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  1. Stalingrad Vehicles Colours (A.MIG-6146) ISBN: 8432074061465 AMMO of Mig Jiménez Stalingrad was the turning point of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of Soviet Russia, throwing aside their non-aggression pact and proving as if proof were needed, that he couldn’t be trusted one iota – a common theme with psychopaths. After astonishing initial successes, rolling over the unprepared forces of the Soviet army and causing death and destruction on a previously unprecedented scale, they floundered at Stalingrad thanks in part to Hitler’s obsession with taking control of a city bearing Stalin’s name, but also thanks to the awakening of the sleeping bear that was the might of the Soviet military, Stalin emerging from hiding in his Datcha, and their new T-34 medium tank. This book is a new volume from AMMO, and covers the various units that were engaged in the fighting on both sides, a conflict that took a heavy toll on both the combatants, people and the infrastructure of the city of Stalingrad where the two sides met. The book is perfect bound in a card cover that has colourful folded inner flaps advertising other AMMO products, and within the cover are 88 pages of content in full colour, printed on glossy paper. The text is in English, Spanish and Russian, and after a short introduction it is broken down into short chapters that deal with one unit at a time, beginning with the Germans and finishing with the Soviet component. Each section has a short text introduction that gives a brief run-down of the unit’s history and then tells of its exploits during the battle and where it ended up. The profiles of vehicles from each unit have a caption giving some information about the location and sometimes a little about what they did and where. The profiles are excellent, showing the vehicles in the condition that they would have been seen in at the time, streaked with grime, covered with winter distemper and individual markings, which are sometimes depicted in a larger size nearby. It’s a shame there aren’t more profiles from different angles to assist the modeller in portraying that individual vehicle, but with AFVs there are seldom that many markings anyway, so there’s not much you’re missing. Conclusion This is a book for the profile-lover, who enjoys the visual delights that these pieces of artwork provide. The background of the various units and vehicles is possibly a little light for the historian, but it can be an interesting primer for the proverbial deep dive into any part of the Stalingrad legend. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Air War on the Eastern Front (9781612009087) Casemate Publishers via Casemate UK Hitler was overwhelmed with hubris by the time the push west through Belgium and France had ended, and went full-tilt into opening up an Eastern Front with Soviet Russia in contravention of their non-aggression pact and against the advice of his generals. It proved conclusively that you can’t trust the word of a psychopath, but Operation Barbarossa was remarkably successful initially, as it seemed to have caught Stalin (another crazy person) off-guard, and for a while he was difficult to contact as he withdrew in a funk. When he eventually came out of hiding, he was able to mobilise the immense weight of Soviet forces, despite having gutted the leadership with frequent and deadly purges during the preceding years. The Nazis came perilously close to the capital Moscow before the Soviet Juggernaut turned them around, but huge losses were suffered in the air and on the ground in the process. The majority of the VVS (Soviet Air Force) that were in range were destroyed on the ground by the initial Luftwaffe raids, with over 60 airfields devastated and swiftly over-run by the unexpected Blitzkrieg tactics employed by the Germans. This new book from Casemate’s own publishing house is bound in a softback cover with half-width fold-out fly-leaves giving a synopsis of the contents in front, and details of the publisher at the rear. It contains 128 pages of quality thin glossy paper, much of which is printed in black and white, with a number of pages in colour, including profiles and a few fascinating colour photos from the time. The book follows the timeline of the campaign and then gives information about the key aircraft in the German and Soviet Air Forces, including the Lend/Lease aircraft given to the Russians by the Allies, with opinions from the pilots and their comparative merits in the captions as well as some of the aforementioned profiles for each type. The book is laid out as follows: Contents Timeline of Events Prelude to the Great Patriotic War The Red Air Force The Luftwaffe Operation Barbarossa Soviet Counteroffensives Fall of the Fatherland Aftermath Further Reading Index The photos are of the usual high quality, with a huge number of destroyed Soviet aircraft initially, plus some slightly grisly pictures of dead airmen in the snow, but as we progress through the book the weighting shifts toward the destruction of the Luftwaffe by grim attrition both of experienced pilots and their aircraft, which all became worn out and the latter also became short of fuel. A short but poignant profile of a female Soviet pilot who flew against the Luftwaffe and sadly died in 1943 is given toward the end, and this is printed on a sombre blue background, as are some of the other profile pages of aircraft and squadrons throughout. Conclusion This is a great visual synopsis of the invasion and retreat from Soviet Russia by the Nazis, and while there are other more detailed books out there (some of which are mentioned in the “Further Reading” section), it makes for an interesting summary from an aviation perspective, which is exactly its intention. It's interesting to see how the Luftwaffe were defeated both by the resurgence of the Soviet Air Force (and army) and the lack of understanding of the situation by Göring and the Führer back in Berlin. Review sample courtesy of
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