This introduction is as supplied by Pen and Sword:
The Battle of the Bulge was the perfect storm for the Allies in late 1944; a tired army, overstretched supply lines, and poor intelligence on what was waiting on the other side of the hill. On 16th December, with almost complete surprise, the Germans launched their last major offensive in the West. Emerging from thick fog and through the dense woodland of the Ardennes nearly 500,000 German troops slammed into American lines.
For almost a week the Germans were able to make good ground, and the glory days of 1940 beckoned as they crushed all resistances before them, often with extreme cruelty. On Christmas Eve, the Germans had lost their initial advantage, the skies cleared and air support returned. For the next 3 weeks the battle hung in the balance. For the Americans the Battle of the Bulge would be the deadliest single battle of the Second World War.
This Battle Craft title also looks at four pieces of military hardware that were involved in these legendary battles. Massive King Tigers rained down terror and destruction among the Allies M4’s and other armour, until the arrival of nimble M18 Hellcats which counted for several King Tigers. Over head the almost uncatchable ME262 battled with its own nemesis, the virtually indestructible P-47.
The Quartermaster section provides the modeller with an insight into the development and operational use of the four chosen vehicles and aircraft that were involved in the Battle of the Bulge. A selection of historical and contemporary photos and illustrations feature alongside stunning showcase builds, providing the modeller with subjects to whet the creative appetite. It also features details of model kits and extras that can really help the modeller bring military history to life.
This offering from Pen and Sword looking at the Battle of the Bulge is a soft backed book as part of their Battle Craft series. This is the third title in the series and is authored on this occasion by Ben Skipper. The gloss card cover protects the 64 pages of gloss paper within. The contents are presented in a portrait style and well laid out as regards presentation.
The contents of the title are presented as follows:
The Battle of the Bulge – The Last Counter Offensive in the West
Quarter Master Section
The written content has been well tackled and while presenting all of the details of this Operation in 64 pages is not possible. The details of the operation are broken up into short sections and these give the reader a good guide to events rather than the blow by blow events. The text has a good number of period photographs with short captions. The pictures are a good mix of the major players and the troops of all sides usually in action. A good number of these images are well known offerings and one in particular showing two American infantry soldiers in the standing shooting stance I feel is wrongly captioned as ‘shooting at retreating German troops’. The two are fully exposed and troops further from the lens look relaxed. Most of these images feature troops and armour, but some aircraft images make it in.
The Quartermaster Section looking at models has been nicely tackled looking at both kits available and aftermarket additions on the market. The models covered as regards finished items are:
76mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) M18 Hellcat
Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf B Tiger II
Messerschmitt Me 262
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
The modelling selection is a mix of model images and reference photographs, a number of these are museum vehicles and so the modeller needs to be on their toes as to what is period accurate and what is modern additions. I will say that I appreciate the choice of subjects here, but I would have liked to see infantry from the main combatants represented in this area of the title due to infantry being the main forces and who suffered most.
With the financial situation being what it is reference is likely to be what suffers first in the hobby, which is why I am a supporter of titles from Pen and Sword as part of the Craft series of books covering many areas of interest. The book is affordable and provides the modeller with a good mix of reference and model related data at a very affordable cost. This book as with all titles is not perfect, but they do a lot with a little cost to the end user.