by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
THE BOOKThe Siege of Sevastopol was a campaign fought on the Eastern Front by the Axis powers against the Soviet Union for control of this important port in Crimea on the Black Sea. The wider Crimea Campaign was an eight month long campaign launched by the Axis forces to conquer the rest of the Crimea peninsula which would provide a link to the mainland of the Ukraine. Both of these campaigns were bloody and decisive battles fought on the Eastern Front.
The Siege of Sevastopol and the Crimea Campaign 1941-42 (Concord #6538) is a 52 page soft-cover book by Hans Seidler published in 2011. It contains 135 black and white photographs as well as 4 color artwork prints by artist Dmitriy Zgonnik. The book starts with a 2 page introduction with the remainder of the book being dedicated to the wide array of photographs and the color artwork prints.
THE INTRODUCTIONThe two page introduction goes into great detail discussing the siege of Sevastopol and the Crimea Campaign. It starts with the Sevastopol Order of Battle and then goes on to discuss both German and Russian units and their specific actions, dates, objectives, key players, and other such detailed data during the siege and wider campaign.
THE PHOTOGRAPHSShown throughout the book are a wide variety of black and white photographs. The photographs range from action scenes to more relaxed casual scenes. I haven’t seen a majority of the featured photographs before and I was pleased with this. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several new photographs as opposed to the same old over-used photographs that many books tend to contain. The majority of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have a blurry out of focus 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 military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be part of the reason as well. With all of that said the quality of the photographs is no fault of the author. The photographs are a mixture of wide large-area photographs showing several vehicles, troops and equipment to close up detailed photographs that will be a definite bonus to the detail-minded modeler as well as the military enthusiast. The photographs also cover different seasons such as winter and summer as well as various field conditions such as dry dusty areas to the harsh Russian mud. One portion of the book that I found particularly interesting was on pages 16 and 17. It shows a series of 8 photographs showing various German vehicles and equipment batting the Russian mud. All of these photographs would be excellent ideas for the diorama-building modeler. Another series of photographs shown throughout the book that I found of particular interest were of improvised shelters and fortifications for troops and equipment. Any of them would also be of use to the diorama building modeler.
As with my other book reviews I like to mention certain things shown in the photographs that I hope will provide additional information and will be of interest to others.
Some of the German vehicles, weapons and equipment shown and discussed in the book include the:
- 5cm PaK38
- MG08/15 light machine gun
- 10.5cm I.FH18 infantry gun
- 2cm flak gun
- 15cm s.FH18 howitzer
- 15cm NbW41 Nebelwerfer
- Horch light cross country car
- Six meter inflatable boats
- 15cm s.IG33 howitzer
- Sd.Kfz.10 halftrack
- 8.8cm Flak18
- Armored train
- 7.92mm Mauser Kar98k carbine
- MP40 sub-machine gun
- MG-34 machine gun
- 3.7cm PaK35/36
- 21cm Mörser 18
- Model 24 Stielhandgranate (stick hand grenade)
- Horse drawn field kitchen
- JU-52 three-engine transport aircraft
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 items include:
- Soviet Katyusha multiple rocket launchers
- Soviet T-26 light infantry tank
- Maxim M1910 machinegun
- Soviet river barge
- Soviet T-34 tank (destroyed)
- Soviet Caterpillar tractor (destroyed)
- Soviet heavy coast defense gun emplacements (destroyed)
- Soviet 152mm gun
THE COLOR PRINTSArtist Dmitriy Zgonnik has provided 4 color prints of German soldiers. The color artwork prints are done very well and show nice representations of:
- German artilleryman
- Calvary NCO
- Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein
THE CAPTIONSThe captions that accompany the photographs are well written and go into great detail in regards to the various subjects 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. Hans Seidler also provides information in regards to armored and unarmored (soft-skinned) vehicles, field guns, various military personnel shown, small arms, field equipment, horse-drawn equipment and even minor details such as soldiers' head coverings. As I read through the captions I did notice that there is odd spacing between the words in some of the captions. By odd I mean that there are large gaps between the words. I imagine this is from the way the caption wording was aligned to fit it with the photograph. This doesn’t take anything away from the informative captions, however it is odd in appearance.
CONCLUSIONAll in all I am very impressed with the book. The variety of infantry weapons and equipment, soft skinned vehicles, horse-drawn equipment, artillery and field guns and armored vehicles covered will appeal to the armor modeler as well as the armor enthusiast and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference 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.
REFERENCESWWII Time-Life Books History of the Second World War
By the Editors of Time-Life Books
Foreword by Eric Sevareid
Prentice Hall Press
The American Heritage Picture History of World War II
American Heritage Publishing Co. Inc.
The Military History of World War II
Consultant Editor: Barrie Pitt
The Military Press
World War II
Octopus Books Limited
The Second World War
Illustrated History of World War II