Pen & Sword Books

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Victorian Murderesses

Victorian Murderesses written by Debbie Blake was published by

Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 222

The Victorian belief that women were the ‘weaker sex’ who were expected to devote

themselves entirely to family life, made it almost inconceivable that they could ever

be capable of committing murder. What drove a woman to murder her husband, lover

or even her own child? Were they tragic, mad or just plain evil?

Using various sources including court records, newspaper accounts and letters, this book explores some of the most notorious murder cases committed by seven women in nineteenth century Britain and America. It delves into each of the women’s lives, the circumstances that led to their crimes, their committal and trial and the various reasons why they resorted to murder: the fear of destitution led Mary Ann Brough to murder her own children; desperation to keep her job drove Sarah Drake to her crime. Money was the motive in the case of Mary Ann Cotton, who is believed to have poisoned as many as twenty-one people. Kate Bender lured her unsuspecting victims to their death in ‘The Slaughter Pen’ before stripping them of their valuables; Kate Webster’s temper got the better of her when she brutally murdered and decapitated her employer; nurse Jane Toppan admitted she derived sexual pleasure from watching her victims die slowly and Lizzie Borden was suspected of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe, so that she could live on the affluent area known as ‘the hill’ in Fall River, Massachusetts.

I love a book full of crime stories and this one looking at women who murder from the Victorian era doesn’t fail to entertain. I don’t know what it is about Victorian era crime, maybe it’s the black and white photos or the fact that people didn’t exactly live in the best places or conditions, but things always come across grim or in an unfortunate way. Victorian Murderesses looks at seven separate case from Lizzie Borden, Mary Ann Cotton to the Boston Borgia. The book tries to look at reasons for the murders such as insanity, pleasure, abuse or just the impossible. The chapters look at these reasons through newspaper accounts, court records, diaries and letters. There are some great stories here and they all fit together in this great book nicely. A good book if you enjoy true crime books involving women who murder.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Avro Vulcan: The Early Years 1947–64

Avro Vulcan: The Early Years 1947–64 written by David W Fildes and published

by Key Publishing - £15.99 - Softcover - Pages 96

Advances in aerodynamics and jet engine technology after World War Two led to the

RAF Air Staff producing an Operating Requirement (OR229) for a bomber that could

use these new technologies. To meet this requirement, the Avro Initial Projects team

adopted a Delta wing design. This was a major change in aircraft design, as little was

known about the Delta wing. The design of the Delta wing Vulcan was a major gamble

by all concerned. However, it proved an incredibly valuable asset, especially during

the Cold War. It was used in both high- and low-level roles and performed some of the

longest bombing and anti-radar missions by the RAF during the Falklands War in 1982.

After serving over three decades with the RAF, the Vulcan was retired in1984, but it

continued display flying with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust until 2015, delighting the

public with its noise and maneuverability. Fully illustrated with over 150 images, this

book explores the history of the Vulcan, from concept to manufacture to service,

providing insight from those who developed, designed, and flew it.

The Avro Vulcan, surely this has to be everyone’s favourite post war plane, a giant swooping through the skies and the roaring thunder sound as it went overhead. As former RAF brat, when you got to see these at an RAF camp they were always the centre of attention, and they would always get the crowds in when they fly in or take off. 

Avro Vulcan The Early Years, 1947-64 takes a yearly look at the Vulcan right from the first initial thoughts, designs and drawings. In this beautiful and nifty little book, the book shows the reader through the whole process of drawings, designs, models and full sized prototypes. We even get to see the actual factories, people and workforces involved in a very good number of photographs, and I think this helps get across the emotion and love that many aviation fans love about this plane. As the book goes along we can see the various design changes, upgrades and the evolution of the Vulcan, this book is very high on the technical aspects such as measurements & design which will appeal to your real technical fan, but for small book it has such a lot of excellent photos of the Vulcan in flight which will appeal to the reader who just loves the beauty and design.

This was such a fascinating book and I loved the comprehensive detail and data that

you don’t often get in some books. I found this book would appeal to all fans no matter

how much detail they would want because there is something for all in these books.

Certainly a book I enjoyed and would happily recommend to other aviation fans. 

The Steep Atlantick Stream

The Steep Atlantick Stream written by Robert Harling and published by

Seaforth Publishing - £14.99 - Hardback - Pages 232

First published in 1946, this atmospheric memoir of the Battle of the Atlantic offers one of

the most original accounts of war at sea aboard a corvette, escorting convoys in both the

North and South Atlantic. The author, an RNVR lieutenant, experienced the terrors of

U-boat attacks and the hardships of autumn gales as well as the relief of shore runs in

ports as far apart as Halifax and Freetown.

The narrative begins with Harling’s voyage from the Clyde to New York on the Queen Mary (or QM, as she was known during her martial career), on route to join a newly-built corvette in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was to be her First Lieutenant, and his service at sea started in the spring of 1941, just as the battle of the Atlantic was entering its most crucial stage. During the first east-bound convoy he was to experience attacks by U-boats, the loss of merchant vessels and a steep learning curve as the ship’s crew struggled to live in the harsh wartime conditions. Later that summer they made return voyages to Iceland where runs ashore offered some solace from dangerous days at sea. Time was also spent in the South Atlantic with voyages to Freetown and Lagos, before a short interlude when he experienced the excitement of fighting with Coastal Forces. The corvette subsequently returned to escorting convoys from Halifax to Europe.

His narrative is both serious and humorous, and his picture of wartime Britain, his descriptions of being buffeted by great storm-tossed seas in the ‘cockleshell corvettes’, and the recounting of grim losses are all too real and authentic. His story ends as he leaves his ship after a violent cold developed into pneumonia, and soon afterwards he hears the heart-breaking news of her loss, along with the captain and half the crew, after being torpedoed. He is left to ponder on the many tombless dead consigned by the war to the Steep Atlantick Stream.

This is a small book but reflects the small world of these ships that the sailors had to live in. A story about a small corvette having to join forces with other likely crews to help face down the threat of U-boats in the Atlantic in WW2. This book is written by the crewman on board and conveys the ups and downs of being at sea during the lively times and the down times. This book was first published in 1946, but the book holds up well and I really enjoyed the camaraderie and humour within the book.

Monday, December 19, 2022

The New Millennium Serial Killer - Examining the Crimes of Christopher Halliwell

The New Millennium Serial Killer - Examining the Crimes of Christopher Halliwell

written by Bethan Trueman & Chris Clark and published by Pen & Sword Books

- £20 - Hardback - Pages 216

In March 2011, a major police investigation was opened in the search for missing

Swindon local, Sian O'Callaghan. When taxi driver Christopher Halliwell was

arrested, Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher didn't expect what happened


After the body of another missing girl, Becky Godden-Edwards, was uncovered, the police had two murders on their hands and one suspect, but how many more unsolved murders could Christopher Halliwell be responsible for? The hidden cache of around 60 pieces of women's clothing and accessories that he led police to suggests that the number could be much higher than the two murders he has been convicted of.

In The New Millennium Serial Killer, former police intelligence officer Chris Clark and true crime podcast host Bethan Trueman use their in-depth research to present a comprehensive study into convicted killer Christopher Halliwell. Discussing the crimes for which he was convicted but presenting them alongside the unsolved cases of missing and murdered women who fit with his victim type, and who went missing in the areas where he was familiar, from the 1980s to the time of his arrest in 2011. With many jobs over the years which allowed Halliwell to travel to different areas of the UK, along with a passion for fishing and narrow boating, including Yorkshire, East Lancashire, and the Midlands.

With a foreword by former Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher, The New Millennium Serial Killer presents a fascinating account of this cruel killer and tells the heartbreaking stories of over twenty women whose cases remain unsolved today, seeking to find justice for their loved ones who are still waiting for answers. Do they remain with Christopher Halliwell and the collection of women's items?

This is a fantastic book that would be widely approved by many true crime fans, following the trail of Christopher Halliwell. The book follows the trail of Haliwell, a man that had the chance to travel around the country doing lots of different jobs. So for this reason, it gave him the chance to avoid detection as he wasn’t in one area, but also gave us the chance to wonder whether all the crimes he committed were actually ALL of the crimes he should be punished for. A really good book that is easy to read, but keeps the reader gripped with fascination, I thought it was very well written by the author’s Bethan Trueman and Chris Clark. I really enjoyed this true crime book and would happily recommend it to other true crime fans.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The London Boys - David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the 60s Teenage Dream

The London Boys - David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the 60s Teenage Dream written

by Marc Burrows and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 264

Rock n roll fanatics, mods, beat group wannabes, underground hippies, glam rock icons:

David Bowie and Marc Bolan spent the first part of their careers following remarkably similar

paths. From the day they met in 1965 as Davie Jones and Mark Feld, rock n roll wannabes

painting their manager's office in London’s Denmark Street, they would remain friends and

rivals, each watching closely and learning from the other. In the years before they launched

an unbeatable run of era-defining glam rock masterpieces at the charts, they were both just

another face on the scene, meeting for coffee in Soho, hanging out at happenings and

jamming in parks. Here, they are our guides through the decade that changed everything,

as the gloom of post-war London exploded into the technicolour dream of the swinging sixties,

a revolution in music, fashion, art and sexuality. Part duel-biography, part social history, part

musical celebration of an era, The London Boys follows the British youth culture explosion

through they eyes of two remarkable young men on the front lines of history.

A fantastic book that looks at the early lives before super stardom of two of Britain's

biggest stars in David Bowie and Marc Bolan from the 60’s, with a good bit of social

history thrown into the mix. The book looks at the teenage years and early careers

of these two music stars during the decade of the 1960’s. London youth culture and

the music industry are all revealed here through great stories and if you're a fan of

these two guys or the sixties, you should really enjoy this book. Some good work

and research has gone into this book, and it's one I would happily recommend to


Saturday, December 17, 2022

Masters of Warfare - Fifty Underrated Military Commanders from Classical Antiquity to the Cold War

Masters of Warfare - Fifty Underrated Military Commanders from Classical

Antiquity to the Cold War written by Eric G. L. Pinzelli and published by

Pen & Sword Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 336

In Masters of Warfare, Eric G. L. Pinzelli presents a selection of fifty commanders whose

military achievements, skill or historical impact he believes to be underrated by modern

opinion. He specifically does not include the household names (the ‘Gods of War’ as he

calls them) such as Alexander, Julius Caesar, Wellington, Napoléon, Rommel or Patton

that have been covered in countless biographies.

Those chosen come from every period of recorded military history from the sixth century BC to the Vietnam War. The selection rectifies the European/US bias of many such surveys with Asian entries such as Bai Qi (Chinese), Attila (Hunnic), Subotai (Mongol), Ieyasu Tokugawa (Japanese) and Võ Nguyên Giáp (Vietnamese). Naval commanders are also represented by the likes of Khayr al-Dīn Barbarossa, Francis Drake and Michiel de Ruyter.

These 50 “Masters of War” are presented in a chronological order easy to follow, with a concise overview of their life and career. Altogether they present a fascinating survey of the developments and continuities in the art of command, but most importantly their contribution to the evolution of weaponry, tactic and strategy through the ages.

This book takes a look at military commanders throughout time, men who excelled at strategy, tactics and leadership. The author Pinzelli also openly admits that he has tried to look at the lesser leaders in war, so not your Caesar, Napoleon or Wellington. Then added to that, the book has tried not to have a western bias but concentrate more on an Asian or Eastern theme. Now my knowledge of the Eastern theatre of war isn’t the best yet, but I did enjoy learning more about various military leaders I hadn’t heard of before. So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I will use this as a good reference book. I suppose my only disappointment was that I would like to see a balanced book from all battles so we could clearly see who the real top military leaders were. A really good book, one for the military enthusiasts.

Hitler's Nest of Vipers - The Rise Of The Abwehr

Hitler's Nest of Vipers - The Rise Of The Abwehr written by Nigel West and

published by Frontline Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 376

Modern historians have consistently condemned the Abwehr, Germany’s military
intelligence service, and its SS equivalent, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), as incompetent and even corrupt organizations. However, newly declassified MI5, CIA and US Counterintelligence Corps files shed a very different light on the structure, control and capabilities of the German intelligence machine in Europe, South America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

It is usually stated that, under Admiral Canaris, the Abwehr neglected its main functions, its attention being focused more on trying to bring down Hitler. Yet Canaris greatly expanded the Abwehr from 150 personnel into a vast world-wide organisation which achieved many notable successes against the Allies. Equally, the SD’s tentacles spread across the Occupied territories as the German forces invaded country after country across Europe.

In this in-depth study of the Abwehr’s rise to power, 1935 to 1943, its activities in Russia, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Japan, China, Manchuko and Mongolia are examined, as well as those in Thailand, French Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Arab nations. In this period, the Abwehr built a complex network of individual agents with transmitters operating from commercial, diplomatic and consular premises. Before, and in the early stages of the war, it later became apparent, the Abwehr was controlling a number of agents in Britain. Indeed, it was only after the war that the scale of the Abwehr’s activities became known, the organisation having of around 20,000 members.

This is a book about the German Abwehr that would grow into a large organisation that had tentacles throughout many international countries. Written by the author Nigel West, probably the best person to write this book due to his huge knowledge and writings based upon the various intelligence services. Always a detailed and comprehensive writer this book is no different, and will be an important book for anyone interested in the intelligence services.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Allied Air Campaign Against Hitler's U-boats

The Allied Air Campaign Against Hitler's U-boats written by

Timothy S. Good and published by Frontline Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 256

No weapon platform sank more U-boats in the Second World War than the Allied aircraft.

Whether it was an American plane operating from American escort carriers, US aircraft

from Royal Air Force bases, or British aircraft from bases throughout the world, these

officers and men became the most decisive factor in turning the tide of the Battle of the

Atlantic against the German submarine threat. While the German crews could threaten

escort vessels with torpedoes, or avoid them by remaining submerged, their leaders

never developed an effective strategy against aircraft.

However, the Allied aircraft did not enjoy much early success. British, Canadian and Australian air crews that fought the U-boats from 1939 until 1941 achieved few triumphs. They possessed neither the aircraft nor the bases necessary to deliver consistent lethal attacks against German submarines.

In 1941, the Royal Air Force finally began implementing an effective aircraft response when it initiated training on the American-built Consolidated B-24 Liberators. Supported by other types then in service, these four-engine bombers would prove to be decisive. With America’s entry into the war, the United States Navy and the United States Army Air Forces also began employing Liberators against the U-boats so that by mid-1943, the Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander of U-boat forces, withdrew his submarines from the North Atlantic in recognition of the Allied aircraft’s new dominance.

From Dönitz’s retreat to the end of the war, Allied aircraft continued to dominate the U-boat battle as it shifted to other areas including the Bay of Biscay. Dönitz eventually ordered his U-boats to remain on the surface and engage Allied aircraft as opposed to submerging. This approach did lead to the demise of some Allied aircraft, but it also resulted in even more U-boat being sunk. Most critically, Dönitz acknowledged with his new policy that he knew of no tactics or weapons that would defend his submarines from Allied aircraft. In the end, it was a matter of choosing whether his submariners would die submerged or die surfaced. Either way, Allied aircraft prevailed.

This book The Allied Air Campaign Against Hitler’s U-Boats was a book I was quite interested to read, mainly because its not a subject I have read too many books about. But this book can certainly be said to be a very comprehensive book full of much detail and knowledge, the author Timothy S. Good certainly knows quite a bit about this subject. The book was written in chronological order and we learn a lot about the planes, communications, various operations and fighting between the two sides and the locations of war in the Atlantic. The only downside I found really to the book was that it was very US-centric and coming from an area that was heavily involved in the campaign on the Atlantic, I was hoping to learn a little more about my area. But other than that it was a very comprehensive and detailed read, and one I will pick up and read again soon.

Allied Air Operations 1939–1940 - The War Over France and the Low Countries

Allied Air Operations 1939–1940 - The War Over France and the Low Countries

written by Jerry Murland and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 -

Hardback - Pages 192

While much has been written about the Battle of Britain, the air war over France and

the Low Countries from September 1939 to June 1940 has been largely neglected –

until now. As expert aviation author Jerry Murland reveals in this fascinating book,

there may have been little ground action until May 1940 but the war in the air was far

from ‘phoney’.

In contrast to their adversaries, the Allied air forces on the mainland of Europe were poorly equipped, regardless of increased development from 1934 onwards. But in spite of this, when the German invasion began, the Low Countries of Holland and Belgium fought back tenaciously. While development of the Spitfire, Blenheim and Wellington was continuing at a pace, the RAF with only four squadrons of Hurricanes among a force of outdated bi-planes, was a little more prepared than the French, but still woefully outgunned by the Luftwaffe.

While the Allied air forces of Britain, France and the Low Countries may have been inferior, the gallantry and tenacity of their pilots makes for inspiring reading.

This is a work that will enthral and inform all those interested in the history of the Second World War, particularly aviation enthusiasts.

Allied Air Operations Over France and the Low Countries is an often missed or

forgotten part of the war, but it actually is the front piece of the war in which France,

Belgium & Holland had to take on the brunt of Germany and the Luftwaffe. Jerry

Murland has written an excellent book here, which is very good indeed in its detailed

and comprehensive research and chronological look at events and air battles at the

start of World War Two. While we hear very little about how the low countries acted or

fared during the early part of the war, a lot was actually learnt and the likes of Holland

and Belgium put up a big fight against the Luftwaffe. I enjoyed the way the book was

laid out and Murland writes a good book, which is complimented by some good

photographs. I really enjoyed this book and would happily recommend this book to


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Henry V A History of His Most Important Places and Events

Henry V A History of His Most Important Places and Events written by Deborah

Fisher and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardcover - Pages 208

There are many books about King Henry V, several of which concentrate entirely on his

victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. This one looks at his life from a different point

of view, concentrating on places that were important in his life and can still be visited by

those interested in getting a better feel for the man and understanding how his character

was shaped by his environment.

Henry spent much of his youth on military campaigns in Ireland, Wales and the Marches. As Prince of Wales, he became battle-hardened as a teenager when he received a near-fatal wound at Shrewsbury. Despite a fraught relationship with his father, he quickly reinvented himself as a model king and set his eyes firmly on the crown of France. Thereafter, much of his nine-year reign was spent on military campaigns beyond the British Isles.

The book takes its reader on a journey from the rural areas around Monmouth, where he was born, to Harlech Castle, where he put an end to Owain Glyndwr's rebellion, and from his coronation at Westminster Abbey to his private retreat at Kenilworth. We see him seize Harfleur and take the long road to Calais, culminating in the Battle of Agincourt, one of the most spectacular victories ever won by an English army. We follow his continued campaigns in France, through his marriage to Catherine of Valois at Troyes, to his eventual, tragically premature, death at Vincennes.

This book wants the reader to explore their knowledge about a person in this case through Henry V, some of the prominent places they stayed at or visited during their lifetime. This is a fascinating book as your getting the history and how certain places were important to that person. I particularly enjoyed the Welsh bits of this book and learnt quite a bit I didn’t know before, the author in fact has tried to concentrate on places or locations that are still around today. This will enable people today to visit these places through the handy appendix at the back of the book. The author Deborah Fisher has done a really good job with this book, and the up-to-date locations idea brings this book more of a modern feel to it. I would highly recommend this book.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

From the Battlefield to the Big Screen - Audie Murphy, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Dirk Bogarde in WW2

From the Battlefield to the Big Screen - Audie Murphy, Laurence Olivier, Vivien

Leigh and Dirk Bogarde in WW2 written by Melody Foreman and published by

Frontline Books - £22 - Hardback - Pages 248

Look closely behind the lives of the stars who appeared in a host of legendary war films

and discover how memories of their real-life experiences in the armed forces were

haunted with heartbreak and yet filled with extraordinary heroism. Just what did America’s

most decorated soldier Audie Murphy go through in battle which led him to star as himself

in the classic war film, To Hell and Back?

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Murphy joined the US Army aged just 17. He went on to fight at Anzio, the Colmar Pocket, and Nuremberg. And for single-handedly holding off an enemy attack he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. But Murphy’s military and celebrity stardom did little to extinguish the pain of his private battle to fit in to a new post-war world he perceived as disappointing, shallow and unfulfilling. Tormented by PTSD Murphy was a man unable to escape from his past. Only the great director and decorated wartime documentary maker John Huston gained Murphy’s true respect.

When war broke out on 3 September 1939, a number of British stars, including Laurence Olivier, his future wife Vivien Leigh, and David Niven, were in the United States under contract to the Hollywood Studios. Keen not to ‘shirk their duties at home’, and against advice from the British Consul, they made their way back to Blighty.

Olivier joined the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. Then with Churchill’s approval he directed and starred in powerful propaganda films, including Shakespeare’s Henry V. In 1943 the beautiful Vivien Leigh ruined her health by enduring the brutalities of the North African climate to entertain the troops in the desert. Meantime, Dirk Bogarde was a British Army intelligence officer seconded to the pioneering RAF Medmenham where he studied aerial photographs and pinpointed enemy targets for Bomber Command. As Lieutenant van den Bogaerde he was posted to France just after D-Day. He went on to star in many leading war films such as Appointment in London (1953) and King and Country (1964). Years later in 1991 Sir Dirk Bogarde was interviewed by the author of this book. He had witnessed the horrors of Belsen in April 1945 and said it changed his attitude to life forever.

In this book, the author honours the real-life stories of some big screen idols who showed true grit behind the glamour.

This book takes a look at four individual film stars and their lives as military figures and and their roles as Hollywood film stars. The book takes a look at all four people Audie Murphy, Laurence Oliver, Vivean Leigh and Dirk Bogarde, and they all come into the war at various times and hold different roles in  different arms of the forces. The book was an interesting one and it was nice to read about their experiences, but the book didn’t really grab my interest, I think this is maybe because I don’t really have much knowledge of the four stars and this book might be aimed more at older readers.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Women Interned in World War Two Sumatra

Women Interned in World War Two Sumatra written by Barbara Coombes
and published by Pen & Sword Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 272

Thousands of women and children were among those who struggled to leave

Singapore just before capitulation on February 15 1942; their hope was to reach

safety. For many that hope was never realised; countless numbers drowned as

ships were bombed and sunk on their way to ‘safety’. The ‘lucky’ ones who

survived the onslaught of the ships would become guests of the Japanese; many

of these would not live to see the end of the war.

Two very different women fleeing on those last ships and subsequently interned in

camps throughout Sumatra were Margaret Dryburgh, a missionary and teacher, and

Shelagh Brown, a secretary at the Singapore Naval Base. Their paths crossed briefly

prior to the catastrophic events of 1942 and met again in internment. The ‘Captives

Hymn’ composed by Margaret Dryburgh was initially sung by herself along with

Shelagh Brown and friend Dorothy MacLeod on 5 July 1942. It has since been sung

at services throughout internment and continues to be sung at services all over the

world. Music and faith were fundamental to both their lives and Margaret’s creative

talents lifted the spirits of everyone during those dark and difficult days.

In a remarkable partnership, when the women were struggling to find something new

that would lift their flagging spirits, Margaret and fellow internee Norah Chambers

produced a ‘Vocal Orchestra’ using women’s voices in place of instruments. The

first performance stunned the entire camp; they had never heard anything so

beautiful and momentarily made them feel that they were free and floating away

with the music.

This true account, using personal diaries and family documents traces Margaret

Dryburgh and Shelagh Brown’s journey from childhood through to adulthood and

internment. Early life shapes adult life and perhaps contributed to their response to

captivity which showed courage, tenacity, perseverance and surprisingly, given the

appalling conditions, a good deal of humour.

Women Interned in World War Two Sumatra follows the story of two women
from Singapore that had been living there but were trying to flee when the
Japanese invaded in 1942. The story follows Margaret Dryburgh and Shelagh
Brown, two quite different women bought together by harsh circumstances.
We see how the two women try to keep their spirits up during a time of
confinement, we learn how the two women grew up from children and how
they became strong women and what they had to go through from primary
sources and personal accounts. I found this book/story to be quite a moving
one, and if you want to learn what life is like as a prisoner in a camp in a
foreign country, this book is certainly up there with the best of them. It has
certainly been quite a moving book to read.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Land Craft 11: Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts, 1944–1945

Land Craft 11: Pakwagen SDKFZ 234/3 and 234/4 Heavy Armoured Cars

German Army, Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe Units - Western and Eastern Fronts,

1944–1945 written by Dennis Oliver and published by Pen & Sword Books -

£16.99 - Softcover - Pages 64

Experience in the Polish and French campaigns had convinced the German high

command of the value of fast-moving, armed reconnaissance vehicles. But it was

realised that many of the early designs were too lightly-armed and development

of a heavy eight-wheeled prototype resulted in the Sdkfz 234 series of armoured

cars, the first of which entered service in late 1943. Built by the firm of Büssing-NAG,

these sturdy and reliable vehicles were gradually up-armed and served in the

infantry support role and eventually as tank killers, largely as the result of Hitler's

desperation to arm as many vehicles as possible with anti-tank weapons.

Drawing on official documentation and unit histories Dennis investigates the

formations that operated these vehicles and uses archive photos and extensively

researched colour illustrations to examine the markings, camouflage and technical

aspects of the Sdkfz 234/2, 234/3 and 234/4 armoured cars that served on the

Western and Eastern Fronts in the last months of the war. A key section of his book

displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery

of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details

as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also

examined, providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate

representation of these historic vehicles.

This book follows the same format as all the previous books, which I must state is an excellent format. Although I might not be a huge modeller fan, I build a few a year. But I love reading these books, you get a history run-through, drawings in various stages and design, camouflage designs dependent on the theatre of war, various photos of the machine in real life, photos of the models in various scenarios and then you get detailed information/tables about the numbers and where they were allocated. These are really first-class books, and if I find them incredibly helpful the avid modeller must love them. 

This particular book looks at the rarely mentioned Pakwagen from the German army, now I can see these as being an asset in North Africa or wide open space terrains like you would find on the Eastern front because you need vehicles to be quick and agile. In my opinion, it looks like a beefed-up Land Rover/Jeep with a big gun, so I can see its benefits in certain battles and landscapes. But I can see them being taken out quite quickly. I’ve really enjoyed this book and certainly one for the avid modeller.

The Battle of Reichswald - Rhineland - February 1945

The Battle of the Reichswald Rhineland - February 1945 written by Tim Saunders and published by Pen & Sword Books - £22 - Hardback - Pag...