Germany’s Panzer Arm in WWII: An Interview with R. L. DiNardo

Last year we had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Prof. Richard DiNardo.  Dr. DiNardo is author of numerous books on military history, although it was his book Germany’s Panzer Arm in World War II (Stackpole Military History Series)
that brought him to our attention.  This book started out as his doctoral dissertation and  was later expanded on for publication.  The premise of the book is to examine the various different factors  and components that made up the German Panzer force.  These include the organizational, economic, personnel, doctrinal and tactical factors that affected the Panzer arm’s performance.  The book manages to accomplish all this in a very readable 199 pages.

Since the end of WWII, its fair to say that barrels of ink have been put to page concerning the German Panzer forces of 1933 to 1945.  Most books have focused on vehicles and/or battles.  This book does neither.  What it does is explain the underlying factors that made the Panzer forces what they were.  As such, we think it should be required reading for anyone looking for an understanding of German Panzer forces beyond just memorizing tank model numbers or Panzer division names.

While we certainly recommend Germany’s Panzer Arm in WW2, we would also recommend to those interested in WW2 history his book Mechanized Juggernaut or Military Anachronism?: Horses and the German Army of World War II (Stackpole Military History Series).  This book looks at the subject of horses and the German army of WWII.  While the focus in many military histories is on the mechanized component of the Wehrmacht, little attention has been paid , or analysis given, of the hundreds of thousands of horses that provided the motive power to the vast majority of the German Army.

Both books are available in softcover as part of the Stackpole Military History Series.

While we recorded this interview in spring of 2015, we have not had the opportunity to publish it until now due to technical reasons.  That is, we lost the files due to a computer mishap.  Fortunately, we recently were able to recover the files and finish transcribing (most of) the audio.  The interview is posted below, our questions in italics and Dr. DiNardo’s answers in regular font.


How did you get interested in the topic of World War II German panzers?

It’s the old saying by Thomas Hardy, peace makes for dull history.  War makes for rattling good reading.  Like a lot of kids I was drawn to the German military because I thought the uniforms were cool.  It’s that simple.

[Read more…]