The Pz.Kpfw. IV was the work horse of the German Panzer forces. Originally conceived as an infantry escort vehicle or “Begleitwagen”, it was armed with a short barreled 75mm L24 gun. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 it quickly became apparent that a harder hitting gun was needed to defeat the heavily armored KV and T-34 tanks. The Pz.Kpfw. IV was up-gunned with a long barreled 75mm guns and served the Germans well all the way to the end of the war. It was a very capable tank, superior to most of the American and British tanks and could hold its own against all but the most heavily armed/armored Russian tanks.
This book from Osprey Publishing is #39 of the “New Vanguard” series and focuses on the later, long barreled versions of the Pz.Kpfw. IV, the Ausf. G, H and J. It was co-written by Hilary Doyle and Tom Jentz, two recognized experts in their field and illustrated by Tony Bryan.
The book is in the typical size and format we’ve come to expect from Osprey, softbound, measures 9.5” x 7” and contains 48 semi-glossy pages. The book is loaded with black and white period photos, detailed descriptions, 1/76 scale line drawings, production charts, performance tables and color plates.
Section One Design and Development begins with the design and development details of the Pz.Kpfw. IV to include development history, official designations and a basic overall description of the tank and its major features.
Section Two Modifications During Production Run discusses each of the variants that are the subject of this book, the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G, Ausf. H and Ausf. J. The authors detail the major modifications during production and when they were introduced, retrofitted modifications are discussed as well.
Section Three Operational Characteristics goes into the technical details of the performance characteristics of the Pz.Kpfw. IV. The firepower sub-section includes information on penetration and accuracy statistics of the various types of ammunition used in the 75mm gun. Key statistics regarding the tanks mobility are briefly covered as is survivability information compared to several different comparable allied tanks.
Section Four Operation History includes operational information on the Pz.Kpfw. IV in North Africa, the Eastern Front and the Western Front. Far from being comprehensive because of the size of the book, the summary information is useful to those who are new to learning about the Pz.Kpfw. IV in service.
Section Five Color Plates is intermingled in the Operational History section. There is a good representation of different schemes, nicely drawn and in color:
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 (G) 1st SS “LSSAH” France 1942
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 (G) 14th Panzer Division, southern Russia June 1942
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H 2nd Panzer Division, November 1943
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J, May 1945
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G, 4th Panzer Division 1943
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J 1945 with cut away views and labels for major interior and exterior parts
• Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J, September 1944
• Pz.Beob.Wg. IV Ausf. J, Ardennes December 1944
• Pz.Befehlswagen IV Ausf. J, September 1944
There is a section in the back which adds additional descriptive information for each of the color plates.
Section Six Variants gives some detailed information on the Panzerbefehlswagen IV (command vehicle assigned to Pz.Kpfw. IV units) and the Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV (command/artillery observation vehicle assigned to Hummel/Wespe units).
Overall this is a great little book packed with a lot of information. The quality of the materials, photographs, line drawings and color plates is excellent. It will be a helpful addition to anyone’s reference library, especially those interested in the later models of the Pz.Kpfw. IV.
Highs: Line drawings, color plates, variants and especially the modifications.Lows: A little pricey for the size, but that’s true of most of the Osprey books.Verdict: Good reference on the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G, H and J, including the Befelswagen and Pz.Beob.Wg.
About Scott Espin (Spiff) FROM: NEVADA, UNITED STATES
I have been an avid student of military history for over 35 years, especially World War II with my focus mostly on German military equipment (tanks and aircraft). I'm especially interested in anything relating to the Eastern Front and North Africa.
My Dad ignited my passion for modeling when I...