Images of War, The Panzer III, Hitler’s Beast of Burden, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives

This addition to the very popular Images of War series is another well-researched and well-presented book from Tucker-Jones. – The text should not be underestimated. It is concise and clear, very capably supporting an outstanding selection of rare images of one of the German Army’s most important tanks – Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Images of War, The Panzer III, Hitler's Beast of Burden, Rare 
Photographs From Wartime Archives
FILE: R2554
AUTHOR: Anthony Tucker-Jones
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  111
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War., German 
armour, AFV, Armoured Fighting Vehicle, tank, assault gun, German 
Army, Blitz Krieg

ISBN: 1-47389-105-1

IMAGE: B2554.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ybmdmmmf
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This addition to the very popular Images of War series 
is another well-researched and well-presented book from Tucker-Jones.  
- The text should not be underestimated. It is concise and clear, 
very capably supporting an outstanding selection of rare images of 
one of the German Army's most important tanks  – Highly Recommended.

No one can deny that the German Army enthusiastically and efficiently 
adopted the tactics proposed by German, British and French officers 
after WWI. Equally, it cannot be denied that other armies failed 
adopt these tactics before WWII. However, German equipment was not 
superior to that of other armies in the same way as the tactics.

When Germany entered WWII, it was several years ahead of the date 
Hitler had been working to. He miscalculated the British resolve 
when he sent his army into Poland. As a result, he was largely 
unprepared. When he attacked west in 1940, his rapid victories 
disguised the fact that success was at least as much due to the 
Allies and neutral countries failing to take war seriously and 
being overwhelmed by fears of another bloody war of attrition. 

Invasion of Poland saw a largely unmechanized German Army rolling 
over a Polish Army that was almost entirely unmechanized and smaller, 
lacking modern aircraft and having no understanding of the tactics 
of Blitz Krieg. The Germans still depended very heavily on horses 
and even in 1945, still had large numbers of horses in service. It 
had few armoured vehicles and few motorised transport vehicles. 
What it did do very effectively was use its available armoured and 
mechanised units closely together as the vanguard, closely supported 
by dive bombers, medium bombers and fighter aircraft. The Poles 
ended up charging armour on horseback in an unequal battle. The 
armour was of generally poor quality. The Pkw I and Pkw II tanks were 
small, lightly armoured and very lightly armed. They also suffered 
many mechanical failures and were really not fit for much more than 
reconnaissance, or action against armies lacking tanks and transport 
vehicles. The only effective tank was the Skoda 38t which was 
available as a result of occupation of Czechoslovakia. The 38t was 
well-armoured for the time, carried an effective canon in its two 
man turret, and used a Christi-style suspension to provide very good 
speed and mobility. Most importantly, it was of good build quality 
and achieved high reliability.

The Pkw III was just entering service and was a dramatic advance over 
the first two Panzers. It was to soldier on to the bitter end, long 
after it had been surpassed by enemy designs, such as the T-34. On 
introduction, it was well-armoured and carried an effective anti-
armour gun in a turret that included a commanders cupola. The tracks 
and suspension, if not outstanding were workmanlike and the general 
cross country performance adequate. Most importantly, reliability was 
good, and it was a dramatic advance on the two early Panzer designs. 
Strictly, the Germans should have concentrated production effort on 
the Pkw IV in 1940 and gradually phased the Pkw III out of front line 
service. Development work should then have concentrated on one or two 
models to replace the Pkw IV. As with the German armament programme 
in general, tank design and deployment comprised the continued 
production of obsolescent designs, efforts to plug some of the 
deficiencies of the older tanks, and an ambitious development 
programme that duplicated effort on competing designs and tried to 
employ advanced technologies that slowed the introduction into 
service and made designs that were complex and unreliable. In the 
closing stages of WWII, the King Tiger was a formidable machine that 
was too large and heavy for some of the conditions it had to fight 
in, suffered a large number of reliability problems from a complex 
design and was built in totally inadequate numbers by a production 
environment that was stumbling along under heavy air attack.

The Pkw III was up-gunned, up-armoured and generally tweaked through 
its long service life. The chassis was  reliable and well-engineered, 
making it suitable as a base on which to build assault guns. In this 
form it provided sterling service as a workhorse in the German 
retreats in Italy, France, and on the Eastern Front. It became a 
very important German armoured vehicle not because of any great 
design virtue, but because it was available in reasonable numbers.