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Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944

Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review February 2017 Title Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944
Author Steven J. Zaloga Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2016 ISBN 9781472812490
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $20.00

Review

Tanks remain among foot soldiers' most fearsome foes. But the bazooka "served as an antidote to the type of tank panic seen in the Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939-41".

That's historian Steven J. Zaloga's assessment in Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 – number 77 in Osprey Publishing's "Duel" series.

Contents commence with introductory notes and chronology. Coverage swiftly segues to "design and development" and "technical" specifications" of the US Army's first man-portable rocket launchers – the renowned "bazooka". But the nascent technology still required infantry to fight armored vehicles in close proximity.

Nazi Germany recognized this – and explored various Panzer self-defense schemes. Simple bolt-on Schürtzen (aprons) – armored and wire-mesh skirts for turret and hull sides – proved the simplest passive measures. And active solutions included, for instance, the innovative Rundumsfeuer remote-controlled defensive weapons station and serendipitous Vorsatz P curved barrel attachment for MP 44 assault rifles.

After recapping "combatants" and the "strategic situation", coverage hits crescendo with Zaloga's potent précis of close-quarter clashes between German tanks and US infantry at Krinkelt-Rocherath during the Battle of the Bulge.

Poor weather conditions during the December 1944 fighting remain the stuff of legend. But they often allowed American bazooka team close proximity to their prey – thereby improving kill chances. In fact, statistics, Zaloga notes, "suggest that bazookas accounted for about one quarter of the German armored vehicles knocked out in the struggle for Krinkelt-Rocherath."

This, however, "was not typical of fighting in the ETO, where bazookas accounted for less than 5 percent of German tank casualties," the author quickly concludes.

Technical artwork, photos, action paintings, extended captions and sidebars enhance this superb little study. A map, selected bibliography and index complete contents.

Boost your knowledge of infantry-versus-tank fighting at the close of World War II. Grab this enormously entertaining effort!

Strongly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!