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Link - article by Avi Abrams

How to "blow'em all up!" and have some fun in the process.

War is supposed to be serious business, right? Well, not according to German WWII technical writers who turned their thick and boring tank manuals for "Tiger" & "Panther" tanks into some sort of a "Popular Science"/"Playboy"/comic book combination.

These juicy manuals proved to be so popular, that they were even translated into Russian language and read throughout the Soviet Army tank corps. Let me show you a couple of genuine Nazi tank manuals, and see if you can learn something from them in a fun and accessible manner.

Tiger Tank Manual, 1943

Heavy Machinery, Military History

The German "Tiger" Tank was introduced in August 1942, at the time being the most powerful tank in the world. The success of the Tiger was so profound, that no Allied tank dared to engage it in open combat. This psychological fear soon became to be known as "Tigerphobia". Drivers inside the tank, in the meantime could peruse the following instructions:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Diving the "Tiger" is a prestigious business, similar to driving a "Mercedes":

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Driving on highways will get you as far as Berlin, but if you go off-road you'll only get as far as Brandenburg - and it's going to take a lot of fuel! -

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Good communication is essential for "having a good-time", in peaceful times as well as during wartime:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

You should take good care of your tank shells, just as you take good care of your girl:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Good aim is everything! -

Heavy Machinery, Military History

You have to be a certain kind of artist in your heart, to drive a tank:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Aiming your shots right will bring Ivan to his knees faster:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

When preparing to shoot, note how fast you're going:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

Take good care of your tank! Thousands of German workers toiled endlessly to make sure that you get a top quality product, and after all, German engineering, as we all know, does not come cheap:

Heavy Machinery, Military History
(images via Egland)

"Panther" Tank Manual, 1942

"Captured Panthers proved to be extremely popular vehicles among Soviet troops, who received them as rewards for extraordinary achievements in combat, and who sought to keep them in service as long as possible..."

Heavy Machinery, Military History

"... contrary to regulations that captured Tigers and Panthers should not be repaired but abandoned and destroyed after mechanical failure. Even the humorous instruction manuals for German Panther crews, called Pantherfibels (a Panther Primer), were duly translated into Russian and provided to the crews lucky enough to get a captured Panther." (more info)

Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
Heavy Machinery, Military History
(images via)

American soldiers also could enjoy their own version of technical humour:

Heavy Machinery, Military History

...and only dead-serious communists refused to spice up the "T-34" tank manuals with pictures of pretty Komsomol members.

Sources: WorldWar2Aces, Egland, 3DModels





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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha Nazis had a great sense of humor. I never would have imagined.

Blogger DarExc said...

Nazi Tanks? I never knew Tanks could have a political view. Maybe you meant German tanks! Just like an American Soldier isn't a Republican soldier doesn't mean all Germans were Nazis, they can have a good sense of humor indeed.

Funny though :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, if only textbook authors can learn from these fine examples on how to motivate readers to keep reading and understanding.

Kathy Sierra may get a kick out of this.

Anonymous pyr0rrzzz said...

If you understand the descriptions it's even more funny xD

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's how militarism works. make them forget they kill people.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For every grenade that you fire:
your father paid 100 Reichsmarks in taxes,
your mother worked for a week in a factory,
a train drove 10,000 kilometers!

Think about that before every shot!"

Anonymous Jonesy said...

Thats a neat find, who says history is boring?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend a look at the Luftwaffe's 1944 gunnery manual for fighter pilots, the "Schiessfiebel" as approved by famous General Adolf Galland. It abounds in drawings of scantily clad or nude females, accompanied by rhymed instructions, e.g. to explain such concepts as "aspect angle".

Anonymous Timoleon said...

The Luftwaffe obviously wanted its pilot to score, one way or the other. See for yourself: http://www.rafiger.de/Homepage/Pages/Schiessfibel.html

Anonymous Jonesy said...

That is unbelievable creepy.

I'm sure by 44 the Germans were running a little short on humor, but I could see them being a little cocky in 42 after easily taking over europe, and quickly advancing in Russia. The manual clearly shows how the Germans thought they were invincible.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh those Nazis...

Anonymous Don Carina - WWII Novel said...

Those Nazi's knew funny. Using sex to sell war, better than Detroit using sex to sell cars.

Ron Russell, Author of "Don Carina"

Anonymous latvija said...

I thought the manuals were funny. Maybe manuals for electronics need to be funny.

What I did not like was the 20 requests to place cookies.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Latvija - what's wrong, you don't like cookies? :)
all cookies are harmless here, its just ad banners doing their normal thing.

Anonymous DBarr said...

Oh my God, those are like those nutty instruction manuals for the
American and British forces.

Same style, same jokes! I swear it must be the same cartoonists doing the work for everybody.

We ARE art whores, you know.

I have to share this with all my comics and cartoonists friends.

Anonymous Chuck W said...

I think it was during the Vietnam war that the US Army started publishing PM magazine. It was a cartoon-like magazine full of tips for keeping your weapons and equipment in good working order. At that time the cartoons showed Connie (a 40DD Blonde) and Bonnie (a 40DD black girl) showing how to perform the maintenance. They were often very scantily clad (think Daisy Dukes outfits) as well. Since then PM has cleaned up. Bonnie and Connie have nad breast reductions (34B?) and they have added other characters like a grizzled maintenance NCO, a dashing young aviator, etc. Sigh, those were the days!

Blogger Peter de Haas said...

Lovely pages! I'd really like to have scans of all the pages so I can make my own Fibel for further reading pleasure... Is that possible? Peter_dehaasattele2.nl

Anonymous Ellen said...

Will Eisner did that in PM Magazine. There's a tremendous archive of the mag at


Blogger submandave said...


You are easily amused, my friend

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DarExc said:"Just like an American Soldier isn't a Republican soldier" Huh?
Aren't you talking about the biggest bureaucracy going? the
vast majority of those running the armed forces are Dems...They LOVE big out of control branches of government!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice the drawing of Albert Speer on page 71 of the Tiger manual; nothing like getting a little pub....

Anonymous werewife said...

Two words: Will Eisner. Now to explain them: America's greatest comics artist, the inventor of the graphic novel, he whose name is that of the highest honor in comics, for decades made his primary living by illustrating US military training manuals. Interestingly, his weren't nearly as goofy as these...

Blogger John F. Opie said...

Actually, the page numbered "70" refers not to driving the tank, but rather heading targets...

Blogger John F. Opie said...

...leading targets. Sorry.

Anonymous mimi filer said...

According to Missy Vasiltchikoff,
author of "The Berlin Diaries",
Berliners were known for their lively sense of humor. Her book of being a Russian aristocrat reduced to working for the Nazis and enduring the WW2 bombings is one of the best
of the many WW2 books.

Mimi Filer


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