German armor help please

I’m a Russian armor builder but recently started looking at all the German stuff available. Quite quickly I realized I’m in way over my head. Could someone suggest some good reading material to get me up to speed…thanks


You could start here:

It is not the sum of all knowledge about German armour but it gives you an overview of the WW II stuff.
See it as a starting point to get some names to be able to do more research.


Panzer tracts are a good source if your looking for reference materials. Also series printed by schiffer publishing


Panzer World is a nice primer.

While this old book from the 1970’s has been superceded, I still think its a fantastic overview of the AFV’s Germany produced for WW2. This is the newer cover.

It’s available used on Amazon for a reasonable price normally. It’s like a catalog for model builders.

For operational history, I still like this relic, Panzer Battles but it’s also superceded. The book captures the feel of operations not necessarily the exact truth of what happened. It was wrifrom memory etc as the authors notes were lost during or immediately after the war.

I like PB because it had influence on NATO well into the 1980’s. After the first Gulf War Swartzkopf mentioned it.

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Soldier first accounts in the field…

Böttger’s #1241 Panzer IV H is featured in the Tamiya Panzer IV H kit from the 1990’s. Interesting read, it often appears the author shirked his responsibility but who knows.
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By famous Tiger Ace Otto Carius. Outstandingly interesting in my opinion.

If there only one German account of being in the field in WW2, this the one to read. Written by a Frenchman who volunteered and ended up in the infamous Grossdeutschland division
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Model building, I find the old Achtung Panzer #1 to #6 to be the most useful references. They aren’t perfect but are fantastic and still my go to first books 30 years running. They are out of print but sometimes available for a reasonable price. Note #1 & #3 both cover Pz IV.

Panzerwrecks is a fantastic series.

Books by Thomas Jentz & Hillary Doyle are all outstanding. Mostly Panther & Tiger focused but they are the standard.


+1 for the Doyle/Chamberlain book. I’ve also got one called “Standard Catalog (sic) of German Military Vehicles” by David Doyle (any relation?). That covers soft skins as well. Like the others you can get more detail. Panzer Tracts tend to specialise on one vehicle or vehicle range, so you’d need several to get anything like a full picture. There’s also Schneider’s “Panzer Tactics” which covers what it says, but this includes support units, logistics, maintenance, repair etc etc. It has a lot of pictures.


He tried, and managed, to stay alive. He did what he had to do to ensure survival.
After the war he became a professor of odontology.
He wasn’t interested in the war, he just wanted to come home alive.
Let the Nazis die if they absolutely want to be heroes.


It’s a long time since I read Forgotten Soldier but when I did I was about the same age as the author and remember it provided an important insight into how the war was for the average German conscript


I think there’s an ocean between the two Doyle’s is a great site btw. It’s run by David and his missus, it’s a nice tight contained operation. I encourage every one to give it the once over, sign up for his newsletter also!


I have quite a number of David’s books. I also have his ‘updated’ version of the Encyclopedia of German Tanks as well as the other Doyle’s.

My plan for German vehicles was simple: recreate the Encyclopedia in plastic form, and I have managed to get within 40 or so vehicles of doing so for all but the paper vehicles and the prototypes that weren’t at least completed. That right there is a lot of vehicles plus you throw in all the softskins and autos.


Cool plan :+1:

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All great suggestions and thanks. Not looking for reference material yet. I’m more looking to learn what they built and the timeline of when they built it. Also would like to see an explanation of their naming/identification system…so many letters and numbers that make no sense to me.

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If that’s the case, then you definitely want to pick up this book:


It is exactly what you describe that you are looking for.


Fahrrad = bicycle
Krad = Kraftrad, motorcycle

Fahrzeug = vehicle. Fahren = to travel or move, Zeug = stuff/tool/materials
so Fahrzeug is thing to move/travel with

Kfz. = Kraftfahrzeug, adds the word Kraft (power) to Fahrzeug so it is a motorized vehicle.

Sd = Sonder, means special, Sonderzwecke = special purpose ( zweck = purpose)
Sd.Kfz is therefore a special purpose motor vehicle

Pz = Panzer, Panzer means armour, in this context it means tank. The German halftracks, with or without armour, were all Sd.Kfz.

Ah or sometimes also AnH = Anhänger, means trailer, and the name covers all trailers (полуприцеп and прицеп)
Sd.Ah = trailer for special purposes

Confusing terminology:
Panther is the nickname for Pz V but the Pz V was also officially Sd.Kfz. 171
(Tanks had Sd.Kfz. numbers above 100)


Thank you for that info…I have much too learn!


You are aware Armor_Buff posted this at the top, no?

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I’m sure he is…I think he’s just reiterating the suggestion AB made.


I was able to download the encyclopedia of German tanks of world war two in pdf…lots of good reading ahead!


Good to see Matt’s endorsement too of Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two as an introduction.

The book answers many questions and plant seeds for many more questions! Manufactoring in Germany in WW2 seems to have had a strong element of chaos.

An ideal introduction!

Stug III & Panzer IV especially F2/G sections especially fun in my opinion.

Cheers :beers:


Yes, I am completely aware. Since many books were suggested and @Darren made a specific request, I narrowed the field to the book that would do him the most good.


+1 for “ The Forgotten Soldier” by Guy Sajer.

I’ve read this more than once. More recently, I recommended it to my 12 year old son.

He had read “Flags of Our Fathers” and asked if I have any good books of a similar nature. This was one of my top recommendations.

Not an armor book, but a gripping World War II must-read anyway.