Casemate Illustrated Special
World War II Snipers
The Men, Their Guns, Their Stories
This is a brand new title in Casemate’s Illustrated Special series, which offer in-depth looks at various military subjects in this series. Other titles in this 13 book strong series cover a wide range of subjects including Dreadnaught and Super Dreadnaught ships, WWI British British fighter planes and WWII German Tank Destroyers.
This volume examines all things sniper-related for the major combatants of World War II. Selection of the men ( and women ) for sniping duties, their backgrounds and training, their role in various theaters of war, and the equipment that they used are covered in this book.
Format - hardcover, portrait format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 352 pages
Size - 8”x 10”
Photos - 400+, black and white, full color images
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - numerous maps, tables and drawings throughout
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
Above - a glance at the book’s Table of Contents, gives the reader an instant idea of the wide scope of this volume. Broken into three distinct parts, the book is arranged in a logical manner making it easy to locate specific areas of interest.
This book examines sniper selection processes, the training, the equipment used, and the sniper’s employment on the battlefield by all major powers that fought in WWII. This includes;
Britain and the Commonwealth
The United States
The Empire of Japan
The first chapters of this volume go into great detail in describing how snipers were selected and how the general culture of shooting sports or hunting in each nation influenced this ( including any institutional memory from sniping experiences from the Great War ), and how these snipers were then trained by their nation’s military. Great images and drawings accompany these chapters, showing training methods, awards and other interesting subjects. Coverage of these topics also includes the critical late interwar years, which illustrates which forces had the forethought to ready or renew sniper programs.
Part II of the book which examines Wartime Sniping is divided into nine geographical areas or theaters of operation. From North Africa to the South Pacific, from Western Europe to Stalingrad, each area with its own particular challenges is thoroughly examined. Quite a lot of fascinating first-hand accounts are presented in Part II.
As seen above, maps are provided to give the reader big picture background information.
Above - good images and information on the sniper’s tools are provided for the combatant nations. Good technical information on the weapons is also provided.
Above - Throughout the book, a great many sidebar topics are discussed, often accompanied by images, maps or drawings. These various topics give a lot of fascinating background information on issues or factors that affected snipers over the course of the war.
A Note on the Text / Photo Captions - text and photo captioning in this book is uniformly well done, being well written, descriptive and easy to follow. The extensive first person accounts found throughout the book are also quite well written ( as well as fascinating ).
Above - a typical chapter opening, which gives you an idea of the sort of interesting eye candy that is found throughout the book. Medals, awards, unit and specialty patches are shown to the reader.
This book doesn’t forget that it’s an account of the snipers themselves. The page above on the right are insignia, patches, awards and other items belonging to an American sniper captured during the Ardennes Offensive or Battle of the Bulge. He was lucky ( particularly so, as he was Jewish ) to have survived the experience. This book is chock full of riveting first hand accounts of snipers…and of being sniped.
Above - The range of material presented in this book is quite wide. I’d never have imagined a series of postcards memorializing snipers Leningrad snipers even existed. Very interesting things are found with almost every turn of the page of this book.
Extensive coverage is provided on the work done by women snipers of the USSR, which was far greater than most people are aware of.
Above - another of the many sidebar topics that are so well discussed in this book.
A Note on the Images in this Book - image sizes in this book vary quite a bit, some are half page sized, most are a bit smaller. They are all sized appropriately for the subject. Image quality is generally quite good, with only a few in-action type images being a bit grainy or dark. This is acceptable to me given the interesting subject matter of the photos.
As mentioned earlier, all of the major powers are discussed in this book, with equal attention given to each. The mix of main body text to the images and sidebar topics is arranged very well, with quite interesting subjects covered throughout the volume. The manner in which this book is laid out is quite effective in keeping the reader’s interest while managing to cover a lot of ground.
The book concludes with an extensive look at the various rifles and rifle scopes used by snipers. This closing Part III includes the sniper equipment used by all major combatants, each with its own section including a great many detail images. Ammunition used in these rifles is also addressed and illustrated.
This book is as close to a “one-stop shop” type of book regarding snipers and their equipment as I can possibly imagine. In my opinion, this book is simply a wonderfully complete work on WWII snipers and their weapons. Having owned a couple of WWII vintage sniper rifles in a previous life (pre-children), I’ve still got a good library covering snipers and their weapons. This book is the equal of anything I’d ever seen, while encompassing virtually every aspect of WWII snipers of not one, but SEVEN nations.
The breadth of topics covered by this book is outstanding. The level of detail is amazing, given how wide the scope of the volume is. The drawings, images and maps are well rendered, the writing is fluid and immensely descriptive.
Simply put, this is an outstanding book.
Highly Recommended! ( a Must Have for sniper / historical small arms enthusiasts )
Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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