In-Box Review
SS Totenkopf at War
SS Totenkopf at War a History of the Division
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


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 ‘SS Totenkopf at War a History of the Division’ has been authored by Ian Baxter. This title from Ian Baxter is one of 34 offerings covering Aspects of Germany during World War 2 and is only counting the titles available from Pen and Sword. The contents of this title are provided over 142 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – Birth of a Division
Chapter 2 – Into Battle 1940 - 1941
Chapter 3 – Bitter Fighting 1942 - 1944
Chapter 4 – End Game 1944 - 1945
Appendix 1 – Organizational History of Totenkopf

The text in this book is limited as this book is not intended to give you a written history and instead provide a pictorial history; that said the text that is included is well written as well. The text does provide some insight into why the Totenkopf had such a brutal reputation even amongst the SS; each soldier spent one week in four guarding concentration camps and any soldier that was not merciless to the inmates was weeded out as unsuitable, the result was a unit that had little to no regard for life unless they were SS on the battlefield even German troops had to be wary. So the text here is well worth taking the time to read what is provided. Something I learnt is that the barbarity of the Totenkopf started early in the war with the murder of 200 Moroccan troops taken prisoner during the invasion of France.

The photographs are a mix of staged, training and personal images which mean you get a true mix of the what was wanted and what they got. The period photographs are also a mix of quality with the personal images being the ones that are most likely to be soft, but these have all been well chosen and offer clarity in other ways. The images provided here are a good timeline covering the earliest days of the Totenkopf showing troops entering training and being indoctrinated to the last days of the Third Reich and the tired and weary faces of beaten men that are not giving up.

The captions provided by the author are a great accompaniment to the photographs due to it providing information that would otherwise be hard to garner. These captions are provided for every image and are well written and clear as regards the information provided. These captions result in a book that provides a great pictorial guide with the captions providing information that makes the images so much more valuable to the viewer.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the Images of War series provided me with some thought provoking images that made me think more about the men that made up the SS Totenkopf. This division that was responsible for so many deaths and suffering in the concentration camps where they evil or victims as well in a perverse sense. Regardless of your opinions on the SS these men were a fighting force to be reckoned with in the field as they fought hard and to the bitter end in many cases. This book is a great visual record of the lives and actions of men in the SS Totenkopf Division that can be had for a great price.

Darren Baker takes a look at a release from Pen and Sword as part of their Images of War series titled and covering ‘SS Totenkopf at War a History of the Division '.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781473890930
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  PUBLISHED: Sep 24, 2020

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

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...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review. It's a good review, answering the questions I had when I saw the headline. I'm not sure where the right place to ask this question is, but I'd really like to know why there aren't books like this on Soviet formations? I purchased a book that was a history of one of the Soviet tank armies - _Stalin's Favorite_ - but there are so few by comparison to what is available about Wehrmacht and SS units....
SEP 24, 2020 - 12:15 PM