Osprey New Vanguard 39 - Panzer IV Ausf. G, H & J

John Prigent

New Vanguard 39, Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. G, H and J 1942-45, by Hilary Doyle and Tom Jentz, illustrated by Tony Bryan, ISBN 1-84176-183-4, Osprey Publishing Ltd, 48 pages, colour plates.

The dream team strikes again!  Here they have dealt with the long-gunned Panzer IVs in their own inimitable manner, as always drawing on original archive sources and ignoring all post-War speculation.  The very first upgunned Panzer IV actually had a long 5 cm weapon, but this was superseded by the 7.5 cm gun to produce the G, H and J versions of the tank.  Their development is described here, with all the changes made during the production of each version.  You'll note that there's no mention of the Ausf F2, and this is because it didn't really exist.  The first long-gunned Panzer IV were Ausf Gs, and the change in the types of muzzle brake used, often taken to indicate the switch from F2 to G, had nothing at all to do with the tank's designation.

As usual, all the monthly production figures are given in a table and more tables quote gun accuracy and penetration figures.  The operational history segment of the book gives useful extra information about changes requested by the troops as well as details of the Panzer IV's use in combat.  The command and observation variants are covered in a final section.  Well-chosen photographs from the archives, and of preserved tanks, show what all the versions covered actually looked like and are complemented by excellent plates from Tony Bryan and 1/76 scale side-view plans by Hilary Doyle himself.

You couldn’t ask for more!  Very highly recommended.