Panther Tanks: German Army and Waffen-SS, Normandy Campaign 1944, by Dennis Oliver, is tailor made for hobbyists. It offers modelers and tank buffs the same successful formula as other books in […]
These books detail and evaluate the quality of all of the gear used by German and British airmen in 1940, from goggles to jackets. Photos include close-ups of surviving, museum-quality examples as well as snapshots of the men wearing them nearly 80 years ago.
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.
This is the diorama inspired by my completion of early-war French tanks and a couple of new farmhouses…
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.
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.
The Lysander had one unique capability that turned out to be its saving grace for war-time service: the airplane could land and take off on extremely short, rough fields. And so it ultimately found its true niche and a measure of fame as a spy plane of sorts, sneaking agents into and out of Occupied France under difficult conditions.
Here I imagine a Hampden bomber going through its last preparations before a night-time mission.