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Pen & Sword, Images of War, Montgomery’s Rhine River Crossing - Operation Plunder

ISBN Number:
978-1-52673-173-9
Published:
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Publisher:
Pen and Sword Books
Retail Price:
$26.95 USD
Reviewed By:
Chuck Aleshire

Images of War

Montgomery's Rhine River Crossing

Operation Plunder
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As you are most likely aware, Pen & Sword's Images of War series of books cover a wide and ever expanding array of subjects of interest to military history enthusiasts, as well as military subject modelers. The series includes a wide range of specific military vehicles or classes of vehicles, military campaigns or specific battles, and other related military subjects.

The subject of this volume concerns itself with a somewhat overlooked, yet critical operation, designed to finally breach Nazi Germany's largest and best natural barrier to invasion from the West, the Rhine River. Coming as it did in early 1945, it seems to me that this campaign has been somewhat overshadowed by the drama of the Ardennes Offensive and by the spectacle of the Red Army's grinding their way into Berlin itself.

There was a lot of bitter, intense combat on the West Front in those early months of 1945 following the Battle of the Bulge. Operation Plunder was the operation conducted by Montgomery's 21st Army Group consisting of British, US, and Canadian units, to cross the Rhine in the north, while other operations simultaneously crossed the Rhine further south. 

Vital Statistics

Format - softcover, portrait format

Page Count - 240 pages

Size - 7.5” x 9.75”

Photos - 250 Black and White images

Tables / drawings / diagrams - several maps

All text and photograph captions are in English

 

What's between the Covers?

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 Above, the book's table of contents, which shows how well and methodically this book is laid out. A great deal of space in this book is devoted to the operations and circumstances preceding the actual crossing of the Rhine described in the book's title. The actual text on Operation Plunder doesn't begin until well into the book. I like this approach, as it provides solid background to the reader on the what's, where's and why's.

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Above - I've seen some of the images contained within this book elsewhere, but given the subject/content of this volume, they are entirely appropriate. The vast majority of the images in this book are new to me, and of great interest.

As this is primarily a photographic history, there are a great many interesting images contained within this volume. Most photograph sizes are half to full page in size, enabling image details to be easily seen. Photograph quality varies a bit due to the existing conditions and circumstances under which the images were made. Most images are fairly crisp and clear throughout the book.

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Above - the images cover a quite wide range of interesting subjects and activities. 

The photo captioning throughout this volume is entirely adequate to quite good, with details of the images including the what's, where's and when's pretty well explained. Unit designations are provided ( when known ) as well. The captions, as well as the text, is clearly written and easy to follow.

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Above - there are many images of rather obscure subjects, such as the British AFV "funnies" employed in the ETO. A very wide range of interesting AFVs are pictured throughout this volume; tank transports hauling landing craft, DUKWs, engineering vehicles, etc.

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The thoroughness of the author's efforts to provide a complete examination of the book's topic extends to his giving the reader good coverage of the human element - the troops and the commanders who were involved in the actions described in the book. All combatants are given equal treatment.

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Above - there are several well drawn maps showing the "big picture" strategic view of the Western Front.

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Above - in my opinion, the author has done a terrific job of selecting appropriate and highly interesting images to accompany his excellent text throughout this book. 

Please note- the images contained in this book are better than the images that I took for review purposes.

Conclusions

This is a very interesting book, chock full of interesting information on a somewhat lesser known, yet still critical campaign in the closing stages of World War II in Europe. An outstanding photo selection compliments the text information very well. The author has more than simply done justice to this campaign, he's done a great job of providing an overview of the situation leading up to this action as well.

So, here is an interesting campaign described with solid, easily digested text, big picture maps, and a terrific selection of interesting photographs; this book is a winner for anyone interested in WWII European Theater of Operations. The wide range of fascinating photos will provide military modelers plenty to study and replicate in miniature.

 This book will be a welcome addition to your library!

Highly Recommended!

Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy

Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire AMPS Chicagoland 

AMPS 2nd Vice President, US Midwest Region 


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