March to the West is a 52 page book published by Concord publications and is written by Gordon Rottman. The color plates in the book are by Stephen Andrew. The Book is from their Warriors series and can be found under ISBN number: 962-361-133-1. In total you will find 137 black and white pictures and 4 color plates.
The book starts with a 2 page introduction which basically tells you about the start of World war II, The invasion of Poland, Denmark and Norway and how the western allies reacted on that. Then it moves quickly on to Fall Gelb (the invasion of the low countries and the invasion France. The book clearly describes what the strength of the countries was that stood against each other at the start of WWII. The several Divisions of France and Germany and compared to each other. Then it basically follows the order of battle and the establishment of a Pro Nazi government in Vichy France. After the two-page Introduction you are immediately heading to the pictures. Which are extremely well preserved examples of wartime images and very clearly shows the German Invasion force heading through Belgium to France. Also a lot of pictures are about the crossing of streams and rivers and makeshift bridges which is without doubt very nice material of a subject not much covered. The very nice colorplates are in the middle of the book and show 4 German soldiers of various ranks which could be placed in the locations that the book is about. The color plates come with information about the uniform the soldier is wearing and all the other stuff like personal gear and weapons that is visible in the pictures.
Well this has always been one of Concords strongpoints... The pictures in this book are absolutely of an outstanding quality. But also the photographed subjects are very nice and show a wide diversity. It shows a lot of the soldier life during the German Invasion of France and the Low Countries, But it shows a good deal of vehicles too. And what I consider to be a big plus it shows a lot of very good pictures of several types of bridges which were quickly erected by engineers after the original bridges were blown.
I have to say that when I heard about this title my expectations were very high... Living in Holland myself I thought this was a chance to see some new photographic material from Holland since it is part of the Low Countries. There was a bit of disappointment when I read through the book. The Introduction, apart for the breakdown of the French and BEF Divisions and the German Divisions, is very basic and will tell everybody with a standard knowledge of World war 2 nothing new. Basically the theatre of the pictures is mainly French. A lot of pictures show either Soldiers in Typical French/Belgium border style houses, Then a lot of pictures will show you knocked out French equipment, captured French soldiers and the like and a lot of pictures actually can be taken everywhere as it is really hard to pin them to an exact area. This also reflects in the captions often only telling what vehicles are shown in the picture or what is happening at the moment. I gather you can get a lot of information about vehicle markings and such for the location but that is not always that easy looking through this book. Basically the best title to include the content would be the "German Invasion of France". Holland and Belgium get only minimal coverage.
Highs: Absolutely brilliant picture quality and also the choosen subjects are very nice. And will give you a very nice view on the German invasion of Belgium and France.Lows: Very basic information about this little section of History. Really if you know your WW2 just a bit the book will not give you many surprises.Verdict: Although I might seem to be a bit harsh on some points I definitely will recommend this book to everybody. The pictures show such a good variety of people, vehicles, and other equipment as bridging equipment and the use of rafts and barges.
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About Robert Blokker (FAUST) FROM: NOORD-HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS
Started modelling when I was about 7 or 8 years old had a little break in between (school, girls partying) and eventually returned when finding this site in 2002. Main interest WW2 German army, wheeled vehicles and radio and communication troops or every other thing that manages to catch my interest...