From the Concord publications company we now bring you the ”U-Boat War 1939-45” written by Ian Baxter. (ISBN 962-361-175-7) Concords own description of this volume goes “This volume traces the development of the U-boat as a strategic weapon in Germany's arsenal. The book begins with a written description of the tactics employed and how their effectiveness ebbed and flowed as the war progressed. However, the backbone of this work is the many black-and-white photos of U-boats and their crewmen.”
The U-Boat war has so far received a quite massive coverage through a number of publications, either as printed matter or as DVDs, so it will be interesting to see, if this latest release from Concord will actually expand the knowledge on the subject, or if it’s just a repeat of already seen material.
You get 72 pages, 9 color drawings and 172 photoes. The focus of this volume is clearly on the photos, as most of the space is dedicated to the generally clear and sharp photos with captions of various length.
The drawings covers:
2 – Uboat bunker complex
1 – torpedoes E7/1 and /2
1 – interior of midsection on VII C
1 – complete interior VII C
1 – Type II C exterior
1 – Type VII C exterior
1 – Type VII D exterior
1 – Type XXI exterior
If you expect a written account of the German side of the U-boat war, you will be disappointed, as this subject is only dealt with in the one page introduction and to a lesser degree in the picture captions. Evaluation While this volume contains a lot of nice pictures – and a good deal new to me at least – there’s 2 issues that puts me a bit of.
Firsts is the structure of the volume and secondly the captions for the pictures. The books title suggests that it will deal with the U-boat war 1939 – 45 and in doing so, I could wish for a more strict structure and chronology, which are only partly, present. German U-boat and their equipment and appearance changed quite a lot over the war years, and a more strict chronology would have helped tracing and indentifying this.
An example of the lack of chronology is seen on the very last page in the book, showing a VII C with fitted wirecutter, a feature that was removed relatively early in the war, but as this is shown late in the book, it could mislead the reader into thinking, that this feature remained on the boat throughout the war. The captions in many cases omit what type/number/year is seen on the picture and instead stating that it’s a unknown U-boat. While I understand that its sometimes hard to do a precise identification of boat and date on these kinds of pictures, some more effort should, as I see it, have been put into building up the captions.
As a side issue, the picture on page 50 referring to a boat in dock looks suspiciously like a relative new picture of U995 exhibited on the beach in Kiel. If you are looking for pictures of U-boats and are prepared to do a little foot- and guesswork on the subjects, then this will be a reasonable interesting buy – just bear in mind, that its somewhat lacking if you are looking for a more detailed and structured walk-trough on U-boat development 1939-45. The drawn plates only deliver partial coverage of the U-boat lineage – the XXIII is lacking, most of the midgets and no development/test boats – no type VII A/B etc.
Don’t expect a full and linear coverage of the German U-boat development or an in-depth description of the U-boat war, what you get is a nice set of pictures covering a number of situations providing good inspiration and details for your build or just for general interest.
With that in mind I can only partly recommend this volume, as I find there’s other publications that does the same, but better.
Highs: Reasonably priced, many nice pictures – much inspiration for the modeler.Lows: Somewhat lack of structure and at times weak picture captions.
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