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Bozothenutter

Review of 'Charging knights on the eastern front' by Dale Ritter

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I bought this book myself, from Berliner Zinnfiguren.


This book comes with what I find to be a very austere looking cover, or maybe even amateur trying to pass as minimalist.

 

20200519-082320.jpg

The book mostly does what it says on the tin, it has a detailed combat diary entries, interspersed with accounts from tankers.

It starts out with an explanation of terminology and crew positions/functions.

It then describes in 5 chapters the history of the unit, from formation to East Prussia/the end.

Next up is the rather large appendices section.
This contains biographical information, soldbucher, honor roll, awards and chassis numbers.
A bibliography is included, and most of the well knows authors in this field are there.
I was a bit surprised at seeing Frank Kurowski on the list, as he is considered to be revisionist. Then again the book used is more or less a listing of awardees.

Next up is a graphical display of the units at company level.
Line drawings are by Waldemar Trojca, with some pages being reproduced perfectly while others seem pixellated.

following is a section of maps.
Again here the book is let down by layout/picture processing.
While some maps are fine, some seem to have been reproduced at either to low resolution, or printed so small as to make them legible only with help of magnifiers.

Lastly a section of colour profiles by Waldemar Trojca.
These are reproduced beautifully in crisp colour and detail.

My impression

Textual information is as expected, seeing as it seems to be based on the actual unit diaries and the authors own interviews.
A nice touch is the use of eyewitness accounts, this brings the narrative to life (thought it also piques curiosity, what else?, why, what?)

Photo reproduction is very hit and miss, some pics look very pixelated, while others are fine. ( i'm wondering if I have a misprint?)
Though this might be due to the source material.

 

20200519-085330.jpg

a few examples of the pixellation mentioned

20200519-085400.jpg
Most pictures seem post processed to lighten them, this results in a loss of contrast and makes them look VERY washed out.
Layout choices in some cases are strange as well, with some really pixelated pictures printed full page.

Tellingly the number of photos reduces as the war progresses, a reminder that probably there was less film, less time and less fun to be recorded for posterity

Colour profiles.
These seem to perpetuate the idea of tanks in mainly RAL7028 with RAL 8017 camouflage.
Just staying within the confines of the book itself shows there is absolutely NO interpretation possible from b&w pictures.
It shows tanks in camo that could concievably be the early 'tropen' as seen on the Bovington Tiger I (very low contrast colours), while others seem to be high contrast lighter and darker colours etc. Some are hard edged, some soft, and some are in between.

 

20200519-085250.jpg


Even the Tiger 101 scheme as used in the Takom 505th kit is reproduced here.(afaik there is no evidence, pictorial or textual for this scheme)


In conclusion, this seems to be a valuable book documenting a well known unit really let down by its publisher in regards to layout and design choices.

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11 hours ago, Bozothenutter said:

I was a bit surprised at seeing Frank Kurowski on the list, as he is considered to be revisionist.

 

Very much so. But his "Tiger - history of a legendary weapon" is an excellent general history. German publisher Flechsig reprinted it in 2014 (Tiger: Die Geschichte einer legendären Waffe) with many 'new' photos, well worth getting for only 14 euros (400 page hardback!)

 

Thanks for the excellent review of Ritter's book - did he not self-publish it ? Would explain the poor design perhaps...

 

 

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15 hours ago, FalkeEins said:

Very much so. But his "Tiger - history of a legendary weapon" is an excellent general history. German publisher Flechsig reprinted it in 2014 (Tiger: Die Geschichte einer legendären Waffe) with many 'new' photos, well worth getting for only 14 euros (400 page hardback!)

 

Thanks for the excellent review of Ritter's book - did he not self-publish it ? Would explain the poor design perhaps...

 

 

Hmmm, might have a looksie.

But I already have the Jentz/Doyle and Schneider tomes.

Does his book add anything to those?

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