Concord - Armor at War Series # 7039
German Armored Units at Arnhem - September 1944
reviewed by Neville Lord
The fighting around the Dutch city of Arnhem in September 1944, is one of the best known battles in the Allied efforts to liberate Western Europe. Seeking to quickly end the war the Allies formulated a plan to seize major bridges over the Rhine to enable an armoured attack into northwestern Germany. Key to this plan was the seizure of a key bridge in the Arnhem over the northern Rhine.
This task was assigned to British paratroopers and glider-borne infantry who were to land outside the city before grouping to enter the Arnhem. However, Allied intelligence ignored information from the Dutch resistance on the extent of the German forces in the area. Equally Montgomery and his planners failed to anticipate that the German high command would realise the importance of this operation and rush reinforcements into the battle. In the end Polish paratroopers had to help the British evacuate and Arnhem proved to be the last significant German victory of WWII.
In this Concord title, Marcel Warts recounts the German defence of Arnhem through an effective mix of concise narrative, maps and numerous well captioned photos. In keeping with the title the focus is solely on the German perspective of the battle and only includes minimal coverage of the British forces. A good number of unit organisation schematics, some noting tactical numbers, are included, as are several maps including one of the German efforts to storm the bridge
Zwarts has assembled a significant collection
of photos of the German armour used in Arnhem which being chronologically ordered,
tell much of the story by themselves. Many, if not most of these photos were
new to me. The extensive captions provide a well written overview of each phase
of the German defence including details of what units and vehicle types were
involved in which stages of the fighting, as well as accounts of many individual
fire fights. It is very evident from reading this book that it is a genuine
labour of love that has been carefully researched over several years.
While some photos are grainy, most are clear and provide valuable information on the German soldiers vehicles appearance as well valuable information on how infantry cooperated with armour in a built up area and the architectural features of 1940's Holland. I have found these photos very helpful for modelling German AFVs and researching diorama details. The photos cover a good range of German armor especially late war vehicles such as the Panther, Sdkfz 250 neu and Tiger II. Several interesting photos are also included from a 1945 Dutch movie re-enacting the battle.
Six pages of colour illustration by Arkadiusz Wrobel of a good variety of vehicles form the centre of the book. These plates are well done and accurately represent vehicles seen in the books photos. This attention to detail makes the plates useful reference for modellers.
This book is certainly one of the best Concord books that I've seen. Zwarts's efforts in researching the battle have resulted in an impressive visual account of the German armor at Arnhem that is supported by informative captions. This book is ideal for modellers wishing inspiration for detailing and painting many popular kits as well as for those interested in modern military history. Highly recommended.
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