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Author: Bret Werner
Illustrator: Michael Welply
Osprey (Elite)

Osprey's examination of the First Special Service Force of the second half of World War II (1939-1945). This famous unit was formed with three battalions in July 1942, for special operations in occupied Norway, from handpicked US and Canadian volunteers who were trained in parachute, amphibious, ski, mountain and demolition operations and other 'Special Forces' skills. Their training base was Fort Harrison, Montana. In the event the Force first saw combat in Italy. There they distinguished themselves, at heavy cost, in the battles of La Difensa (Dec 1943), Mte Majo (Jan 1944), on the Anzio beachhead (Feb - May 1944) and in the race to Rome, which they actually liberated. Their uniforms, clothing and weaponry had many unique features reflecting their bi-national composition and specialist skills.

The FSSF fought with a ferocious skill which earned them a fearsome reputation. At Anzio, although at only half strength, they successfully held at least a quarter of the entire beachhead and were the spearhead of the final breakout towards Rome. Famed for their night-time fighting ability, the Germans named them "Die Schwartze Teuflen" ­ the Black Devils (they blacked their faces with boot polish). However, after taking part in the South of France campaign in Aug­ - Nov 1944 the Force was disbanded, survivors passing to other units. 1,800 men at full strength, they had accounted for 12,000 enemy casualties, taken 7,000 prisoners and experienced a 600% attrition rate.

Author: Wolfgang Fleischer
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Reviewer: Mal Wright from Adelaide, South Australia.

This booklet, by Wolfgang Fleischer, is a bit misleading as the title leads one to expect more coverage of WW1. Instead it skips over the 1914-18 period and seems to use it more as an introduction to WW2. That is a shame as even though it does not mention many WW1 guns, those it does skip across are interesting weapons. After a couple of pages of fairly vague text on WW1 it goes into WW2 infantry guns in considerably more detail. Once again it is often tempting, but not very fulfilling. However the photographic coverage of WW2 Infantry guns is quite extensive. It should prove helpful to those wanting to model some of the weapons in detail and at the price is therefore a bargain. As a serious work on the subject, it is however lacking in technical data and comparisons. I give this booklet 3 stars for WW2 and would give it half a star for WW1. It is worth adding to your collection and won't break your budget.

Author: Chris Ellis
Ian Allan Publishing

Interest in the momentous events of World War ll seems never to decrease, despite the fact that the 1939-45 period is beyond the memory of a great number of those who now study it. The greatest fascination is almost always reserved for the arms and achievements of the country that was instrumental in starting the war and ultimately, losing it.

The emphasis of the book is on what was and is most commonly seen - for example, through contemporary newsreels, hence rarely seen or less important uniform variations are not included. A listing of key items is given in a series of appendices. This is a detailed handbook to the German army of the period, its history, its organization, its uniform and its equipment.

Author: Martin Windrow
Illustrator: Michael Roffe
Osprey (Men-at-Arms)

The desert war produced commanders of dash and originality on both sides and the memory of the German commanding general, Erwin Rommel, has endured as the epitome of skill, daring and soldierly integrity. His victories in World War II were brilliant until he was bested by poor health, lack of reinforcements and an opposing commander who was his equal. The contribution of his various troops is detailed in a full order of battle which includes his veteran Afrika Korps and Italian allies, and their uniforms are shown in full color artwork.

Author: Philip Jowett
Illustrator: Brent Snodgrass and Raffaele Ruggeri
Osprey (Elite)

Osprey's examination of Finland's involvement in World War II (1939-1945). Finland's fight to defend her independence earned this tiny nation of just 3 million people a distinct place in history. Invaded by Stalin before World War II, Finland held out for months and inflicted huge losses on the invaders, but she was eventually crushed by the weight of Soviet numbers. When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 the Finns fought alongside the Wehrmacht on the northern Russian Front, with great skill and courage in an attempt to regain their lost territories. When the German armies were forced to retreat in 1944, Finland managed to conclude a separate peace with the USSR – uniquely, without being forced to accept renewed Russian occupation. This book details the organisation, uniforms and equipment of this remarkable force.

Author: Gordon Williamson
Illustrator: Ronald Volstad
Osprey (Elite)

Osprey's study of the German Afrikakorps of World War II (1939-1945). The campaign in North Africa between September 1940 and May 1943 holds not only an enduring fascination for postwar generations; but also a perhaps unique degree of nostalgia for some surviving participants. The campaign was no less costly in terms of human lives and material than many others; but regret at the cost is accompanied by positive memories in the minds of many veterans. This is not to suggest that the dead have been forgotten; but an almost mystical bond nevertheless exists, even between former enemies, amongst veterans of the desert campaign. Gordon Williamson examines the history, organisation and uniforms of Rommel's Afrikakorps.

Author: U. S. War Department

An exhaustive, clearly written, illustrated compilation of information about the German war machine from 1939 to 1945 covers military command structure, unit organization, field tactics, fortification, weapons and other equipment, uniforms and insignia.

One of the old stand-bys on details of the German Armed Forces. Contains information not only on the various types of equipment in use, but also information on training, supply, organization, etc.

Author: Jim Pool
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

This new book is the follow-on work to the author s well-received Rations of the German Wehrmacht in World War II. Aided by the discovery of a large body of wartime British Government intelligence reports this volume helps to further unravel the mysteries of the wartime German food industry. Utilizing the successful formula of the first book this volume addresses the Special/Emergency rations of the German military, the feeding of the German soldier during offensive operations, as well as offering a comparison of the German and U.S. Army ration organizations. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, charts, wartime advertisements, and other educational aids this book is a must for every serious collector and historian of the German military in World War II.

Author: Bruce Quarrie
Illustrator: Mike Chappell

A "quickie" book that will give the reader a overview of Großdeutschland. Probably out of print.

Author: Thomas McGuirl and Remy Spezzano
RZM Publishing

Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" was one of Germany's most celebrated military formations of the Second World War. Formed in 1942 by the expansion of Infantry Regiment (motorized) "Grossdeutschland," the new division quickly earned its reputation on the Eastern Front of being the elite of the German Army. Twice the size of most other divisions, it was an immensely powerful and hard-hitting mechanized formation that cut a large swath through the Red Army, whether in the attack or on the defense. Its carefully selected officer and non-commissioned officer corps ensured that no matter what the odds, the division would always give a good account of itself in battle and would possess an esprit de corps enjoyed by few other comparable divisions, including those of the Waffen-SS.

The thousands of volunteers from every land and province in Germany who fought and died while serving in the ranks of Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" represented a cross-section of German society, a radical departure from the manner in which most German divisions of the era were created. Now for the first time, the faces of these men, at rest and in battle, can be seen through the images gleaned from hundreds of photographs taken by the division's war correspondents or Kriegsberichter.

This outstanding selection of photographs, which until recently remained unseen for decades in a European archive, have been recovered and painstakingly researched by authors Remy Spezzano and Thomas McGuirl. Together with the assistance of the division's Veterans' association, they identified hundreds of men, living and dead, as well as dozens of combat vehicles, items of equipment, and specific engagements the division took part in from April 1942 to September 1944. Accompanied by a detailed narrative that ties each of the photos within the context of the war on the Eastern Front, "God, Honor, Fatherland" represents a milestone in the study of the war in the East and shows the face of the German soldier as he has never been shown before.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

German language edition. A companion to the above book, this volume is chock full o' GD photos. It is also available in English, but I know not where. Photo history of one of the most elite fighting units in WWII by one of its former members. Includes listing of Knights Cross Winners.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
J.J. Fedorowicz

The absolute "last-word" on GD. Translated from the German, this book has every thing there is about GD and its offspring units. Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 507 pages, 30+ maps and diagrams. This is the third and final volume of the text history of this elite formation. Sections include: The creation of Panzer-Korps "Großdeutschland"; the complete history of the Brandenburgers as a commando unit; the history of Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Brandenburg"; the final fighting of both "Großdeutschland" and "Brandenburg"; the activation of additional "Großdeutschland" formations in the final, desperate fighting; the "Führer" Divisions on the Eastern Front; the Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Kurmark". Each section is filled with detailed, first-hand accounts from the participants. The author is Knight's Cross recipient Helmut Spaeter.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
J.J. Fedorowicz

The absolute "last-word" on GD. Translated from the German, this book has every thing there is about GD and its offspring units. Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 494 pages, 20 maps. Volume 2 covers the "GD" from late 1942 until early 1945. It includes extensive details on affiliated units such as Kurmark, Brandenburg and the Führer-Begleit-Brigade. Lots of first-hand descriptions and small-unit actions.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
J.J. Fedorowicz

The absolute "last-word" on GD. Translated from the German, this book has every thing there is about GD and its offspring units. Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 479 pages, many maps and orders of battle. The first volume of a 3-volume set covers the "GD" (Greater Germany) from its inception as a "Wach"-Regiment in 1921 through its evolution into an infantry regiment. Covered are the unit's first action in France in 1940 and its reorganization as a Panzergrenadier-Division. This volume covers the regiment/division through to the end of 1942. An excellent history of one of the most elite units of the German army.

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