Peter Jacobs’ impressively researched account will engross students of the air war in Europe with two parallel tracks: first, the evolution of each side’s strategies and tactics and second, perhaps even more fascinatingly, the desperate technological race that ensued between Bomber Command, as it tried to find its targets in the dark, and the Luftwaffe’s Nachtjagd, as it in turn tried to find and destroy the intruding British bombers.
The immense trove of photographs, most of which feel like they were taken from someone’s personal scrapbook, shows Rommel in every scene, inspecting troops and weapons, scouting the battlefield, and conferring with other officers. When paired with the diaries, reports and letters of men who served with Rommel, these quotidian images allow us to see through the veil of myth and discover the reality of the man and the campaign, not the propaganda or the hype.
In this era, one can find a great deal of information like that contained in these reference works by searching online, and that mode of exploration certainly holds its own pleasures. For myself, however, the book that contains the well organized work of someone who has invested more time and effort than I ever will — remains a pleasure worth maintaining.
Like his earlier numbers in the Tank Craft series from Pen & Sword, Dennis Oliver’s recent volume on the Churchill tank offers the same satisfying blend of design thinking, specific unit campaign histories, beautiful illustrations, and detailed photographs, along with a modeling product survey and review for the most dedicated of hobbyists.
This rich volume, handsomely rounded out by a considerable gallery of unique photographs, immerses the reader in the life and ways of an RAF bomber base during the Second World War.
Although I can quite enjoy poking around the Internet, my understanding of the people and machines of the past always grows far more–by leaps and bounds–when I read the fruit of an expert’s dedicated, long-term research, such as Chris Goss has assembled in these two books for our interest and benefit.
Tucker-Jones, Anthony. The Panther Tank: Hitler’s T-34 Killer. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Pen & Sword Military, 2016. Illustrations by David Lee Hemingway.
In its detail and accuracy, my new Ise still doesn’t come close to others I have seen, but I am discovering how satisfying it can be to invest the extra time and resources in a model of this size.
The TankCraft series by Pen and Sword Military is specifically meant for the modeler who wants to “get it right” by being as historically accurate as possible.
By Anthony Tucker-Jones. Illustrations by Brian Delf. Originally published by Pen and Sword Military in 2012, most recently reprinted in 2016.