Monday, December 9

To the Last Bullet: Germany's War on 3 Fronts Part II Italy in Review:

Oliver Publishing Group has released some great books – is this new title – “To the last Bullet” Germany's war on three fronts Part II - Italy" amongst their best? Well we read it today and thought it only nice to share our thoughts in today’s review

Firefly Collection No 6 - To The Last Bullet: Germany’s War on 3 Fronts. Part 2 Italy
written by Claude Gillono
32 pages
A4 Softcover portrait format
Price: £14.99 from ADH Publishing

For books that – on first glance look so thin, the “Firefly Series” of books by Oliver Publishing/ ADH really do punch above their “weight”. They are some of the most respected titles in their genre. Often selling out in shops and becoming very collectable they are not only respected but well loved by modellers aching to get a look at new photos or modelling revelations. So it was with some optimism we received the sixth in the Firefly series of books – based in Italy – Volume II of the “To the Last Bullet” books.

This book is a soft but very glossy cover book of a slight thirty two pages. But the thin frame of this book belies the volume of material inside. I would love to see the author Claude Gillono and Denis Oliver’s cars, because I know they would be packed to the brim! This book is FULL of text in the part that tells the narrative of the story and then FULL of illustrations and profiles of the vehicles described. The text is maybe a little smaller than it needs to be – and to the feint of reading/vision this could be a little off-putting. It also keeps away the casual reader to some extent. Maybe a few more pages would solve this?

…Saying that I do not want any of this detail to be omitted. The author tells the story of the Italian front as interestingly as one could of a military campaign and the pictures and profiles really bring it to life.
The photography in this book is very well selected. The Italian front is less well publicised and so the chance for lots of not often (or never before seen) photographs are much better. Ideas for dioramas swirl around my head as I look at these pictures they sure are inspiring. Many of these pictures are from Claude's extensive private collections which have never been published before. There are pretty much equal amounts of pictures taken from both Allied and German cameras in this book which is good – nothing worse than EVERY picture of a Tiger with G.I’s standing on top of it.

The centre lay out of the book hosts thirteen pages of full colour illustrated profiles of these vehicles  of the theatre – many German vehicles like StuG’s Panzer III, IV and Panthers and Tigers as well as some Nashorns and a half track.  Illustrated by Dennis Oliver this is a popular section of these books and I can see why.
The research that has gone into these colour schemes is extensive and the colour, positions, size and conditions of the individual vehicle markings and camouflage or lack thereof is discussed in the text that goes along with the profile. Often there is a welcomed picture to compare the artwork to the vehicle and sometimes the vehicles are earlier or later on in the book.

I would prefer every profile in every book to have a picture to accompany them so as to better understand the look in real life. This is an improvement over most titles that don’t show any evidence. Again this section is very good for inspiration, and there is a “centrefold” of sorts in the centre pages where a Panzer IV, a Nashorn, a Tiger I and a Panther are shown in larger detail (“Whooaahh look at them bogies”) Unit insignia art is a welcome addition as well.
There are several tables spread throughout this book which show you the numbers of each of the main fighting AFV’s and the units and their dispositions throughout the campaign. This is a handy reference to tell you who was where with what at what time. There is also a section at the end of the book which shows you Beutepanzer numbers in a table – these are the captured Italian AFV’s pressed into German service. And in the rear of the book there are some great pics of them in some very clear shots. Pictures of Panthers and very good shots of Tiger I’s dominate the last few pages of the book.

Just when you thought that was it there are some good models by Steve Shrimpton in amongst the last few profiles. Usually there are a few more of these in this section - we just need more pages!

I like this title and it is a great match to the Volume I Eastern front version. We will bide our time with this one until the third front is opened. Until then lots of inspiration to be had here…

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to ADH Publishing and Dennis Oliver for sending this for us to read and review.