by: Randy Harvey [ ]
HISTORY‘The stalemate in the trenches is for many the definition of warfare in World War One. Only months after the hostilities had started the opposing armies began to dig in along the Western Front. Thus began a type of warfare completely unexpected by those in command.
The war in the trenches demanded the development of new skills for the infantry and artillery and the development of new weapons capable of blocking the enemy’s advance over no mans land. Medieval tactics and equipment such as mining warfare and body armour would soon meet with most modern formations and tactics such as the assault forces and combined forces operations. Consequently, more than anything else World War One is the benchmark of modern warfare.’
** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.
THE BOOKGrabenkrieg – German Trench Warfare Vol. 1 by Oliver Richter (with the Verlag Jochen Vollert collection) is number 1005 in the ‘Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of the Great War 1914-1918’ section of the World War One series by Tankograd Publications.
This is a 96 page soft cover book and contains 197 black & white photographs, 30 color photographs and 3 black and white illustrations. The book has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is 978-3-936519-26-6.
-Introduction by the Publisher
-German Trench Warfare – Introduction
-Digging the Trenches
-Trench Systems 1914-18
-Life in the Trenches
-Trench Warfare Evolution
-Trench Warfare in Colour
THE PHOTOGRAPHSShown throughout the book are a wide variety of photographs of World War One German trench warfare. The photographs range from action scenes to casual scenes to scenes that were staged. The photographs show various times of the year such as summer and winter and different types of settings in and around the trenches. Most of the photographs are nice and clear; however some have an unfocused look to them and some appear too dark. The reader should take into consideration that most of the photographs are approaching 100 years old and are excellent for their age. The quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and takes nothing away from the book. It is obvious that the author took the time to research and arrange the photographs in a well thought out chronological manner and separate them as to the subject matter of the individual chapters. As well as being a valuable resource to the military historian and World War One enthusiasts, the wealth of photographs will be a valuable resource to the military modeler. There are many excellent views of trenches and underground bunkers from the beginning of construction to the finished product. Of particular interest to me are the photographs that show the improvements and upgrades made to the trenches and bunkers once they were constructed such as firing steps, sniping positions, living arrangements, observation positions, weapons placement and storage and other such details. Also of interest will be the many close-up photographs of individual soldiers and their uniforms and weapons for the detail-minded figure modeler. Some of my favorite photographs in this collection are of the soldiers wearing steel plate body armor and are geared up for battle. The included color photographs of the uniforms, helmets and body armor are also a valuable asset to the modeler as they show the correct coloring of the item. As most modelers know there can be arguments with regards to correct colors of various items and with the included color photographs this will help eliminate any uncertainty. In addition to the numerous photographs of the trenches and soldiers there are also photographs of barricades, horse-drawn wagons, aircraft, observation balloons, artillery, and mobile shields for riflemen. The book is filled with photographs that could be used as reference and ideas for many different dioramas and vignettes. I would also like to mention that individuals or companies that produce figures will find this book very useful in regards to ideas for making unique World War One figures and equipment.
THE CAPTIONSAll of the photographs are accompanied by captions that are in English text. The captions are well written and go into great detail in regards to the scene that is shown. It is obvious that the author has taken the time to study the photographs and research them so that the captions are well detailed and point out several items of interest. They go into great detail mentioning uniforms, small arms, weapons, equipment, actions and the individual military units. Due to the fact that World War One is very close to reaching the 100 year old mark, the detailed captions help explain what is shown because much of the equipment hasn’t been seen for several years and the younger historians and military modelers may not know what they are looking at. The time spent by the author explaining the accompanying photographs is to be greatly appreciated.
CONCLUSIONI am very impressed with the book. World War One German trench warfare is shown and discussed very well. With its wealth of detailed photographs and captions this book will appeal to the World War One historian and enthusiast, the military diorama and figure modeler, and the military enthusiast. It will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. I would have no hesitation to add their other World War One Series titles, or indeed any of the other Tankograd titles, to my personal library - nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others. This is an excellent title from Tankograd Publishing.
STURMTRUPPEN -The Kaiser’s Elite Stormtroopers
Oliver Richter with Verlag Jochen Vollert collection, World War One Series Number 1002, Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of the Great War 1914-1918, Tankograd Publications
History Through Sources: The Western Front
Rosemary Rees, Rigby Interactive Library
The Usborne Introduction to the First World War
Ruth Brocklehurst & Henry Brook, Scholastic Inc.
The American Heritage History of World War I
Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall, American Heritage/Bonanza Books, New York
The World War One Source Book
Philip J. Haythornthwaite, Arms and Armor Press
Arms and Uniforms: The First World War Part 1
Liliane and Fred Funcken, Ward Lock Limited, London
German Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918
Robert Kirchubel & Ramiro Bujeiro, Concord Publications Company