Book Review: Professor Porsche’s Wars

Here is our video book review of the book Professor Porsche’s Wars: The Secret Life of Legendary Engineer Ferdinand Porsche Who Armed Two Belligerents Through Four Decades by Karl Ludvigsen.

 

 

Publisher’s Description:

Regarded as one of the great automotive engineers of the twentieth century, Ferdinand Porsche is well remembered today for his remarkable automotive designs including the Volkswagen Beetle and Auto Union Grand Prix cars. Yet there is another side to his extraordinary career, for he was an equally inventive designer of military vehicles and machinery. In this field too he excelled. Indeed the sheer versatility of his contribution is astonishing. Karl Ludvigsen’s study is the definitive guide.

He tells the complete story, focusing on Porsche’s relations with the German armed forces and on the stream of advanced designs he was responsible for. Included are Austro Daimler’s pioneering aero engines, the Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, Type 100 Leopard tank, Ferdinand or Elefant tank destroyer and the astounding Type 205 Maus tank. He also describes Porsche’s creative work on aero engines, tank engines and even a turbojet for the V-1 flying bomb.

Karl Ludvigsen’s account confirms the preeminence of Ferdinand Porsche as a brilliant and prolific engineer, one of the most remarkable of his generation.

Book Review: Cromwell vs Jagdpanzer IV

Here is our video book review of Cromwell vs Jagdpanzer IV: Normandy 1944 (Duel) by David R. Higgins and published by Osprey.

Book Description:

By 1944, the evolution of armoured doctrine had produced very different outcomes in Britain and Germany. Offering a good balance of speed, protection and firepower, the British Cromwell tank was much faster than its German opponent, but the Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer had a high-velocity main gun and a lower profile that made it formidable on the defensive, especially in ambush situations. The two types would fight in a series of bloody encounters, from the initial days of the struggle for Normandy through to its climax as the Allies sought to trap their opponents in the Falaise Pocket.

Using archive photographs, specially commissioned artwork and battle reports, this fascinating study expertly assesses the realities of tactical armoured combat during the desperate battles after D-Day.

 

Video Book Review: The Tanks of TOG

Here is a short video book review of The Tanks of TOG: The work, designs, and tanks of the Special Vehicle Development Committee in World War II by Andrew Hills.

Book Review: The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa

Here is our video book review of the new title The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa: Soviet versus German Armour on the Eastern Front by Boris Kavalerchik.  This is hardcover book from Pen & Sword.

Publishers Description:

 When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 the Red Army had four times as many tanks as the Wehrmacht and their tanks were seemingly superior, yet the Wehrmacht won the border battles with extraordinary ease the Red Armys tank force was pushed aside and for the most part annihilated. How was this victory achieved, and were the Soviet tanks really as well designed as is often believed? These are the basic questions Boris Kavalerchik answers in this absorbing study of the tanks and the tank tactics of the two armies that confronted each other at the start of the war on the Eastern Front.

Drawing on technical and operational documents from Russian archives, many of which were classified until recently and are unknown to Western readers, he compares the strengths and weakness of the tanks and the different ways in which they were used by the opposing armies. His work will be essential reading for military historians who are interested in the development of armoured warfare and in this aspect of the struggle on the Eastern Front.

Book Review: T-34-85 After WW2: Camouflage & Markings 1946-2016

Here is our video book review of T-34-85 After WW2: Camouflage & Markings 1946-2016 (Green Series) by Przemyslaw Skulski.  This book is part of the Green Series by MMP Books.

Publisher’s Description:

This book continues the story of the T-34-85, in postwar service this time. Information is included about postwar production in the USSR, and licensed versions made in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland. A brief summary of the T-34’s involvement in conflicts and active service up to 2016 is given.

The most important part of the book describes the camouflage and markings of T-34-85s in service around the world. There are more than 40 especially commissioned color profiles, and 150+ B&W and color photos, many not previously published.

Book Review: 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich

In this video we review the new book The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich .  This book is part of the Casemate Illustrated series and is written by Yves Buffetaut.

Publishers Description:

The 2nd SS Division, “Das Reich,” was a battlefront mainstay for Nazi Germany throughout WWII—from the invasion of Poland in 1939 to the final surrender in May 1945. In between it was switched back-and-forth between east and west depending on the crisis, and it fought in nearly every major campaign, from Barbarossa to Normandy, and from Kharkov to the Ardennes.

Das Reich was the first Waffen SS division created (though the title “1st” was reserved for Hitler’s Leibstandarte). Originally named the Verfügungs Division, its regiments fought through the campaigns in Poland, the Low Countries, and France, earning the respect of Wehrmacht leaders who originally doubted the efficacy of SS units. Renamed “Das Reich” after the French surrender, its elements served as a spearhead in the Balkans campaign, achieving a daring capture of Belgrade.

In Operation Barbarossa, Das Reich fought with Guderian’s Second Panzer Group, first in the drive on Moscow, then toward Kiev, then Moscow again. Pulled out of the line after gigantic casualties, it seized Toulon in France, then was sent back to Russia, as part of the SS Panzer Corps, to retrieve the German debacle after Stalingrad. At the titanic tank-battle of Kursk, Das Reich was at the forefront.

In June 1944, as a full SS-Panzer Division, Das Reich played an infamous role in its approach march to Normandy, as the French Resistance temporarily reached a high tide. On the Allied invasion front, Das Reich not only escaped from the Falaise Pocket but was sent back into it, to retrieve other German units struggling to get out.

Das Reich fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was then transferred to Hungary, for Hitler’s last counteroffensive of the war. Failing to retake Budapest, elements of the division were able to mount a gallant defense of Prague. When the end came, some formations were forced to surrender to the Russians while others made it to American lines. Its reputation, for better or worse, had already been established.

This lavishly illustrated book by renowned French historian Yves Buffetaut lays out the full history of Das Reich in World War II, with rare photos, informative text, and true insights into a unique combat division in modern warfare.

Book Review: Allied Armor in Normandy

In this video we review the new book Allied Armor in Normandy  This book is part of the Casemate Illustrated series and is written by Yves Buffetaut.

Publisher’s Description:

Tanks were the beasts of the Second World War, machines designed to destroy anything and anyone in their path. Throughout the summer of 1944, the Allied forces readily employed tanks and armored vehicles to gain ground in the bloody campaign of Normandy. Heavily armed, they provided a kind of support which no number of infantrymen could offer, battling their way through enemy lines with their guns blazing. From the US 2nd Armored Division named ‘Hell on Wheels’ to the British ‘Achilles’ tank, the encounters they had in battle were explosive.

This volume of the Casemate Illustrated series explores the Normandy invasion from the perspective of the Allied Armored divisions, looking at how armored vehicles played a central role in the many battles that took place. It includes over 40 profiles of tanks and armored vehicles, from the American Sherman and Stuart tanks to the bulldozers and amphibious vehicles designed for the beach.

With detailed diagrams and many photos illustrating the composition of the Allied armored divisions and tank regiments present at Normandy, this volume explains the crucial part played by tanks in gaining a foothold in Normandy after the D-Day landings, as well as the significance of many other types of armored vehicles.