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Book Review
Defense Of The Rhine 1944-45
Defense Of The Rhine 1944-45, Fortress 102
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


The mighty Rhine River is Germany’s traditional western defensive position. In late World War Two, Nazi Germany was losing the war and Hitler built a series of fortifications--Stellung--to protect the Reich from the Allied onslaught. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers excavated millions of yards of earth, poured tons of concrete, and set of miles of timber. For their effort, thousands of miles of trenches and emplacements were created for thousands of weapons and their crews. Elaborate camouflage was employed to spoof Allied intelligence and reconnaissance.

Hitler thought Stellungs would encourage retreat but after the Ardennes offensive failed, he authorized more to be built. In February, 1945 Hitler ordered the construction of the Rhine-Stellung.

the book

Defense Of The Rhine 1944-45
Series: Fortress 102
64 Pages
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Illustrator: Adam Hook

Esteemed author, researcher, and modeler Steven J. Zaloga brings us the story of the defenses along the Rhine, and examines the plans, organization, principles, and effectiveness of the endeavor. With his extensive background in WWII history, Mr. Zaloga reveals efforts to make the Rhine fortifications match Hitler’s hype. He details how these prepared positions fit into the infamous Westwall-Stellung.

Surplus and purpose-built tank turrets were fitted atop forts, the forts also being both purpose-built and ersatz creations. Small towed armored machinegun nests, the Krab MG-Panzernest, were used to confront the most pressing attacks. Iconic Dragon’s Teeth anti-tank barriers are well covered. And the industriousness of the civil population’s efforts for the Gauleitere is explored, how their productivity was embellished by those Nazi hacks, and how local expedience sometimes hindered the fortification effectiveness. After the U.S. Army took the fortified town of Steinfeld, an in-depth combat report was prepared. That is included in this book.

Defense Of The Rhine 1944-45 is presented to you through 64 pages in seven chapters and an index:

• Introduction
• Design And Development
• The Living Sites
• A Tour Of The Sites
• The Sites In Battle
• The Sites Today
• Further Reading
• Index

Photographs and Illustrations:
This book contains maps, color illustrations, tables, intel sketches, and dozens of fascinating photographs. Three are color NARA photos and one is a present day color photo of a Panther tank Panzerturme. Many are very clear and detailed. Some are after-action shots by soldiers; some are obviously by intel troops.

Beyond the obvious documenting of the fortifications, there are excellent pictures of German heavy weapons, such as the fearsome 88mm KwK 43/3. One photograph reveals the secret new Flakwerfer 44 Fohngerate anti-aircraft unguided rocket launcher. Color paintings by artist Adam Hook supports the photographs and enriches the book.


Most students of World War Two in northwest Europe are familiar with The Westwall. Its effectiveness and position in Hitler’s defensive plans is interesting to learn about in this greater detail. This book illuminates this part of the extraordinary fortifications in a detailed and interesting text. The many photographs and color illustrations enrich and support the content.

Whether you are a historian or modeler, Defense of the Rhine 1944-45 is an interesting book. With the amount of detailed research, clarity of delivery, and abundance of supporting illustrations, you will have a sound foundation to further, or enhance your knowledge of this chapter of World War Two.

Please remember, when contacting manufacturers and sellers, to mention you saw this book here—on Armorama.
Highs: Authoritatively researched, documented, and presented. An excellent selection of illustrations and photographs.
Lows: Minor typos, i.e., ‘…many were lost in November 1945 when the Vosges defenses were overrun.’
Verdict: This is a sound foundation to further or enhance your knowledge of this Rhine-Stellung of the Westwall.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-387-4
  Suggested Retail: $18.95, 11.99 GBP
  Related Link: Book on Osprey Site
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2011

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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 Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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