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Found 39 results

  1. Battle of Berlin Failed to Return by Steve Bond, Steve Darlow, Sean Feast, Andrew Macdonald, Robert Owen, Nicole Russell and Howard Sandall, published by Fighting High Publishing Ltd As dusk fell over RAF Grimsby on the night of 3 September 1943, twenty-two Lancasters of 100 Squadron slipped into the night sky, bound for Berlin - the 'Big City'. Twenty aircraft returned safely the following morning, while two - Y-Yorker and N-Nan - were never seen or heard from again. Aboard N-Nan was Air Gunner John Hayton, just twenty years old and one of over 55,000 aircrew of Bomber Command who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war with Nazi Germany. This book tells the story of a handful of those thousands of young men who climbed aboard their aircraft and never returned. The authors have drawn down on a rich mixture of official records, personal documents and testimony from the families of the airmen who were killed or captured while serving their country. My tutor at university once told me that it was impossible to understand the impact of the Holocaust until you understood what was lost; thousands of communities and their culture, art, literature and society all wiped out in the space of a few short years. This book helps to make the same contribution to those seeking to understand the sacrifice of the men of Bomber Command. 55,000 is a number. A number cannot tell you what it was like in the hallway of 11 Athelsan Walk in Welwyn Garden City when Charles Hayton received the telegram informing him that his son was missing in action. Nor can it communicate the anguish of countless families whose loved ones' remains were never recovered or who didn't even have a known crash site. This book makes a valuable contribution to its subject by eschewing the facts and figures of most works of military history, focussing instead on the human impact of the war fought over the skies of central Europe. Conclusion This book is a valuable addition to any collection of works on the history of Bomber Command. It does not seek to provide a comprehensive history of Bomber Command and nor is it intended to provide a rich source of material for modellers. This book will, however, provide plenty of inspiration to those interested in the subject with its tales of heroism and sacrifice. Review sample courtesy of
  2. The Bulgarian Air Force in WWII ISBN : 9788365437556 Kagero via Casemate UK While there has been much written about the Luftwaffe in WWII, not much is out there concerning their other Allies apart from the Italians. The Bulgarians fit into the category of probably the least well known; this book will hopefully redress the balance some what. The early part of the book gives a concise history of the Bulgarian Air Force in WWII. The second chapter the history from its inception through to 1945. The middle part of the book then lists individual histories of the Fighter, Bomber, Attack, Recon, Training, Maritime, and Transport units. The latter part of the books looks at the Insignia of the BAF, their victory scoring system, aces; and their rank structure. The book is A5 softcover format with 107 pages. There are black and white photos throughout and colour plates where needed to show aircraft types, their marking and insignia. Conclusion If you're interested in the lesser known Air Forces, or the WWII Axis, this is an interesting book that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. This is now the second of the "Library of Armed Conflicts" books I have reviewed and it is looking to be a good series. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Topdrawings 44 - Grumman F6F Hellcat ISBN : 9788365437563 Kagero via Casemate UK The Grumman F6F Hellcat was a highly effective fighter, the design of which took advantage of experience gained in aerial combat against the Japanese during the early part of the war. Fitted with a powerful Pratt and Whitney ‘Double Wasp’ engine, the Hellcat was a fast fighter, capable of 380mph. The F6F-3 was the first production version and was armed with six .50 inch Browning machine guns. Later in the production run it gained the ability to carry unguided rockets and bombs as well. The F6F-5 was an improved aircraft with a new integral bulletproof windscreen, new ailerons, stronger tail surfaces, and a new 2200 hp engine with water injection. The Hellcat was a rugged aircraft which featured self-sealing fuel tanks and plenty of Armour. By 1945 it had gained the status of the most effective US naval fighter of World War II, having accounted for no fewer than 5,271 enemy aircraft. This book is not a reference book on the Hellcat per-say, but a collection of plans and colour profiles designed to help the modeller all the plans are in 1.48 with a 1/24th scale rule on the pages as well. In the centre of the book is an A-3 double sided pull out plan in 1/48th scale as well. As an extra there is one set of 1:48 masks, and tow of 1:72 in the book. All text is in English & Polish. Conclusion If you're interested in these aircraft and intend to model a few of an individual aircraft then its worth investing in one of these publications. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Topdrawings 43 - Sd.Kfz.171 Panzer V "Panther" ISBN : 9788365437549 Kagero via Casemate UK This book is not a reference book on the Panther per-say, but a collection of plans and colour profiles designed to help the modeller. All the plans are in 1.48 with a 1/24th scale rule on the pages as well. In the centre of the book is are three A2 double sided pull out plan in 1/16th scale as well,one each for the A, D & G models.. An extra is a set of masks for the German Crosses, they say 1:16 on the masks but look distinctly 1:35. All text in the book is in English & Polish. Conclusion If you're interested in these tanks and intend to model a few then its worth investing in one of these publications. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Godoy's Army - Spanish Regiments and Uniforms 1800 ISBN : 9781911512653 Helion and Company via Casemate UK This book looks at Regiments and Uniforms from the Spanish Military of 1800. It is based on an extremely rare (but incomplete) illustrated copy of the Spanish Order of Battle from 1800. Almost every regiment of the Spanish Army is represented and all the colour plates are A4 in size. The text includes an introduction to Spanish Army in the time period leading upto the Peninsular War. The author Prof Esdailenis the UKs leading expert on the Peninsular War, and Alan Perry is a well known figure designer and owner of Perry Miniatures who also owns the original book. Conclusion If anyone is interested in the Military from this period, or the history of military uniforms this will no doubt prove a great addition to their collection. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. B-25J Mitchell in Combat over Pacific & CBI ISBN : 9788365437518 Kagero via Casemate UK The B-25 Mitchell medium bomber was one of the staples of the US bomber force during WWII, and was also used by the British in large numbers, with the J model having a rather heavy armament that varied between 14-18 fixed machine guns in the nose and in gondolas to the side of the cockpit, often known as cheek guns. This concentrated field of fire made it ideal as a gunship, and with the extra guns in the Strafer nose, it packed a formidable punch that was used to good effect in all theatres. This new title from Polish publisher Kagero is a pictorial history of the aircraft and units that fought in the Pacific and the Chinese, Burma and India (CBI) theatres, in which there were some fantastic noseart adorning the sides of these flying gun trucks. Spanning 108 pages with a huge number of contemporary photos, a few of which are in colour, it is held in a perfect-bound format with card cover, and includes a set of pre-cut vinyl masks in 1:48 for the "stars and bars" of the US Air Force. It is printed in English/Polish with the English on the left on the main text, and above the Polish for the captions, of which there are many. After a short introduction, the book details each of the squadrons that fought within these oft neglected theatres, which includes: 345th Bomber Group 38th Bomber Group 42nd Bomber Group 41st Bomber Group 17th Reconnaissance Squadron 12th Bomber Group CBI 341st Bomber Group CBI 1st Bomber Group CBI 18th Squadron Of Netherlands East Indies 2nd Squadron RAAF At the end is a section of colour photos, followed by a few words regarding a wreck that is still on Binaya mountain on Ceram Island, which took the author four days to trek to, the crash being the result of a flight of eight aircraft flying almost blind, and the three leaders having no time to pull up when the mountain came into view. Sadly all crew were lost in the incident. The final few pages are devoted to recreations of some of the nose art, and a set of profiles of some notable examples of the aircraft featured in the book. If you are prudish in nature, you'd better steal yourself, as Mitchel crews seem to have had a fixation for scantily clad ladies with large breasts. Conclusion If you're interested in Mitchells, the Pacific and CBI theatres, or just love a good read, this is an interesting book on an interesting subject that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. The Avro Arrow Lorimer via Casemate UK The Avro Arrow was Canada's version of the British TSR.2, and sadly suffered the same fate due to high costs, political wrangling and at least a little bit of subterfuge, I'm sure. After WWII the Avro team were experienced and ready to break some boundaries to produce a potentially superb combination of a world-leading airframe in the shape of the CF-105 Arrow, and an advanced and very powerful new engine in the form of the X-116 Iroquois. Like the TSR.2 they got perilously close to success, with five airframes completed and airworthy, plus another almost ready to accept the first of the engines. Then it all went wrong for Avro, with cancellation of both projects and an unseemly haste to "undo" all the work that had been done by scrapping the airframes, engines and destroying all the documentation into the bargain, which always starts eyebrows arching at the perpetrator's motivation. To paraphrase, the fourth dimension of any aircraft is politics, and again that's where the problems lay. The Russians were making great strides with rockets for ICBM use, and short-sightedly the Canadian government believed the hype that was also being expounded by Duncan Sands over the Atlantic in the UK that sounded the death-knell of the TSR.2. This book by James Lorimer & Co. is an indigenous Canadian project, and is an excellent introduction to the Arrow from anyone's point of view, as it doesn't delve too deeply into the technicalities, but instead details the situation that led up to the conception of the Arrow, and walks the reader through the design and testing process that followed by using some excellent photos with captions and links to other data that is out on the internet. This might sound like a time sensitive thing, as it's amazing how quickly web pages change their URLs, but as they have been supplied as short links, there's plenty of opportunity for them to keep them current at least in the near future. Google is your friend anyway when it comes to anything really, so don't worry about the future of the links, and regard them as a bit of a bonus if anything. Bound in a traditional hardback format it would make a great coffee table book, but also has plenty of information to impart, as well as some really interesting pictures. The preamble to the Arrow takes up a few pages that some might begrudge, but it tells an important part of the story, and I learned a few things while I was reading it and perusing the pictures, which in total number around 200 in a mixture of black & white and colour spread over 112 pages. Conclusion You can't help draw comparisons with the sad story of the TSR.2, but the blow was more devastating, as it took out Avro Canada, and lost many thousands of skilled people their jobs, forcing many to move to the US for work. This is an excellent book to get a full picture of the period, and you can sense the pride that author Lawrence Miller feels for what is still an incredible achievement, even now. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Luftwaffe In Colour From Glory to Defeat 1942-1945 Casemate UK After their initial successes dominating Europe, the Third Reich looked invincible for a while, until things stopped going their way quite so easily following their defeat (or stalemate if you like) in the Battle of Britain brought the juggernaut to a halt at the Channel. The later joining of America sealed their fate as their massive industrial complex wound up to full speed. The propaganda arms of the Nazi Party never stopped working until the very late stages of the war, so the photographs and film were still being produced in all the major theatres of operation. They were still using colour photography to a surprising extent, which has resulted in some really useful colour evidence that was gathered incidentally to the real subject matter of friends and colleagues as they documented their experiences in the war. Colour developing wasn't as exact a science as it is today, so we have to make some allowances for this, and for the possibility that some prints have been reprocessed over the years, but it is still impressive to see, gathered together in one volume. Compiled and written again by Christophe Cony and Jean-Louis Roba, the book extends to 160 pages in a portrait A4 format, with a perfect bound cover and quality glossy stock, which is unsurprisingly printed entirely in colour. There are almost 400 photos within the book, and they are of a wide variety of subjects, varying from candid snaps to posed publicity and unit archive style photos. The book is broken down into sections based upon location and campaigns, as follows: Introduction Part X Face-to-Face with the Soviet Steamroller Part XI The Mediterranean Front Part XII The West: From One Landing to the Next Part XIII Second Line and Training Units Part XIV The Eagle Falls Photography throughout is marvellous, subject to the limitations of the source material of course, and it is good to see so many of them printed large enough to see the details without squinting again. There are all manner of aircraft types within the pages, as per the first volume from the Go.242 (the what?), through Tante Ju (Ju-52), the Gigant, the later types such as the Ju.188, B&V 222, Arado 234, Me.262 and even a captured Spitfire. The last chapter shows the devastation wrought as the Allies as they advanced toward final victory. Together they make an excellent pair, with plenty of reference material, plus a good read to be had in-between. The quality of the pictures in some cases gives the impression that they could have been taken yesterday. Review sample courtesy of
  9. German Panzer II A Visual History of the German Army's World War II Light Tank Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The Panzer II originated as a temporary design to field while the larger tanks that were in development were completed, but due to Hitler's use of Blitzkrieg to overrun the majority of Europe, it saw widespread service until the larger Panzer III and more powerful Panzer IV reaches service. It also saw service in heavily modified forms until the end of the war, being used as a gun platform for some Self-Propelled Gun projects, and the more advanced Luchs, which used some technology that would be seen in the later developments. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 168 pages of great photos from contemporary sources, which by their era are of course all black and white. The book contains over 170 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the following types with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction: PzKpfw. II Ausf. a PzKpfw. II Ausf. b PzKpfw. II Ausf. c and A-C Early PzKpfw. II Ausf. c, A, B, C modified PzKpfw. II Ausf. D PzKpfw. II (F) Ausf. A & B PzKpfw. II Ausf. F PzKpfw. II Ausf. G PzKpfw. II Ausf. J PzKpfw. II Ausf. L Luchs (Lynx) While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. ISBN: 978-1-944367-06-0 Review sample courtesy of
  10. Slybirds A Photographic Odyssey of the 353rd Fighter Group During the Second World War Fighting High Publishing - Via Casemate UK With their black and yellow chequered markings the 353rd Fighter Group was one of the Eighth's more colourful groups. They were assigned to the Eighth Air Force on 7 June 1943. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, and from October 1944, P-51 Mustangs; as escorts for bombing missions across occupied Europe, and to strafe targets on the ground. Tactical missions included strafing and dive-bombing targets during the Allied invasion of Normandy, and also during the airborne assault of Holland. For these latter missions, between 17 and 23 September 1944, the Group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation .They were based first at Goxhill, then Metfield and finally Raydon. The group consisted of; 350th Fighter Squadron 351st Fighter Squadron 352nd Fighter Squadron Headquarters (353rd Fighter Group) 2125th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon The book features over 450 photographs, many unpublished, and some in colour. It features not only the Aircraft, pilots and ground crew, but how they lived, spent their free time, and even pets they had. The book shows aerial victories, aces, and those pilots who were shot down. There is a list of POWs and a roll of honour for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The book has been written by renowned Eighth Air Force Historian Graham Cross and is A4 Landscape in format with a quality printed feel. . Conclusion. The book gives a comprehensive look at the 353rd Group, and a unique look at the men and machines which made up this formidable fighting force, Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  11. The 100 Hour War The conflict between Honduras & El Salvador 1969 Helion & Company - Via Casemate UK In July of 1969 while most of the world was looking to the upcoming moon landings the Central American States of Honduras and El Salvador would go to war in what the media would coin "The Soccer War" due to hostilities coinciding with rioting at a World Cup qualifying match between the two countries. On the 14th of July 1969 El Salvador invaded its neighbour Honduras. This was the culmination of long standing land reform in Honduras effecting immigration and demographic issues with El Salvador; there being some 300,00 Salvadorans living in Honduras by this time. Neither side had what could be called a "modern" military at the time with civilian aircraft being used to carry explosives and an assortment of ex US military aircraft being used by both sides such as F4U Corsairs and P-51 Mustangs. After only 100 hours the Organisation of American States negotiated a ceasefire between the two sides. In the 100 hours El Salvador lost over 900 dead most of which were civilians, and Honduras would loose 250 combat troops and over 2000 civilians. The 300,000 Salvadorans living in Honduras would be displaced. Despite peace treaty in 1980 the dispute continues on with further sabre rattling as late as 2013. This book is the culmination of 20 years of research into this little know conflict. As well as the complicated background the book explores the military actions in the air, and on the ground taken by both sides. This was the last time the world would see dog fights between WWII era piston aircraft. As well as an impressive collection of photographs the book features colour profiles and markings of the aircraft used along with maps of the region to show how the fighting progressed. Conclusion. The book does concentrate on the air war, however the ground operations are covered along with the build up, and reasons for the conflict. Recommended if you like researching & modelling the smaller conflicts of the world. Review sample courtesy of
  12. The Normandy Battlefields Bocage & Breakout From the Beaches to the Falaise Gap Casemate UK When many of us think of “Normandy” we automatically think of the battles on the beaches. This however was only the first part of the story. Once allied forces broke out from their beach heads they faced a three month long battle in the French countryside which would result in over half a million casualties. The fighting in the infamous bocage countryside, around the import town of Caen; and upto the strategic port of Cherbourg was heavy brutal fighting which culminated in around 100,000 German Troops being cut of at the Falaise Gap. This encirclement resulted in approximately 10,000 German casualties, with a further 50,000 German troops being taken prisoner. The book deals with the important aspects of the breakout into Normandy; The Cotentin & Cherbourg The First Army in the Bocage The Battle for Caen The Breakout Brittany The Falaise Gap The Aftermath. The book is 192 pages long in A4 format with all pages in glossy print. There are no pages without photographs, and many of these are in colour where possible. Not only are there war time photographs but contemporary ones to show what the areas look like today, and to pick out areas of historical interest. There are many wartime photographs which will be of interest to both the modeller and the history buff. Maps are used to illustrate the battles along with specially commissioned aerial photography which brings home how difficult it must have been rather than just looking at maps alone. Conclusion. I have now had this book for a little while and must confess that once I started reading the book the review has been delayed, as I wanted to give it a proper read through. This was worth the wait as the book is an excellent portrayal of these events following the landings in France. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Scrapyard Armour AFV Modeller Publications via Casemate UK At the end of any military vehicle's life, there's one place where most of them end up, whether they're worn out, destroyed, or somewhere in between. The scrapyard. This is a scene of rust, damage and decay that is seldom topped for extremity, and an ideal example to demonstrate severe weathering, which is the intent of this book. Using a set of photos as a guide, which are reproduced in the middle of the book, three modellers take the challenge and build an example of a tank in its final phase. The book is from AFV Modeller Publications, from the magazine people of the same name, and consists of 116 pages in a portrait format bound in a thick card jacket. The projects are arranged around the central photo shoot of the Russian armour scrapyard, which is a bit of an eye-opener in itself, showing rows of dilapidated and broken T-62s amongst other types, some of which have been torch-cut in places, some haven't. Many of them still sport their ERA blocks around the turret and hull, which can only mean that these are the inactive blocks used for training, unless health & safety in Russia has slipped a little bit! David Parker builds a T-62 that has been cut into three equal sections across the hull, and had its turret removed and laid upside down next to it. He takes you through the process of creating the detailed interior using scratch built parts and some parts from a Verlinden set, as well as using some ET Model fenders to get scale thickness on those areas, which had been cut off in prelude to the main hull cuts. This intricate build takes up a substantial part of the book, and finished on page 47. The photos then take up to page 89, and after that another build from Mark Neville shows a relatively complete T-62BDD model 1984, which is minus its tracks and little else. His article concentrates on the exterior weathering, and the addition of dust and grime in all the right places that lend a realistic feel to the whole thing, finishing off with some minor diorama details at page 101. The final article is by Andy Taylor, who models a Georgian T-55, which has been converted with the addition of cheek armour on the turret. Although the AM is now available from Takom, he used an update set from CMK as the bones of his conversion, and goes further with the weathering due to the old age of the machine, showing panels that have been ripped from place and the interior raided, as well as the ravages of the elements. The level of grime around the hull really is a sight to behold. Conclusion The book has a high quality feel to it, and the content is interesting, with lots of techniques and tips on display for you to refer back to, or aspire to if you have never tried them before. The photographic section is entertaining in its own right, but a few captions to enlighten us to what exactly we're looking at would have been useful to those of us that don't know these beasts intimately. Overall a good read, and a reference work that you can keep coming back to for inspiration. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Hawker Hunters At War – Iraq and Jordan, 1958-1967 ISBN: 9781911096252 Helion & Company via Casemate UK After the Hawker Hunter was retired from RAF service with the introduction of newer, supersonic capable jets, the Hunters were taken back, refurbed and offered for sale to potential customers in the Middle East. Iraq and Jordan were allies of Great Britain at the time, and had already taken plenty of post-war surplus off the British hands, throughout their military establishment, from tanks to aircraft and rifles. Bound in a flexible card outer sleeve in a portrait format, the book contains 104 pages, over 120 photos (some in colour), and 15 colour profiles for the aircraft discussed in the texts. The narrative covers all aspects of the Hunter's service with the Iraqi and Jordanian Air Forces and their service with them both in the next decade or so. It even gives the details of the fates of them all, with a few photos of extant parts that still languished in a dump at the beginning of the new millennium. It documents the missions that the aircraft flew, the outcomes and through some dramatic gun camera shots, the fate of a few unlucky enough to be shot down during the Six Days War, by which time the Hunter was outclassed as a fighter and sometimes fell victim to the Israeli Mirages. The book is broken into chapters as follows: Acknowledgements 2 Abbreviations 2 Special Relationship 3 Crisis of 1958 7 New Start in Iraq 17 First Battle with Mirages 23 June 1967 War 31 Battle for H-3 46 Post-Scriptum 55 Bibliography 60 Notes 61 The author Tom Cooper has extensive knowledge of Middle East conflicts from his time spent there, and has written many articles on the subject. Patricia Salti is the widow of a Jordanian Hunter pilot 1st Lt Muwaffaq Salti, who is considered a national hero in Jordan and was lost in combat with Israeli forces in 1966. She has become a leading historian of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, and due to her unique insights and her contacts, she has written numerous official publications, and has cooperated on other related projects with Tom, such as the Arab Mig books. Conclusion A very detailed history of the Hunter's service after it left the RAF as a fighter that will be of interest to many, although perhaps not quite mainstream due to the subject matter. The wealth of information, data and of course the significant quantity of pictorial information held within the book will doubtless be enticing for any modellers or aviation enthusiasts that are curious as to the fate of those airframes. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Tigers In Combat III Helion via Casemate UK The Tiger was ordered by German High Command in 1942 after the Panzer IV found its nemesis in the shape of the Russian T-34, and through a relatively short gestation period it emerged soon after as a lumbering behemoth that seemed imperious to enemy fire, and quickly gained a reputation on the battlefield and every Allied tanker that survived being "brewed up" was taken out by a Tiger. This new book from Helion Publishing is the third in a series of weighty tomes from author Wolfgang Schneider, who served in the German army for 41 years, and has written a number of books on armour over the years. He clearly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Tiger and WWII German armour tactics, which shows through at every turn. The book in this form is hard bound, and runs to over 520 pages in a portrait oriented book. The book centres on the use of the Tiger in the battlefield, including those aspects of the organisation that are often overlooked in less concise texts, such as the infrastructure required to keep them on the field, support and logistics, as well as repair and maintenance. Even tactics and training are discussed at length, with many excerpts from training literature included, which although in German, are described in caption form by the author. The detail given is astounding, and you get the feeling that if you were to sit there and read every single line, study all the diagrams, and perhaps have a little technical German language under your belt, you could imagine being able to mechanic your very own Tiger at least for a while. The various chapters are laid out as follows: 1. The establishment and structure of the Tiger units The establishment dates for the tiger units The stabskompanie Allocation of responsibilities inside the units Early experiences with the tiger 2. Training Leadership training Tank courses at Paderborn Technical trials at Senne Combat operations to the end of the war Training course content Weapons and equipment training Tank firing practice Combat training Tigers in Hungarian service 3. Operating the Tiger Commander's operating tasks Gunner's operating tasks Loader's operating tasks Driver's operating tasks Radio operator's tasks Whole crew operating tasks Establishing states of readiness Peparations for towing and recovery Work on the running gear Care, maintenance and preservation of operational readiness in extreme environmental conditions Schedule related work Camouflage and the application of camouflage paint Operation in winter Submerged driving 4. Deployment The tasks of the commander Tasks of the gunner Tasks of the loader Tasks of the tank driver Radio operator's tasks Crew based tasks Loading for rail transport Transport across water 5. Tactics General combat tactics Marches Reconnaissance and scouting Security measures Types of combat Command and control Collaboration with other weapons The effect of enemy weapons Logistics (including medical services) Recovery and evacuation to the rear Repair and maintenance Employment of the Tiger battalions Propaganda Annex Amendments to Volumes I and II Literature list Reports by individual Tiger battalions List of regulations and manuals Given the huge scope of the book, it isn't surprising that the page count is so high, but it isn't all dry text. There are hundreds of photos and drawings, extending to 1,200 in total, many of which I have not seen before, and most are of excellent quality, with a few exceptions due to the age of the photos. A few 3D renders are also used to illustrate different aspects of the tank's construction, and there are even a couple of bitmapped images present, which although they aren't of the best quality, don't detract from the overall experience. Most of the photos are black and white, but there are a number of pages to the rear of the book that are in colour, which appear to be originally taken in colour, rather than colourised later. The sheer number of photos is exemplary, and they give a complete impression of life as a Tiger crew member, as alongside the staged photos, there are many more that were taken by the crews themselves and some are candid, showing crews working, resting and playing. If you're wondering about the Tiger II, the King Tiger, it does make the occasional appearance through the book, sometimes in the background of photos, but it is also mentioned a number of times through the pages. Conclusion It's a work of almost biblical scope, and coupled with the previous two volumes, that I really must track down, it makes a complete reference for the legendary Tiger. If you want such a thing, then this is for you, and it'll also keep you busy reading for quite some time. Review sample courtesy of
  16. MaxxPro MRAP Ampersand Group The International MaxxPro is Navistar Defence’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armour technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theatre today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability. With so much protection, it’s the vehicle that every crew wants when they’re out in the field. The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armour can be customized to meet any mission requirement. The book is printed in a similar fashion as the old Squadron Publications standard, in a landscape format with a short, two pages worth development history of the type. The rest of the book is dedicated to the very detailed walk rounds of various vehicles, and when I say detailed, they are really very detailed, with every part of the exterior being covered, even the smallest part of the suspension. Unfortunately, due to the operational nature of the vehicles there are no interior photos, with only glimpses of the interior when the rear ramp is down. There are several types of MRAP shown in the book, with various types of additional armour fitted to them, bar armour, FRAG 6 Block armour or the latest anti-RPG netting. Notes that accompany each photograph are very descriptive and useful for the modeller in identifying what each piece of equipment is. In addition to the equipment usually found on the MRAP there are pictures of the various weapons fits, such as M2 50cal machine gun, or 40mm grenade launcher and other items such as the mine roller system fitted to the front of the vehicle. Lastly there is a small section at the rear on the M1249 MRV, (Mine Resistant Vehicle), which is basically the MRAP cab fitted to a large double axle wrecker crane style body which is fitted with a rotating crane jib. This vehicle is used to lift MRAPs, recover damaged vehicles, and lift concrete barriers or other heavy items in theatre. Conclusion This is a superbly produce and very interesting book. Not only are the photographs clear and sharp, but the information they and the noted provided will prove very useful to the modeller to get even the smallest detail correct on their model. Review sample courtesy of
  17. WW2 Russian Field Weapons & Equipment Helion Company Data File It’s surprising how much equipment the Soviet forces had during WWII and this book brings them into sharp detail. Most people know about the sheer numbers of tanks and men involved in the Great Patriotic War, but there as so many other pieces of equipment used by the soldiers in the field. Much like the book on German Field Equipment reviewed HERE, this book combines interesting facts alongside the very nicely rendered 3D drawings of each piece of kit. I’m sure that not every piece of equipment used is in this book, but there is an awful lot that is. Every from pistols, weapons case, rifles, and sniper rifles, machine guns right the way up to the big guns and tanks. All the drawings on the one hundred and fifty three pages are in full colour giving the modeller good research material for their models and dioramas. Whilst there are the familiar pieces of kit shown, there are also quite a few unusual pieces that I certainly didn’t know about, such as the concrete tanks and the various mobile pill boxes. The In Enemy Hands section is interesting in that it shows what modifications the Germans carried out to their captured Soviet equipment, usually involving the venerable T-34. Conclusion This is another great and very interesting book. Not only are the rendering superb, but the information they and the notes provide will prove very useful to the modeller who wants to get everything just right. Review sample courtesy of
  18. M10/Achilles A visual history of the US Army’s Tank Destroyer Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The M10 was developed on the chassis of the M4A2 Sherman chassis with a rotating open turret carrying a 76.2mm gun, with the name 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M10. It was lightly armoured, had a poor turret motor which resulted in a very slow 80 seconds to turn completely around, which gave it a disadvantage in rapidly evolving battles, which the crew tried to reduce by hand-cranking it themselves. The open top made it a tempting target for a carefully thrown grenade in close combat, and the crew casualties from air-burst shells were frequent and plentiful. It reached service in 1942 after a redesign of the turret to remove the initial shot-traps that extended all the way around it, and production ceased in 1943, although it soldiered on in dwindling numbers through the rest of WWII. The Achilles is the name given to the 17-pounder equipped variant, which was much more successful against the then-new Panther with its improved armour, which the British used to good effect with their lend-lease vehicles. The extra punch of the bigger gun that went on to equip the Sherman Firefly was a godsend that helped avoid close-in engagements that put the Achilles at a disadvantage due to its relatively light armour. Even so, the driver appears to have been the safest member of the crew, despite being positioned out front in the glacis plate area. After WWII the surplus examples found their way to other countries, and were used by liberated Allies until they could restore their own armed forces after years of living under Nazi rule. The Book This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 128 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 450 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the A10 and the Achilles with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction, although the larger part of the book is given over to the more numerous A10, which acquired the nickname “Wolverine” at some point in its career. While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. The quality of the restorations is exemplary, and the author has documented the post-war additions where practical, such as rear-view mirrors and so forth. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Stalins Favourite. 2ndGuards Tank Army Helion and Company Unfortunately this, being the second part in the two book series, we are missing a lot of the early information on the 2nd Guards Division. What we do get, is the combat history of the division from July 1944 to May 1945, taking in the following operations and chapters on nearly 500 pages:- Preface Introduction The Lublin – Praga Operation of Summer 1944 The Vistula – Oder Operation 1945 The Army pivots against the German Stettin grouping In the Eastern Pomeranian Operation 1945 In the Berlin Operation Best practices from the 2nd Guards Tank Army’s wartime experiences and General Bogdanov’s proposals Afterword Appendices Once you get through the photographic references, list of maps, and list of tables, you finally get to the preface, forward and Introduction, you finally get to the first chapter, and first battle. Each Battle or Operation is described in a similar manner as first, The Lublin Operation which consists of a list of Command staff, 3rd Tank Corp, 16th Tank Corps units, 8th Guards Tank Corps units, Units directly subordinate to army headquarters, and additional attached units such as the anti-tank and anti-aircraft divisions and mortar brigade, plus each of the units commanding officers. There are then a series of photographs of the officers, men and equipment. The narrative then goes on to describe the preparatory phase of the operation, the units previous experience in the field, training and other working up exercises. The tactical situation at the start of the operation is then explained, followed by the enemy’s grouping and the correlation of forces, and the terrain. There then follows the build up and the situation the 2nd tank army and 8th Guards army from 18th July to 21st July 1944, followed by the 2nd tank army’s combat actions for Lublin, the combat losses and the combat report to the commander of the 2nd tank army from the 24th July 1944. These sections are in-dispersed with additional period photographs. There then follows additional information on the following:- 2nd tank army’s operations for Deblin and Pulawy The German force grouping on the south-eastern approaches to Warsaw 2nd tank army’s actions to seize Zelechow, Stoczek, and Garwolin The development of the offensive in the direction of Minsk-Masowwiecki 2nd tank army’s approach to Praga from the East 3rd tank corps emerges on the enemy’s communication lines in the Radzymin, Struga, Marki, Wolomin region The 2nd tank army goes over onto the defensive The 3rd tank corps fight to repel the enemy counterattacks on 3rd August 1944 Losses of the 2nd tank army over the period of defensive fighting between 1st August and 8th August. Post action conclusions regarding the 2nd tanks army’s defensive operations. Post action reports Recollections from survivors. Combat decorations There are four appendices post the Afterword which give information such as General Bogdanov’s record, Commanders of the 2nd tank army from 1943 to 1998, the 2nd tank army its Heroes of the Soviet Union, the order of glory of the 2nd tank army, Identification of the 2nd tank army’s subordinate units. Conclusion It’s taken me quite a while to get through this book as there is so much information to take in. Whilst it’s probably not the sort of book you read cover to cover, it’s definitely one you can dip into, read a chapter on a particular battle, or check tank markings for individual units, and it this that will be of interest to modellers rather than just those interested in military history. Review sample courtesy of
  20. German Motorcycles of WWII (9781944367022) A visual history in Vintage Photos and Restored Examples, Part 1 Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The German military machine made perhaps the most use of the motorcycle during WWII than any of the combatants, using it as troop transport, for messenger work, reconnaissance and other combat related jobs, and they had a number of excellent bikes in their arsenal. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 120 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 250 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the types with a useful potted history given on all types in the introduction. Covered in the book are the following bikes from two manufacturers: BMW R4 BMW R12 BMW R35 BMW R71 BMW R74 Zundapp KS750 While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. As noted in the title, this is Part one of this series, so we can expect at least one more volume that will doubtless include other types used by German forces in WWII. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. The preserved examples are of particular high quality, and as close to an in-service machine as you could wish for, although probably a bit cleaner! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Kübelwagen & Schwimmwagen A visual history of the German Army's multi-purpose vehicles Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The Type 82 Kübelwagen was developed from the nascent "People's Car" that Hitler had ordered from Volkswagen once he took power in the early 30s. It was originally meant to be based on the running gear of what later became the Beetle, but changes had to be made to improve the vehicles handling off tarmac. It was made simple for utility, and had all stamped body panels for ease of construction and maintenance, plus a 1L air cooled engine in the rear compartment, which was increased in size during the development of the Schwimmwagen. The amphibious Schwimmwagen was developed for crossing rivers, and had a specially stamped body that improved water-fastness, plus a flip-down propeller at the rear for propulsion. Both types were built in large numbers, and saw active service in many theatres of WWII. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 120 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 250 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the Kübelwagen and the Schwimmwagen with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction. While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. Conclusion Whether you have the Beko or Tamiya Kübelwagen, the Tamiya Shwimmwagen in 1:35 or one of the many models in other scales, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Dragon Wagon Part 2 M123, M123C, M123A1C, M123E2 & M746 Ampersand Group via Casemate 978-1-944367-00-8 Mention the name Dragon Wagon, and everyone that is familiar with the phrase automatically thinks of the WWII M26, with its distinctive armoured cab and huge trailer. Whilst these vehicles did soldier on after the end of WWII as Prime Movers, the American Army were looking for a replacement in anticipation of the heavier tanks and vehicles that were already in design. Mack designed what was to become the M123 Dragon Wagon, with the hope of mating it to a multi-fuel capable engine, but had to compromise and install a diesel instead due to the lack of power that could be achieved from multi-fuel engines at the time. Attention was paid to standardisation of parts to ease the maintenance burden and help reduce the budget, and the type carried on in service long after the original replacement, with the stop-gap M746 8-wheeled tractor being replaced directly by the now standard M911 HET that is still in use today. This new title by David Doyle from the publishing arm of Hobbylink Japan with the tag line of "A visual history of the US Army's Heavy Tank Transporter 1955-1975", giving a big clue to what you'll find inside. If you've read my review of the other books of the series from the same author and publisher (here), you'll know what to expect in terms of formatting and quality. Inside the sturdy card binding are 120 pages on glossy stock in a landscape A4(ish) format, with over 250 illustrations, some of which are contemporary, others from preserved examples in museums. As usual, the format begins with a very short introduction, followed by the aforementioned photos, which have been helpfully broken down between the following variants: M123 M123C M123A1C M123E2 M746 Due to the era of operation, many of the later photos are in colour, as are the photos of the preserved examples, all of which benefit from clear and detailed captions that describe any salient aspects of the photo that may escape the casual observer. Conclusion If Prime-Movers are your thing, this book makes a natural bridge between the WWII Dragon Wagon and the M911 HET, bring you nearly up-to-date with the US Army's heavy lifters. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Dazzle - Disguise & Disruption in War & Art The Pool of London Press Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle (US) or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. The original idea Credited to the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a rejected prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed, and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that he had intended dazzle more to mislead the enemy about a ship's course and so to take up a poor firing position, than actually to cause the enemy to miss his shot when firing. Dazzle was adopted by the Admiralty in the UK, and then by the United States Navy, with little evaluation. Each ship's dazzle pattern was unique to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to the enemy. The result was that a profusion of dazzle schemes was tried, and the evidence for their success was at best mixed. So many factors were involved that it was impossible to determine which were important, and whether any of the colour schemes were effective. Dazzle attracted the notice of artists such as Picasso, who claimed that Cubists like himself had invented it. Edward Wadsworth, who supervised the camouflaging of over 2,000 ships during the First World War, painted a series of canvases of dazzle ships after the war, based on his wartime work. Arthur Lismer similarly painted a series of dazzle ship canvases. This book addresses the achievements of the marine artist Norma Wilkinson and his team and includes a series of new dazzle paintings, along with beautifully printed sketches, designs and artworks. The publication has been printed as a lead up to the centenary of the invention of dazzle. The book is well presented and written, with the complete history of dazzle camouflage and the later spin-offs. The book contains one hundred and twenty five pages with eight chapters which are titled:- Norman Wilkinson: The Man Behind the Dazzle The Dazzle Painting Concept The Art and Design of Dazzle in Britain Dazzle in the USA Rivals for the Dazzle Painting “Prize” Return of Dazzle in The Second World War Inspirational and Decorative Dazzle Centenary Dazzle From start to finish this book is a very interesting read, what with the designs, and how they came about, the shenanigans over who really “invented” Dazzle and how the ships were painted and what designs worked best. The fact that the idea was carried over into World War II goes to show that the original concept was still valid, even though the name was changed to disruptive rather than dazzle. The carry through to art and design makes for a fascinating read in itself, but of course, Nature got there first as it usually does. Whilst the Centenary ships, those modern day/historic survivors painted in 2015 brings the book right up to date with some very colourful pictures. Conclusion This book covers an interesting subject, and one which I haven’t seen fully told before. The text is well written, keeping the subject interesting for the reader, and the paintings, artwork and sketches are superb and a great resource to the imaginative modeller who feels they would like to attempt some of the wilder schemes. Review sample courtesy of
  24. IJN Heavy Cruiser Chikuma Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Chikuma was completed at Mitsubishi Nagasaki shipyards on 20 May 1939. After several months as a unit of the CruDiv6 (Sentai 6) of the Second Fleet, she was transferred to the CruDiv8 in November 1939. In addition to taking part in regular combat exercises in Japanese home waters, she operated off southern China on three occasions between March 1940 and March 1941. Chikuma was designed for long-range scouting missions and had a large seaplane capacity. She was extensively employed during World War II in conjunction with an aircraft carrier task force, or as part of a cruiser squadron with her sister ship, Tone. The Tone-class cruisers were originally envisaged as the 5th and 6th vessels in the Mogami class. However, by the time construction began, serious weaknesses in the Mogami-class hull design had become clear following the Fourth Fleet Incident in 1935. As Japan no longer was obligated to abide by the limitations of the London Naval Treaty, a new design was created and new means of construction were utilized. Though the external dimensions were close to the Mogami class, the design was quite different, with all the main battery of guns placed forward of the bridge, reserving the entire stern area as a large sea plane hangar. Unlike the United States Navy, the Japanese did not have a dual role attack/scout aircraft. No reconnaissance units were assigned to the Japanese carriers, and little emphasis was placed on this aspect of carrier warfare. Instead the Japanese reserved all of their carrier aircraft for attack roles. Reconnaissance was left up to float planes carried by cruisers. Chikuma was intended to provide the long range scout planes needed for their carrier Air Fleets. She took part in many famous battles during the war, including the Indian Ocean raids, Battle of Midway, Battle of Eastern Solomans, Battle of Santa Cruz, Battle if the Philippine Sea, and lastly the Battle of Leyte Gulf, during which she was sunk by US navy torpedo bombers. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Technical Description Fire Control Equipment Modernisations In Service The rest of the seventy three pages are filled with beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with. I particularly like the renderings of the interior of the torpedo deck and the inclusion of the loading mechanisms and tubes, with the addition of some crew members showing the operation of the equipment. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a five view on one side, in 1:350 and a ¾ bow view on the reverse, with additional drawings of the ships boats and close ups of the most forward pair of turrets. Conclusion This is a great addition to any maritime modeller’s collection and continues this superb series of books. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if build the beautiful Tamiya 1:350 scale kit. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Flying The Icon: Spitfire Fighting High Publishing There is no doubt the Spitfire is an Icon of aviation. This book aims to give the reader an insight into what it was like to fly the Spitfire and what this entailed. Using pilot notes, flight test documents and personal interviews the author pulls all of this together in the book. Starting of with the Prototype K5054, and through to the post war aircraft (F.18/22/24) the book details how it was flown, and what pilots today think of the aircraft. The book is illustrated through out by contemporary and modern photographs of the various marks of the Spitfire. The book is A4 Hardback (Landscape) format with 176 pages. The printing and layout is first class. Conclusion. This book with give the Spitfire enthusiast a feeling of what is was, and is like to fly this iconic aircraft. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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