by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Albert Kesselring by author Pier Paolo Battistelli and illustrator Adam Hook.
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** The career of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring is irrevocably linked to the Italian Campaign of 1943-45. For some, he was a distinguished soldier who fought valiantly and with success in a campaign that stalled superior Allied forces for several months. Others see him as a war criminal – the commander who issued orders that led to ferocious reprisals and large-scale killing of Italian civilians in German-occupied Italy. However, Kesselring’s career was considerably more substantial. As an air commander he led Luftflotte 1 and 2 brilliantly in the campaigns against Poland, and then Holland, Belgium and France, only to be checked at the Battle of Britain. Sent to the Mediterranean in late 1941, he restored the supply lines that kept Rommel’s forces in the field. A multi-faceted soldier, Kesselring was one of the most notable German commanders of World War II. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Albert Kesselring as Number 27 in their Command series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, color illustrations, color maps, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-735-3. As the title states, the book covers Albert Kesselring and his military career.
- Early years
- Military life
- Hour of destiny
- Opposing commanders
- Inside the mind
- When war is done
- A life in words
- Bibliography and further reading
The text in the book is well written and gives a detailed account of the military career of Albert Kesselring and various military actions and campaigns with which he was involved. Pier Paolo Battistelli has gone to great lengths to research Albert Kesselring and provides detailed coverage of his life both on the battlefield and the home front. His history begins with his childhood, his first entry into the military and his experiences with the military before World War I, his participation in World War I, his time spent between the wars, his participation in World War II, his trial during the Nuremberg trials, his sentencing and the last years of his life. The text and the accompanying photographs are well written and detailed on all counts. As well as discussing Albert Kesselring, Pier Paolo Battistelli discusses several other areas such as the Battle of Britain as well as the military operations North Africa and Italy, military armour and aircraft, Allied and Axis commanders, and other such items of interest. Anyone interested in the military career and personal life of Albert Kesselring will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read. The book didn’t contain any spelling or grammatical errors that I could find as I read through it. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 43 black and white photographs and four colour photographs included in this volume. The photographs of Albert Kesselring and all of the other photographs are from World War II and after. There are no photographs of his youth or family or of his military career before and during World War I and the periods between the two world wars. Several of the photographs are close ups of Albert Kesselring and other military commanders in propaganda type settings, conference scenes and other settings such as inspecting the troops and testing new armour. There are also in action photographs from different areas of conflict such as North Africa, Italy and Russia. Other photographs included are of armour, military aircraft, anti-tank guns, small arms and other nations’ soldiers such as the United States. Also included in the interesting collection of black and white and colour photographs are those of other military commanders, both axis and allied. The majority of the featured photographs are very nice and will help the military armour, aircraft, and diorama modeller as well as the military figure modeller as they show several different uniform styles and also show individual sidearm choices as well as the ranks and decorations. Pier Paolo Battistelli has chosen photographs that are specific to Albert Kesselring and his military career and not just random World War II military photographs of the period. One thing I did notice is that not all of the photographs and accompanying captions are in a correct chronological order.
Some of the various armour, aircraft and weapons shown are:
- Messerschmitt Bf 109
- Junkers Ju 87 Stuka
- Messerschmitt Bf 110
- Junkers Ju 52
- Panzer IV
- Sturmgeschütz III
- Sturmgeschütz IV
- 50MM PaK 38 anti-tank gun
Some of the various axis and allied commanders and other people of interest shown are:
- Hermann Göring
- Vize-Admiral Eberhard Weichold
- Erwin Rommel
- General der Panzertruppen Joachim Lemelsen
- Generalfeldmarschall Wolfram von Richthofen
- Air Chief Marschall Sir Hugh Dowding
- HM King George VI
- Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander
- General Mark W. Clark
- General Lucian K. Truscott
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 3 colour illustrations by illustrator Adam Hook that are very well done and nicely detailed. As with the photographs, the illustrations come with well written captions that provide detailed information about each illustration. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
The colour illustrations are of the following:
- Battle of Britain
- Fatal Hours
- Cassino 1944
There are 5 color maps included in this volume that are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- The planned assault on Malta, 1942
- The Tunis bridgehead, November 1942
- Staged withdrawal in Italy, September – November 1943
- First Battle of Cassino and Anzio, 18-22 January 1944
- Staged withdrawal in Central Italy, May – November 1944
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the quality of the maps for yourself.
There are two informational charts provided that show:
- Table of ranks (German, British and USA)
- Key to military symbol
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. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through them which is a detail that is important to me. I was very impressed by Pier Paolo Battistelli’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail necessary to explain the accompanying photograph. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
This is a well written book. Pier Paolo Battistelli has gone to great lengths to research Albert Kesselring and provides excellent coverage of his life both on and off of the battlefield as well as his life after World War II including his time on the stand during the Nuremberg Trials. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
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Take a look at the book at the Osprey web site:
Take a look inside of the book at the Amazon website:
Kindle edition available at the Amazon website.