by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Defense Of The Third Reich 1941-45 by author Steven J. Zaloga and illustrator Adam Hook and series editor Marcus Cowper.
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** Under the threat of an overwhelming Allied aerial bombardment campaign, the Third Reich created the most lavish Flak defenses of any country in World War II. The new study provides an overview of the Flak artillery, with a special emphasis on how Flak was deployed and some of the unique fortified structures that were created to enhance its performance such as the legendary Flak towers of the German cities. It also covers passive defense such as air-raid shelters and underground factories, including the huge above-ground shelters that were amongst the most massive defensive structures built in World War II. These defenses were some of the most advanced of their day, and were precursors of the heavily reinforced shelters created during the Cold War for protection against nuclear attack. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Defense Of The Third Reich 1941-45 as Number 107 in their Fortress series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and colour photographs, colour illustrations, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-593-9. As the title states, the book covers the design, technology and history of key fortresses, strategic positions and defensive systems used in the defense of the Third Reich from the years of 1941 through 1945.
- Flak Emplacements
o Pre-war Luftwaffe Flak
o Acceleration of air defense in 1940
o Integrated air defense
o Flak expansion
o Flak emplacements
o Light Flak revival
o Atlantikwall Flak
- Air-Raid Fortifications
o Pre-war initiatives
o Basement shelters
o Enclosed trench shelters
o Air defense bunkers
o Military shelters
o The Flak towers
o One-man bunkers
o The bombing intensifies
- Dark World: Underground Fortified Factories
o Battle of the factories
o Factory bunkers
o Operation Desert
- The Sites Today
- Further Reading
The text in the book is well written and gives detailed information on the defenses of the Third Reich from the time frame of 1941 to 1945. I did notice spelling errors as I read through the book but that takes nothing away from the well written text. As with his other publications, Steven J. Zaloga has gone to great lengths to research the defenses of the Third Reich from the time frame of 1941 to 1945. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order and are well written. As the title states, Zaloga covers and discusses the defenses of the Third Reich from the time frame of 1941 to 1945 very well in a well written and easy to follow and understand manner. Anyone interested in the German defenses during the years of 1941 to 1945 such as gun positions, flak towers, bunkers, air-raid shelters, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, radar units, searchlights and World War Two military history in general will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.
There are a total of 49 black and white photographs and four colour photographs. The majority of the photographs are very nice and will help the military diorama modeller well. They range from aerial photographs to overall wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. They contain subjects such as interior and exterior photographs of gun positions, flak towers, bunkers, underground factories and air-raid shelters. They also include German anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, German and Allied uniforms, American armour and vehicles, German civilians, bomb damage, He-162 Volksjager jet fighters, Me-262 fighter jet, V-2 ballistic missile and German radar and search lights. There are a few well known and often published photographs but several that I myself have not seen before. I appreciate the fact that there are photographs that are new to me as this makes this volume even more exciting for me to sit down and read. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. Zaloga has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the defenses of the Third Reich from the time frame of 1941 to 1945 and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent photographs that will help out the anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon and figure modeller. The majority of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information and inspiration for the diorama modeller due to the wealth of details they contain.
There are eight colour illustrations by illustrator Adam Hook that are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Reinforced 88MM Flak G-Stand, 1943 Pattern
- Wasserfall Flak Missile Battery Site, Proposal B
- LS-Hochbunker, Tacitusstrasse, Cologne
- Holy Ghost Bunker, Gefechtsstand IV, Hamburg
- Leittürm I, 1. Flak-Division, Berlin
- Bunker Valentin U-Boat Factory, Farge
- Weingut I Fortified Aviation Plant, Mühldorf
There are also six black and white illustrations that are from various military documents. They are of:
- Suggested layout for a six-gun heavy Flak battery from the October 1943 manual
- Suggested layout for a Grossbatterie command centre (Befehlsstelle) from the October 1943 Luftwaffe manual
- Scale cross section of the Typ 1cc tower showing the internal layout
- An elementary enclosed air-raid trench for 50 people from a wartime Organization Todt handbook
- The Nordhausen underground factory complex in the Harz Mountains
- Underground fuel plant Dachs 1 lubrication oil plant near Porta
There are two colour maps included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Luftwaffe Defense of the Reich, 1944
- Flak dispositions in the Munich area, 1945
There are two informational charts provided which are well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- Luftwaffe Flak batteries in Germany
- Air-raid shelters in Bockum
The captions are well written, are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. I did notice spelling errors as I read through them but that takes nothing away from this fine volume. The captions go into very specific detail as to defensive positions and weapons shown, such as their type, location, unit they are attached to, as well as specific individuals, missiles, aircraft, armour, and other such pertinent information. The details themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detailed what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to what was done afterword and by who. I was very impressed by Zaloga’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.
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.
I am impressed with the book as it examines and discusses the defenses of the Third Reich from the time frame of 1941 to 1945 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
The History Of Fortification Study Center (HFSC) web site:
Search inside the book on the Osprey web site:
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