Osprey book that is a great addition to your military library.  Being an early war German armor fan, I can't say enough about what's contained in this book.  It contains information and pictures that I haven't come across in other early war German tank books.  Including a picture of Bruckenlager II bridge laying tank based on the PzKpfw II hull.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in German armor used during the invasion of France.

Highly Recommended for those interested in early war German armor.

Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review sample.

Reviewed by Brian Campitella


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