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Book Review Round Up

The Deutsche Afrika Korps (DAK) was created in February 1941 and existed until May 1943, but during those two years, it became legendary. To collectors, re-enactors and general readers of history, the Africa Korps holds a fascination, unlike any other WWII German force. There have been ‘photo albums’ on specific units and events before, but these are not grainy, B&W images, instead original images taken by official photographers using high-grade film and cameras. Images include combat damage, troops on a convoy ship heading to North Africa, rare aircraft, details of uniforms and local native troops used by the Italian army. There is a fresh crispness about them which belie the fact they were taken over 80 years ago. Captions and the accompanying text give a very good explanatory dialogue, making this work an invaluable reference resource for anyone with an interest in WWII in North Africa. 


Title: Villers-Bocage Author: Daniel Taylor Publisher: After the Battle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire ISBN: 9781399048736 Price: £35

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Operation Perch was an attempt by the British to move armoured forces south around the western side of Caen. By the early hours of June 13th, elements were in the town of Villers-Bocage and the leading vehicles were resting. What happened next showed the capabilities of the Tiger tank. This well-researched book takes the reader from the moment the first German shot was fired at 9.05 am and through the next 10 minutes when a trail of destruction is left in the wake, and the style of writing puts the reader right in the heart of the action. The incident, involving Michael Wittmann, has since entered the annals of history and, almost 80 years on, is still greatly debated. With diagrams and photographs, this work explains everything in finite detail and answers all the questions about what happened before, during and after. Terrific history and a must-read in understanding armoured warfare during the Normandy campaign.


Title: Allied Tanks at El Alamein 1942 Author: William E. Hiestand Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Oxford ISBN: 9781472858016 Price: £12.99

The Battle of El Alamein is a familiar subject to many military enthusiasts but is a topic of which readers never tire. There is much to understand in this very complex battle, which brought out the best in both sides and served as a testing ground for new tactics and tanks. It also elevated military commanders to prominence, especially Rommel and Montgomery. The British use of tanks, available in greater numbers than the Germans, made possible the victory. As the book progresses, it is noticeable how the number of American tanks increases and augments the British designs such as the Valentine and Crusader. In planning for the battle, some tanks were converted to specialised roles, particularly clearing minefields. This was a commodity the Germans lacked, and the British learned many valuable lessons that would be used later. This is a great book for all enthusiasts of armoured warfare in WWII.


Title: Corregidor 1945 Author: Mark Lardas Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Oxford ISBN: 9781472854698 Price: £13.59

The Philippine Archipelago is made up of over 7,500 islands, of which around 2,000 are inhabited, and in 1941, the area was vital to American defence, which fortified some of the islands. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked and captured the islands after a fierce battle. This fascinating work covers the battle by the Americans to re-take the islands, in particular the strategic island of Corregidor, dominating as it did the approaches to Manila. The author lays out the opposing forces, strategies, weapons, and tactics, along with explanatory background details, to present a very readable work. He covers conventional fighting conducted at sea, in the air, and on land, but he also features in detail the unconventional suicide craft known as ‘Shinyo’. Despite such attacks by the Japanese, the Americans took the islands and ‘mopped up’ others, including El Fraile, known as Fort Drum or the ‘concrete battleship’, the story of which is told very well.

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