Friday, July 9

Read n' Reviewed: Stalingrad Vehicles Colors - German and Russian Camouflages in the Battle of Stalingrad

Clayton has read a few of AMMO Publication's profile books, and while he is a big fan of the style, his findings on the contents are sometimes a little lacking. It was with interest then that he picked up the latest book on the vehicles of the battle of Stalingrad from AMMO. What did he think? see in his review...
Read n' Reviewed: Stalingrad Vehicles Colors - German and Russian Camouflages in the Battle of Stalingrad
From AMMO Publishing
Author/s: Igor Donchik,Daniele Guglielmi
Product Number # AMIG6146
Soft cover, 88 pages with high-quality full colour illustrations.
ISBN: 978-84-17846-03-9
Text in English,Spanish & Russian languages
Price: 18,50 €
The Scene:
The Battle of Stalingrad was fought between German and Soviet forces between the 23rd of August 1942 until the 2nd of February 1943 and became known as one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War. It is estimated that once over there would be approximately 2 million casualties which would have a considerable knock-on effect with the distribution of German resources in an attempt to try and cover their losses.

Germany’s main objective was to capture the industrial and transport hub of Stalingrad, in the hope of restricting Soviet access to the Oil wells of the Caucasus.

The city was essentially reduced to rubble through the onslaught of bombing by the Luftwaffe whilst the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army dragged the battle into a street by street, house by house scenario.

Whilst the German forces managed to push the defenders back in the first half of the conflict, all gains were soon diminished when the Red Army launched Operation Uranus. Operation Uranus was a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the 6th Army's flanks. The Axis flanks were overrun, and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area.
Hitler ordered his troops to hold strong and forbade them from retreating, however, after just over five months of fighting, the exhausted German troops were no longer able to fight and surrender to Soviet forces.

The book:
With an incredible story such as the Battle of Stalingrad, it is easy to see why the battle is such an interesting period for us as scale modellers. So, it makes perfect sense that the next book in the range of Camouflage Profile Guides from Ammo would highlight some of the vehicles that saw action during this 5-month period.
The latest release is a softcover book with 88 pages of ‘high quality illustrations’. In an attempt to keep costs down the book has been published all 3 languages in the one book, so it is suitable for the English, Spanish & Russian speaking markets.

Igor Donchik, Daniele Guglielmi are credited as the authors with a string of familiar names also getting the call out.
The book begins with a brief history of the battle and a number of historical images with descriptions. The English reads very well and is clear and to the point. The other languages of the same passage then follow. The scattering of historical images keeps everyone interested even if the language is foreign.

Although not shown in this review, it is worth noting an excerpt from a letter home from a Soviet soldier is included in this introduction. It offered an interesting perspective of the war. A simple, but lovely touch in the book.

We then get a glimpse of some of the positional maps of the battle. One from September and then one from November highlighting the ground the Red Army lost during the opening half of the battle. Probably included more for its ‘graphical nature’ more than its historic value… but again it is an interesting inclusion.
The book then works its way through the divisions that saw the battlefield. The first being 100 JAGER-DIVISION then the 24 Panzer Division and the Sturmgeschutz – Abteilung 177. A short but concise paragraph highlights the history of the units. We get a look at a supply truck, a few of Panzer III’s, an Sd.Kfz 222 and a Halftrack and of course the unmissable StuG III. Short but interesting descriptions accompany the drawings.

We then hit the Sturmgeschutz – Abteilung 244 section.
Sturmgeschutz – Abteilung 245 and 60. Infanterie-Division Motorisierte are the next chapters. Here we get a diverse taste of support vehicles as well as III’s IV’s and a Marder II.
The 14 Panzer Division commands 11 pages and again sees a good spread of support vehicles as well as the fighting vehicles we all love to see.
Even a captured GAZ-64 gets a look in...
Next up is the Croatian that fought with German forces during the battle – Infanterie Regiment 369 Kroatisches. 6. Panzer-Division and the history of how it made its way to Stalingrad is outlined now and we start to see some of the short-barrel tanks come into play. The short barrel tanks proved far more suitable to street fighting than some of the longer barrel versions.

384 Infanterie Division is the next division in the numerous groups that made their way to Stalingrad. The Axis section of the book then winds up with Panzer Jager-Abteilung (SFL.)521
We now get a look at some of the opposition the Axis forces faced with the Soviet side of the story. The 90th Tank Division and the Artillery Tractor ‘Comintern as well as some of the heavy hitters in the 133RD Heavy Tank Brigade.
The 12th and 26th Tank brigades feature three T34’s in the illustrations, and the 39th Infantry Division section presents something a little different in the way of a commander’s vehicle (I assume) Tank Column ‘Soviet Polyarnik’ then delivers a few KV-1s profiles. Interestingly over 60 tankers from this regiment were awarded orders of the Soviet Union and medals for valour and heroism.
The book then wraps up touching on the 25th Armoured Corp, the 6th Tank Brigade and the 24th Armoured Corp. This section not only presents the more prominent T-34’s but we get a look at a couple of T-26’s also as well other support vehicles.
I find it a little difficult to present an interesting review and still keep a few secrets for the reader to find when looking through the book themselves. What I can tell you is if you are at all interested in the battle and the subjects that saw action during that time, then this is going to be a bit of a no brainer for your book collection.

I was a little critical of the last Camouflage Profile book I reviewed as I felt I was left wanting for a little more detail a little more help to interoperate the illustrations, but where the other was a little disappointing, I can happily say this one seems to hit the mark.
This is a really thoughtful, accessible and well-presented book. It is easy to read and understand and will be a valued source of inspiration for many modellers.

Clayton Ockerby

You can find out more about AMMO's products on their website - thanks to them for sending this book to Clayton to read and to review...
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