Author Bernd Hartmann served in the post-war German army as a Lt. Colonel and is now the spokesman for the Panzer Regiment 5 Veterans Association. He is, therefore, well qualified to write this history on a subject he fully understands. This book, however, is only Vol. 1 of that history and covers the period from when the regiment was raised until the end of 1941.
Whilst the Tank itself was a British invention from WW1, the German army had already developed a small number of these weapons by the time hostilities ceased in 1918. Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was then prohibited from having any form of armoured vehicle which might be used in war. Whilst these provisions were closely monitored up to 1927, formal training in tank warfare did take place elsewhere. From these humble beginnings grew a first class panzer division within the German army with tanks which were, eventually, the envy of the world. By the outbreak of WW2 Germany's Panzers were probably the most formidable force of such weapons found in a single country. Whilst those early vehicles (Panzer 1) were the German mainstay until 1940, their shortcomings were soon exposed by enemy forces whereupon they were quickly replaced as new innovations in German technology worked hard to keep pace with new demands.
This book is a marvellous compilation of history - both written and visual, and is an overwhelming triumph of detailed research, hard work and who knows how many hours spent examining what must be thousands of documents and other sources of information. The historical photographs are so plentiful they actually add a sense of almost allowing the reader to identify with the work. Put another way; Whereas a reasonable collection of good quality pictures will always give the reader a feel for any subject, in this work, there are sufficient in number to almost tell the story by themselves. So much so, that they provide a much deeper understanding of the history of Panzer Regiment 5 which is as honourable as any regimental history.
Having set such a high bar for himself, I look forward to an equally superlative Volume 2 which, when both are placed together, will combine to provide all readers and historians with as complete a record as possible of this once great German regiment.
I really do congratulate the author on a most excellent job of work.
(British army major - retired)