This latest book from Luftfahrtverlag-Start is on the short history of Panther Battalion Brandenburg and its earlier existence as I./Pz. Rgt. 26.

The book arrived from the publisher in their usual good quality packaging. The book is wrapped in paper and placed inside a typical cardboard covering for books but with the addition of packaging to protect the book on its journey.

The book

  • Authors: Wolfgang Ockert / Axel Urbanke
  • Publisher: Luftfahrtverlag-Start
  • Language: English & German.
  • Release date: September 2015
  • ISBN: 978-3-941437-17-3
  • Size: hardback, 25 x 28 cm – large format
  • Weight: ca. 2,5 kg
  • Pages: 362
  • Paper: thick glossy paper
  • Photos: 215 photos, thereof 34 coloured
  • Further Information:: 27 coloured maps, index of locations and names
  • Price: 59,00 Euro + Shipping

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • 1942 to 1943, the creation of I. Battalion Panzer Regiment 26
  • Action in the southern sector of the eastern front
  • Action in the Baltic states in the Memel bridgehead
  • Rest and refit in the Reich and the battle before Budapest
  • Formation of I.(Panther) Battalion Panzer Regiment Brandenburg
  • The I. Battalion Panzer Regiment Brandenburg arrives at the Oder front
  • The battles for the Klessin strongpoint
  • The fighting in the Oderbruch
  • The Soviet offensive
  • In the Halbe pocket and the breakout to the 12th Army
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices

I’ve read the book from cover to cover and found it to be a gripping and enthralling history of the Brandenburg Panther Battalion and many of its members. The story starts in August 1942 the formation of I./Panzer Regiment 26. We quickly move on to the deployment of the unit in the southern sector of the eastern front in January 1944. From there it’s the full-time story of the unit until the end of the war. Approximately the first 100 pages cover the time the battalion was known as I./Panzer Regiment 26. The last 240 pages covers the unit after it was renamed to I./Panzer Regiment Brandenburg. Since the renaming happened in January 1945 you can tell the story goes into a lot more detail, and becomes based on more personal stories, after the battalion was renamed. The book relies heavily on first person and eyewitness accounts and photographs, with many quotes direct from personal diaries. The author has pulled these various personal stories together into one coherent story. Any missing information was filled in from unit histories, both German and Russian. The photographs used in the book are an integral part of the story and show the events and locations covered in the text. There are also several modern colour photographs that show the same places as depicted in the period photographs in the book. The story is very well put together and explained and conveys the futility and horrors of the last weeks of the war from a very personal point of view.

The following text from the publisher’s website sums things up very nicely.

The story of the “Brandenburg” Panther Battalion and its prior history as I Battalion of Panzer-Regiment 26 played out against the background of the everywhere collapsing fronts of the final year and a half of the war. The reader takes part in the fighting withdrawals in the vast steppe landscapes of southern Russia and Rumania and the battles on the East Prussian border and in the Baltic States. He is encircled with the battalion in the Memel bridgehead in East Prussia in late 1944 and experiences the relief attempt towards Budapest in late 1944 – early 1945. Finally, in February 1945, follows the transfer of the renamed battalion to the Oder Front near Küstrin, where the Panthers were one of the last panzer battalions opposing the Russian drive on Berlin. The descriptions involve the reader, not only in the battalion’s actions, but as well in the overall events at the Oder in the final weeks of the war. He directly experiences the collapse of the entire Oder front, the retreat and destruction in the Halbe Pocket. The descriptions are so vivid and powerful that one cannot escape the drama of the events. Whoever wants to understand what happened back then can take a journey through time with this book.

Based on ten years of research, this is a book that rises above the many other books about panzer units and the final months of the war. More than 200 action photographs from every front, almost all of them previously unseen, and 27 color maps supplement the text.

This is a unique documentation which, once again, took advantage of the opportunity to allow the last eyewitnesses to speak.

Overall this book is highly recommended and anyone with an interest in German armour would find this both interesting and also a good read. For armour modellers the wealth of interesting period photographs will be a bonus.

The book can be purchased directly from the publisher’s website.

Update Jan 2016:
Dear readers of our Brandenburg-book, to those of you who want to see what the situation at the bridge in Tangermünde was like when the members of the Panther-battalion Brandenburg crossed the Elbe-river in May 1945, we can recommend this film.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VF2yBjXJ-k
Axel Urbanke

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
Scifiantasy


Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.

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