Steel Bulwark - by Ian Baxter.  Front cover
 
Title:  Steel Bulwark :  The Last years of the German Panzerwaffe on the Eastern Front 1943 - 45.  A photographic history.
Author:  Ian Baxter
Publisher:  Helion & Co
ISBN:  978 1 906033 40 8
Distributor:  Casemate Books
 
Ian Baxter is a well known author of military books, a number of which cover German Armour on the Eastern Front.  This time he looks at the role of the Panzerwaffe as a 'Steel Bulwark' for the German Forces in the region, and how they fought against increasing odds through to the end of the war.  A wide variety of photos are included, most of which I had not seen before.  they well illustrate notonly the wide variety of equipment that the panzer troops used throughout this time, but also characteristics of the fighting in the East as well.
 
There are a good number of photos showing vehicles about flat wagons or being loaded onto them.  the huge distances involved usually meant that panzer units travelled by train, not useing the road on their tracks if it could be avoided.  There were lots of wide open spaces, and I guess it must have been quite demoralising to see the horizon, and when you get there, you only have another distant horizon to look forward to, day after day.
 
The book starts by reviewing the early period of 1941 through to 1942, when the Panzer arm had such spectacular successes in Russia.  The first of 3 main sections then tackles the 'Fighting Withdrawal', before moving to part 2, 'panzerwaffe in Retreat', leading up to the final section, simply entitled, 'The end'.  There are some excellent photo references throughout the book for modellers, with things like an Sdkfz 251 moving through a corn field, and only the top section showing just above the ripening crop.  Then there are a good selection of photos, so yes a number of Panthers and Tigers, but other artillery, Stugs, half tracks etc which give balance to the variety of equipment used by the German Panzerwaffe throughout this period.
 
At the end we get to a number of illustrations which particularly show knocked out equipment, as the noose tightened around the German Army, from the Russians in the East and the Allies in the West.  A couple of page scans included below just give you an idea of the type of content that fills this hard-cover book.
 
A book which most fans of German Armour will enjoy, and I'd have to say some great ideas for model dioramas are here in plenty.  Published by Helion and Co, but our thanks to Casemate Books for our example.
 
 
Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review sample. 

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