Osprey Press continues to expand their prolific range of World War II books. Because my father was a WWII vet, I have always taken a strong interest in reading accounts of the war, particularly in areas he fought in or specific topics he enjoyed. Among the latter were the German “buzz bombs” and “V-bombs,” weapons that were designed to strike England and terrorize the population.
One of the new Osprey books is German V-Weapon Sites 1943-45 by Steven J. Zaloga. He examines the many sites and complexes constructed by the Germans to hide, protect, and then launch these innovative weapons. Zaloga gives the reader a cursory understanding of the technology behind these missiles and their bases, the mission of the V-weapons, and the notables behind their development. He meat of the book, however, and its most interesting content is the photographs of surviving German missile bases throughout Europe, as well as photos and accounts of when they were in operation. I travel rather extensively to Europe on business, but did not realize so many missile launch sites were still relatively intact. Few are open for public viewing, however. This fascinating book (Volume 22 of the Fortress series) is replete with scores of color photographs and illustrations, as well as vintage WWII black-and-white shots.
The second book is Robert Forczyk’s Sevastopol 1942: Von Manstein’s Triumph, which is Volume 189 in the extensive Campaigns series. German forces besieged Sevastopol for 250 days before overrunning it in July 1942. It was not liberated by the Red Army until May 1944. The intensive fighting destroyed the city, which was totally rebuilt in the 1950s. Forcyzk skillfully weaves together the story of the German campaign to seize the city, interspersing logistics, operational planning and military movements, leaders, and the terrain and weather into an excellent overview of the Sevastopol campaign.
As with all the Campaigns series, this book is lavishly illustrated with useful maps and color drawings of combat action, as well as dozens of period photographs, most of which have not been used in other works on the battle. The biographical material on General von Manstein portrays a relatively skillful commander whose flaws perhaps prevented even further military success. He looked down on subordinates and tended to lead from the rear, unlike his counterparts Rommel and Guderian, who possessed more of feel for the ongoing action. Forcyzk’s prose flows well, keeping the reader informed while not bogging down in too much detail. As a result, this is perhaps the finest general overview of the Sevastopol campaign on the market.