Osprey Vanguard 33 : German Light Panzers 1932-1942
The light tanks of the Panzerwaffe make a fascinating subject for technical and historical study. Operation Barbarossa was the light tanks' swan song - thoroughly experienced and at the peak of self-confidence, the Panzergruppen brought Moscow to almost within the grasp of the German army, a notable testament to the versatility and effectiveness of this fighting machine. However, the effectiveness and popularity of the light panzers was only proven because Hitler's Panzerwaffe (despite their technical excellence) was poorly equipped. The critically short supply of the Panzerkampfwagen III and IV placed an ever-increasing onus on the light tanks, that filled out the Panzerwaffe's ranks during the glory years. Bryan Perrett examines the evolution of the PzKpfw I and II and the developments in tank warfare that made them obsolete. Not only is their technical data discussed, but their organisation and tactics are looked at too. Weapons using the PzKpfw II chassis are also examined, thus showing that in spite of their outmoding by allied armoured forces, these vehicles could still be useful. The book also helps to explain the success of the PzKpfw in both the 1940 French campaign and the advance on Russia in 1941, in spite of its vulnerability in the face of more heavily armed and armoured adversaries. Bryan Perrett's study is thus both welcome and justified, especially on the grounds that the light panzer's initial lack of potential made their achievements all the more remarkable. Illustrations by Peter Sarson and Terry Hadler.
- Design and Development
- The Tanks
- Active Service