Sturmgeschutz: Panzer, Panzerjager, Waffen_SS and Luftwaffe Units 1943-45
Osprey has been bringing us an excellent series of histories of various German vehicles and units such as the Panther, Tiger and Panzerwaffe by noted German author Thomas Anderson. These books have been great values. The latest is a 288 page hardcover history of Sturmgeschutz serving in Waffen-SS, Luftwaffe, and other units in the second half of the war. This is a continuation of his earlier 'Sturmartillerie' book. So, it does not cover the development history of the Stug as a vehicle nor the founding of the early units.
Osprey's usual high production standards are seen here, with high quality photographs and some nice maps and scans of Tables of Organization and equipment.
It should be understood that this is a history of the units using the Stugs, not a technical history of the vehicles themselves. There is some really interesting content on the formation of the early Waffen-SS stug units. There's definitely an undercurrent of thought that these units took away resources that more properly belongs to the regular Army in its infantry divisions.
Below, one of many TO&Es in the book.
Wrecked early-model Stug
Similarly, the story of Luftwaffe Stug units is one of politics overtaking common sense; all the scarce resources that went into Luftwaffe field divisions and prestige formations such as the Hermann Goering Division were allocated at the cost of keeping those same resources away from the Army. The HG division in particular was a a bit of a hobbyhorse project that absorbed a lot of resources into a very large combat formation. The Third Reich's reputation as an efficient organization gets shredded in this story.
Below, organization of Wehrmacht Infantry Division Stug Company. The idea of company-sized units gets a lot of discussion in the book.
Anderson does a great job, as usual in his books, of describing the operational and logistical issues associated with these units. He provides a lot fo detail on debates within the Army on the proper organization of Stug units. Tactical considerations led the infantry branch to fight for small Stug units of about company strength to be added to every infantry division. However, this idea was opposed by tank and Stug officers who pointed out how inefficiently this would disperse the scarce recovery tractors, mechanic's shops and trucks necessary to keep those Stugs running. Anderson reminds us that considerations such as these were as important as tactics in deciding these issues.
Below, Luftwaffe Stug and crew
Sketch map to accompany an after-action report described in the text.
Below - a few of the photos are reproduced across two pages.
Since this is a history of the units, not the vehicles themselves, some substitute Italian equipment such as this Semovente 105/25 is shown.
Nice photo of a mid Stug
Pros: Great information on the formation and operations of Stug units; excellent photo collection; excepts from after-action reports are very valuable; well-written; nice combination of tactical and logistical content.
Cons: A few captions are flipped; the translation from German to English leads to awkward writing in a few places.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Danny Egan
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