Friday, November 22

Read n' Reviewed: "War Photographer 1.1" from PeKo Publishing

Not to be confused with volume I we reviewed earlier - this is the SECOND volume of PeKo Publishing's new book series called simply "War Photographer". These books travel through time with a single cameraman as they work their way throughout the conflicts they were stationed in. We have read this version from author Vyacheslav Kozitsyn, see what we thought in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: War Photographer 1.1
From PeKo Publishing
Author: Vyacheslav Kozitsyn
64 Pages, Text in English
98 black & white photosA4 Format, Softcover Landscape Format
ISBN: 615558320X / 9786155583209
Price: €15.00
Product Link on the PeKo Publications Website
As the subject of today's review, we have the second in the new series of "War Photographer" books from PeKo Publishing. We have already seen Tom Cockle's first edition that we looked at here on the news. Today we look at "War Photographer I.I collected and written by Vyacheslav Kozitsyn, and we follow an unnamed German Sturmartillerist from Sturmgesch├╝tz-Abteilung 191 from 1940 thought to 1944.

To aid with any confusion we are reviewing I.I today, (bottom) the second in the series ­čśÇ
This book in physical form:
Physically this book is an A4 size or 297mm X 210mm and just 64 pages thick inside the glossy softcover. The pictures inside, for the most part, are of a large size that suits the landscape layout, although there are many smaller photos throughout often on one page. Text accompanies many of the images, but not always all of them, as sometimes the smaller pictures are explained in one paragraph. The writing is in English and the text is well laid out and easy to see, understand and read. The book takes only a lazy afternoon to read.
This series presents to the reader a bunch of selections of rare wartime photographs, often with different subjects caught on film from soldiers who fought in world war two. These shots are taken at rest, during unit manoeuvres, in battles and in operations. It differs from other publications in that mostly the subjects are all taken by the same person over a period of time, and from in this case a german perspective. Many other publications show Russians or GI's on top of knocked-out tanks, this shows the other side...
As this book has too many different small subjects to list and discuss I thought it best I take you through on a walkthrough of the pages of the book sequentially...

We start with photos of the unit's soldiers and vehicles as they travel southeast from Germany through Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Local peasants and their meagre belongings seem to be a subject of some interest, as are the villages and mountains of Romania they travel through. The long column is seen on photos and supporting text explaining where these photos were taken (sometimes exactly) in softskins and trucks before about page eleven where we see out first of the six Sturmgesch├╝tz of the unit in the frame. We see villagers milling around to see the column head through their towns and large campgrounds from an elevated position, showing the whole battery neatly parked (no fear of attack from the air then) as it camps en-route...
As the unit heads south-east we see the last border post of Bulgaria past the Struma River in 1941 after some fighting on the Metaxas line on the Greco-Bulgarian border.  The fighting continues south through Greece as the unit progresses through to the coast showing blown bridges, destroyed vehicles and war graves of the Germans who fell on the way. This section of the book about twenty-seven pages in finishes in Greece and from that time on the unit if fighting the Russians on the eastern front.

From their jump-off points in Ukraine, we see the unit encounter their first T-34's and tanks like this T 60 - shown below in a wrecked railway yard. The author explains the threats f these new tanks and we start to see the first signs of the StuG's camouflaged with branches at about this point.
From the Kyiv area in September 1941 onward we see the mud that stuck vehicles turn to snow in October/ November as the unit fought around the gates of Moscow.  The author continues to point out certain points of each of the vehicles as the pages and photos are presented, and this increases the interest to the reader more than a road trip as this book would be without the captions. We also see the officers of the unit right throughout the book, pointed out to us by the author who tells us their rank and status, we see several pictures of them in parades and award ceremonies and in training like the pictures below of the unit on a re-building break in Belarus after the German push on Moscow evaporated.
The short barrels of the StuGs are exchanged for the StuG III.F with a long-barreled gun, just in time to move towards Crimea starting in June of 1942. The crews travel with their new yellow and camouflaged StuG's south-east towards the Caucasus. We travel through the south in late 1943 and although we do not see any battle footage here we do see a wrecked armoured Soviet train, the Abt's column on the road, the unit undergoing a trip over the Kerch Strait in boats and the newest version of the StuG with armoured sideskirts are all shown and discussed by the author along with their peculiarities.
The last photos of the book come almost too soon, with repair truck and a knocked out StuG shown from two angles, we see a photo of some of the soldiers of the unit at their evacuation point in Crimea in 1944 before the unit was re-established in the lower-eastern front in Serbia. This is where the book ends...
That is it from this book...

Well, just as I was getting warmed up, that is the end! The pictures are great and the subject is most interesting. I could have read many more pages of this book, and I am sure that it is a frustration for the publishers that the book ends when the soldier's images do. I suppose the way to look at it is that we are lucky to have images like this - none of them I have ever seen before, from the German perspective showing these units at work, at the march and at rest. 

The short length of pages is the only bad thing about the book, it is a little short, and a little thin on text, but apart from that it is a great book that slowly reels you into this unit's progress as the war tears everything around them apart.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to PeKo Publishing for sending me out this book to read and review for you guys...