“Objective Saint-Lo” by George Bernage

Anyone with an interest in the Normandy landings would be keenly interested in the action around Saint Lo that happened in June and July of 1944. This book, published by Pen And Sword, who kindly provided me with a copy, goes through day by day accounts of the action. Beginning at Omaha beach it gives various accounts of the American and German actions from there up to the attacks on Saint Lo. George Bernage has collected actual first hand notes from various people who were actually involved as well as his own version of events.

From a factual point of view this book has lots of information, including a lot of maps and a lot of details of units involved in each engagement. So if you want to find out factual information regarding this period then this is a source. Trouble is i found things very difficult to follow throughout the whole book. The text does not flow and the story is often lost as there is no linked narrative that takes the reader easily through the story. I often found myself lost in facts and lists and had no clue where we were. Even when first hand accounts are directly quoted i sometimes found it difficult to place them in context of the overall story. Adding to the confusion are the maps which quite often are very difficult to interpret. Maybe i am being harsh but i found this book very tricky to read and follow exactly what was going  on. As a bunch of individual tales and events from around St Lo it is a informative book. As a story with a beginning, middle and an end, and a feeling at the end of satisfaction that your story is complete, this book fails.

As a bunch of information, historical facts, unit details, first hand accounts of events that happened at that time, plus maps of all the areas involved for reference, this book succeeds. Its a bit like someone making a scrap book with all sorts of relevant information and not really linking them all up together. The abundant photographs are fantastic and well worth having a look at. I think if i want to recreate any engagements from this part of the war on my battlefield this book will come in very useful. But from an enjoyable and exciting reading perspective it misses the mark.

IMAG1103

Advertisements

“Small-Scale Armour Modelling” by Alex Clark Osprey Publishing

15027937464255623314

Another great little purchase i found at Book Depository for a crazy price delivered to my door step! Books in Australia are little on the pricey side so i am amazed at the low cost of on line books that are shipped for free to the Southern hemisphere. I think most of the time i enjoy the building, modelling and painting parts of our hobby more than any of the playing. But then i guess some of the time my opinion changes. This book definitely inspires me in the building and modelling section, and will do the same for you too.

Alex Clark is a very talented and skillful model maker and he does his best in the book to pass some of his knowledge onto the rest of us to help us improve and learn in our own missions, whatever they may be. The first thing that caught my eye is the awesome number of brilliant models illustrated throughout the book. There are also many excellent photos detailing all the tips and tricks that Alex writes about. Aimed totally at modellers in 1/72 or 20mm scale this was perfect for me. Everything is covered from building, converting, and detailing all the way through to painting, weathering, finishing and basing. So whether you are making models for wargaming, display or just for fun there will be something in here for you. Definitely inspiring stuff and a volume that you will go back to again and again. Some of Alex’s finished models are so good you will be surprised they are not bigger than 1/72 scale. I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in World War Two or later vehicles to pick a copy up!

 

 

Tanks Of The Second World War by Thomas Anderson

IMAG0794

Let’s face it we all love our tanks. I love building tanks, painting tanks, moving tanks around a wargames table, and also reading about tanks. From the imposing Tiger tank on the front cover i was immediately hooked and swiftly read this awesome volume from the top of its turret to the bottom of its tracks.

The first thing you notice are the abundant black and white photos of every kind of tracked armoured fighting vehicle. Every page has original images of vehicles in combat or lying wrecked on the battlefield. Accompanying the photos are specifications of each tank including armour, armament and speed. I figured these stats would be especially handy if i wanted to design my own wargames rules as they would supply all the relative information needed to come up with each tanks characteristics and abilities. All the photos are a great source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in tanks.

Mr Anderson begins with a brief history of tanks in World War One and the inter war years. He then goes through a chronological history of World War Two and how tanks developed in their design in each period. There is just enough text to accompany the photos to keep you engaged but not bore you with unnecessary information. The book is also grouped by theatre of war, as each had its own impact on the development and use of the tank. Some countries developed their tanks at different times and in different ways depending on how they were involved. Its all fascinating reading. He finishes by briefly touching on tank development after the war and onto the Cold War.

If you have an interest in tanks this book is for you. I would have like maybe some colour plates, plans or illustrations showing camouflage schemes or dimensions, but that would be my only criticism. Lots of great pictures, precise technical info and well written concise historical text. This is a must for anyone with a healthy appetite for a wider understanding of how the tank developed through the Second World War.

 

Notes Of A Russian Sniper by Vassili Zaistev

IMAG0536

Another fine book from Pen and Sword Publishing in the UK. I think they made a movie out of this a few years ago. Its the true story of Vassili Zaistev and his role as the greatest Russian sniper in the battle for Stalingrad. From humble beginnings in the Urals hunting animals he becomes the most famous sniper accounting for a reported 242 German scalps.

It is a great, first hand account of the house to house, factory to factory, close quarters fighting of Stalingrad and the role of the sniper in that fierce and bloody conflict. Vassili goes into detail about sniper tactics and how he learned his art through the rubble and twisted metal of a devastated city. If you are modelling or gaming any part of the Stalingrad period this would be a good book for you for inspiration and information. You get a very real impression of how the fighting occurred and what sort of engagements were fought. Snipers had a crucial role in the city and could swing a battle in their favour.

I think i will have to search out the movie now and watch it again after reading this. Overall an excellent read and one you can certainly whizz through in a few days.

German Assault Guns and Tank Destroyers 1940-1945 by Anthony Tucker-Jones

Another excellent book from Anthony Tucker-Jones, published by Pen And Sword books. For fans of German World War Two armour and all you modellers out there looking for some inspiration this book doesn’t disappoint. All the important tank destroyers are featured within its pages, including the Jagdpanzer, Hetzer and Marder, all copiously illustrated with some awesome photos.

Each vehicle has its own chapter with some history behind its design and creation, its combat performance, production numbers, and distribution. Some tank destroyers were born out of necessity with designs that were a product of what was available at the time with restricted resources, rather than anything else. Plenty of success and failure both.

The photos are excellent, with pictures including vehicles in combat and also plenty of destroyed and wrecked vehicles in situ. This is a great reference book for anyone with an interest in the lesser known German armoured vehicles of World War Two. I am immediately going to run out and grab a couple of Hetzers to start with. I think Unimodel make a 1/72 scale kit i need to find!!!

imag03932

“Painting Wargaming Figures” by Javier Gomez

I had read a few very favourable reviews of this book and had to grab a copy for myself. I am old school, well actually i am just old, so by definition old school i guess, so i like having books to read rather than just whizzing through pages on the internet. Its the same with music, i still buy CDs and really don’t like downloading stuff. It’s a hangover from owning vinyl records as a child. So much more fun to have the covers and the sleeves and the words. Anyway this book turns up on my doorstep and it certainly did not disappoint.

Mr Gomez details every aspect of miniature painting in a very clear and concise manner. He covers every technique you could require, all backed up by many examples, and step by step guides. All the text is accompanied by some excellent photographs of his hand painted figures. If you want to improve your painting skills and get inspired then this is an essential book to add to your library. What i liked was the comprehensive coverage of pretty much any colour, texture or figure. If you need some tips or advice its all right here. Aimed mainly at 28mm figure painting and the earlier historical periods such as Ancients and Napoleonic, it still easily translates into other scales and periods. Even though i am heavily entrenched in WW2 20mm gaming i still found the whole book a very useful and worthwhile purchase.

You should charge out like the light brigade and grab yourself a copy!

Image result for painting miniature wargames figures

“The Dawn Of D-Day, These Men Were There, 6th June 1944”, by David Howarth

Another treat for me arrived in the post from my friends at Pen And Sword Books, a history of the D-Day landings written by David Howarth. First published in 1959, this gives first hand accounts of all aspects of the Normandy invasion from start to finish. Beginning with the training in England, we read many different tales from all ranks of men, all with different stories of bravery and sacrifice. Rather than a very dry, factual account of events from the most important day of World War Two, every man’s and woman’s story is a personal one. Mr Howarth goes into great detail and effort to give each individual a history and a personality, from the British, Canadian and American soldiers, to the German defenders and the French civilians caught in the middle of it all. This makes it a very personal account of the landings, and one anyone with an interest in this huge moment in history should read. We read about paratroopers landing into flooded swamps in the wrong place, British specialized tanks sinking into mud and becoming accidental bridges, and all sorts of other amazing stories of bravery. The first hand accounts cover all the lead up to the invasion, all the different units that had special jobs particular to such a beach landing, and every parachute drop behind enemy lines. There is a at least one account for every beach landing at Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold and Juno. If you have seen The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan, no doubt the two greatest movies depicting the D-Day landings, you will soon make connections between the stories in this book and how events were illustrated in those two awesome films.

For any wargamers out there this book will also provide much inspiration for planning any scenarios based on any aspect of the D-Day landings. Definitely worth a read on many levels!!

imag0152