The days of the 'Boy's Bumper Book of Tanks', is fortunately over. New and existing publishers are now producing reference material which, going beyond the 'general' and is getting more and more specific. Many publishers are now going beyond the 'Campaign' style of book to go into greater detail of individual units which fought on a particular front, or even, within a theater which has received poor or generalized coverage. This book, the latest from the Australian Publishing House, The Factory Publishing, concentrates on the vehicles of the Hermann Göring Panzer Division in Sicily - not on their erstwhile Italian Allies or even on the Allied troops facing them. It is THAT specific...
The Book - The bare bones
Hermann Göring - Panzer Division in Sicily (Campaign Series) has just been published by The Factory Publishing and the book is written by Claude Gillono. Published in A4 softcover format, the book has a total of 34 pages.
The Book - In Detail
The Sicily Campaign has been pretty well-covered in other books by other publishers and by other authors. What hasn't been done much before (as far as i'm aware) is to concentrate exclusively on the German combatants and, specifically, on their AFVs.
The book begins with three pages which give the order of battle of HG PD prior to the Allied landings on 10th of july 1943. This also mentions the Italian units which were present but are only mentioned in passing. However, the book is about the German forces and with a couple of tables, covers in this brief introduction AFV strength, Incurred losses and a page detailing the composition of the Hermann Göring PD.
The majority of the book covers (German-sourced) images of the Division in Sicily. Many of these photos were taken by personnel of an attached Propaganda Company - others are archive images from the Imperial War Museum's collection. The photos are used correctly - two (occasionally 1) image per page which allows a good sized photo along with details of the vehicle, background or the troops in the image. Each photo is captioned in some detail listing unit, date (when available) and location (when known). There are a total of 49 black and white photos in the book. The diversity of the vehicles used by HG also seems to be well-reflected. Although there ARE a lot of images of StuG's, there are also lesser-photographed subjects such as the Bison SPG on the 38 (t) chassis, some Beute-Panzers such as captured Marmon-Herrington Armored Cars or a captured Sherman III.. There aren't that many images of the 17 Tiger I's which were on strength at the beginning - those of the famous (and much-modeled) 2/schwere Panzer Abteilung 504, those which are there, are British images of a captured example. Another bonus, due to the nature of the division, are the many images of German Paras.
In the center of the book are the color plates which were done by Dennis Oliver. These are superbly done and cover PZ III's (Ausf. M), IV's (Ausf. G) StuH 42, StuG II (Ausf F), with the final of these four pages dedicated to the Tiger I's. Although the color plates only take up 4 pages, the attention to detail is excellent - all relevant company markings are given separate coverage along with placement details of markings. A detailed graphical explanation of Unit Insignia is included on the inside back cover.
Previously, I have looked in detail at the Sicily Campaign but, in general, only from the Allied viewpoint. This book is an excellent (and inexpensive) introduction to some absolutely excellent modeling subjects - the German AFVs of the campaign. There are now so many excellent models available of the vehicles used by the Hermann Göring PD, this book will give some excellent inspiration to build some very specific vehicles. In this, the book is an absolutely excellent resource.
On the debit side, much as I like the StuG or StuH as modeling subjects, I would like to have seen more images of the other vehicles in the Division's inventory at that time. It's entirely possible that the Tiger I was NOT photographed in this theater as much as it was in others - images can't be published if they don't exist! However, personally speaking I'd have liked to have seen more of the Pz III's and IV's rather than what does seem a pretty 'Stug-Heavy' batch of images...
That minor gripe aside, there ARE absolute gems in the images - the Marmon Herringtons with 47mm guns mounted are superb, the rear view of an Sd.Kfz 10 towing a captured six-pounder or the StuG's with added foliage, suggest some great modeling possibilities.
With the possibility of a further 'tie-in' with Bison (who are already doing decals for some of the vehicles in the publisher's OTHER books) along with existing sheets which can be modified, modeling the Hermann Göring Panzer Division in Sicily, becomes one of these truly great projects - with this book as reference, it becomes a LOT easier! Very Highly Recommended
Highs: The subject area. The quality of both the photos and the color plates is excellentLows: Perhaps too many images of the StuG III in Sicily?Verdict: A superbly useful guide to the markings and vehicles of the Germans in the Sicily campaign.
Our Thanks to The Oliver Publishing Group! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAńA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...