Monday, December 5, 2011

Book review: Viking Panzers

Viking Panzers by Ewald Klapdor more or less covers the history of SS Panzer Regt 5 during World War II. Published in English by Stackpole Books, it was originally published in German in the early 1980's. The author was himself a member of the regiment and has written the history using various after action reports and recollections from regiment members including his own.

The book begins with the formation of the unit in the Spring of 1942 and follows it throughout its deployment on the Eastern Front through the end of the war. The provides insight into the many battles fought by the regiment and the hardships the troops suffered throughout the war. Unlike many books about SS units, no mention of any politics is made. The author provides good information about the make up of the individual units in the regiment including vehicle types and unit commanders where possible. At times, especially in the chapters covering the Kuban and Don regions, the book is hard to follow as the village names are an alphabet soup of letters. Reading through them could be quite tedious.

There are more than 35 maps and 30 photos included in the book. Some of the maps are very difficult to understand as the reproduction quality is poor. This further compounded the difficulty in following some of the village names as mentioned above.

In general, I found it to be an enjoyable book as it covers one of the lesser well known armored units of the SS. I recommend this for all armor enthusiasts and those interested in the Eastern Front in particular.

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

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