Few weapons of war have inspired as much awe and terror as German Panzers, which shocked the world with their raw power as the Third Reich’s blitzkrieg rolled across Europe in the early years of World War II. Equipped with these steel giants, Panzer-Regiment 5 embodied the bold spirit of Germany’s armoured force and fought with skill and courage in the African and European theatres.Panzer-Regiment 5 joined Erwin Rommel in North Africa and helped the Desert Fox win an impressive string of victories during 1941, but the regiment’s-and Rommel’s-most dazzling successes would come in 1942. After ending 1941 in defensive positions, the Germans began the new year with an offensive that quickly captured Benghazi and then drove east toward the fortress of Tobruk. Destroying the Gazala Line, Rommel and his Panzers took Tobruk in June and continued their push into Egypt before being halted by the British at El Alamein in October.By 1943, the African campaign had shifted west to Tunisia, where Panzer-Regiment 5 battled British and American tanks and participated in Rommel’s last offensive at Medenine. Crippled by supply problems and Allied air superiority, the Germans surrendered in May 1943.The remnants of Panzer-Regiment 5 were eventually reconstituted as Panzer-Abteilung 5, an assault gun unit, and sent to the Eastern Front to contend with Soviet T-34’s. Increasingly outnumbered, the panzer men nevertheless fought bravely as German fortunes faded in 1944 and 1945. Featuring scores of photographs and vivid firsthand accounts from members of the unit, the second of
PANZERS IN THE SAND The History of the Panzer-Regiment 1942-45
Panzers in the Sand picks up where the first left off and continues the combat history of Panzer-Regiment 5 and Panzer-Abteilung 5, from the sand and sun of North Africa to the bitter end near Berlin.
The text is supported by an excellent (and sizable) selection of photographs, mainly from the period in North Africa, although there are some from the fighting on the Eastern Front. There is also a useful photographic appendix on the panzer troop’s uniforms, and an interesting selection of awards and certificates, often linked to a picture of the recipient. There is also a good selection of maps, organisation charts and diagrams showing the various types of armoured vehicles used by the regiment and its successors (each accompanied by statistics and notes on the individual vehicle). The text itself has been translated well and is clear and readable. The narrative is supported by plenty of supporting information, presented in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow (medal winners, timelines, lists of commanders, tables of organisation etc. The text us supported by plenty of first hand accounts of the action, which give a great feel for the sense of elation during the early successes and the depression as the fighting turned permanently against Germany
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