Sunday, November 30

Review: Allied-Axis 31 goes on a Finnish adventure....

Ampersand Publishing has been really busy recently – they are on yearly sale and they are still popping out book just before the Christmas holidays set in. Their Allied-Axis series is now at No 31, and we found three reasons to think about picking it up in today’s review...
Allied-Axis Issue #31
Author: Pat Stansell, Jeff Kleinhenz
Published by: Ampersand Publishing
Format: Softcover Landscape
96 pages, 100+ B&W photos.
Sale Price $11.95
You can get yours from this link at Ampersand Directly 

Ampersand’s Allied-Axis series has undergone a change recently – we looked their issue No 30 last week and found that the focus of at least four different subjects in each book has been reduced to three. While the page numbers and format have stayed the same (96 pages landscape A4 format) we see a look at each of the subjects that is a little deeper. Thought to have this work you need to have the material on hand in abundance and it needs to be good.

The three objects brought to light in Allied- Axis 31 are popular German subjects, firstly sixty pages of Panzer-Abteilung 40 in Finland, then the anti-tank gun that was a standard through the German armed forces the 5cm PAK 38 in 18 pages and lastly seventeen pages of  the 7.5cm le.IG 18 Infantry Gun. So German arms fans are in for a treat if that is your bag. If you are looking for anything else well AA31 Might just be a diversion for you.

With a glossy softcover book in landscape so you can get the best out of the photos which are normally in large one to a page format and with the added text by the knowledgeable authors David Doyle and Jeff Kleinhenz  this is the format for most of this book. Let’s look more at the content in Issue #31.
I was surprised by this first large section of the book – being that it covered over 2/3’s of the tittle the German foray into Finland with Panzer-Abteilung 40 really does  cover a lot of ground. This specially formed unit worked in close co-operation with the Fins against the Russian armies and saw it’s fair share of action. The scenes go from early meetings with the Fins to close co-operation on operations with a lot of the shots coming from Finnish correspondents. The availability of quality Swedish cameras saw this as an extremely well documented period of the war.

We go from the forest roads, through the dust and well-trodden summer battles to heavily snow encrusted forests dense with trees unloading snow on the tanks and equipment.
The Panzer I, PZII and PZ III are solidly the stars of this section of the book. Anyone liking early German armour would be interested in all of these pictures which are so clear and well shot they could be taken from a re-enactment group – I know they are not ‘cause the soldiers are all thin!
The next section shows the very numerous 5cm PAK 38 anti-tank gun. Seventeen pages of good photos of this gun in use, being used on manoeuvres, fired and transported are here. You see a good lot of pictures of the guns crews positioning and using these guns from all different sources. The authors as usual point out little nuances of their uniforms and where these artillery men are from thought. We even see a proposed tracked version of the gun which didn’t take off.
Next we have another German gun - in 18 pages and lastly seventeen pages of the 7.5cm le.IG 18 Infantry Gun.
In what feels like the smallest section of the book we look at this short nosed gun which had it’s genesis in WWI and served doggedly until it was superseded in the later war stages. There are again many pictures of this gun in action and being man handled by it’s crew. Several places from Europe to Norway and several different types of crews including SS man are shown in this part of the book.

Lastly we have a little walkaround with some very nice shots of the gun for all the reference fans.
That is AA31 for you – now I think I am enjoying this new more in-depth format. The sixty page section featuring Panzer-Abteilung 40 in Finland is the star of this book. It in itself would be good enough for a book on their own. The pictures especially in this section are just great. We see the same tanks through the seasons out of and back into action which tie you to the project. I wish I could have seen more of what happened to this outfit.

I would have like to have seen even less subjects covered in this book if this is the way forward. I suppose it depends on how much the authors have collected. This first section shows me that if there is subject matter out there like this it should be thoroughly investigated instead of just a gloss over.

Keep up the hard work guys it is paying off!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Ampersand Publishing for sending this to read and review – right now it is on sale actually – with some of their other books..

Ampersand Pre-Holiday Make Some Room Super Sale!

Get ready for the holidays with big reductions on a range of Ampersand publications. With a major schedule in store for 2015, our meagre warehouse facilities will be bulging at the seams-unless we can make some more room!
Browse the site - virtually every book and magazine has a new, reduced price.

MMiR Back Issues only $6.95
Allied-Axis Back Issues only $12.95
Visual History Series only $14.95 except for The D7, which is only $19.95
Son of Sherman Soft Cover only $50.00
Sale ends December 31st, 2014!