introductionPanzer II vs 7TP Poland 1939
by Osprey Publishing
, book 66 of their Duel
series. It is authored by David R. Higgins and illustrated by Richard Chasemore. This 80-page book has an ISBN of 9781472808813 and is only available in softcover for now, although Osprey will no doubt issue it in PDF and ePUB, as they do most of their topics.
Hitler's lightning invasion of Poland in 1939 marked the beginning of World War II in Europe. This was the period when armoured warfare inscribed itself into global consciousness as the Poles desperately sought to stave off the Blitzkrieg. At the heart of the fighting on the ground, large numbers of Nazi Germany's PzKpfw II battled against Poland's better-armed but much less numerous 7TP tank. The two types both possessed unique strengths and weaknesses - unlike the 7TP the PzKpfw II was always equipped with radio, which proved critical for command and control purposes in the heat of combat. But the German tank was blighted by thin armour, which could not withstand Polish gunfire at combat ranges. This fully illustrated, detailed work evaluates the qualities and idiosyncrasies of each tank, giving a stark and arresting crewman's-eye-view of the brutal armoured combat at the height of the invasion of Poland. - Osprey Publishing
Being a fan of 'less-loved' and early-war subjects, I was intrigued by what this book would reveal. It seemed an odd match up until I thought about how Polish subjects have been very popular for over a decade. With a spring in my fingers I cracked the cover and settled in for an interesting read.
ContentPanzer II vs 7TP Poland 1939
is 80 pages long and the content is divided up in these chapters and sections:
Design and Development
The Strategic Situation
Statistics and Analysis
The book begins inside the title page with a key to military symbols, author's and editor's notes concerning metric-to-standard conversions and different numbering conventions between Polish and German forces. It also lists comparative ranks of the Polish, German, and British militaries.
through four pages briefly relates the background of the two subject tanks, the opening of the war, and four days which elapsed until German and Polish tanks met in combat. Design and Development
explores Armour After World War I
, Germany's collaboration with the Soviets in building a nucleus of a military, and other countries' efforts. It follows German and Polish attempts to establish an indigenous armor industry and their relationships with other countries in designing, developing and producing the PzKpfw II and 7TP. This 14 page chapter is full of interesting information, and official and technical trivia.
leads the reader through examining all of the components that create a tank. Again, a great detail of technical information is presented, such as the BHN (Brinell hardness Number) of the different types of armor used on these two tanks, and its relative effectiveness. Armament (including traversing mechanisms and gunsights), engines and running gear (transmissions, steering systems, suspension, etc.), communications, layout of components, and many other aspects of the tanks are explored. The level of detail includes the types of ammo belts for machine guns and location of the ammo boxes. More technical jargon is presented.
explores Training and Ethos, Doctrine and tactics, Structure
, and Mobilization and Logistics
through 10 pages.
Osprey recaps The Strategic Situation
by looking at the war plans for Germany and Poland in 7 pages. This section can be useful and interesting for those who aren't familiar with the war at that point, but I don't see how this chapter is relevant to how the PzKpfw II and 7TP performed in combat.
How did these two antagonists fare in battle? Combat
recounts the Polish campaign with 12 pages. Several battles are discussed culminating with the battle at Go'ry Borowskie Hills. Finally, Statistics and Analysis
tries to wrap up the book in six pages, and two pages reveal sources and transcripts.
Two tank commanders who fought these tanks in Poland are profiled:
1. Soldat Walter Sander
2. Captain Antoni Prochniewizc
photographs, artwork, maps, graphics
Osprey supports their text with selections of images. The photographs in the book are good and several are new to me. Modelers should find a great deal of inspiration for dioramas and source material for detailing models. Several reveal the serious bloody nose given the Panzerwaffe
by the Polish military - wrecked and burnt out panzers. One photograph is even a color exposure of an 8. Armee victory parade in which one can see Hitler and Rommel, and another is the author's color photo of a Polish field that does a good job of demonstrating the concept behind Polish tank camouflage. All photos have captions and some have informational sidebars.
Original artwork by artist Richard Chasemore greatly enhances the book with combat scenes and technical illustrations:
a. PzKpfw II Ausf C, PzRgt 35
in profile as well as front and back views. Technical specifications are included. RAL paint colors of camouflage is listed.
b. 7TP, 2nd Light Tank Battalion
in profile as well as front and back views. Technical specifications are included. Paint colors of camouflage is listed.
c. PzKpfw II Ammunition
: PzGr 39 and Sprgr 39 rounds plus technical ballistic qualities plus round nomenclature and color coding.
d. 7TP Ammunition
: armor-piercing, armor-piercing tracer, and high-explosive rounds with technical ballistic qualities plus round nomenclature and color coding.
e. PzKpfw II Gunsight
: view through the TZF 4/38 gunsight and a description of its qualities.
f. 7TP Gunsight
: view through the wz.37 CA gunsight and a description of its qualities.
g. PzKpfw II Turret Layout
with description, keyed with 17 components.
h. 7TP Turret Layout
with description, keyed with 17 components.
i. Battle scene of 7TPs standing fast against a force of PzKpfw IIs.
Additionally, several maps help to orient the reader:
I. German corps movement
II. Front lines, September 4-5
Finally, information boxes present the composition and organization of the following:
* German Panzer-Abteilung
* Polish light-tank battalion
* 1. Panzer-Division
* 4. Panzer-Division
* 1. Leichte Division [mot.]
conclusionPanzer II vs 7TP Poland 1939 Duel 66
is an interesting examination of how the Panzer II and 7TP performed in the first European campaign of WWII. Specifically, technical comparisons of the two compensates for the relative lack of specific combat accounts between the two. Generally, the book is a good primer of the Polish and German military and armor forces. The text is enhanced with high quality illustrations of vehicles, cutaways, and battle scenes.
I don't see how The Strategic Situation is relevant to how the PzKpfw II and 7TP performed in combat, and I would prefer the pages be used for more photos and artwork.
Overall I think this is a worthy book and recommend it for the reference shelves of modelers, historians, and enthusiasts.
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