Given the vast scale of armoured warfare during the Second World War, a single panzer regiment might seem like a rather small topic, but Panzer-Regiment 5 had the distinction of being the first armoured unit to be officially formed in Germany after the First World War, coming into existence in 1933. The regiment then took part in the invasions of Poland and France, before being deployed to North Africa. This first volume takes us to the end of 1941, by which time the Germans have advanced to the Egyptian border for the first time, before being forced to retreat west, abandoning the siege of Tobruk.
The first part of the book is informative but rather dry, dominated by orders of battle and lists of officer's names. The tone changes after the outbreak of war - the factual framework is still there, but supports a good account of the regiment's combat experience, well supported by first-hand accounts and copious well chosen photographs.
This is a very detailed work throughout, becoming increasingly readable as it develops. It should be of interest to anyone looking at the development of the German armoured forces before the Second World War, their deployment early in the war, or in the desert war in North Africa.
1 - Establishment of the Panzertruppe after World War I and the Formation of Panzer-Regiment 5
2 - Panzer-Regiment 5 from 1936 to August 1939
3 - Panzer-Regiment 5 in the Campaign in Poland, 1939
4 - Panzer-Regiment 5 in the Campaign in the West, 1940
5 - Panzer-Regiment 5 prior to Employment in Africa
6 - Panzer-Regiment 5 in the campaign in North Africa, 1941
Author: Bernd Hartmann
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010 translation of 2002 original