The Oliver Publishing Group is a book publisher based in Australia who provide a high quality range of reference books on armour. They began trading as The Oliver Publishing Group in May of 2009 when they broke with The Factory Publishing ( themselves a publisher of armour related books ). Panzers in the Bocage : German Armour in the Battles For Normandy was their first independent title and the first in the “Under The Gun” series which uses photos of disabled or captured vehicles together with photo plates showing various camouflage and marking options.
If you’re familiar with the Panzerwreck and the Panzer Colour series of books then this one takes both concepts and meshes them together, and does it well. The quality of the black and white photos is very good, with the clean-up of the originals done extremely well, giving good clear images.
The first five pages give a very useful short summary of the units in the area, including who served with who, some of the vehicles they are known to have had, and when and where they fought. One page is a VERY handy table of the 21st Panzer Division strength with what units had what vehicles. This is complemented by a similar table on the inside of the back cover which covers Tiger units in Normandy from June to August of 1944.
The second and last quarter of the book ( the two B&W photo sections ) is actually very reminiscent of the Panzerwreck books ( presented in portrait rather than landscape ) with two to three photos per page accompanied by text describing each photo. The text appears to be well researched which is always an important point for those of us familiar with some publishers’ “take a wild guess” type text.
The first section of black and white photos is very Panther focused, with the last section covering Tigers, StuGs, half-tracks and some SPGs and artillery. The centre eight page section, together with the back cover, is made up of colour artwork plates showing various camouflage and marking options on vehicles covering predominatly Panthers, Tigers, StuGs and Sd.Kfz.251 halftracks.
This coloured section is a huge help when it comes to referencing vehicles as they were at the time of the post Normandy landing battles in and around the Bocage. The layout is very similar to similar artwork in the Panzer Colour books ( which are likely better known to those of us who do actually get into the whole research thing ), or even the colour sheets that accompany Bison decals.
I love these sorts of books, for me they’re hugely useful in researching ideas for builds and for getting an idea for how a particular unit marked and painted their vehicles. But even if you’re not the sort who really cares whether or not the markings on your model are historically accurate to the month and the town these are a facinating read, just looking over the various photos of wrecks left behind.
This looks to be the beginning of a great series of books and this particular one should be a great refence point for anyone looking for some good, decent sized, decent qulity images of vehicles on the battlefields of the Bocage. I do like when books like this are specific to a particular location/point in time and I’m looking forward to more of the same.Author : Karl Berne Publisher : Oliver Publishing Group ( www.oliverpublishinggroup.com )
Pages : 34 containing B&W Photos and colour artwork plates Binding : Softcover Size : 212mm x 297mm ISBN : 978-0-9806593-0-6
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