KV Publishing- Ostfront Panzers 2: Belorussia 1943-44
Authors: Alexander Tomzov, Aleksey Nechaev, Victor Ukhov, Sergey Malina
Translations: Lee Archer & Vyacheslav Kozitsyn
Softcover, 96 pages with 124 black and white photographs and color artwork
This is the second book in the "Ostfront Panzers" series by this relatively new company out of Russia and is focused on Wehrmacht AFVs in the territory of Belorussia. It is a softcover book in A4 landscape format and the photos vary in size from one to four per page and are crisp in detail despite the age of the photos. The captions are excellent and highly detailed and informative. As mentioned before, the book is reminiscent of the excellent Panzerwrecks series and the fact that Lee Archer is involved in editing gives further credence to the quality of what is inside. Interspersed throughout are color images of certain vehicles and tactical symbols created by Alexey Stefanov that help in understanding the content.
Example of color tactical symbols
The focus of many of the photos are the intense autumn and winter battles in the Gomel and Vitebsk regions, the encirclement near Bobruysk, Minsk, and the defeat near Shklov. Photos come from both sides in the conflict and some include stills from Soviet newsreels. I don't recognize any of them as being previously published and as mentioned before, the captions really help clarify what you are seeing. Even to the point of relating certain markings and words in the photos that I truly cannot see with my Mk 1 eyeballs without magnification. Being as how some were taken by soldiers with their personal cameras, there are some images that are washed out or blurry-- but seeing these photos as they are is better than not having them at all to be sure.
While there is not much text in the book other than an introductory page, the photo captions more than make up for this. Information provided in these captions include things like the type of vehicle and the unit it was assigned to, time and place where the photo was taken, and the source of the photo. Another aspect of the books I really enjoy is that when there are a series of photos of a number of destroyed vehicles in a certain area, they are often accompanied by a sketch showing the vehicles in relative position to each other. I have included a scan of one of these instances below to give you a better idea of what I mean.
The book is full of great inspirational images to fuel one's desire to create a vignette or diorama. All of the photos show the armor samples out of action and in most cases, the vehicles fill the frame so you can get a good representation of the detail. Often times, we also get photos from various angles to provide more reference, including shots of the damage incurred, and the surrounding detritus as a result of the explosions. The publisher website includes a list of the vehicles you'll see in the book, so I have included a link to it here.
There are only two instances in the book of the excellent full page color profiles done by Alexey Stefanov- I have included one here, along with the actual photo it was based on:
This is an excellent sophomore volume by this new publisher and I was eager to receive it when contacted by them. It is filled with excellent and never seen (to me anyways) photographs from a number of sources that will inspire and educate you as you peruse them. While the wrecks illustrate the horrors of conflict on the Eastern Front, we see how both sides endured and how the Soviets turned the tables on an overwhelming foe and achieved victory pretty decisively in the end. I look forward to more releases from them in the future and can only hope the wait isn't too long.
Highly Recommended for anyone interested in the Eastern Front towards the end of WWII.
Thanks goes out to Kozitsyn Vyacheslav Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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