Book Review German Military Vehicles In The Spanish Civil War

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    German Military Vehicles In The Spanish Civil War
    'A Comprehensive study of the deployment of German vehicles on the eve of war.
    By José Mara Manrique, Jose Mara Mata, Lucas Molina.'

    German Military Vehicles in the Spanish Civil War

    Frontline Books
    Pages: 231
    Illustrations: Integrated B&W & colour plates
    ISBN: 9781473878839
    Published: 4th November 2019

    Not such a well-covered area, at least in our sphere, but certainly significant to the later development of the Panzerwaffe. The thing appears to be based on the Authors' personal collections of SCW images, and that's really what it's mostly about - the pictures - which are very well reproduced & certainly refreshing, as almost none of them could be called 'same old same old'. Fascinating to see rather familiar machines in a different context, and throughout a reminder that the Soviets & Nazis were sending some of their most modern materiel to Spain for a bit of field testing. (The Sovs fielding rather more capable armour with T26 leading the pack, but both sides learning a fair bit about what's what, while teaching the locals a thing or two).

    It isn't exactly heavy on text, though there's evidence of solid research into precisely what units were sent where, right down to named officers & personalities supporting them. The biographies of a handful of senior figures are maybe a little 'Wiki' in format & depth, but they're there to establish leading figures & it isn't pretending to be a comprehensive history of events - it sticks with the subtitle & focuses on machinery, though there's a fair few nuggets of pleasing info in there - eg.:Only Gefreiter/Lance Corporals up allowed to volunteer, and all promoted to Feldwebel/Sergeant on arrival (though not technically German soldiers once there so I'm intrigued how often rank was retained on return). It all implies the authors would be more than capable of going deeper if allowed.
    The primary thrust of the main text section is to give background to how the vehicles & men were selected & shipped over, with anything interesting fleshed out where appropriate.

    An easy read.
    Moves briskly through the details & the captions to many many photos are informative (on vehicles) & to the point. Colour section in the centre with some illustrations & paintings along with assorted insignia & 'memorabilia' (not colour photographs of actual vehicles) Not entirely sure why the colour illustrations also appear in monochrome throughout the book, but I suppose they are all in spots that refer to the vehicles shown..
    Another title that's more of a gazetteer than a full-blown history, but a solid gazetteer that I certainly enjoyed with only a dilettante knowledge of the war, and which has raised a few further questions to chase up - surely a good thing. It isn't just tanks - everything German; wheeled, tracked, or halftracked, that served with the Condor Legion is pretty well-served by the photos.

    Only real quibble is that almost every page has a peculiar 'textured/document' background that sort of irked me especially when it (rarely) slightly obscures the text.
    No idea what that's all about, but think nice plain white pages would have made for a more visually pleasing whole. A small thing, though. (Did make me wonder if it's been printed in colour in some other format before as I could see it working better in a glossy book. The original Spanish edition came out a few years ago in a slightly larger format.)

    Worth getting if you're interested in German machinery, or even machinery of the War/period.
    Well-written, well-illustrated, well-edited. Plenty of 'nuggets' of info, and has increased my interest in what went on in Spain.


    With the traditional thanks to P&S, who sorted a review copy.
    CL1 and Orwell1984 like this.
  2. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Bought this myself as the SCW is my area of interest and must echo your views.
    The authors have written a large number of books on the conflict, most of which have been translated into English.
    This isn't an indepth history book but it does what it intends to do.

    On a side note, I'm wondering if the odd back ground to the pages is an attempt to stop illegal duplication of the text.

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