The fact that captured equipment was used by the German Army during WW II is well known, but photographs of this equipment in German Service are thin on the ground. This intriguing new volume from Tankograd is entirely devoted to captured British trucks in German Service, and is a fascinating introduction to a much ignored subject. The book is written in both English and German, using a slightly confusing layout of side-by-side columns, but after a short time this is not a big problem. It might be more confusing if you can read both German as well as English, as you might find yourself starting in one, and suddenly changing into the other. I had this a few times, and I was sometimes wondering why I was reading the same thing twice. This also shows that the English translation is very good, although occasionally the translation either simplifies the more concise German text slightly, or uses an odd grammar style. None of this however is a distraction from the content, and the translation is notably better than some other ‘bi-lingual’ reference books that I have read.
The book starts with a seven page introduction into the concept of ‘Beutefahrzeug’ in the German Army in general and more specific how the rapid advance through Belgium and France in May 1940 caused the British (and to some extent the French) to lose such an enormous amount of equipment, and how this was incorporated into the German Wehrmacht’s inventory. The importance of these vehicles to the Wehrmacht is explained, using the equipment requirements and availability for ‘Operation Barbarossa’ as an example. Although some totals in tonnage and approximated no’s are given, there are no references as to how these totals are obtained. The Author does mention however that exact figures with regards ‘Beutefahrzeug’ are not available, and that most information is deducted from available photographic evidence.
After the introduction the book is divided into nine chapters, each dealing with a specific vehicle or class of vehicles.
1. Passenger cars, Staff cars, Light Utility Vehicles.
2. Light Trucks Morris
3. Light Trucks Bedford
4. Trucks Albion
5. Trucks Austin
6. Trucks Commer, Ford, Morris
7. Medium Trucks
8. Heavy Trucks AEC Matador
9. Heavy Trucks Scammell
Each chapter consists on average of two good quality black and white photographs per page, with bi-lingual captions detailing the type of truck, some technical specifications, if known the unit using the vehicle and pointing out various details like markings and modifications. These chapters are filled with just photos, and show the various vehicles in a wide variety of settings, from front line duty to rear echelon workshops.
Many of the photographs show to good effect the ‘normality’ of the usage of these ‘Beutefahrzeug’, as they are obviously regarded as everyday equipment, rather than rarities. Some photos show drivers posing next to their ‘polished’ steeds, showing that a drivers pride in his well-kept vehicle is universal.
The book ends with a small editorial footnote to credit the various owners who provided the photographs, as well as an explanation/disclaimer for the use of swastikas and SS-runes. This is a requirement in German Language, as the use of these symbols, other than in an historical context, is forbidden in Germany and Austria. It explains that for this reason the photographs on the cover have been retouched, but that all photographs inside are unaltered.
· Soft Cover
· 64 Pages
· 134 Black and White photos
· 2 Colour photos
This is a very interesting publication; from a Publisher who’s reference works are widely regarded. It will be of equal interest to those modelling Military Trucks, as to those just interested in the subject of Vintage British Trucks. The quality of the photographs throughout is superb, and the wide variety of settings gives an interesting insight in the use of these workhorses ‘under new management’. This book will be a valuable addition to your library. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Tankograd Publishing
for this review volume.