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Book Review
Tanks of Hitlerís East Allies
Tanks of Hitlerís Eastern Allies 1941Ė45 New Vanguard 199
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Tanks of Hitlerís Eastern Allies 1941-45
Series & No.: New Vanguard 199
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Illustrator: Henry Moreshead
Length: 48 pages
Formats: Softcover; PDF; ePub
ISBN: 9781780960203

Tanks of Hitlerís Eastern Allies 1941-45 presents the armored forces of Axis, anti-Soviet, and Minor Countries allied with Hitler against Russia. It features full color artwork, illustrations, cutaway artwork, and dozens of unique photographs.
Eight countries and organizations allied themselves with Hitler against the Soviets for various reasons, some of those allies having serious enmity towards the others. One loose organization was recruited and armed without Hitlerís knowledge as he considered them Untermenschen! While Czechoslovakia was a highly industrialized country before the British and French cowered from Hitler in Munich, it was gobbled up by the Nazis who raped Czeck industry.

Czechoslovakia Ďs Skoda LT vz. 38. Tanks comprised significant numbers first in the Panzerwaffe, then for many of Hitlerís eastern allies. Some countries started with AFVs from England, France and Sweden. Captured AFVs from France, Poland and Russia were divvied out to the allies, as were some Italian models. However, both Hungary and Romania had their own competitive tank models, some which continued development through their participation in the war. That development included home-grown initiatives as well as re-equipping captured vehicles with indigenous guns and engines, or putting captured weapons on indigenous chassis. Eventually, Germany supplied their own precious panzers to shore up their flagging allies, including a battalion of Tigers! How these tanks performed in action against Soviet weapons and contributed to Fall (Operation) Barbarossa as well as the subsequent collapse of the Nazi invasion is related in acceptable detail.

Interestingly, some of these AFVs lead to development of Wehrmacht weapons!

Mr. Zaloga is a leading authority on armored vehicles with a vast portfolio of work and resources to draw upon. Considering the dearth of documentation left by the Soviets and their minions currently available to research, perhaps few other authors have Mr. Zalogaís resources . He writes this book in a very clear and concise manner that flows easily for the reader. While 48 pages preclude a nut-and-bolts comprehensive expose, for each country he focuses on design & development, operational history, and variants. He presents Tanks of Hitlerís Eastern Allies 1941-45 through 48 pages in 11 chapters and sections:

    1. Introduction
    2. Slovakia
    3. Hungary
    4. Romania
    5. Bulgaria
    6. Finland
    7. Italy
    8. Croatia
    9. Russia
    10. Further reading
    11. Index
The impact on the war by a couple of these countries is telling from the table of contents in that they rate only one page!

Photographs, art, graphics
A few dozen black-and-white photographs support the text. While several are official posed exposures it is apparent that most were taken by amateurs or in less than ideal conditions. A few have that look of having been harvested from newsreel film or newspapers. Some great diorama scenes are within! There are no color photographs.

Artwork by Henry Moreshead provides camouflage and unique markings in color:

    1. Slovak LT VZ 35, Tank Battalion, Slovak Rapid Group, Russia, 1941: profile
    2. Hungarian PzKpfw IV Ausf.F1, 6th Tank Company,2./30th Tank Regiment, Russia, 1942 : profile
    3. Hungarian Toldi I, 2nd Reconnaissance Brigade, 1st fast Corps, Russia, 1941: light tanks wearing ďFrench camouflageĒ on the prowl
    4. Hungarian StuG II Ausf.G, 2nd Battery, 7th SUMEG Assault Gun Battalion, Battle for Kiralyhegyes, September 26, 1944
    5. Hungarian Jagdpanzer 38(t), 20th Egrer Assault Gun battalion, Lake Balaton Area, February 1945
    6. Romanian R-2C Light Tank, 1st Armored Division, Don Front, 1942: cutaway art featuring 18 keyed components plus a 17-item table of technical data
    7. Romanian R-1 Reconnaissance tank, Romanian 1st Cavalry Division, Southern Russia, 1942
    8. Italian L6/40, LXVII Battaglione Bersaglieri, Don Front, December 1942
    9. Finnish StuG III Ausf.G, 1st Company, Assault Gun battalion (2./RYN.TYK.P.), June 1944
    10. Finnish T-34 Tank, 3rd Co., 1st battalion, Armored Brigade (3./I/PS.PR.), June 1944
    11. Finnish BT-42 Assault Gun, Detached Armored Company (ER.PS.K.), June 1944

While many authors do not seem to want to touch the subject, many explanatory sidebars include colors, i.e., Czechoslovak army colors tmave zelene, okrove zlute and zemite hnede. Graphics include a table and a 4-view line art:

    ē Hungarian Armored Vehicle Technical Data: 38M Toldi I; 40M Nimrod; 40M Turan I; 43M Zrinyl II
    ē Tas scale plan

This is not a book about Shermans, Tigers or T-34s and because of that I greatly appreciate this title! It is more than just a book about metal monsters roaming battlefields. It reveals a great deal of the tanks, their armies, and the societies that created and employed them in a fascinating way.
    This subject is seeing increasing interest in the modeling world; for example Tamiya recently announced a PzKpfw 35 (t) (suitable for Romanian, Slovak armies), a Finnish StuG III, and a Finnish BT-42. - Osprey

Mr. Zaloga is a favorite contributor and this book should further his acclaim with its balance of detail and readability. It is mentioned that there is a dearth of documentation currently available to research. While this is not a nuts-and-bolts comprehensive expose of the machines, I believe it presents the material in a worthy manner.

The artwork is a conundrum to me, a matter of personal preference. Unlike the reviewer, Mr. Moreshead is an established illustrator of military publications. Yet while his bio inside the book cover mentions his contribution of digital art to other clients, this book is illustrated with Ďold schoolí style of illustration. There are no digital images as I have come to take for granted in Osprey titles. Again, itís personal preference and you may be happy for Mr. Moreheadís style.

Ultimately I believe that this book is an essential title for students of tank warfare, the Nazi-Soviet War, Barbarossa, minor belligerents and Hitlerís allies. I very much enjoyed Tanks of Hitlerís Eastern Allies 1941-45 and recommend it!

Please tell retailers and vendors that you saw this here - on Armorama!
Highs: It reveals a great deal of the tanks, their armies, and the societies that created and employed them in a fascinating way. Color artwork, a cutaway, and line art.
Lows: No digital artwork.
Verdict: I believe that this book is an essential title for students of tank warfare, the Nazi-Soviet War, Barbarossa, minor belligerents and Hitlerís allies.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781780960203
  Suggested Retail: $13.00 ( 7.49Ä )
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 04, 2013

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review Fred, it's made me want this even more now, though I already had my eye on it. Books by Mr Zaloga are always enjoyable, though I think it's perhaps a pity that he may be a bit constrained in terms of detail by the relatively short format of these Osprey books. Now I discover that this is available on Kindle for only £5.15, it's almost inevitable that it will end up in my possession, especially since I can even buy it while sitting on the loo at work!!
JUN 05, 2013 - 11:02 AM

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