I remember well when Airfix brought out their Panzer IV kit, I suppose I was about thirteen years old. I loved going to football and hanging around being a nuisance with my mates, but building models in my quiet time was special and this new model was a must to have. So my mate Mike and I sauntered down Green Lanes past Haringey Stadium to the shop we knew would have them and had ours home and built before tea time.  I have always had a soft spot for the old Sd.Kfz. 161 as she is less often known, the yeoman of the German tank fleet. Seeing one at Bovington, or Rex Cadman’s at Beltring, is always a treat.

Paul Thomas has brought together a fantastic set of photographs showing the PzIV in all her marks and variations. The vast majority of images come from the Eastern Front and perhaps the most interesting show some tanks in Bulgarian army use. I always marvel at how these pictures are collected and am pleased to say the reproduction is generally of a very good standard.

This book is a winner whether you are a model maker, interested in German armour, or just interested in tanks. There are probably other reasons. You might, like me, have some affection for the old Panzer IV. It seems like an odd thing to admit, but that awkward sit up and beg silhouette and all the imagery it conjures up, just captures the essence of armoured warfare in World War II for me. I have absolutely no liking for the horrid ideology the tanks helped export, but along with the Panther, they had something about them I just like the look of. Perhaps it’s the memory of spilling glue on the carpet of my parents’ flat in Stoke Newington or my first trip to Bovvy, in 1976, when I saw the real thing up close. It doesn’t matter. This is a great book.

Mark Barnes

PANZER IV AT WAR 1939-1945
Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives
By Paul Thomas
Published in soft back by Pen & Sword Military £14.99
ISBN 978  1 84884681 4

Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.