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M3 Medium Tank vs Panzer III

M3 Medium Tank vs Panzer III Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2008 Title M3 Medium Tank vs Panzer III
Author Gordon L Rottman Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2008 ISBN 978-1-84603-261-5
Format 78 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


Osprey has launched an interesting series of titles under the 'Duel' series - comparing adversaries under specific conditions and looking at the comparison from a variety of perspectives. I didn't know what to expect wiht this series, but I was pleasantly surprised with this title.

At face value, the title compares the M3 Grant/Lee versus the Panzer III looking at the outcome of the battle at Kasserine Pass in 1943. What makes this title different from the usual fare of tank versus tank, the author has approached this comparison with a good deal of research, interviews and perspectives. The results are hinted at in the breakdown of the chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design and Development
  • The Strategic Situation
  • Technical Specifications
  • The Combatants
  • Combat
  • Statistics and Analysis
  • Aftermath

So in peeling the onion of this story, the author unfolds the timeline in the development of the two tanks, the fact that each was designed for different combat roles than the other, neither was really designed for desert warfare, both tanks and their crews were thrust into conflict that led up to the battle at Kasserine Pass. The Germans by this time were veterans, while the Americans were entering their first land combat of World War Two.

The author provides you a glimpse of how the battle unfolded through the eyes of veterans of both sides as well as through graphics to put these perspectives into context. While the battle itself was not one of the US Army's finest hours, it was the catalyst that would shortly thereafter put General George Patton in command of the US forces and ultimately drive Rommel out of the desert.

This book is a must-have for the military historian and modeler to see these tanks through the history, photography, color profiles, and sharp analysis of this author, who has himself worn the uniform and understands the reality of ground combat.

This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!