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Skoda LT vz. 35

Vladimir Francev & Charles K. Kliment
MBI Publishing House, 1995
ISBN 80-901263-8-3
60 pages

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

Czech tanks of the Second World War should be obscure vehicles, but since they were much better than their German counterparts they got a new breath of life in the Wehrmacht. This title covers the LT vz. 35, or Panzer 35(t) series of small tanks. The text is in both Czech and English and it covers the entire life of the tank, from its small beginnings in the Czech army to its German career. The text is accompanied by an excellent selection of photos that clearly show the differences between all the major variants of the LT vz. 35, as well as show the vehicle in combat. Drawings are also included, with most being in 1/35 scale.

The center section adds some color to the book in the form of profile views. Czech, German, and Romanian examples are depicted, as is a nice color rendering of the interior of the tank. The last section of the book takes a closer look at the PzKpfw 35(t) in both photos and drawings, with many of the photos being of museum pieces found around the world.

Praga LT vz. 38/PzKpfw. 38(t)

Vladimir Francev & Charles K. Kliment
MBI Publishing House, 1997
ISBN 80-902238-2-6
72 pages

Following on the heels of the LT vz. 35 was the LT vz. 38. This was a much more powerful tank, made apparent by the huge numbers that made their way into the German Wehrmacht. The great success of the basic vehicle can be seen in the extremely long life of the chassis, serving throughout the Second World War and beyond, with many armies in Europe using different variants of the PzKpfw 38(t) for many years.

The LT vz. 38 and PzKpfw 38(t) went through many different variants and this book does a good job at describing the tank. This book does not cover the self-propelled guns that were built on the PzKpfw 38(t) chassis, however (these being covered in a separate book reviewed below). There's still a lot of meat in this book, though, and nothing regarding the tanks is left out. Starting with the beginnings in Czechoslovakia, this book gives a well-written history of the type and the changes throughout its life. A history of the PzKpfw 38(t)'s military service is also included, both in the German Wehrmacht and in foreign countries such as Slovakia and Bulgaria.

The center section is filled with many excellent color profiles showing this versatile tank in a wide variety of schemes, including an interesting two-tone Swedish example. In addition to the profiles there are plenty of black and white photos as well as scale drawings showing the major variants of the PzKpfw 38(t). Like the book above, this title is easily the best single reference on the LT vz. 38/PzKpfw 38(t) tanks.

Marder III & Grille

Vladimir Francev & Charles K. Kliment
MBI Publishing House, 1999
ISBN 80-902238-5-0
92 pages

The huge success of the PzKpfw 38(t) tank quickly led to thoughts of turning it into a self-propelled gun. The chassis was well suited for this and the Marder III was born. This book ties in well with the above title to provide a complete view of the PzKpfw 38(t) chassis during the Second World War. Whereas the above title focused on the tank variants, this book looks at nothing but the self-propelled guns.

The 38(t) became the chassis for a wide variety of self-propelled guns, ranging from 20mm to 149mm in size. Along with this range of weaponry came a wide variety of color schemes, as these vehicles found their way into just about every front during the Second World War. Interestingly, while the PzKpfw 38(t) found its way into the armies of many European countries, the self-propelled guns remained mainly a German vehicle. This is reflected in the color profile section, with all but one being depicted in German markings (the remaining one is Czech).

Scale drawings accompany the large selection of photos, giving an excellent visual outline of the life of the self-propelled guns based on the Panzer 38(t) chassis. In addition to this is an extremely well-written text, again in both Czech and English, covering both the technical differences between the variants and the operations of the vehicles.

If you are at all interested in Czech fighting vehicles or in the early main fighting vehicles of the German Army during World War Two, these three books should definitely be on your shelves.

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