Panzer Divisions 1944–45

Panzer Divisions 1944-45

Panzer Divisions 1944-1945
Osprey Battle Orders 38

Written by Pier Paolo Battistelli
Osprey Publishing July 2009, 96 pages

Panzer Divisions 1944-1945...

Since my particular interest in World War Two has always been the Panzers of the German Army, I therefore looked forward to reading Pier Paolo Battistelli’s Panzer Divisions: 1944-1945.

After providing a quick and easy to read introduction, covering German armour doctrine and training, Battistelli then move onto explaining the organisation structure of Panzer Divisions. While quite tedious (for me anyway) this section does provide a valuable resource for those looking for an overview of how the Panzer Division were organised during 1944-45 and the differences between the 1943 organisation structure and that of 1944 and into 1945. Most of these forced onto the Germans by an ever dwindling source of equipment, supplies and manpower.
The Tactics section of the book was by far the most enjoyable section of the book. It provides a brief summary of various actions involving specific Panzer Divisions. Each action is very pleasant reading and provide an excellent start for anyone looking to do any further reading, with each synopsis providing a concise outline of the particular situation facing the division at the time. Some highlights include 1st Panzer Division at Cherkassy during 16-17 February 1944, Panzer Lehr Division at St. Lo and 21st Panzer Division at Caen during July 1944.

The last few sections cover Weapons and Equipment, Command structure and the author’s conclusions. I was mildly disappointed by the Weapons and Equipment section. The focus was more on the production and replacement numbers rather than the shear statistics and armour penetration tables of the various vehicles in question. This can be forgiven as there are better sources of this information in other books for those Rivet Counters out there like myself.

Overall, I found this book to be a pleasant read, providing an excellent overall picture on the Panzer Division during 1944-1945. It is able to explain the change in role of the Panzer Division from the spearhead of the Blitzkrieg to fighting an effective defensive campaign despite severe restrictions in supplies and manpower.  It provides enough information to act as a starting point for further reading on any of the subject matter featured in the book while not overwhelming the reader with information.

~ Blake.

Last Updated On Thursday, March 11, 2010 by Blake at Battlefront