Monday, July 22

Read n' Reviewed: Peko Publishing's new WW2 photobook series Vol. 19 – German self-propelled guns on the battlefield

For the nineteenth book of the "On the Battlefield" series, PeKo Publishing has enlisted Jon Feenstra to show & tell us all about the self-propelled guns of the German forces of WWII.  A plethora of types is shown in large format pictures & text - See what we thought after we have read the book.

Read n' Reviewed: German self-propelled guns on the battlefield
WW2 photobook series Vol. 19
From PeKo Publishing
Author: Jon Feenstra
Languages: Dual Hungarian/English languages
Format: Hardcover/ A4 Landscape 300x215mm
112 Pages
100+ Black & White Photos
ISBN: 9786155583162
Price: €28.95 €23.95 (this book is on sale right now!) 

Product Link on the PeKo Publishing Website

Already, folks - we are at the nineteenth book of the "On the Battlefield" series from PeKo Publishing - wow. I can remember getting the first book in the series to read and being thoroughly impressed, and then, again and again, being just as happy with subsequent issues of the series.

However, with success there is a lot of pressure to keep the quality up - so it is with some interest that I opened up this issue - No# 19, written and compiled by Jon Feenstra. Would this one measure up to its sister books in the series? I wanted to know.

This issue focusses on the big, tracked guns of the German armed forces of WWII. So we expected to see lots of obscure vehicles in this issue - in fact, there are just that - the Bison I, 15cm Sig 33, Grille, Sturmpanzer IV, Hummel, Wespe, Sturmtiger, Marder. These are not the usual PAnthers, Panzers & Tigers we see so much. SO these rare or previously unpublished photographs are of value to many modellers who want inspiration to make something different, or armchair historians on the lookout for some new finds.
The book in physical form:
In a hardcover Landscape A4 format (300mm x215mm), this book's 112 Pages are in a nice thick stock, and the format of the book fits in neatly with the wide aspect of the 100+ Black & White Photos that pretty much cover every page of the book. The text from the author Jon Feenstra of "WWII photobook series Vol. 19 – German self-propelled guns on the battlefield" is in a dual bilingual English & Hungarian language format. which is easy to read and clear, with some text at the start of the book in both languages telling us a little about the development and history in brief of each of the SPG's you are going to see in this book.

The book contents:
OK on with the general description of the book now - the pages are broken up into groups of pictures, each of the groups being of an unbroken line of one type, or of the subtypes of each SPG broken up into a series of unbroken pages. These continue until we walk into the next SPG that is in focus. Generally speaking, these vehicles are shown in a kind of historical fashion, starting at this, the Bison I of the early war period, through to the ware until the Sturmorser and ending in May 1945. The bison gets a big look in, and that is great in my opinion, as the sixteen pages of pictures and text show off this vehicle from every angle, from the invasion of France period, through to 1942. There is even a pair of the very rare 704s (basically a gun on a tank, with its wheels sitting on to of the hull) in here - some fine detours from the main type are already surprising me.

The Panzer II derived 15cm s.I.G.33 B Selbstfahrlafette is next up - this tank seen over the next four pages in the western desert. This versatile vehicle is much loved by modellers, and we see here a destroyed machine in a series of two pictures, as well as another five pictures showing the field construction of one of the 15cm s.I.G.33 B Sfl's during the conversion process by field units. These pictures in series like this are a great inspiration to modellers, showing the men who were around these machines at work.

By page thirty-four we are already looking at pictures of the 15cm s.I.G.33/1 auf Geschützwagen 38(t) "Grille" H in five pages that show the vehicle in a few different scenarios, the boxy sides of the SPG with different camouflages and states of repair with weathering aplenty for modeller's minds to decipher
The slightly differently shaped Grille auf M is also included, this better-known version is pointed out to the reader in the differences to the vehicle from the "H" model. We also see three pages of the very boxy but enclosed version of the Stu.I.G.33 which is a rarer bird and interesting to see amongst this collection.

The Sturmpanzer (or better known Brummbär) is next, and this vehicle is featured in many different forms over the next six pages. The author talks us through each of the pictures in his informative style. He takes the time to point out the differences in each vehicle and the pertinent points of each picture. Even parts that you can not properly see or read are pointed out for the reader, there are some great photos in here.

One of my favourite guns is next - the powerful Sturmtiger or Sturmmörser is next. We get four pictures in as many pages accompanied by text describing the circumstances of each vehicle. These are extremely clear, with a captured vehicle in the pristine condition being the best of these shots. The brutish nature of this tank is seen well in the clear pictures 
(like the rest of the pictures in this title) that I have never seen before.

Eighteen "Wespes" are next - shown over the next eighteen pages - these are seen in many different theatres of WWII, from destroyed vehicles, to whitewashed variants in winter, mud in Poland, on Krisztina Boulevard in Budapest, to variants in repair and being reloaded. There is lots of material here for the Wespe fan.

The bigger brother is next - with another of my favourites, the "Hummel" SPG. This big- gunned machine is seen in twenty-three pages this time. In many similar scenarios to those I have just mentioned, Very clear photos in almost every one, showing the SPG's at rest, in repair, on the road, destroyed and in the snow, mud and hot sun,  with the crews figured just as prominently populating the pages and making the vehicles immediately more relatable and in scale.

The short and longer barrelled  Sturmgeshutz III is next, and this sees us through to the end of the book over eight pages. Actually, there are two pages of Sturmhaubitze 42 with its stubby barrelled thick nasty gun and another STuH 42 from 1944 on the last page. These vehicles are almost too useful looking to fit in with the litany of weird and wonderful self-propelled artillery in the rest of the book, they look for too well thought out in comparison with the thin armour and open-topped vehicles that mostly populate this title.

Well, that is it for this book!

A short but pretty sweet read - I had not thought that after nineteen books in this series that PeKo would still be coming out with quality titles filled with previously unpublished photos (well they are all new to me anyway).

The polished way they are presented and the author's comments that draw attention to all of the right points o of these interesting vehicles and pictures really do make for another great book in this series.I see that the author Jon Feenstra is already working on his next title - well bring it on! Nice work on this one.

Adam Norenberg

This book is now available (and on sale as I write this) from PeKo Publishing directly or from their distributors worldwide. Thanks to them for sending me this book to read and review...