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Panzerfaust vs Sherman: European Theater 1944–45

Panzerfaust vs Sherman: European Theater 1944–45 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2019 Title Panzerfaust vs Sherman: European Theater 1944–45
Author Steven J. Zaloga Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2019 ISBN 9781472832313
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.00

Review

Compared to “tank and antitank guns using conventional kinetic-energy projectiles”, WWII’s revolutionary “shaped-charge weapons offered phenomenal anti-armor penetration”.

Now historian Steven J. Zaloga expertly illumines these advancements in Panzerfaust vs Sherman – 99th in Osprey’s “Duel” range.

Subtitled “European Theater 1944–45”, coverage superbly surveys Nazi German efforts to equip its forces with rocket-propelled antitank weapons during the war’s final phases.

After informative introductory notes with chronology, Zaloga recaps design, development, and deployment of Hitler’s most successful: the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck.

Because it was disposable and “issued in massive numbers”, the author calls Panzerfaust “arguably the most revolutionary of the wartime shaped-charge weapons” – hence, perhaps, its titular prominence.

In the weeks following 1944’s successful Normandy landings, US Army tankers unfortunately proved ill-equipped to defend against both. And contents explore the escalating kabuki dance of measures attackers and defenders employed to better each other.

Weapon technology and tactics by Germans. And various “expedient” armor schemes by Allies – sandbags, spare tank tracks, and concrete.

After recapping “combatants” and the “strategic situation”, Zaloga’s account hits apex with a potent précis of “combat” between US tanks and rocket-wielding German infantry at Villiers-Fossard, France, 29-30 June 1945.

There, amidst dense Normandy hedgerows, Panzerfaust- and Panzerschreck-equipped groups of the Wehrmacht’s seasoned 352. Infanterie-Division faced attacking elements of the US Army’s “inexperienced” 3rd Armored Division.

The expected “limited action” proved anything but. And Zaloga provides insightful “analysis” and “aftermath” commentary – with intriguing Soviet “experience” as surprising seasoning.

Technical artwork, photos, action paintings, tables, extended captions, and sidebars enhance Zaloga’s superb survey. Maps graphically chart actions. A handy “Key to military symbols” helps interpret unit placements. And a selected bibliography and index complete contents.

Zaloga robust reference list includes US Government reports, technical manuals, books, and articles. But his account lacks annotations – just occasional text citations. Additionally, not all abbreviations appear in the glossary. And the grammatically correct German diminutive is spelled “Püppchen”.

Nitpicks notwithstanding, Zaloga’s succinct study perfectly complements the author’s earlier Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 – 77th in Osprey’s “Duel” range. Read them both.

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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