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Book Review
Victory 1945
Victory 1945: Western Allied Troops in Northwest Europe
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by: Randy Harvey [ HARV ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

HISTORY

“ When the soldiers of the Western Allies – America, Britain, Canada, and Free France – finally celebrated “Victory in Europe” on May 8, 1945, there were few left in the frontline combat units who had landed in Normandy just 11 months earlier. Battles including Normandy, “Markey Garden”, the Scheldt estuary, Alsace, the Hurtgen Forest, the Ardennes, the Rhineland, the Rhine crossing and the final drive across Germany had taken a heavy toll on these frontline infantry – and it was not just the faces that had changed. Equipment, uniforms and tactics had all been revised, reflecting hard-won experience and technological improvements. Victory 1945 explains and illustrates the experience of these troops as they were seasoned in battle. Drawing upon both a mass of official documents and personal memoirs, the text is supported by a comprehensive order of battle, frontline photos, and color plates showing a variety of uniforms, weapons and equipment. “**
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
THE BOOK

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Victory 1945: Western Allied Troops in Northwest Europe as Number 209 in their Elite series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, information charts, participant quotes and detailed captions. It has a 2015 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-0947-6. As the title states, the book examines and discusses western allied troops in Northwest Europe during World War II.
THE CONTENTS

Overview
The Americans At War:
  • Funneling in US divisions
  • Final strength and casualties
  • US 12th and 6th Army Groups

US Infantry
  • Unit organization
  • Newly introduced weapons
  • Learning new tactics

Armor/Infantry Operations
  • Training
  • Tactics
  • Communications & target-marking
  • Tank-riding
  • Tank battalion employment
  • Divisional organization
  • Antitank warfare: tank destroyers – infantry antitank River crossings – the inland navy

Field Artillery
  • Organization
  • Employment and control
  • The “magic” fuse

Replacements & Shortages
  • Personnel
  • Tanks
  • Supplies

Breaching the Siegfried Line
  • The obstacle
  • The methods

Free French Forces
  • Origins and strength
  • Organization
  • Casualties
  • Equipment

British/Canadian 21st Army Group:
  • Learning the trade: Normandy, 1944

Winter & Spring 1944-45
  • Deployment
  • Organization
  • Field artillery
  • Newly introduced weapons
  • Operations
  • Attrition
  • Replacements

Armor/Infantry Operations
  • Theory and practice
  • Wasp flamethrowers
  • Antitank warfare

Spreading the Lessons
  • Dyke-and-polder fighting
  • Night fighting
  • Forest fighting

British 79th Armoured Division: “The Funnies”
  • Swimming, flail, and flamethrower tanks
  • Armored personnel carriers
  • Amphibious carriers

Infantry Small-Unit Tactics
  • Battle schools
  • Notes from official publications

Allied Order Of Battle, May 7, 1945

Select Bibliography

Index
THE TEXT

The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Gordon L. Rottman covers various allied nations’ uniforms, equipment and weapons during WWII in Northeast Europe very well. The table of contents of the book is accurate as to what is discussed; however, it does not prepare you for the wealth of information provided. Gordon L. Rottman goes into great detail in regards to various allied militaries and their uniform types and purposes and related as well as their weapons and much, much more. Gordon L. Rottman not only uses his personal research into the subject he also includes many personal accounts from various military members who took place in titled warfare and provided first-hand accounts of their experiences. Anyone interested in World War II allied uniforms and weaponry will find this book very informative and interesting. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors throughout the book. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on in my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. There were two sections of the book that I found to be very interesting. The first was the section where the process of taking out an enemy bunker on the Siegfried Line was detailed, up to including using bulldozers to bury the bunkers with dirt to kill the enemy or get them to surrender. The other was a where the flaw of the spring in the Sten gun magazines was detailed in regards to how the spring would weaken and therefore the magazine could not be fully loaded with the full count of ammunition due to the spring failing to feed the ammunition as designed.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS

There are a total of 48 black and white photographs shown throughout the book. There are no color photographs featured in this volume. The photographs cover a wide range of subjects such as uniforms, small arms, soft-skinned vehicles, bunkers, fixed field positions, defensive positions, larger weapons and armor, infantry and other such subjects in nice detail. The majority of the photographs are nice, clear, centered and focused images and are of a good quality. I haven’t seen most of the featured photographs before, if not all of them, and I was pleased with this. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs as opposed to the same old over used photographs that many books tend to contain. The photographs will prove to be valuable to the scale figure modeler as well as anyone interested in World War II uniforms, equipment and weapons.

Some of the photographs that I found interesting were:

  • A frontal view of a US M29 Weasel.
  • The crew of a 3in-gun M10 tank destroyer in Belgium in 1945.
  • US infantry men examining an abandoned German machinegun/observation position.
  • A US Sherman tank being recovered by the crew of a US M26 armored tractor-truck.
  • A German bunker on the Siegfried Line disguised as a house.
  • A picture of various British armor and US Jeeps.
  • A LVT being used by British troops to cross the Rhine River in Germany.
  • Various pictures of British “Funnies” tanks .
  • A British soldier armed with a captured German MP-40 submachine gun.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
THE ILLUSTRATIONS

There are 8 color plates by illustrator Peter Dennis which covers various uniforms, equipment and equipment from different allied militaries as well as tactics and diagrams that are all very well done. There are well detailed captions that accompany the illustrations and point out various items of interest. The illustrations of the uniforms and equipment will prove to be valuable references to the scale figure modeler and military uniform and equipment enthusiast.

The color illustrations are of the following:

Plate A

US Army Winter Uniform Combinations, 1944/45

1. Hood, overcoat, and cloth-top overshoes.
1a: The impregnated wool hood.
1b: Arctic overshoe.
2. British groundsheet, and shoepacs.
2a: “Jeep cap”.
2b: Leather glove shell & wool insert.
2c: Shoepac.

Plate B

The New US Army M1943/44 Field Uniform

1. Rifleman, M1943 uniform, fall 1944.
1a: The detachable hood was big enough to be worn over the helmet, but in practice seldom was.
1b: The M1944 combat boot.
2. BAR gunner, snow-camouflage overwhites, winter 1944/45.
2a: The ammunition-carrying bag; this measures 12in high x 7.25in wide x 4.75in deep.
2b: The OD wool glove with leather palm-and-fingers insert.
3. Reversible ski parka.
3a: The M9 projector, with 37mm red and yellow/green flare cartridges.

Plate C

US Army Tank-Infantry Team, 1945
  • An illustration showing a US Sherman tank and supporting infantry attacking an underground enemy bunker.

Plate D

Free French Troops

1. Grenadier-voltigeur, First French Army; Alsace, September 1944.
1a: US M9A1 HEAT rifle grenade.
1b: M19 WP smoke grenade.
1c: M23 colored-smoke streamer grenade.
2. LMG gunner, 3e Division d’Infanterie algérienne; the Vosages, winter 1944.
3. Sergent, 2e Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes/4th SAS Regiment; Netherlands, April 1945.

Plate E

British & Polish Infantry

1. Patrol commander, 1st Battalion Glasgow Highlanders, 52nd (lowland) Division; Gangelt, Dutch-German border, January 1945.
2. No.2 of Bren LMG team, 9th Rifle battalion, 1st Polish Armoured Division; Gilza, Netherlands, October 1944.
3. Flank man, 4th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 52nd (Lowland) Division; Rhineland, February 1945.
4. Rifleman, 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade, 7th Armoured Division; Nieuwstadt, December 1944.

Plate F

British Infantry

1. Corporal, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, Guards Armoured Division; Rhineland, February 1945.
2. Private, 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment, 11th Armoured Division; Netherlands, November 1944.
3. Lance-corporal, 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment, 11th Armoured Division; Elbe river, May 1945.
3a: Close-up detail of how to place the trigger hand on the Enfield No. 4 rifle for rapid reloading.

Plate G

1. British Tank-Riders, 1945
  • A schematic showing the loading plan for placing British infantry troops on Sherman and Churchill tanks for riding purposes.

Plate H

Canadian Infantry

1. Corporal, Lorne Scots, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division; Netherlands autumn 1944.
1a: The shell dressing, carried on the helmet.
1b: The smaller first field dressing, carried in a trouser pocket provided for that purpose at the front of the left hip.
2. Private, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division; Rhineland, early 1945.
2a: Cold weather wool balaclava.
2b: A Mk VII** 2in mortar .
2c: 2in mortar WP smoke round.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.



MAPS

There are no maps provided in this volume.
THE INFORMATION CHARTS

There are 5 informational charts provided which provide information on:
  • Acronyms used in this text, in addition to standard abbreviations of unit titles.
  • Newly introduced US weapons.
  • US field artillery battalion equipment.
  • British & Canadian field artillery: regimental equipment.
  • Newly introduced British weapons.

THE CAPTIONS

The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the photograph or illustration. The captions go into very specific detail as to specific military units, specific individuals, soldier’s military affiliation, dates and locations, weapon types, uniforms and their specific purpose and other such pertinent information. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. The captions themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detailed what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to the who, what, when, why and where. I was very impressed by Gordon L. Rottman’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
THE NOTES

There are 4 notes included in this volume and they are:
  • Imperial War Museum Collections
  • Acknowledgements
  • Note On Unit Designation Differences
  • Author’s Note

CONCLUSION

All in all I am impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains many nice illustrations, photographs and well detailed captions. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library. The scale figure modeler as well as anyone interested in World War II allied uniforms and will find this volume a useful reference
REFERENCES

World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton

The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg

Guns of the Reich
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
George Markham
Arms and Armour Press

Tank And AFV Crew Uniforms Since 1916
Martin Windrow
Color Illustrations by Gerry Embleton
Squadron/Signal Publications

G.I. – The Illustrated History Of The American Soldier, His Uniform And His Equipment
The War in Europe
From Kasserine Pass to Berlin 1942-1945
John P. Langellier
Greenhill Books

Great Weapons Of World War II
John Kirk
Robert Young
Introduction by Bernard E. Trainor
Walker And Company

Search inside Victory 1945: Western Allied Troops in Northwest Europe at the Osprey Publishing web site:

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Look inside Victory 1945: Western Allied Troops in Northwest Europe at the Amazon web site:

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Look inside the Kindle Edition of World War II Winter and Mountain Warfare Tactics at the Amazon web site:

Amazon Kindle Edition Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: Well written and detailed text and captions Nice photographs and illustrations.
Lows: None to mention.
Verdict: An excellent reference book that is well researched and details various allied nations’ uniforms, equipment and weapons during WWII in Northeast Europe in great detail.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-4728-0947-6
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95 / UK Ł11.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 20, 2015
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.22%

About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2019 text by Randy Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


   

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