Book Alert: Haynes Manual Panzer III

Haynes Publishing has released a new entry in their Owners’ Workshop Manual series for the WWII era German Panzer III tank.  Titled Panzer III: Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. A to N (SdKfz 141) (Owners’ Workshop Manual), this book is authored by Dick Taylor and Michael Hayton. This book follows the same format as previous books in this series, being a 160 page hard cover volume with plenty of photos and full color illustrations and charts.

Publishers Description:

When Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in June 1941, the 23-tonne Panzer III was in the vanguard of the German assault. The German Panzer III tank (official designation Panzerkampfwagen III, Sd Kfz 141, abbreviated to PzKpfw III) saw widespread use during the Second World War campaigns in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and the Balkans, and in North Africa with the famous Afrika Korps. A small number were still in use in Normandy (1944), at Anzio (1943), in Norway and Finland and in Operation Market Garden (1944). Some 5,774 were built between 1937 and 1943. Although the Panzer III was conceived to operate alongside the infantry-supporting Panzer IV to fight other tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, the roles were reversed when the German Army came up against the formidable Soviet T-34 tank. A tank with a more powerful anti-tank gun was needed so the Panzer IV with its larger turret ring and long-barrelled 7.5cm KwK 40 gun was used in tank-versus-tank battles, with the Panzer III being redeployed in the infantry support role. Production of the Panzer III ended in 1943, although its dependable chassis provided hulls for the Sturmgeschutz III (StuG III) assault gun, one of the most successful of the war, until the end of the war. Centrepiece of the Haynes Panzer III Tank Manual is the Bovington Tank Museum’s PzKpfw III Ausf L, which has been restored to running condition. This tank belonged to the same battalion as the museum’s famous Tiger I (the 501st (Heavy) Panzer Abteilung) and is an early production Ausf L, modified for tropical service. It was shipped via Naples to Benghazi in Libya in July 1942 and was issued to the 8th Panzer Regiment, part of the 15th Panzer Division and probably fought in the Battle of Alam Halfa. It was subsequently captured by the British Army and shipped to the UK.The Tank Museum has restored the tank to running order, has repainted it in its original camouflage and markings and is currently replacing many of the ancillary tools and equipment that it carried.

Panzer III: Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. A to N (SdKfz 141) (Owners’ Workshop Manual) is available from Amazon here.

Book Alert: Haynes Manual Chieftain MBT

After a fairly quite summer, there has been a veritable flood of new books on tanks and armor recently.  We are happy to note that on top of all the other titles we have reported on this past week, there is a new entry in the Haynes Manual series, a title by Dick Taylor on the British Chieftain MBT.  This is a hardcover book of 160 pages, with many photos, color illustrations and drawings and is slated for an Sept 1 release.  Those who have read any of the other tank books in the Haynes series will know what to expect.  While we have not had a chance to examine this particular one yet, we have several of the other books in the series and have found them to be handy and useful references.  Author Dick Taylor is a former British Army Challenger tank commander.  Over the past several years he has been quite prolific, producing titles such as the Haynes manual on the Challenger I MBT, Firing Now!, Men Inside the Metal, Into the Valley: The Valentine Tank, and several entries in the Armor PhotoHistory series.

Publisher’s Description:

The Chieftain was the British Army’s Main Battle Tank for twenty years, first entering service with the 11th Hussars in 1966. One of the first true Main Battle Tanks, it was designed to replace both medium (Centurion) and heavy (Conqueror) tanks in front line service and provided the backbone of the British Army’s heavy armour at the height of the Cold War. It incorporated a lot of revolutionary design features, although some did not work as well as expected. For example, in order to reduce height the driver lay in a reclining position and changed gear with his foot. The L11 120mm gun used a self-combusting bagged charge instead of a brass cartridge case (the gun proved to be highly successful); and the tank was powered by a multi-fuel engine. The Chieftain was continually upgraded during its service life: later marks were fitted with a laser rangefinder; a computerised fire-control system (IFCS), thermal sights (TOGS) and additional compound armour on the front of the turret and around the driver’s hatch (so-called Stillbrew armour). The L60 engine was continually modified and improved to increase its output and reliability. The end result of all these changes was a formidable AFV. The Chieftain hull was also used for a range of specialised AFVs, including armoured recovery vehicles (ARV and ARRV), bridge layers (AVLB) and combat engineering tanks (AVRE). A total of more than 2,200 Chieftains of all types were manufactured by the Royal Ordnance Factories and Vickers Ltd. Some 900 of these served with the British Army while the remaining 1,300 tanks were exported to Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and the Oman. Chieftains saw their share of combat with the Iranian Army in the 1980s when they engaged Iraqi tanks during the Iran-Iraq War, while Kuwaiti Chieftains fought the Iraqi Army during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Chieftain gun tanks were withdrawn from front-line service with the British Army during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but Chieftain recovery and combat engineering vehicles served with the British Army during the operations to liberate Kuwait in 1991 (Desert Storm).

Book Alert: Challenger 1 Haynes Manual

hanes manualAmazon has an October 15 release date posted for Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank 1983-2001, the latest installment in the Haynes Owner’s Workshop Manual series on tanks.  Written by Dick Taylor, this book follows the well established format of the Haynes series, which have covered a number of tanks, including the Tiger, Sherman, Churchill and WWI Mark IV tank.  Taylor is an experienced author, having written several books for the MMP “Green Series” as well as a book on the British Cruiser Comet for the Armor Photogallery Series.  It will be interesting to see how this book compares to the very good two volume set on the Challenger 1 by Rob Griffin published last year by Kagero Press.