Thursday, May 27

Read n' reviewed: WW2 Photobook Series Vol. 22 – German Support Vehicles on the Battlefield from PeKo Publishing

Volume twenty-two of Peko's now long-running series "On the Battlefield" features every type of WWII Axis soft skin and support vehicle that you can think of - & then quite a few you have never thought of "adopted"  from other countries! We got to look at what at first we thought was a scattergun approach to the series with so many vehicles covered, but found out that is was not really so random after all. See what we thought in our review... 
Read n' reviewed: WW2 Photobook Series Vol. 22 – German Support Vehicles on the Battlefield 
From PeKo Publishing
Author: Tom Cockle
Languages: Hungarian-English dual language
Hardcover Binding A4 landscape format
112 Page
ISBN: 9786155583551
Price: €21.71
PeKo Publishing has hit number twenty two of their well known and highly-regarded "WW2 Photobook Series" with in interesting edition. This one does not focus on a single type of tank, or AFV or even a branch of service like self propelled guns or the Panzerwaffe as earlier titles have done, but the support vehicles of the Germans from World War II. This is a very large breadth of vehicles, many we have not seen before in photographs, so this book would be an interesting proposition.

We have read the book, and thought it only prodent to show you what it looks like and what it's contents are in a review. First, we will look at the book itself, then the contents and makeup of the contents, then the subjects of the book...

The book in its physical form:
In a glossy hardback binding, this book is of just over A4 size in landscape format. Full of black and white images, most never before seen in print, the book's accompanying text is in a a dual Hungarian and English side-by-side format that informs on each of the large format full-page photos above.

Page by page:
There is an introduction it to the subject by the author Mr Tom Cockle, an author who has written many books including some of PeKo's best titles. These two pages in block text explain what is to come and the German's system of vehicle identification and implementation. This confusing system is explained a little at the stat of the book and note is given also to some of the captured and adopted vehicles in German service during WWII.
Now this is not going to be a standard run down for a PeKo book, with almost as many types, variants and sub-variants as pages in the book, following the pattern of timelines and variant development does not apply to this book, just different type after different type of softskin, armoured cars, half tracks, semi tracked and captured or adopted vehicles are spread it seems in a random order throughout the book.
This means that every turn of the page is something new, and mostly something you have never seen before, the writing for each item aptly describes what you are seeing and (as an example of this truck with railway gear). A pattern I did notice is that we start with the lighter vehicles, staff cars, kubelwagens, Schwimms, Horches, Opel and staff cars and Steyr 1500 cars and similar in the earlier pages starring earlier before we gradually move on to larger vehicles.
That indeed is the pattern, as by the third way through the book we are looking more at Opel Blitz, Bussing armoured trucks, Italian amy Taurus, British Chevrolet and French Matford F917's as just some examples. So many of these vehicles do not sound familiar but modelers will recognize them easily when they see the (for the most part) excellent photos and text to explain them here.
Armour starts to make its way into the book around page fourty, with smaller armoured cars such as the Italian Autopretto S.37 four wheeled armoured car, the 8-wheeled (8-Rad) Panzerspähwagen with light, medium and larger guns on top of them. The vehicles are not from the one time frame either, with pre-war and captured vehicles shown at the end of the war taking equal billing with the mid-war ones you know quite well already. So many types here I cannot begin to name them all for you.
Leichter (as shown above in a neat photo series) and schwerer Panzerspähwagen, captured and in running order, M8 American Greyhounds pressed into German service then re-captured by the Americans, are shown around sixty pages in in groups, the half track "Maultier" ambulance, recover and transport trucks are shown and discussed in their various forms, we even get the weirdest looking RSC Ost with large snow blowers on them being sent to the front.

Several different types of Zugkraftwagen are shown in different guises and abilities and a similar looking French Unic TU1 are shown, with even some boat carrying halftracks dwarfing smaller civilian vehicles sure make a great contrast. French Unic Kegresse P-107 are seen in a series of three photographs and supportive text informing us of their peculiarities that inform the reader and inspire the modeller with weird and odd subject that you just don't see in books like these normally...

...I mean - apart from a few Kettenkrad photos which are obligatory in a book about support vehicles of the Germans.

The fact you are seeing them in service and being used and not captured with a GI standing next to a burnt out hulk is more useful to the modeller in most instances. We start to see many of the German SKFZ 250/ 251/253 in various types towards the end of the book. The variations, with more heavily armoured types, command, radio, up gunned versions is impressive.

Even captured turretless BT-7's used as tractors, T-20 STZ Komsomolets, a t-26 and the Soviet STZ artillery tractors take up the last dozen or so pages with their use by the Germans in regular pushing, pulling and menial jobs behind the lines are also great to see...
That, at 110 pages, is all they wrote...

It is hard to sum this book up, because it is so varied in vehicle types and variants I am not sure how people who are specialized or wanting to specialize in one type or subject will think of it.

I however, really like this seemingly random appeal, and reading deeper, you realize that it is not at all random, and types or vehicles are pretty well grouped together and paired off for the reader to discover often foreign vehicles I had no idea existed before I read this book.

Great photos, great captions to explain what is shown and a smart author who has tied this all together make for another great addition to the WWII Photobook series...

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the good people of Peko Publishing for sending us this book to read and review for you. Check out the PeKo Publishing website for more of their books and where to get yours closer to home...

Right now PeKo's books are all on sale also!