Book Review: Images of War: The Panther Tank

Images of War is a long running series by Pen and Sword books, primarily focused on WW2.  While most of the titles in the series focus on either a particular campaign or a military unit, they also include titles on different WW2 era tanks.  The latest tank themed entry in the series is The Panther Tank: Hitler’s T-34 Killer (Images of War) by Anthony Tucker-Jones.

The book is a softcover volume of 120 pages and contains over 100 photographs as well as a selection of color drawings.  The book is roughly the same dimensions as an Osprey New Vanguard or Duel book, although considerably thicker.  The paper quality is good, as is the quality of the images.  While the title of the series might make one assume this book is strictly a photo collection, there is actually a good deal of text included in the book.  A quick count reveals that roughly one of out every three pages is text, typically divided in two or three page sections addressing different models of the tank or different campaigns the Panther was involved in.

Tucker-Jones does a good job in presenting the history of the vehicle in the relatively limited number of pages available.  The book does not go in depth into the technical features of the Panther, rather focusing on the reasons for its development and combat history.  The author gives a well-balanced history of the Panther, noting that while the vehicle had some significant technical advantages over its Allied foes, it ultimately was not well suited to the needs of the German war machine in the later stages of the war.  The descriptions of various combat actions involving Panthers illustrate quite well the frustrations German crews and commanders had with these vehicles due to their size, fuel consumption and mechanical unreliability.  Our only nitpick would be that while the title of the book references the Panther as “Hitler’s T-34 Killer”, little attention is given to the Panther on the Eastern Front beyond the vehicles introduction at the battle of Kursk in 1943.  Given the limited size of this book, this omission is probably excusable.

As to the photographs, some are ones that have been reprinted in other books, some were unfamiliar to this reviewer.  The color plates are attractive and may be of use to modelers, although there are only ten pages of these.

For those looking for an introductory level book on the Panther, this book will do nicely. For those already familiar with the topic, most of the content of this book will be familiar.  That said, it’s a handsome volume with a reasonable price tag.  Currently, quite a few copies are available through third party vendors on Amazon at nearly half off the cover price, making this book a veritable bargain.

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