The German army fought a series of bloody attritional battles from the day the Allies landed at Normandy until they closed the Falaise gap. Along with the loss of many men, the Germans also lost many armored vehicles which were photographed by Allied cameramen. Karl Berne uses these photos to examine the Panzer forces engaged in the Bocage battles.
Written by Karl Berne, this is a soft cover book in A4 size and contains 34 pages literally filled with pictures and color plates. In total there are 50 black and white photographs and 9 pages of color drawings depicting tanks, SPGs and halftracks.
The inside of the front cover contains the title, details of the book from the publisher, ISBN number, and acknowledgements and sources. The publisher’s note states “The illustrations in this book were all created using contemporary photographs as a reference and we have attempted to create as faithful a reproduction as possible……..in the few cases where we have been forced to speculate we have tried to make this clear”
Pages 1- 5 give a brief over view of the units engaged in battle with the Allies between 6 June and 21 August 1944. Included in this snapshot view is a chart showing the break down of the AFV strength of the 21 Pzr Division and other units which fielded a large number of former French army AFVs.
The photographs that follow are produced only two or three to each page which makes them large enough to examine the detail. They are all of abandoned or destroyed tanks and other AFVs and no Softskins are included. I don’t have an extensive library of German AFV references and while some images included were known to me many others were new. There are examples of Pzr IVs, Panthers, Tigers and King Tigers, Stugs and SPGs including the Wespe, Hummel and Marder III. There are also shots of Sdkfz 250s and 251s and 75mm and 88mm anti tank guns. Although they are mentioned in the text no photos of converted French AFVs are shown, a subject for another volume perhaps.
The captions for each photo are as detailed as possible giving the date, location and unit the vehicle belonged to when known. Many also contain notes on the paintwork and camouflage of the vehicles.
There are also nine pages of color plates that go into as much detail as the photo captions do.
Inside the back cover is a chart showing the make up of the Tiger units in normandy including the vehicle numbers.
Not noted as a feature in the book, but something I consider a bonus, is that many of the photos show details of buildings in the background that will be of value to diorama builders and also details of allied uniforms on the personnel included in the photos.
Not being a German armor buff I am not sure where this book fits into the canon of reference literature available for German Armor. The book is a snapshot of the most popular German armor modelling subjects as they appeared at Normandy. It is by no means exhaustive nor does it set out to be, but I’m sure there are many modellers who, like me, have one or two examples of the Panther, Panzer IV, Tiger I & II and the Sdkfz 251 in their stash and will find this book really useful.
Highs: Detailed photo captions and color plates.Lows: I would have liked to see more photos of SPGs and perhaps some of the converted French armor used, but perhaps we'll see a future volume dedicated to that subject.Verdict: Recommended for modelers and historians alike.
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I served three years in the Irish Army.
Then I studied fine art for five years.
Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII)
Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs.
Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models