** When Hitler’s forces poured into France and the Low Countries in 1940, the uneasy peace of the ‘Phoney War’ was shattered, and Europe was ripped apart by another Blitzkrieg. Forming the backbone of the German advance were the well-equipped Schützen (Rifles), motorized infantry who embodied the essence of the fluid, swift combat of the 1939 Polish campaign. Facing them were infantrymen of the British Expeditionary Force, units of considerable fighting quality who had nevertheless received little special training to conduct combined-arms warfare in conjunction with armour. This study investigates the combat between the two adversaries at small-unit level, conveying the ferocity of the fighting on the front lines of the Battle of France in three key clashes at Arras, Calais and Merville. Assessing the training, organization and unit ethos of both sides in the context of a new type of mobile warfare, David Greentree reveals the extraordinary difficulties encountered by infantry units trying to remain in contact with their armoured formations. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd
has released Combat - German Infantryman versus British Infantryman- France 1940 by author David Greentree as Number 14 in their Combat series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, informational charts, first-hand accounts, strategic and tactical maps and detailed captions. It has a 2015 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-1240-7. As the title states, the book discusses the fighting in France during the year of 1940 between the German and British militaries.
- The Opposing Sides
- Organization and doctrine
- Recruitment and morale
- Weaponry, training and tactics
- Command, control and communications
- 21 May 1940
- 24-26 May 1940
- 27 May 1940
- Lessons learned: the Germans
- Lessons learned: the British
- Unit Organizations
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Author David Greentree covers the fighting between fighting in France during the year of 1940 between the German and British militaries during World War II very well and goes into great detail about the individuals on both sides of the conflict as well as specific actions and their outcomes. Please refer to the Contents section of this review to learn all that is discussed in this volume. The contents section is very accurate in regards to the history that Author David Greentree has written. This is a well written book that will be of great use and interest to the well-seasoned and knowledgeable World War II historian or the individual that is new to the fighting between the German and British forces in France during World War II and wants to learn about its history. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. 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. 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. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the fighting in France during the year of 1940 between the German and British militaries during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 50 black and white photographs and 1 color photograph. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser known photographs as opposed to photographs that are featured in many other titles that deal with the same subject matter. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for the discussed periods of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. Author David Greentree stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to the scale military vehicle, aircraft and figure modeler as well as anyone interested in World War II uniforms, weapons and infantry warfare due to the details they contain.
Some of the photographs that I found interesting were:
- A German infantryman wearing full battle gear.
- A German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) column.
- A British Matilda I Infantry Tank A11 on maneuvers with British infantry.
- British Bren gun carriers each fitted with a Boys anti-tank rifle.
- British soldiers conducting target practice with Boys anti-tank rifles.
- A Column of British A12 Matilda tanks.
- A German field radio crew in action
- Three German Stuka aircraft in flight
- British soldiers all armed with US Thompson submachineguns each fitted with a 50 round drum magazine.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 7 color illustrations and 2 accompanying black and white illustrations by illustrator Adam Hook. Each color illustration is accompanied by a black and white copy of the same illustration that describes the scene and points out and describes key areas of interest. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
Schütze, I./SR 6 – Arras, 21 May 1940
- Front and back illustrations of a German soldier with a well written caption that details the German weapons, dress and equipment of the period.
Private, 6th DLI – Arras, 21 May 1940
- Front and back illustrations of a British soldier with a well written caption that details the British weapons, dress and equipment of the period.
- A scene depicting a clash between German and British troops at a roadblock blocking roads into Calais-Nord which took place on Sunday 26 May 1940. Provided with the illustration is a detailed caption detailing what took place that day as depicted in the illustrated scene.
Clash at Merville
- A scene depicting a clash between German armor and infantry and British troops and artillery on a street in Merville. The two page illustration provides the view from the British position as well as from the German position. On the following page there are detailed captions, which accompany black and white copies of the same colored illustrations, detailing what is taking place in the two scenes.
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are 4 maps by bounford.com provided in this volume. All of the maps are nicely detailed and have accompanying map keys that point out specific key areas and provide a wealth of detail. The maps are of:
- BEF sector, Northern France, 20-28 May 1940
- I./SR 6 and 6th DLI at Arras, 21 May 1940
- I./SR 86 and KRRC at Calais, 24-26 May 1940
- III./SR 3 and 6th King’s Own at Merville, 27 May 1940
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the maps for yourself.
THE INFORMATION CHARTS:
There are 3 informational charts provided in this volume. They are:
- Key to military symbols
- Key to unit identification
- Comparative officer ranks
This chart compares officer ranks between the German military and the British military.
There are 3 notes included in this volume and they are:
- Imperial War Museums Collections
- Artist’s note
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 accompanying photograph. The details themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detail what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and cover things such as the units shown, as well as the weapons, equipment, uniforms, dates, locations shown and other such pertinent information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the captions. 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.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It details the fighting in France during the year of 1940 between the German and British militaries. This volume will be of great use to anyone interested in this important time frame in World War II European military history. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing LTD
titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd.
Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton
World 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
Arms and Armour Press
German Infantry in Action
Combat Troops Number 2
Created by Uwe Feist
Captions by Norman Harms
Uniform Illustration by Ron Volstadt
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