Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book review: "Panzers in the Sand" Vol. 2 1942-45

Panzers in the Sand, Vol. Two 1942-45 by Bernd Hartmann
2011, Stackpole Books $32.95

Following up on his earlier Panzers in the Sand, Vol. One 1935-41, Bernd Hartmann continues the story of Panzer Regiment 5 in Panzers in the Sand, Vol. Two 1942-45.  As with the first volume, this book was originally published in German in 2002 and has now been published in English by Stackpole Books.  Within its 290 pages are more than 285 photographs, along with many charts and tables.  The quality of the photos is very good.  In following with the same format at Volume One, each chapter begins with text and a scattering of photos and charts where relevant.  The end of each chapter is comprised of numerous photos that go with the chapter text.

The first two chapters discuss the regiment's role in the North Africa battles culiminating with the surrender of the Afrika Korps in May 1943.  These two chapters alone take up half of the book.  First hand accounts by former regiment members describe how the conditions were including food and equipment.  They provide a nice addition to the author's text. 

With the demise of Panzer Regiment 5 in North Africa, the next final three chapter cover it's reincarnation as Panzer Abeilung 5 and its battles on the Eastern and Western Fronts.  More first hand accounts combined with the author's text make these chapters just as interesting and informative as the first two. 

The book finishes with several appendices which cover regimental/abteilung commanders, Knight's Cross recipients, German Cross in Gold recipients, logistics,  Panzer Ersatz Abteilung 5, personnel of the regiment reassigned to I./Panzer Lehr Regiment 130, uniform, and documents/decorations/awards.  The appendices alone contain lots of valuable information and photos and are well worth the read.

I really enjoyed this book, probably a bit more so than Volume One which I thought was quite good in its own right.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in military history, especially the armored vehicle enthusiasts.

Thanks to Chris Evans at Stackpole Books for the review sample.