By Hans Seidler
Published by Pen & Sword Military
ISBN: 978 1 78159 273 1

Review by Mark Barnes for War History Online

There is a belter of a picture on page 95 of this book. It shows a German NCO standing by the burnt beams of a structure. He is bareheaded and wearing a small amount of equipment. His sleeves are rolled up and he means business. He is beckoning unseen men to move forward and in his left hand he holds a PPsH sub-machinegun. So what? I’ll tell you. It has all the look of a genuine combat image taken somewhere on the Eastern Front. Perhaps our man is hunting partisans or it’s during one of those bits of high summer in the seasonal fluctuations of the Nazi war machine. All I know is I love it.

Hans Seidler is something of a prolific author of this style of book for Pen & Sword.

He is one of a cluster of collectors of photographs of the Nazi war machine who seem to have found a happy home with the Images of War range of books. I mentioned a while back that a colleague of mine in this business doesn’t like the books at all and built a solid argument why, but I find that many of the titles I’ve seen (and a lot more haven’t crossed my desk at all) are really good fun. This is one of them.

This time the photos all relate to machine guns and sub-machines in use with German forces. We have already seen that not all of them were designed or even made in the Reich. The Germans were not daft and they made use of good kit wherever they found it. So, while we see the inevitable mass of MP40s, MG34s and MG42s, there are examples of captured weapons and a hotchpotch of firearms that were not as numerous as the big three I’ve listed.  You see these weapons on a variety of fronts and in all weathers. There are all the bipods, tripods and anti-aircraft mounts.

The photographs are a mix of stuff you expect from propaganda and press images mixed with snaps from personal albums. There are some gems and a good slab of pretty standard pix. The book should appeal to exponents of the living history art and model makers alike. There is a lot to look at here. The book retails for a penny under thirteen quid and I think this is very good value. I like this book a lot.

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Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.