Book Review
Smolensk & Roslavl 1941
“Battles of Smolensk & Roslavl 1941”
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


On June 22, 1941 the German Army launched the invasion of Russia codenamed Operation Barbarossa. The cities of Smolensk and Roslavl were important objectives during Operation Barbarossa as they were on the main route to Russia’s capitol, Moscow, which was Hitler’s main objective. The battles for these two Russian cities were considered to be the most swift and complete German Army victories in the East. The Concord Publications Company book “Battles of Smolensk & Roslavl 1941” provides details and images from these two famous battles.

Battles of Smolensk & Roslavl 1941” is a 52 page book by Hans Seidler and is published by the Concord Publications Company with a 2010 copyright. The ISBN is 962-361-173-0. The book is a soft cover book and contains 110 black and white photographs, and 4 color artwork prints. The book has a 2 page introduction. The remainder of the book is dedicated to the wide array of photographs and the color artwork prints. The book focuses on soldiers from Heeresgruppe Mitte and on the Battles of Smolensk and Roslavl.


The Photographs:
Shown throughout the book are a wide variety of black and white photographs. The photographs range from action scenes to troops in casual poses. I haven’t seen a majority of the featured photographs before and I was pleased with this. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have a kind of blurry/fuzzy look to them. I don’t know if this is due to the original photographer or if it is from them being enlarged for the book. Then again I have seen several photographs from WWII that have this look to them so maybe that was just typical for the period. I do know that several WWII photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could part of the reason as well. With all of that said the quality of the photographs is no fault of the author.

The Color Prints:
Artist Dmitriy Zgonnik has provided four color prints. The color art work prints are done very well. They show nice representations of different uniforms and include detailed captions describing the represented uniforms, equipment, and weapons.

The four color prints are of:
• SS-Mann, ‘Deutschland’ Regiment, SS-Das Reich Division, Heeresgruppe Mitte, Summer 1941
• Gefreiter, 29.Motorized Infanterie-Division, South of Smolensk, July 1941
• Unteroffizier, Heeresgruppe Mitte, July 1941
• Sturmartillerie Crewman, 39.Panzer-Korps, 3.Panzer-Armee, Roslavl, September 1941

The Captions:
The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and go into great detail in regards to the soldiers, uniforms, weapons, and equipment that is shown. It is obvious that Hans Seidler has taken the time to study the photographs and research them so that they are well detailed and point out several items of interest like the M36 service uniform, the M35 steel helmet and other items such as small arms, vehicles, field guns and armor. As I read through the captions I did notice a few grammatical errors, however they are very few. Even though this series of books focuses on soldiers I would have liked to have seen more detailed information on the vehicles, armor and larger weapons shown in the photographs.

As with my other book reviews I like to mention certain things shown in the book that I hope will provide additional information and will be of interest to others.

Some of the German armor and vehicles shown and discussed in the book include the:
• Sd.Kfz 221 Light Armored Car
• Sd.Kfz 7 Halftrack
• Pz.Kpfw. 38(T) Tank
• Stug III Command Tank
• Sd.Kfz.6 Halftrack with a mounted 3.7 cm Flak 36
• Maschinengewehr Doppelwagen 36 (steel bodied twin machinegun wagon)
• Pontoon boats

A wide variety of German weaponry is covered. This includes:
• 21 cm Morser 18 Heavy Howitzer
• 8cm S.GrW34 Mortar
• Pak 35/36 Anti-Tank Gun
• 10.5cm IE.FH18 Howitzer
• 15cm S.IG33 Howitzer
• 7.5cm I.IG18 Gun
• 5cm I.GrW36 Mortar
• 8.8cm Flak Gun
• 7.5cm I.Gebirg.IG18 Infantry Gun (Mountain Version)
• 5cm Pak 38 Anti-Tank Gun

A variety of German small arms are covered as well. This includes:
• 7.92 Kar 98K Carbine
• 9mm MP38/40 Machine Pistol
• MG34 machinegun
• M1924 Stick Grenade
• P08 Pistol
• P38 Pistol

One item that is identified and shown that I thought would be of particular interest is the:
• Tornisterfunkgerat b1 (Torn. Fu. B1 (S/E) portable radio set

A favorite subject of mine is captured/commandeered equipment and weapons. I was very pleased to see that is was mentioned in this book.

Some of the captured/commandeered Russian items include:
• 122mm M-1931/37 (A-19) gun with mover
• T-34 tank


All in all I am very impressed with the book. The variety of subjects covered will appeal to the figure and diorama modelers and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal library. I have reviewed other Concord Publications Company titles and I have been very impressed with all of them. I would have no hesitation to add other Concord titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.


The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Ian V. Hogg

German Automatic Weapons of World War II – Live Firing Classic Military Weapons in Colour Photographs
Robert Bruce
Window & Greene

World War II Day by Day
An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945
Donald Sommerville
Dorset press

World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton

WWII Time-Life Books History of the Second World War
By the Editors of Time-Life Books
Foreword by Eric Sevareid
Prentice Hall Press

Illustrated History of World War II
Ian Beckett
Bison Books Corp
Highs: Several unique photographs that cover a wide array of subjects. Well written, researched, and detailed captions.The four color artwork prints by artist Dmitriy Zgonnik.
Lows: A fuzzy/blurry appearance of some of the photographs.Some grammatical errors in the captions.
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book that contains many interesting photographs and well detailed captions. This will make a nice addition to anyone’s personal library and will also be a benefit to figure and diorama modelers.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 962-361-173-0
  Suggested Retail: $20.95 MSRP
  PUBLISHED: May 28, 2011

Our Thanks to Concord Publications!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


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