8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
D. C. Stolk
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A couple of years ago Osprey started the "Duel"-series. But that series focuses on the "hardware" side of warfare, with weapon-systems like ships, planes, tanks etc. facing off. Now it's time for the "poor bloody infantry" to take center stage, as the "Combat"-series pits history's warriors against one another.
"British Paratrooper versus Fallschirmjäger: Mediterranean 1942-43" is the send-off volume in this new series and provides, in 80 pages, a comparison of the British Paratrooper set against the German Fallschirmjäger in World War II. It is written by David Greentree.
It starts with a concise comparison of the development and training of the airborne forces of Britain and Germany, and the role and doctrine of the opposing sides. As author Greentree immediately makes obvious, Britain lagged far behind Germany in the development of the airborne concept, at the start of World War II. On average, the German airborne soldier had more training time and combat experience than his British counterpart. The author also point out (in the "leadership and communications"-chapter) that German officers, unlike most of their British counterparts, already had experience as combat soldiers, either because many came from the ranks or because service as an NCO was part of their officer training. This made a crucial difference in the combat to follow, when they were pitted against each other.
The ability of airborne forces to enter battle soon after landing was crucial to their success. When British Paratroops engaged German Fallschirmjager, the result was a brutal trial of strength. In "British Paratrooper vs German Fallschirmjager," three bruising encounters are outlined: the British attempts to seize the airfields at Pont du Fahs, Depienne and Oudna, Tunisia (29 November - 4 December 1942); the bloody night battle for Green Hill aka Djebel Azzag, Tunisia (5 January 1943) and the third and most decisive engagement in the Mediterranean between the British and German parachute forces, the bitter struggle for Primosole Bridge, Sicily (13-17 July 1943). These three examples are described using first-hand accounts of these encounters, and are followed by an analysis and concluding "lessons learned" (for both sides) by the author.
The overall narrative is accompanied with clear, detailed maps; color plates of the two different types of combatants involved in the fighting and split-screen artwork showing key moments from both sides' perspective. The artwork is done by illustrator Johnny Shumate, and he does a consummate job. Many photographs enliven the expert analysis. A great read on this subject!
So why not five stars? Strangely, and an serious omission in my opinion, what's missing in this title is a comparison of the parachute-system used by both forces. We get detailed info on the weapons used by both sides, but nothing like this on the "item" that made them airborne. I would have liked to learn the pros and cons of the type of parachute used by both sides. For example, the German Fallschirmjäger used static lines, not ripcord. Which system was better? And I presume there must be data available on, for example, the failure rate, as this directly affected combat. Especially as no reserves were used until after World War II. And how did the parachute-system evolve during the war years and after having been tested in combat? A curious oversight in an otherwise great book.
The strength of the Osprey format is also its weakness: at 80 pages, there's no room for anything more than a "Reader's Digest"-type coverage of the topic, always leaving you with just a taste of what's to offer but not the full meal. This is compensated with an abundance of pictures, maps and full-color artwork you (usually) won't find in a regular history book.
For further reading, I recommend "Fallschirmjäger: German Paratrooper 1935-45" by Bruce Quarrie (# 38 in the Osprey Warrior-series). Although there isn't (yet) a similar title focusing on the British Paratrooper, there is "The Paras 1940-84" by Gregor Ferguson (# 1 in the Osprey Elite-series). A book-length general work on airborne-forces is to be found in "Assault From the Sky: The History of Airborne Warfare 1939-1980s" by John Weeks.