The Panzer III was the main medium tank for the German Army from the start to the middle of World War II. Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf.E, F, G, H was created by Thomas Jentz with scale drawings by Hilary Louis Doyle. It was published in 2007 by Panzer Tracts (ISBN 0-9771643-9-x). The book has 84 8.5"x11" pages. There are lots of 1/35 and 1/10 scale drawings. All photos are in black and white.
This is the second of three volumes covering the development and evolution of the Panzer III tank. Variants built on the Panzer III chassis are covered in volumes on those variant types (StuG III for example is covered in Panzer Tracts #8: Sturmgeschuetz"). This volume covers what was to be the tip of the spear of the German tank corps during the early years of World War II.
The chapters on the versions of the Panzer III cover the production history and modifications during production. There are no operational histories or combat reports in this book. These will probably be in the next book or perhaps there is too much material for a Panzer Tracts book as the Panzer III was such a much used weapon.
Zugfuehrerwagen (Z.W.) Development is a short chapter covering the reasons for the development of the Ausf.E. There are 2 photos of Ausf.Es.
Panzerkampfwagen III (3.7cm) (Sd.Kfz.141) Ausf.E covers the first series production model of the Panzer III with the definitive suspension configuration and increased armor. There is a complete description of the entire tank to serve as a base for the rest of the book. There are 5 photos and a 5 view plan of an Ausf.E.
Panzerkampfwagen III (3.7cm) (Sd.Kfz.141) Ausf.F describes how it was basically an Ausf.E with a modified engine and cooling system. It was the first mass produced model. There are 18 photos, a 5 view plan of a 37mm armed tank, a 5 view plan of a 50mm armed tank, a 6 view plan of the bare hull, a 2 view plan of the hull (with shocks, final drives, idler mounts), a 2 view plan of the hull with suspension installed, a 5 view plan of the 37mm-armed turret, and a 5 view plan of the 50mm-armed turret. In addition, there are 1/10 drawings of many detail parts like road wheels, shocks, hatches, visors, lights, tools, smoke grenade dispenser, and exhaust. The problem with the 1/10 detail drawings are that the English translations for the German labels are missing.
Panzerkampfwagen III (3.7cm) (Sd.Kfz.141) Ausf.G describes the improvements of the G over the F. Included is a section on the debate on the re-arming from the 37mm to 50mm gun. There are 15 photos, a 5 view plan of a 37mm-armed tank, a 5 view plan of a 50mm-armed tank, a 5 view plan of the 37mm-armed turret, and a 5 view plan of a 50mm-armed turret.
Z.W.38 (Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.E, F, & G) Umbewaffnung Programm) is one page of text covering the organization of the Panzer III update programs (re-armament, up-armoring, updated suspension). There are 4 photos and a 4 view plan of an Ausf. F modified with a 50mm gun, additional appliqué armor (Zusatzpanzerung), a turret stowage bin, wider tracks/suspension, and tropical modifications.
Modifications to the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.E, F, & G After Delivery describes the modifications made during the update programs. These included the change from MG drum to belt feed, modifications for tropical climates (Tropen) as well as for severe winter conditions. There are 5 photos as well as a 4 view plan of an Ausf. G modified with a 50mm gun, Zusatzpanzerung, and a turret stowage bin.
Panzerkampfwagen III (5cm) (Sd.Kfz.141) Ausf.H covers the first purpose-built 50mm gun armed model. There are descriptions of improvements over the Ausf. G. as well as modifications made after delivery. There are 12 photos (3 of the gun mount), a 5 view plan of a regular Ausf.H, a 4 view plan of an Ausf.H (Tropen), a 6 view plan of the hull, and 1/10 drawings of the 4 plates used for the Zusatzpanzerung.
This is a great book for the main German tank of the early years of World War II. The scale drawings are fantastic. All the tanks have a full 5 view 1/35 drawings and there are even 1/35 drawings of the hull bottom and the hull sans suspension. The 1/10 drawings of the details is wonderful.
Highs: Scale drawings plus the well researched history of production, as well as modifications made during production and after delivery.Lows: I do still wish less German was used in the book, but this is a trait in common with the entire Panzer Tracts series. Not having English labels on the 1/10 drawings is really annoying.Verdict: This is a "Must Get!" book for those interested in getting their
models of the early war Panzer III right.