Panzer Tracts 19-2: Beute-Panzerkampfwagen was created by Thomas Jentz and Werner Regenberg. It was published in 2008 by Panzer Tracts (ISBN 0-9815382-1-5). The book has 60 8.5"x11" pages. There are no scale drawings. All photos are in black and white.
This is the second of two volumes covering the use of captured tanks by the Germans. These books are a bit different from the usual Panzer Tracts. Since these were foreign vehicles mostly used in original form, there is no coverage on design or development. The chapters mostly concern themselves with distribution (who got what and when) and combat reports to illustrate how well they worked in German service.
Tanks are complex vehicles both to operate and maintain. Unlike the movies or TV, you can't just jump in and start using them. It takes time to figure out what is what (or to get the operations and maintenance manuals translated if you were lucky enough to capture those) and then have enough spare parts and ammunition to keep them operating.
British/American Beute-Panzer shows that the most extensive use of capture British and American tanks occurred in North Africa and Tunisia. The Germans did capture a few vehicles elsewhere (France 1940, Greece 1941, Dieppe 1942, Italy 1943, France 1944, Germany 1945) but they didn't capture enough tanks to scavenge for spare parts and ammunition or supply depots to keep large numbers in service. Usually captured tanks were used in the area they were captured in but some were sent to the Eastern Front. There are 4 photos of Shermans (1 captured but not in German markings yet, 2 of a Sherman VC Firefly), 2 of a Lee (captured in Russia). 1 of Valentines (captured in Russia), 1 Churchill (captured from the Dieppe raid), 1 M3 and 2 of M3A1 Stuarts, 5 of Crusaders, 1 of a Mathilda II, 1 of a Mk.VIb, 1 of an A13, and 1 of an A10.
Russian Beute-Panzer describes the wider use of captured Soviet tanks. The Germans were not impressed with the BT, T26, or amphibious tanks. Most were used in small units by Security Divisions to battle partisans and to protect airfields and lines of communication. The T34 (the version with a cupola was called the T43 by the Germans) was by far the most numerous to serve with front-line units. There are photos of 1 BT5, 1 BT7, 1 T26, 1 T40, 1 T60, 1 T70, 1 SU85, 2 KV2s (1 with a Panzer III/IV cupola), 4 KV1s, and 11 T34s (4 early T34/76 with Panzer III/IV cupolas). Most all are in German markings.
Italian Beute-Panzer covers the extensive use of Italian tanks and Semovente after the Italians surrendered. Most of the heavy industries were located in Northern Italy which the Germans still held so there was a ready source of new vehicles as well as spare parts for existing vehicles and ammunition. Italian tanks saw service with the Germans in Italy, the Balkans, and against the Soviets. I would have liked it better if the list of units using Italian vehicles noted the area of service for all units.
Although the Germans were not impressed with Italian tanks, they did appreciate the Semovente (though not up to German Sturmgeschutz standards) and ordered more to be produced, especially the later M43-based Semovente with some up-armoring and re-arming with a 75mm L46 gun. There are photos of 1 M13, 1 M14, 4 photos of M15s, 6 photos of P40s (5 of one sent to Germany for evaluation), 3 of L6s, 2 of L33s. For Semoventes, there are 1 photo of a Command Semovente, 2 of 75/34 M2, 3 of 105/25 M3, 1 of 75/46 M3, 1 of 75/18 M42, 1 unknown M42 (seen from the rear), and 2 of 47mm L6s. Only 1 photo of a 105/25 M43 and 1 photo of an L6 Semovente are clearly in German markings while the rest are more to show what the vehicle looked like.
This is a nice book for those interested in German use of captured tanks. I wished there were more pictures of the Semovente in German markings but I'm sure the authors would have gladly used them if they were available.
Highs: Good explanation of German use of captured tanks.Lows: I wish there had been more pictures of British/American tanks in use and of Italian vehicles in German markings. No scale drawings.Verdict: If you ever wondered about the extent of German use of captured tanks, as well as the problems of using them, then the Panzer Tracts volume 19 series of books is a very good resource.