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Als Panzermann in Afrika und Italien 1942-45, Panzerregiment 8 und schwere Panzer-Abt. 508

I was recently asked if I could review a new book called Als Panzermann in Afrika und Italien 1942-45,
Panzerregiment 8 und schwere Panzer-Abt. 508
. What a book!

Cover

This is an incredible photo journal detailing a soldiers experiences through pictures, diary entries, and letters home.

Lets get to the details first. The book is approximately 10 by 12 inches or 25 by 28cm, a large book. In its 248 pages are 258 pictures with 56 of those in colour. There are 13 maps in colour and the text is in both German and English. ISBN is 978-3-941437-19-7. My copy came from the publishers Luftfahrtverlag-Start  but I have seen it at RZM  also.

What exactly is this book about? Volume 1 in the series focuses on Hans Becker. Attached to the headquarters staff of the 8th Panzer Regiment in Africa in 1942-43, he extensively photographed front line operations there. After he was wounded, he was flown home, and after recovering from his wounds, in autumn 1943 he joined the 508th Heavy Panzer Battalion during its formation. Soon afterwards, the battalion commander tasked him with “recording the battalion’s path photographically, to illustrate the war diary” (This paragraph comes from the publisher and I couldn't say it any better). I found it quite interesting to read of his perspective of the units he was in, and the war around him.  His experiences in France in a Work Company and his thoughts on those who preferred the comfortable life over soldiering, to his experiences during the low level flight across the Mediterranean and the pranks of the Luftwaffe crew of his aircraft. His trek across North Africa was well detailed. We even glimpse at life recuperating in Germany after being injured. Finally the action in Italy showing not only the war but the good and bad interaction with the civilians. The book ends with a short sojourn as an American POW. Truly interesting stuff.

His photographs show him, his friends, units, and life on the front. He was an accomplished amateur photographer and this shows with the quality of his work.

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Tiger turrets

Now I know what to do with my disembodied Tigers.

map

And check out the colour pictures.

colour

Who would be interested in this book? Well if you are interested in the German Army during WWII this gives great photographic insight from the pointy end, especially as he served in the Headquarters of 2 Panzer Regiments. If you are someone interested in the human aspect, I think this is a great look into human nature and the soldier. If you are a modeler interested in  the Africa Corps and the war in the desert, the photographic references are a gold mine. So many things I have never seen or noticed before. I actually have a number of ideas now for models I could build. As I am more interested in the Italian campaign I have again found a gold mine of photographic details. If you want to start your library, this would be a great first choice. I feel the price is well worth what you are getting. 

If you haven't guessed yet, I am thrilled with this book and can't wait to see what else is coming in the future.  If you are interested in the German Army, Luftfahrtverlag-Start has one other book currently available called Endkampf um das Reichsgebiet 1944-1945. They also have a Naval book and a number of Luftwaffe books, Luftwaffe im Focus. Now to save up and get the Luftwaffe books for my collection.

I would like to thank the Publishers for the book and the opportunity to review it. Visit their site at http://www.luftfahrtverlag-start.de/index.en.html for more.

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