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on 19 August 2013
This is very much a fringe subject largely neglected by writers, so any book on the subject is welcome – especially by so esteemed an author as Steve Zagola.

That said; if you are looking for lots of new information this book is really not for you. It is literally thin on pages and thin on content. Given that the business of armoured vehicles centres on firepower and protection, I find data in this book on either aspect to be sadly lacking. We are after all discussing fighting vehicles; not racing cars. There is no real excuse for this lack of data, as the information is out there (as Steve’s bibliography makes plain). A more accurate title might have been ‘Armoured Forces of Hitler’s Eastern Allies’, as Steve dwells on the formations and their battles, rather than on the detailed technical aspects of the vehicles themselves. This is a great pity. Apart from a lack of technical data, nothing – for example – is said about the improvised HEAT projectile fired spigot-like from the gun of the Hungarian Nimrod AA tank, which required a crewman to climb out and place the thing on the end of the barrel! This would have been a good example of how inadequate the eastern allies were in fighting the Red Army.

There are additional criticisms worthy of note, which again illustrate the shoddy editing of Osprey’s publications (are there even any editors, and what do they do all day to earn their money?). Steve loves to use the word “Wehrmacht” without really knowing – it seems – what it means. Wehrmacht translates more or less as “armed forces”, comprising the army (das Heer), the air force (die Luftwaffe) and the navy (die Kriegsmarine) of the Third Reich, but not the Waffen SS. In various places Steve makes it plain that the words das Heer are known to him, but he insists on using “Wehrmacht” when he should have used “Germany”, “Hitler”, “the Heer”, “OKW [Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – the German High Command]” or “OKH [Oberkommando des Heeres – army high command]”.

On page 16 “schurzen [sic]” should read “Schürzen [literally, aprons]”, and the reference to the PzKfw IV Ausf F2 on pages 16 and 23 should read “Ausf G” as there was in reality no Ausf F2; this was merely a stores classification. Nor were PzKfw IV tanks by any stretch of the imagination “heavy” [sic] tanks. The illustration B refers to an heraldic “crest”; which is incorrect. A crest was worn on the head or helmet, as is obvious from “crest of a hill”, a “great crested grebe” or similar bird, or “the crest of a wave”. Steve should have said “coat of arms”; in the specific context of use, the “crest” is the steel helmet above the shield bearing the Hungarian coat of arms. Am I being pedantic? No, we don’t call a dog “a horse”. Page 20 should have the photo caption amended to “PzKfw IV F” as the “Ausf F1” is really a misnomer.

Steve also uses the word “decimated” on pages 22 and 26, when “devastated” is more appropriate. Decimation was a Roman Army punishment where (as the term suggests), every tenth man was executed if a unit displayed cowardice in battle. Eastern European armies that were only “decimated” by the Red Army could count themselves very fortunate! On page 24, the lower photo is incorrectly captioned as a PzKfw IV Ausf H when the absence of a turret traverse engine clearly identifies it as an Ausf J. On page 33, the word “crest” is again inappropriate; “symbol” or “motif” is applicable. On page 42, the photo caption incorrectly identifies the nearest tank as a PzKfw IV Ausf. H, even though it clearly has only 50mm driver’s plate armour, vision ports for the radio operator and a split cupola, all indicative of an Ausf G (along with the Ausf G type sprocket used on only a few Ausf H). Later PzKfw IVs are hard to differentiate (I have captioned photos in the past for the tank Museum at Bovington, so I should know), but this photo is an ‘easy’ one. The tank behind the PzKfw IV is not identified – it is a PzKfw III Ausf N.

Finally, I deplore the use of American 'Kindergarten' spelling in a book published in the UK; our children have enough problems speaking and writing decent English without this additional handicap. Let's clean up English and get rid of this bad habit on Osprey's part!
All in all, this is not a bad introduction for readers new to the subject, albeit a bit thin, but not worth buying if looking for more than the books that Steve’s bibliography lists.
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on 28 May 2014
Every book that Steven Zaloga writes is interesting and informative. I like his writing style as it is not dull and conveys the info about the subject with interest and knowledge. As this one covers a not so well know subject a great deal of the info was new to me, which made the purchase even more worthwhie.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 May 2013
The book contains a brief overview of the tanks operated by the Axis and their co-belligerents on Eastern Front. As it covers countries as diverse as Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy as well as the Russian volunteer armies, the 48 page format was never going to suffice for an in-depth study. Still, the basic information is interesting, if not comprehensive.

Countries get varying coverage, with Hungary and Romania getting most (natural given the larger armored forces and the local production), while some others such as Slovakia, Croatia, Italy or Bulgaria getting a handful of paragraphs each.

The reader will generally get an overview of the numbers of vehicles operated and the types in use, and potentially a mention of some significant battles where the tanks participated and their performance. For the countries with local production or upgrade efforts some further information on local types is also given.

The introduction does point towards Germany's reluctance in furnishing its Allies and Co-belligerents with proper armored forces, even from the stocks of captured vehicles, where little cost would have been incurred. Sadly the book does not have it in its scope to explore this facet of the conflict in the East further.

Where the book loses its fourth star for me is in the frequent errors, which are probably due to poor editing (maybe this only affects the Kindle version). The dates are occasionally confused (for Slovakia for instance), the numbers of vehicles in use or delivered do not add up to the stated totals, etc. Some errors in form, such as calling the Finns Germany's allies would hardly be forgiven by Finns, while Italians may also not see themselves as 'Eastern'.

If you are completely new to the topic, the book provides a good first look and does include a useful summary of sources for further reading. If you have already some working knowledge of the armored forces of minor European countries in WW2, there is little new that you will find in this volume.
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on 12 July 2014
Another short but interresting book in this serie, could have been more helpfull with more pictures. Well worth the cost, but don't expect to get to knoe "everything"
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on 4 June 2015
very good read full facts, came before due date
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on 24 April 2013
I found this a good general guide to the subject but i thought some of the illustrations were wasted - those of the Hungaraian German armour would have been better replaced with view of Hungarian equipment. Nevertheless a good book and worth iti
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on 28 April 2013
This is not to belittle this work.
It covers all of the obvious german allies, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Italy and Bulgaria - and then adds in Croatia and Russia.
Given the Osprey Vanguard format the text is necessarily brief, but I still found myself noting detail that I was unaware of (I have been intrigued by this area of study since acquiring Mr Z's work, co-authored with James Grandsen, The Eastern Front, back in the 1980s). Once I did raise my eyebrows in mild disagreement, but with a few seconds reflection I realised that Mr Z, as usual, is perfectly correct, and I was being a rivet counter! What the volume does do is to draw the threads of the different nations together.
Many of the photographs are old hat, but then there is a distinctly limited source body, and there are a number previously unknown to me, notably a TACAM T60 apparently in field service - most photos I have seen are of empty vehicles, or parading through, presumably, Bucharest.
I certainly commend this book to any new student, and for any mature student, given the modest price I still say "if you ain't got it, you ain't serious".
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on 17 April 2015
Great book and a good read
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on 20 April 2013
Up to Ospreys high standard,very informative,would recommend to anyone interested in the subject.Covers all the main eastern allies of Germany.
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on 13 May 2013
It is quite good but many of the pictures are from previous magazine articles, there were only a few photos I've never seen before.
having said this I think Steve Zaloga is good writer and I always enjoy his stuff.
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