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Book Review
German Infantryman
The German Soldier 1939 – 1945
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Haynes continues its involvement with covering military subjects with a book looking at the German infantry soldier of World War 2. The text following this is the introduction supplied by Haynes:

xx September 2018: Haynes’ German Infantryman Operations Manual digs deep into the creation of one of the most formidable fighting forces in history: the Second World War German Army – das Heer. Its soldiers swore unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler and between 1939 and 1945 some 13 million staked their lives for this oath. Over 4 million died.

The German Infantryman Operations Manual examines the story of German militarism in the post-World War I years, the often brutal education that prepared young men for conscription, and what it was like to serve as a soldier in the German Army as it slogged its way, mostly on foot with much of its heavier equipment horse-drawn, from Finisterre to Moscow and Kirkenes to Tripoli.

The manual describes these foot soldiers – the Grenadier, Panzergrenadier, Gebirgsjäger and Volksgrenadier – giving details of their organisation, uniforms and personal accoutrements. In particular, it looks closely at their weapons – from rifle and machine gun to the heavier anti-tank guns and howitzers – and how they waged war. There are separate sections on medical services, transportation, communications and tactics.

Talking about his latest manual, Simon commented: “Many historians have suggested that Hitler’s army was the outstanding fighting force of the Second World War and perhaps one of the greatest in history. Certainly in the early years of the war the German Army consistently outperformed its opponents and by 1941 had conquered most of Western Europe. Even more impressive, however, was the way it held out for so long following the reverses in its fortunes whilst outnumbered and having to contend with its enemies’ superior airpower and artillery.

“How did they do this? It’s too easy to say glibly, as many have done, that they were just better soldiers with better weapons. The truth is even more remarkable and is not just a reflection on the German Army’s undoubtedly high standard of training, its unrivalled defensive abilities and individual bravery – but on the strength of German soldiers’ commitment to their oath to Hitler and the Nazi cause … and the fact that if they didn’t follow orders the punishment was often summary.”

Supported by more than 300 detailed illustrations and photographs, many previously unpublished, Haynes’ German Infantryman Operations Manual is a comprehensive guide to the achievements and failures of the German Army between 1939 and 1945 using the usual Haynes treatment to show ‘how it was done’.


Review

This book offering from Haynes is of the usual high quality I have come to expect from them as a previous customer. I have a number of books covering cars of the past that have been out in all weathers while I get greasy and other than some greasy paw prints the books are as good today as they were when I bought them. Haynes manages this by using a good quality hard backed cover with a gloss finish and a semi gloss good quality paper within.

This book is printed and presented in a portrait style as is usual from Haynes. The book contains 180 pages covering the subject and is laid out as follows:
• Acknowledgements

• Introduction

• Militarism and Education under the Nazis
1. Hitler Youth
2. Special Schools
3. Women
4. Reich Labour Service

• The growth of the army and its organization under the Nazis
1. Getting around the treaty of Versailles
2. The growth of the army under the Nazis
3. The organization of the army
4. The Divisions

• The soldier
1. Conscription
2. Training
3. Personal documentation
4. Life in the field

• Uniform and equipment
1. Introduction
2. Rank and insignia
3. Medals, badges and cuff titles
4. Uniform and equipment

• Weapons
1. Introduction
2. Pistols
3. Rifles
4. Sub-machine guns
5. Machine guns
6. Hand grenades
7. Mortars
8. Mines
9. Anti-tank guns
10. Flamethrowers
11. Flak
12. Infantry guns and howitzers ammunition

• Transportation, bridging and communications
1. Transportation
2. Cars
3. Halftracks and armoured cars
4. Motorcycles
5. Lorries
6. Bridging
7. Communications

• Medical services
1. The infantryman
2. Battalion
3. Division
4. Motorised ambulance trains
5. Corps
6. Army
7. System of aid to/evacuation of casualties
8. German war graves

• Tactics
1. Introduction
2. In the attack
3. Battle reconnaissance
4. The squad in combat
5. Infantry on the defence
6. Sniping

• Appendices
1. Abbreviations, German words and designations
2. Comparative ranks

• Bibliography

• Index


Militarism and Education under the Nazis covers some interesting aspects of life under and working under the Nazi party in the years before World War 2 and during it. One area where Germany under Nazi control let itself down was the role of women who were to reproduce, be attractive and join the female version of the Hitler Youth and as such woman were not expected to enter the workforce. In order to force this on the women of Germany the Nazi Party they removed grammar school education for girls and the teaching of Latin to them which was a requirement for university entrance. As Germany progressed towards war 15 to 17 year old girls were expected to be a part of the work, faith and beauty society; it is not made clear but this was because of the need for women to perform duties in the workplace due to men being taken into military service.

The growth of the army and its organization under the Nazis looks at exactly that. The German army grew from 100,000 men in 1933 including SA personnel to a peak of 7,000,000 in 1943. This section also looks at the breakdown of the German army and how these huge numbers of men were achieved.

The section looking at the German soldier is a section that I found of particular interest to me. The section looks mostly at the German soldier doing the everyday duties and activities that took place when not at war or in combat. This section even looks at the Essenträger for getting hot food to the soldier in the field.

The section looking at uniform and equipment is a great section of this offering. It covers the details of various uniforms as they changed during the course of the war and picks out the details that marks a uniform item as from a specific time period, but it must be remembered that older uniform items were also present during later periods of the war. This section also covers especially well the personal items of kit carried by the German soldier from gas masks to spoons and not forgetting the webbing. This section is a star for me and makes research so much easier.

The section covering the weapons of the German infantryman cover the personal weapon, through the squad weapons and onto the mines, anti-tank and artillery pieces. I liked what has been done with the personal weapons, squad weapons and mines, but I felt that the artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons seemed a little out of place and would have been better covered in a section of their own as heavy weapons or missed out and the space used for more on the personal weapons.

The section covering transportation, bridging and communications was of limited interest to me beyond the visual reference, but the portion coving communications was very useful due to it covering both static and man portable units.

Medical services are looked at in a short segment of the book and cover an aspect my wife took interest in. I personally found the images of how injured troops were transported by their comrades in various scenarios interesting and I would like to see figures in this style released by main stream manufacturers; perhaps ICM is looking.

The section looking at tactics was an area that I thought would be dull, but I was wrong as it helps the modeller to see and understand how to display their figures in a realistic and accurate setting. Looking at how the German soldier was taught to use the environment both natural and man made is very helpful.

The rest of the book is written reference with the section on German words being a nice inclusion. The photographs in this title are a mix of black and white period photographs and colour images of period items and re-enactors. The period photographs are clear ; due to I suspect the fact that Germany excelled where camera lenses were concerned, and these have been well chosen to get the information across in a visual manner.

Conclusion

This is a good offering from Haynes that covers a very large subject and presents it in a pleasing manner. The only complaint I could place at their door is that due to the wide area it is covering it may have been better tackled over several titles covering for example the ‘The German soldier in the Afrika Korps’ and so on and so forth. With that said this book does over some excellent reference for the general modeller.
SUMMARY
Darren Baker takes a look at a new title form Haynes in the form of 'The German Soldier 1939 – 1945'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781785211683
  Suggested Retail: £22.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 17, 2018
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 0.00%

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2018 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

As I liked many of the other titles offered by Haynes I'm going to have to look into this one as well. I can almost hear the reference shelves groaning...
OCT 17, 2018 - 09:57 AM
This looks like an interesting title, the casualty evac. section might be helpful for dioramas. I would like to place the Dragon maultier ambulance in a dio.
OCT 18, 2018 - 10:37 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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