This book covering ‘7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen at War 1941 – 1945’ is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ offerings. These books cover the subject matter mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books offer a huge amount of visual information that can help the modeller no end when looking for something a little different as regards displaying a model. It needs to be said that the SS gained themselves a poor reputation as regards their actions in warfare due to the concentration camps and the murder of prisoners in the field; with that said it must be remembered that the SS were highly skilled and well trained soldiers that fought hard against any foe.
The following portion of the introduction is as supplied by the publisher:
Drawing on a superb collection of rare and unpublished photographs the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen 1941 - 1945 is the 7th book in the Waffen-SS Images of War Series written by Ian Baxter. The book tells the story of the 7th SS Mountain Division which was formed in 1941 from the Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) volunteers and conscripts from the Banat, Independent State of Croatia, Hungary and Romania. It fought a brutal counter insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces in the occupied Serbia and Montenegro. It was given the title Prinz Eugen after Prince Eugene of Savoy, an outstanding military leader of the Habsburg Empire who liberated the Banat and Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire in the Austro Turkish War. It was initially named the SS-Freiwilligen-Division Prinz Eugen (SS-Volunteer Division Prinz Eugen).
This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering ‘7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen at War 1941 – 1945’ has been authored by Ian Baxter. Ian Baxter has been the author of more than 30 of these Images of War titles and all of his titles relate to German forces during World War II. The contents of this title are provided over 112 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.
The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – Formation
Chapter 2 – Anti-Partisan Operations
Chapter 3 – 1943 Operation Weiss
Chapter 4 – Guerrilla Warfare
Chapter 5 – Last Months
Appendix – Order of Battle & Commanders
The text in this offering is quite light, but provides more than enough information on the background of this unit, its purpose and its actions. The text makes clear that the 7th SS Mountain Division was not your typical SS unit, there was none of the master race indoctrination associated with SS units, and instead this unit’s main purpose was to do as it was told regardless of what that order may be. The foe of the 7th SS was the men of josip Tito and other partisan groups fighting in the Balkans and causing a lot of issues for German forces in the rear areas such as taking out train lines, roads and supplies.
The unit’s purpose resulted in them committing many brutal atrocities against men, woman and children in an attempt to deter the actions of the partisan units; the result of this was failure and resulted in even greater determination on the part of the partisans. The book specifically mentions the murder of nearly 1,000 civilians in just three events, one of which was 120 civilians being marched into a church and burned to death. It is also stated that anyone found out and about after an attack was routinely murdered regardless of age or sex. Despite the brutal acts and atrocities carried out by this unit they were a hard fighting unit that often held far superior numbers at bay due to becoming use to fighting in small groups as the communications in their locations was poor.
The photographs in this title appear to me to be personal photographs taken by the troops in the field for the most part and it is this aspect that holds the most appeal for me. There is of course what I think of as staged photographs depicting the people at the top of the party. The images in the field show all aspects of life in a war setting and so covers rest, work and warfare; the result is 250 photographs sowing for the most part the kind of image the modeller sometimes spends hours looking for and the value further enhanced by very well written and informative captions in most cases. The fact that a high number of these images are personal photographs does mean that quality varies, but all of the included images have value and are for the most part good quality.
This title as part of the Images at War series looking at a specific SS unit that I knew little about and has broadened my knowledge and covered a unit with a very dark history as regards their actions. The author has approached the title without an agenda that I could detect in that he has not attempted to just show the evil that was carried out, he has provided details that allows the reader to form their own opinions of the unit. The photographs are a very good mix of images which are lifted greatly by very well written captions that accompany each and every one of them. Another great aspect is that most of these images are taken by the men themselves and so shows aspects of life not often covered.
Darren Baker takes a look at another release in the Images at War series published by pen and Sword, this time the title is ‘7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen at War 1941 – 1945’.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...