Panzers in the Sand, Vol. One 1935-41 by Bernd Hartmann
2010, Stackpole Books $32.95 USD
Panzers in the Sand is a two volume series covering the history of Panzer Regiment 5 from its inception thru the end of World War II. Orginally published in German in 2002, an English language version of it has been published by Stackpole Books. This hardcover book is 298 pages long and includes over 360 photos plus numerous charts and maps. Some of the photos appear to be copies of copies but are of overall good quality. Each chapter begins with text and a scattering of photos and charts where relevant. The end of each chapter consists of numerous photos.
The book starts with establishment of the Panzertruppe including information about the training that took place in the Soviet Union during the late 1920's and early '30's. Chapter 2 describes the early days of Panzer Regiment 5 through August 1939. There are some good photos of PzKpfw I Ausf. A and early PzKpfw II in this chapter.
Chapter 3 covers the Polish Campaign while Chapter 4 covers the Campaign in the West. The information in these chapters matches what I have read in other books fact wise. There are excerpts from Thomas Jentz's Panzer Truppen that cover after action reports. Chapter 4 also has several photos of a PzKpfw II Ausf B(?) from several different angles that will allow modelers to build this tank with a good degree of accuracy.
Chapter 5 is a short one and covers the regiments work up prior to being deployed to North Africa. In Chapter 6, which is the final one of the book, the North African Campaign thru the end of 1941 is covered.
Overall, I found the book quite readable and entertaining. I thought it covered the development of the regiment and its early battles quite well. Details including sample training schedules are included in early chapters. Throughout each chapter are sidebars describing key personalities from the regiment including various commanders and award winners.
The English translation flowed well compared to some others that I've read in the past. I only found one photo caption that I could confirm was off. On page 163, a knocked out a 5cm KwK L/42 armed PzKpfw III Ausf G or H is noted as being knocked out during the Battle of France. More than likely it from the Balkans Campaign as there weren't any 5cm armed PzKpfw III's in the Battle of France.
In short, I enjoyed the book very much and I recommend it to those interested in the Panzer Truppe and in armor in general.
Volume Two of the series will be reviewed in a few days.
Thanks to Chris Evans at Stackpole Books for the review sample.