Another very kind free giveaway ebook by Amazon and Stackpole: this time Panzer Tactics, a real jewel of a book for anyone interested in small engagements in the II WW. A comprehesive comment from a reader at Amazon's website with whom I 100% agree:
Extremely valuable - material found nowhere else...at least in my own ever-growing collection. We have the experiences of a Guderian, von Mellenthin, or Manstein, self serving as they sometimes may be, but at all these decades remove the view of the actual panzer crewman starts to get a little hazy. This book remedies this by way of hundreds of photographs that I don't believe are published in any other popularly available work. The CAPTIONS to these are of value! (For example: "Proper spacing is 100 meters - these Pz IIIs are too close!).
Each chapter begins with a concise exposition of the topic (Offensive operations, Defensive operations, Unit Movements, Command and Control, Logistics and Maintenance, etc.) from the point of view of the experienced veteran. A number of reproductions of the actual training materials for panzer crew from the period are included. The author takes pains to show how, during actual operations over the course of the war, panzer crew were repeatedly forced to improvise, departing from rigid adherance to the doctrine in these materials. Also included are a number of sketch maps of various operations at the smaller unit level, to further illustrate the principles. I believe a number of these are from actual after-action reports, hand drawn by the officers involved.
But it's the photos that are of the most value. These bring to life all the gritty little details of the panzer crew's existence, which was at times boring, terrifying, exhausting, freezing, burning, bleeding, and at most times thoroughly miserable. Life in a tank in WW II was hard. Operating them with enough skill to accomplish impossibly difficult missions with any chance of survival was even harder. This book goes some way towards showing how the Germans did it.
If you are a modeler or wargamer, mark this one down as a MUST HAVE.
And a very lucky coincidence with the incoming release of Chain of Command, this is exactly the type of book that you want to read to extract maximum enjoyment to your games. Run while the offer lasts!!