This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Vercors 1944 Resistance in the French Alps by author Peter Lieb and illustrator Peter Dennis and series editor Marcus Cowper.
BODY OF THE TEXT
The fighting between the Germans and the French Resistance during World War II has remained a near-forgotten chapter outside France. Following D-Day the French Resistance fully mobilized on orders given from London and posed a real threat to the German lines of communications. Operating from their sanctuaries in the mountains of southern France, and armed with British and US weapons from Allied air drops, the Maquis descended into the valleys and tried to challenge the German occupying forces. By mid-June the Germans launched a series of major counter-operations in the mountains, and on the mountain plateau of the Vercors the Maquis made the mistake of attempting to hold their ground against regular German forces. They were encircled and destroyed, accompanied by terrible reprisals against the local population. **
Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Vercors is a group of mountains and plateaus east of the Rhône Valley, between the valleys of the rivers Drôme and Isère, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Vercors 1944 Resistance in the French Alps as Number 249 in their Campaign series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and color photographs, color illustrations, color maps and ‘birds-eye-view maps, informational charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-698-1. The book details the command strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces throughout the crucial stages of this particular area of fighting between the French Resistance and Axis forces in the French Alps during World War II.
- Origins Of The Campaign
- Opposing Commanders
- The Germans
- The French
- Opposing Armies
- The Germans
- The French
- The Allies: British and US involvement
- Opposing Plans
- The Germans
- The French
- The Battle For The Vercors
- The build-up phase
- The general German attack and break-in
- The pursuit
- The mopping-up phase
- The Tarentaise
- The Battlefield Today
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Peter Lieb covers the fighting between the French Resistance and Axis forces in the French Alps during World War II very well and goes into great detail about the individuals on both sides of the conflict as well as specific actions and their outcomes. Of particular interest to me was the discussion of the various operations, both allied and axis that took place during the fighting in the Vercors region. These were Operations (allied) Buick and Dragoon and (axis) Bergen, Bettina, Fruhling, Hoch-Savoyen, Hochsommer, Korporal and Treffenfeld. Something that I learned while reading through this volume was in regards to the United States Marine Corps participation in the fighting in the Vercors region. To me that was very interesting as I did not know that the United States Marine Corps was involved in the fighting in Europe, especially with the French Resistance. This is a well written history that will be of great use and interest to the well-seasoned and knowledgeable World War Two and French Resistance historian or the individual that is new to the fighting between the French Resistance and Axis forces in the French Alps during World War II and wants to learn about its history. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the fighting between the French Resistance and Axis forces in the French Alps during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 58 black and white photographs and 3 color photographs. The majority of the photographs are very nice and will help the military modeler well. They range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. 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. Peter Lieb has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the French Resistance in the Vercors region of the French Alps during World War II and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent photographs that will help out the aircraft, soft skinned vehicle, weapons, and figure modeler. The majority of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information due to the details they contain.
The photographs contain subjects such as:
- German Fallschirmjäger practicing a fast exit from a DFS 230 glider
- Maquis learning to use a US bazooka
- German glider pilots near a He 111 used for towing DFS 230 gliders
- Mules carrying a dismantled Gebirgsgeschutz 36 (7.5cm) mountain howitzer
- Two Tirailleurs Senegalais West African Colonial Army troops who had escaped from a German prisoner of war camp and fought with the Maquis
- A German Luftwaffe Gotha Go 242 transport glider
Some of the key individuals shown are:
- USMC Major Peter J. Ortiz
- British Major Desmond Longe
- Commander of the FFI forces in south-eastern France Colonel Henri Zeller
- Oberleutnant Friedrich Schafer
- US OG Commander Captain Vernon G. Hoppers
- Hauptmann Graf Clemens Resseguier de Miremont
- Capitaine Roland Costa de Beauregard
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 3 color illustrations and 3 accompanying black and white illustrations by illustrator Peter Dennis. Each color illustration is accompanied by a black and white copy of the same illustration that describes the scene and points out and describes key areas of interest. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Airborne Landing At Vassieux, 21 July 1944
- Fighting At The Pas De La Selle, 21 July 1944
- Skirmish At Montgirod, 14 August 1944
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are 6 color maps included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- German occupation and administration troops in the Rhône-Alpes region, summer 1944
- Maquis in the R1 sector and major German anti-partisan operations in 1944
- Original German plan for the attack against the Maquis du Vercors
- Fighting in the south of the Vercors Plateau, 19-29 July 1944
- The fighting in the north, 21-25 July 1944
- The German retreat from the French Alps, August to September 1944
There are 3 ‘birds-eye-view’ 3-D color maps also included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- The Airborne Landing And Fighting At Vassieux-En-Vercors, 21-25 July 1944
- Battle For The Mountain Passes, 21-23 July 1944
- The Tarentaise, August 1944
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the maps for yourself.
There are 9 informational charts provided which provide information on:
- Key to military symbols
- Key to unit identification
- Military abbreviations
- German military administration
- German police administration
- German occupation troops
- FFI in the Northern Alps, summer 1944
- Jedburgh Teams, Inter-Allied and US Operational Groups in the northern French Alps with drop dates
- Major General anti-partisan operations in the Alps and the Jura in 1944
There are two paragraphs of notes included in this volume of:
- Notes on terminology FFI-Maquis
- Notes on photos
The captions are well written and 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. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons, aircraft, vehicles and locations as well as specific individuals and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Peter Lieb’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.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
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.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains many excellent and subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details the fighting between and Axis forces in the French Alps during World War II very well. This volume will be of particular interest and beneficial to anyone interested in the French Resistance. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.
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Osprey Publishing also has Vercors 1944 Resistance in the French Alps available as a:
- PDF ebook
- ePub eBook
- Kindle eBook
Amazon web site
Kindle Edition of the book