The Panzer Tracts series, created by Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L Doyle, is an attempt to correct many of the errors and misconceptions that have perpetuated themselves over the years both in print and on the internet regarding Germany’s armored vehicles. Volume 5-1 covers the Panther Ausf. D and the prototypes V1 and V2. The Panzer Tracts team used only primary resources for this book, spent hundreds of hours measuring the sole surviving Panther Ausf. D and Ausf. D parts in surviving Panther Ausf. A's. All this effort paid off big when they created the 1/1 scale drawings in AutoCAD subsequently converted into 1/35 and 1/10 scale drawings.
This book is the first of three volumes in the series documenting the Panther tank. The book consists of 72 pages, 44 rare black and white photos and over 100 drawings in 1/35 and 1/10 scale to clearly illustrate even the smallest details. The diagrams will prove to be very useful for the modeler, including original drawings of the prototype VK 2002 dated 2 May, 1942.
The formatting of the text at times seems amateurish and could really benefit from a once over by someone with even a little experience in formatting and text layout. Items listed as bullet points blend in with the rest of the text because there is no indenting and they insist on using the letter “o” instead of bullet points . C’mon guys, anyone who has even a little experience composing professional emails in a work environment can do better than that.
Clearly, the Panzer Tracts team have invested a lot of time and energy on the research that went into this book. Many of the photos have been reproduced from the original glass plate negatives and a lot of effort was put into creating the AutoCAD drawings and diagrams which are found throughout this book.
The book begins by documenting the initial development of the Panther including photos of prototypes V1 and V2. There is also an excellent photo of the engine compartment of V2 with all the hatches and covers removed. The 1/35 scale profile drawings of V2 along with the prototype turret and other details are a nice touch.
Most of the book is devoted to production versions of the Panther Ausf. D. Many 1/35 scale drawings are included along with some great internal diagrams showing the engine, drive train components, torsion bars and many other details of the internal components of the Panther. I was especially impressed with a set of 1/35 scale drawings of the hull plates that delineated the areas that had face hardened surfaces. The advanced modeler and scratch builder will really appreciate the 1/10 scale drawings of the track segments, drive sprocket, idler, road wheels, fenders, hatches, lights, gun travel lock, tool brackets, engine grills and screens, exhaust, storage bins, jack and many other details. Photographs are included to supplement the scale drawings where appropriate.
A large part of the book is devoted to covering the modifications introduced during the production run of the Panther Ausf. D. Descriptions, photos and scale drawings document and describe the modifications in detail. Scale drawings document the addition of the shürzen and shürzen brackets, among other things. Many, if not all, of the experimental reinforced road wheels are presented side by side in 1/35 scale drawings which show the many different configurations of bolts and rivets. The book finishes up with information on the command versions of the Panther Ausf. D including several different zimmerit patterns. I would like to have seen more examples of the different variations of modifications, especially late in the development of the Ausf. D including those with zimmerit. As it stands, however, this is an excellent addition to anyone’s reference library.
Overall, this is a great reference on the Panther Ausf. D including the prototype V2. It has been well researched and includes things never before documented. There are some inconsistencies when compared with Thomas L. Jentz’s earlier work published in 1995 “Germany’s Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy” which makes a great companion to this book.
This book is very focused and there is a lot of information crammed into its 72 pages, although it could benefit from better formatting and more pictures. I highly recommend this book as a reference, but you’ll also want to have other supplemental references with more photos and in action shots.
Highs: Thoroughly researched, well documented featuring excellent scale drawings and descriptions.Lows: Amateurish formatting and text layout.Verdict: Great reference on the Panther Ausf. D and prototypes.
About Scott Espin (Spiff) FROM: NEVADA, UNITED STATES
I have been an avid student of military history for over 35 years, especially World War II with my focus mostly on German military equipment (tanks and aircraft). I'm especially interested in anything relating to the Eastern Front and North Africa.
My Dad ignited my passion for modeling when I...