Rare Colour Photographs From the Second World War
288 pages. Foreword, Introduction, Chronology, Sources and Further Reading.
Ian Stewart Spring is credited because the pictures for this book were taken from his PIXPAST Archive, perhaps the largest collection of WWII color photography.
The Foreword is by David Glantz; the rest of the text is by Anthony Tucker Jones, the well-known military historian.
The books begins with a Foreword (3 pages), introducing and commenting on the value of the book; followed by Introduction: The Cameramen (14 pages), explaining who took the pictures; and then a brief chronology (2 pages).
Then we get to the subject of the book: page after page of color photographs, with lengthy captions. Many pictures are two-page spreads. These are organized by category:
- The Ground War
- Day of the Panzer – German armored units (11 pictures)
- 'Had I Known' – wrecked Soviet tanks (16 pictures)
- Yellow Waffenfarben – German armored cars and crew (15 pictures)
- Beasts of Burden – German halftracked vehicles (8 pictures)
- Poor Bloody Infantry – German infantry (15 pictures)
- God of War – German artillery, including on the move and entrenched (11 pictures)
- 'The Door Knocker' – German anti-tank guns (6 pictures)
- Stalin's Debris – wrecked or abandoned Soviet equipment (10 pictures)
- The Art of Logistics – German trucks and wagons (13 pictures)
- The Officer's Limo – German light vehicles (13 pictures)
- A Job for the Engineers – German military bridges and amphibious vehicles (11 pictures)
- War in the Skies
- The Luftwaffe's Fighters – Fighters and pilots (6 pictures)
- Smashed on the Ground – Soviet plane wrecks (9 pictures)
- Wail of the Dive Bombers – German bombers (9 pictures)
- The Welcome Auntie – German transport aircraft (8 pictures)
- Air Defense Duties – German anti-aircraft guns and one wrecked Soviet AA gun (8 pictures)
- Behind the Lines
- Troublesome Axis Allies – Axis allied infantry (11 pictures)
- Prisoners of War – Soviet prisoners and casualties on the march and in camp (7 pictures)
- The Partisan War – German soldiers with civilians in occupied territory (13 pictures)
- The Medics – German medical personnel and vehicles (10 pictures)
- Leisure Time on the Ostfront – Sports and food (13 pictures)
- Enduring Russia's Winter – Winter scenes and winter camouflage (20 pictures)
It is amazing to find out that so much color photography is available from the war! However, it is largely limited to German sources, and to the early war years. One quickly realizes the many variations in 'panzer gray' and winter camo.
This is a general survey of wartime photos, which means most wargamers will be left wanting more. Fortunately, the complete photo archive is online at pixpast.com.
One thing lacking from the book is greater discussion of the films used, and how accurately the colors are reproduced.
I highly recommend this book for those who want to learn more about what is available from WWII in color.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .