by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
Into to the Cauldron - Das Reich in France 1940 #6533 is a 52 page book from Robert Michulec & Dmitriy Zgonnik and is published by Concord Publications and has a 2009 copyright. The ISBN is 962-361-169-2. The book is a soft cover book and contains 134 black and white photographs, and 4 color artwork prints. The book begins with a 2 page brief history with the remainder of the book dedicated to a wide array of photographs and the color artwork prints.
There is a wide array of subjects in the photographs focusing on areas such as uniforms, equipment, small arms, vehicles, field guns and armor such as the Panzer I and the Panzer II. The photographs range from action scenes to troops in casual poses. There are several excellent photographs of German SS uniforms ranging from school uniforms to combat uniforms. I was pleased to see that several of the photographs show the troops in combat uniforms and this makes an excellent reference guide to how the individual soldiers wore their gear. There are several excellent photographs of SS troops in camouflage. The “Plane Tree” camouflage is mentioned in several of the captions. On page 31 there is a photograph with reference made to a “rare early version” of the plane tree camouflage. The author also points out the different arm bands shown in some of the photographs such as the ones belonging to the Deutschland and Germania regiments. As I looked through the book I was pleased to discover that I hadn’t seen a majority of the photographs before and I found this to be very appealing. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have a kind of blurry/fuzzy look to them. I don’t know if this is due to the original photographer or if it is from them being enlarged for the book.
Artist Dmitriy Zgonnik has provided four color prints. The color art work prints are done very well. They show nice representations of different uniforms and include detailed captions describing the represented uniforms, equipment, and weapons. However there is one main problem with the color prints. The four color prints are all upside down. I don’t know if the book I received is just a fluke or if all of the books have this mistake. This definitely takes away from the overall presentation of the book. This is a mistake that should have been caught and fixed.
The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and are very detailed. As with the color prints they include information about the regiments, soldiers, uniforms, weapons, and equipment that is shown. It is obvious that the author has taken the time to study the photographs and research them so that they are well detailed and point out several items of interest. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors.
Points of Interest:
As with my other book reviews I like to mention certain things shown in the book that I hope will provide additional information and will be of interest to others. Some of the German regiments shown and discussed in the book are the Der Fuhrer regiment, the Germania Regiment, the Deutschland Regiment and the LAH Regiment.
The German armor and vehicles shown and discussed in the book include the Panzer I, the Panzer II, the KFZ. 4 Horch, the Opel Blitz trucks, the Sd.Kfz. 231 armored car, the BMW motorcycle -with and without sidecars, the Sd.Kfz. 7 halftrack and the six-meter medium pneumatic boat.
Also covered is a wide variety of German weaponry to include the 10.5 cm Ie.FH 18 gun, the Pak 35/36 anti-tank gun, the heavy machine gun 08/18, the PzB 39 anti-tank rifle (Panzerbuchse), the 9mm Bergmann MP28 machine pistol, the Mauser Broom handle pistol, the 5cm Ie.GRW 36 mortar and the MG34 shown with the very rare barrel tube which held two MG34 barrels.
Another subject that is covered is captured/commandeered equipment and weapons. This has been a long time favorite subject of mine so I was very pleased to see that is was covered in this book. Some of the captured/commandeered items include the French R-35 tank, the French Renault FT-17 tank, the French Panhard armored car, the French Berthier MLE 1907-15 rifle, the French Berthier MLE 07-16 rifle, the French MAS 36 rifle, the French 11mm Chassepot, or possibly, Gras Model rifle, the French 25mm anti-tank gun, the French 47mm anti-tank gun, and the French 75mm WWI model field gun.
All in all I am very impressed with this book. The variety of subjects covered will appeal to both figure and diorama modelers. It will also be a welcome addition to anyone’s personal library. This is the fourth Concord Publications title that I have reviewed and I have been very impressed with all of them. I would have no hesitation to add other Concord titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.