Concord - Armor at War Series # 7042
Panzers of the Ardennes Offensive 1944-45
reviewed by Neville Lord
The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German Offensive of WWII and was a vain attempt to divide the Western Allies and make an advance through to the Meusse and the strategically important Belgium port of Antwerp. Fought in the winter of Christmas 1945, the advance quickly ground to a halt and the Battle is best know for the fighting around the town of Bastogne and the movements of several elite German units such as Kampfgruppe Peiper who acted as the armored spearhead. The offensive involved the largest collection of late war German Panzers and other AFVs ever used in one campaign and for modelers this means that images from the Ardennes offensive can provide considerable inspiration for detailing and painting many popular kits.
"Panzers of the Ardennes Offensive 1944-45" by Tom Cockle is aimed directly at modelers and other interested in WWII German Armor. This 72 page book is heavily illustrated and provides 177 b/w photos and 16 color profiles of armor from this battle.
The book opens with a three-page summary of the campaign with an emphasis on the movement of the Panzer divisions before dedicating the rest of the books to illustrations.
As the title indicates this book is focused on the German armor and the vast majority of the photos depict German military vehicles, with some others providing clear photos of the crew and accompanying infantry's uniforms. The photos are clearly reproduced on glossy paper and most are between a quarter to just under a half A4 page in size allowing readers to clearly see the detail. I found this crispness of the images advantageous for determining small details such as whether the vehicle was an early or late production model, markings and camouflage schemes. A broad range of vehicles is covered including many Panthers, Sdkfz 251 halftracks, StuG III Ausf G, Jadgpanzer IVs and Hetzers. The photos are organized by sector/Panzer Army, with related photos grouped together. The accompanying captions are informative and note details such as the unit the vehicle belonged to and the place of the photo. While many of the photos would be familiar to those with larger libraries, the book still contained a good number of new and less common photos and has the advantage of including all the photos in one volume.
The color plates by Douglas Jameson are professionally rendered and are largely based on vehicles pictured in the book's photos. The color plates are accurate compared to the photos both in terms of the vehicles' production features and the paint schemes portrayed. All of the vehicle depicted in the color plates can be made using 1/35 injection plastic kits. Subjects include the Sdkfz 251/6 Ausf C (I wondered if it is actually of an Sdkfz 251/3 judging by the lack of a command pendant in the photo), King Tiger and Panzer IV Ausf J late, Hummel and Jadgpanzer IVs.
"Panzers of the Ardennes Offensive 1944-45" offers a large and well focused collection of photos of WWII German armor, which will appeal to modelers and others, interested in WWII armor. With over 170 largely clear photos and 16 color plates this book offers good value for money and the convenience of having all these images in one single volume.
* Concord 7046: US Tank Battles in Germany 1944-45
* Concord 7050: US Tank Battles in France 1944-45
These two books are also from Concord and come in the same format. They cover the tank battles between US and German forces in Western Europe and have a bias towards US subjects in their photos, but an even mix of US and German vehicles in the color plates.
* Concord 7039: German Armored Units at Arnhem September 1944- see separate review on www.Rollmodels.net
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