World War Two - Vintage Airfix


WWII books

All these titles are available to purchase from Pen and Sword.

Contents:
- FV430 Series - By Robert Griffin. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- M7 Priest - By David Doyle. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- 10 Commando - By Ian Dear..
- 1000 Days on the River Kwai - By Colonel Cary Owtram..
- 5th SS Wiking at War 1941-1945 - By Ian Baxter..
- 6th SS Mountain Division Nord at War 1941-1945 - By Ian Baxter..
- 7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen At War 1941-1945 - By Ian Baxter..
- A Battle Too Far - By Carole McEntee-Taylor..
- A Clear Premonition - By Tim Lloyd..
- A Cruel Captivity - By Ellie Taylor..
- A Doctor In The XIVth Army - By Charles Evans..
- A Drop too Many - By Major-General J Frost..
- A French GI at Omaha Beach - By Caroline Jolivet..
- A German General on the Eastern Front - By Johannes Hürter, Translated by Christine Brocks..
- A Reluctant Hero - By Richard Hopton..

 


 

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FV430 Series

By Robert Griffin

FV430 SeriesDescription:

During the Second World War the British infantry found itself lacking suitable transport to cope with the fast moving German Blitzkrieg tactics. Various stop-gap measures were introduced with mixed success but, with the pots-war nuclear biological and chemical threat, it was imperative that a robust solution was found.

The FV300 and FV400 Cambridge carriers paved the way for the introduction of the AFV430 series in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War. Initially a basic armoured personnel carrier, the series grew to cover a multitude of roles; command, recovery, mortar, Swingfire and remote mine clearing to name but a selection. Over 50 years later variants are still in service.

This classic Images of War book not only describes in words and images the AFV430 series but traces the development of infantry carriers for the British Army.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another well written and informative addition to the Images of War series. The images of the variants are in colour and clear and will be of great use to the modeller. The detailed history of development adds to the appreciation of this armoured vehicle.

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M7 Priest

By David Doyle

M7 PriestDescription:

The M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, dubbed the Priest, was the most successful and widely used example of American self-propelled artillery during WWII. Examples continued to be used by the U.S. Army during the Korean war, and beyond, even serving Allied countries into the 1970s. Coined the Priest due to its pulpit-like structure for the gun commander, this armored fighting vehicle would see action in North Africa, Italy, and the D-Day landings in Normandy and all the way to Germany.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is nicely laid out in a chronological order with an explanation of each image. Reading this book, you will gain a whole new appreciation for the M7 and its development.

As the M7 Priest is currently not very well covered by model manufacturers, this book will be a great aid the scratch build modeller wishing to build an early variant.

This is a superb reference book for armoured vehicle enthusiasts and historians. And a worthy addition to the Images of War series.

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10 Commando

By Ian Dear

10 CommandoDescription:

It is indeed remarkable, since the archives of the Second World War must have been pillaged, ransacked, burrowed into, and turned over almost as thoroughly as Monte Cassino itself, that no book has been written about one of the strangest units created during that or any other conflict. The unit was called Ten Commando - and the shroud of secrecy that enveloped it at the time has scarcely been un-wrapped by the passge of the years. 

Ten Commando was composed entirely of men who came from Germany and from Nazi-occupied countries such as Holland, Poland, and France. Secrecy was vital, for if an Axis agent infiltrated into Ten Commando he could do untold harm. If a member of Ten Commando were capture and his unit identified, the rules of the Geneva Convention were unlikely to worry the captors. This overwhelming need for absolute secrecy was so well instilled in the men of Ten Commando that, until now, little was known about their daring exploits behind enemy lines, including coordination of resistance fighters and sabotage. 

The result of Ian Dear's painstaking research is a remarkable book indeed and a worthy tribute to an incredibly brave group of cladestine soldiers who belong near the top of the WWII Roll of Honor.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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1000 Days on the River Kwai

By Colonel Cary Owtram

1000 Days on the River KwaiDescription:

Memoirs by former prisoners of war of the Japanese invariably make for moving reading but Colonel Owtram's account of his years of captivity has a special significance.

After being captured in Singapore and transported to the infamous Burma railway he was appointed the British Camp Commandant at Chungkai, one of the largest POW camps.

Many ex-prisoners testified to the mental and physical courage that he showed protecting POWs from the worst excesses of their captors. Of course his account does not admit to this but what is clear is that in addition to the deprivation and hardship suffered by all POWs, the author bore heavy responsibility for those under his charge and the daily trauma of dealing with the unpredictable Japanese.

It is not only the prisoners who suffered but their families at home. The postscript written by the author's daughters vividly demonstrates the agonies of doubt and worry that loved ones went through and the effect of the experience on all.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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5th SS Wiking at War 1941-1945

By Ian Baxter

5th SS Wiking at War 1941-1945Description:

Drawing on a superb collection of rare and unpublished photographs the 5th SS Division Wiking 1941 - 1945 is the 5th book in the Waffen-SS Images of War Series by Ian Baxter. The book tells the dramatic story of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking at War. The men of the division were recruited from foreign volunteers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. Not all were collaborators - the choice they were all too often presented with was join up or be locked up - or worse. During the course of the war, the division served on the Eastern Front in 1941. It surrendered in May 1945 to the American forces in Austria.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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6th SS Mountain Division Nord at War 1941-1945

By Ian Baxter

6th SS Mountain Division Nord at War 1941-1945Description:

Drawing on a superb collection of rare and unpublished photographs the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord 1941 - 1945 is the 6th book in the Waffen-SS Images of War Series compiled by Ian Baxter. The book tells the story of the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord, which was formed in February 1941 as SS Kampfgruppe Nord (SS Battle Group North). The Division was the only Waffen-SS unit to fight in the Arctic Circle when it was stationed in Finland and northern Russia between June and November 1941. It fought in Karelia until the Moscow Armistice in September 1944, at which point it left Finland. It suffered heavy losses in the Operation Nordwind in January 1945 and in early April 1945, the division was destroyed by the US forces near Budingen, Germany.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen At War 1941-1945

By Ian Baxter

7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen At War 1941-1945Description:

Drawing on a superb collection of rare and unpublished photographs the The 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen 1941 - 1945 is the 7th book in the Waffen-SS Images of War Series written by Ian Baxter. The book tells the story of the 7th SS Mountain Division was formed in 1941 from the Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) volunteers and conscripts from the Banat, Independent State of Croatia, Hungary and Romania. It fought a brutal counter insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces in the occupied Serbia and Montenegro. It was given the title Prinz Eugen after Prince Eugene of Savoy, an outstanding military leader of the Habsburg Empire who liberated the Banat and Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire in the Austro Turkish War. It was initially named the SS-Freiwilligen-Division Prinz Eugen (SS-Volunteer Division Prinz Eugen).

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Battle Too Far

By Carole McEntee-Taylor

A Battle Too FarDescription:

Port Said September 1st 1945
"As the ship pulled into Alex, the dockside was a hive of activity. The captain had radioed ahead and so there was a battalion of the Kings' African Rifles (KAR)waiting to disarm us as we disembarked. All these KAR's were standing at the order as a staff officer informed us that we were to be placed under arrest and escorted to Khartoum, here we would contemplate our mutiny for 2 years. Our battalion was still under arms; the sound of the cocking of weapons greeted the officer's threat, and a lone voice asked "And who's going to escort the darkies?" All our officers were powerless, we had the drop on the KAR's, all that was needed was for someone to pull the trigger. 

A Battle Too Far is the true story of Rifleman Henry Taylor 6923581, late 7th Battalion The Rifle Brigade (1stBattalion London Rifle Brigade) and is based on his diaries and recollections as told to his son Lawrence. The Foreword is by Lt-Gen Sir Christopher Wallace Chairman of The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum in Winchester.

Henry's war began in October 1942 as the 2nd Battle of El Alamein commenced and continued almost non-stop for the next three years. From El Alamein to Tunisia he fought with the 8th Army as they finally pushed Rommel back to the sea. Expecting to return to Britain in preparation for D Day at the last minute plans were changed and they were ordered to Italy instead. Here they found themselves fighting for every inch of land against determined, well dug-in defenders, in conditions often resembling the trenches of WW1. Their reward? Their campaigns forgotten as the world concentrated on the D Day invasion and to be called 'D Day Dodgers' despite enduring some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

As Europe celebrated VE Day Henry's war continued as they raced to Austria to prevent Yugoslav forces annexing Carinthia in the opening shots of the Cold War. Then, as the men around him were de-mobbed, Henry and the rest of the Battalion were sent back to Egypt to protect British interests in the continuing civil unrest. Dejected and fed up it only took one incident to spark a mutiny.

As featured in The Enfield Gazette.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Clear Premonition

By Tim Lloyd

A Clear PremonitionDescription:

Tim Lloyd was aged twenty-two, a lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade, when he was killed in action near Florence in July, 1944. His personality made a vivid impression on his companions, and after all these years he is remembered still for his extraordinary zest for life, his indomitable cheerfulness and his appreciation of beautiful things. If he had lived he might well have joined the famous publishing firm of his brother-in-law, Sir William Collins, but more likely he would have been a theatre designer, possibly a great one. He was also brave, though his period at the front line was brief. Raleigh Trevelyan, a year younger, regarded him as his best friend. It was a shock when Tim's nephew Samson Lloyd showed Raleigh Tim's letters to his mother when they were together in North Africa and Italy. For the first time Raleigh reread extracts from his own diary, and found himself plunged into memories he hoped he had put to rest. Tim had been ill in Italy, so missed being sent to Anzio Beachhead, the subject of of Raleigh's much praised and harrowing battle memoir The Fortress, and also part of his later book Rome '44. Meanwhile Tim continued his letters to his mother, outstanding not only in their descriptions of landscape and people, but as an example of a son's deep devotion. Sue Ryder, who had first met Tim on the boat to South Africa, was convinced that he had a clear premonition of what lay in store. Based on his letters to Mrs Lloyd, the book traces his childhood at Repton, his passion for the theatre and his marionette shows in ENSA, also life in the ranks and wild times in London after being commissioned.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Cruel Captivity

By Ellie Taylor

A Cruel CaptivityDescription:

Carefully and sensitively researched, A Cruel Captivity describes the ordeals of, and lasting impact on, survivors of Japanese captivity.

Differing in a number of respects from other moving POW accounts, this book covers the experiences of 22 servicemen from the Army, Royal Navy, RAF and volunteer forces who were held captive in numerous locations through South East Asia including Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong, the Spice Islands and Japan itself. Some had to endure the inhumane conditions during hazardous journeys on the ‘hellships’ and all suffered appalling cruelty, starvation, disease and prolonged degradation on an epic scale. Yet these were the fortunate ones – many thousands perished and their graves were unmarked.

The book also examines the differing mental and physical effects that the prisoners’ captors’ cruel treatment had on them. The author’s handling of the ‘legacy’ of their experiences during the post-war years makes this moving book particularly important. For a full understanding of this dreadful aspect of the Second World War, A Cruel Captivity is a must-read.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Doctor In The XIVth Army

By Charles Evans

A Doctor In The XIVth ArmyDescription:

Charles Evans records his passage from idyllic youth, fresh from Oxford in 1939, into the harsh reality of a junior doctor in Burma. Beautifully written and elegantly vivid, his diaries illuminate the progress of this ugly campaign while his post-war life saw ground-breaking work as a mountaineer, eventually rewarded by a knighthood.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Drop too Many

By Major-General J Frost

A Drop too ManyDescription:

No-one who reads of the Battle of Arnhem can fail to be inspired by 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment's heroic defence of the north end of the Rhine road bridge - 'The Bridge Too Far' - for four nights and three days. John Frost's inspiring leadership as their Commanding Officer was a major factor in the battle, which is now remembered as a legendary feat of arms.

A Drop Too Many, Major-General Frost's war memoir, starts with his service in the Iraq Levies before he became one of the first British paratroopers. In this superb book, he describes the major airborne operations which he took part in, namely Bruneval, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and Arnhem, where he and many of his men were captured. He goes on to tell of his experiences as a POW and the reconstruction of his Battalion after the German surrender. Written with modesty and humour, A Drop Too Many paints the definitive picture of what it meant to be a member of the airborne elite in wartime told by one of 'The Greats'.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A French GI at Omaha Beach

By Caroline Jolivet

A French GI at Omaha BeachDescription:

Bernard Dargols was a young Parisian student working in New York when war broke out in 1939. While his family remained in France and was threatened by the Vichy regime's anti-Semitic laws, Bernard decided to enlist in the US Army, convinced that it would be more useful to fight the occupying forces.

Following his long military training, Bernard became a GI in the Military Intelligence Service, 2nd US Infantry Division, and landed on the infamous Omaha Beach in June 1944. He took part in the liberation of Normandy, Brittany and the Ardennes, before becoming a member of the CIC, the American counter-espionage service, and was finally demobilised in 1946.

This extraordinary story of the 'GI from the Place des Vosges', is told here by his granddaughter, Caroline Jolivet.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A German General on the Eastern Front

By Johannes Hürter, Translated by Christine Brocks

A German General on the Eastern FrontDescription:

The Eastern Front, 1941. Operation Barbarossa. Hitler's armies advance into the Soviet Union to conquer Lebensraum in the East. Among the corps commanders is General Gotthard Heinrici, a career soldier, a highly decorated First World War veteran, who observed and recorded in his diary and letters the unprecedented harshness of the German conduct of the campaign. With remarkable candour he described his experiences at the front and the everyday lives of the troops under his command - and the appalling conditions in which the war was fought. In his writings he revealed his growing doubts about Hitler's strategy and his mounting concern as the Wehrmacht was implicated in war crimes and the first actions of the Holocaust. This selection from Heinrici's diaries and letters, edited and with a perceptive introduction by Johannes Hürter, gives a fascinating inside view of the fighting on the Eastern Front from a commander's perspective. It is also provides an unusual insight into the feelings, attitudes and acute anxieties of one of the Wehrmacht's most able generals in the midst of a brutal campaign.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Reluctant Hero

By Richard Hopton

A Reluctant HeroDescription:

A Reluctant Hero is the first biography of Captain Robert Ryder V.C., Royal Navy (1908-1986), one of the greatest naval heroes of the Second World War. Ryder led the audacious raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 which completely destroyed the port's dry dock, depriving the German's mighty pocket battleships of its use for the remainder of the war. The raid was one of the most brilliantly-executed combined operations of the war, much of the credit for which must go to Ryder's outstanding planning and courageous leadership. He received one of five Victoria Crosses awarded for the operation.

Although Ryder's name will be forever linked with the raid on St Nazaire, the rest of his war service was no less distinguished. Torpedoed in a 'Q' ship in 1940 he was rescued after clinging to a piece of wreckage for four days. After St Nazaire, he was heavily involved in the planning of combined operations and took part in the ill-fated raid on Dieppe. On 'D' Day he lead a naval assault party in the first wave of the invasion. For the rest of the war Ryder commanded a destroyer on the Arctic convoys.

Ryder's naval career before the war was, as The Times put it on his death, unorthodox. In 1933-34 he, as captain, and four other young naval officers sailed the Tal-Mo-Shan, a 54 food ketch, from Hong Kong to England via the Panama Canal in a voyage lasting exactly a year, an outstanding achievement. Recently there has been press speculation that the voyage was a cover for naval espionage in Japanese waters. The Tal-Mo-Shan herself has now acquired international celebrity as a result of her sail-on part in the Abba film Mamma Mia. Between 1934 and 1937 Ryder served in the Antarctic as captain of the Penola, the base ship of the British Graham Lane Expedition. His formidable navigation and seamanship was largely responsible for the Penola, which was ill-adapted to polar conditions, surviving her ordeal intact. Ryder also took part in some of the earliest ocean yacht races, including the second Fastnet race in 1926.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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