Images of War Armoured Warfare on the Eastern Front
By Anthony Tucker-Jones
Published by Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
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The Eastern Front during World War 2 was considered by the German’s the posting from hell. In the first year of this campaign the Germans issued a medal for the troops that had served in this hellish environment. Not only did they have to contend with the human waves of the Russian forces but also the bitterly cold environment. This medal became known as the “Frozen Meat Medal” - such was the awful conditions the Germans experienced.
During this campaign the German armoured units played a vital and critical role. There were a series of major tank battles which were previously unmatched by their scale and ferocity. These huge armoured battles illustrated and indicated the necessity to have high quality armoured vehicles and tanks in particular.
This book presents fascinating images of armoured combat and the daily routines of tank warfare during World War 2. The daily lives of the tank crews were subject to appalling conditions and they had not only to work in such difficult conditions but to fight in them as well. The problems of re-supply, training and maintenance are well illustrated in the book.
The book is a photographic record (as its title states) rather than a detailed “textbook” on the Eastern Front. There are many interesting images, some of which have never been previously published and they amply illustrate the destructive reality of armoured warfare. There are images from the initial triumphant entry of the Germans deep into Russian territory and the massive counter-offensives which drove the Germans back to Berlin and defeated them.
The presentation of the images is roughly based on the chronology of events. There are chapters on the initial development of German / Russian armoured forces prior to Operation Barbarossa, Operation Barbarossa itself, Zhukov’s defence of Moscow, Kharkov, Stalingrad, the Second Battle of Kharkov, Kursk, Operation Bagration, the Russian’s at the Oder and the final tank battle for Berlin. Each chapter has a short factual description of the battle / operation and then there follows the images. Each image has the best possible caption which will help any researcher. There are many shots of armour that had short production runs and “experimental” vehicles. The captions draw the reader’s attention to the small details that could be easily overlooked and all important notes are given.
If you are looking for a pictorial book presenting images of this horrific front then this book is ideal for you. It will also appeal to the researcher who is seeking images of the lesser known armoured vehicles especially those with short production runs. In short, the author has collated an excellent collection of images which vividly reveal the Eastern Front experience and he must be commended.