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A Photographic History of Infantry Warfare, 1939–1945 (Hardback)

WWII Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Military

By Jonathan Forty, Simon Forty
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 400 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526776822
Published: 12th April 2021

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The infantry can always be found at the sharp end of the battlefield. You may be able to crush an opponent with armour or artillery, but there’s only one way to take and hold ground and that’s with riflemen – the ‘poor bloody infantry’. And it is the infantrymen of the Second World War – from all sides, Allied and Axis – who are the subject of this highly illustrated history. It uses over 400 wartime photographs plus contemporary documents and other illustrations to show the developments in equipment, training and tactical techniques and to give an insight into the experience of the infantry soldier during the conflict.

Although the infantry were critical to the war effort, their contribution is often overshadowed by the more dramatic roles played by soldiers with more specialized skills – like tank crew, paratroopers and special forces. They also suffered devastating casualties, in particular during the last phase of the war in the west when around 20 per cent of an infantry division’s riflemen were likely to die and over 60 per cent could expect to be wounded. So as well as describing how the infantry fought, the authors look at the motivation which kept them fighting in awful conditions and despite brutal setbacks. The result is a thorough, detailed and revealing portrait of infantry warfare over seventy years ago.

This book looks on all sides at the role of Airborne soldiers in war and the type of warfare they bring to the table. The book looks at a number of cases in which airborne soldiers were prominent such as Crete, Eben-Emael, Operations Market Garden and Colossus and Biting. The book looks at the use of them and the benefits to the situation, I personally would have liked to have seen more about the Market Garden but that is just one of my personal interests. The second half of the book looks at the practical side of things such as training, equipment such as gliders, medical, organisation and communications etc which were very well written and very informative. This book I presume is part of a set having read the three previous books on Tanks, Artillery and Infantry is brilliant and this set is a marvellous achievement, I love the writing, the design and format some really decent very well made books.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

As featured in

The Armourer

"The appendices also provide great detail on the equipment used as well, making this a great resource for collectors"

The Armourer Magazine, January 2022

A Photographic History of Infantry Warfare 1939-1945, first published in 2021, is a highly illustrated survey of all aspects of the infantry role in World War II. It covers all the main theatres and all the principal armies, encompassing everything from uniforms, weapons and tactics through to morale and casualties.

The authors draw on a wealth of material to present this fascinating overview. Its a book that many people will enjoy dipping into as there are more than 400 photographs and illustrations, each making a point, all with explanatory captions. But is also supported by a knowledgeable text. Many people interested in the war will know something of the story told here - but most will learn something new.

Read the full review here

WW2 Today

Overall, an excellent book for either the casual reader of serious student and fully deserving of 5 mushroom heads.

Read the full here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

"This is most highly recommended and excellent value for money."

Military Historical Society

Featured in

WWII History

Lots of detail here, with informative captions to the many archive images, all of which accompany the well written text. An interesting book, and I like the way it considers the infantry of all sides involved in WW2, not one side or the other.

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Military Model Scene

I think the modeller will thoroughly enjoy this title, due to the large number of period photographs included.

Armorama

Not part of the Images of War series, although there are plenty of eye-opening and amazing photographs in the Forty Brothers's history of infantry on both sides of the conflict during the Second World War. Fascinating!

Books Monthly

Overall, I found it a refreshing book and the photos are superb. The mainstay of the book is the images as they are wartime dated and they reveal much detail as to what was worn / used at the time. It will appeal to many military history interests and it is certainly worth reading if the “poor bloody infantry” captures your imagination.

Dr Stuart C Blank

Featured in

Royal Anglian News, April 2021

About Jonathan Forty

Jonathan Forty was educated in Dorset and the north of England before attending Queen Mary College, London. He designed and worked on military magazines, including for many years Tank magazine.


Son of author and RAC Tank Museum curator George Forty, Jonathan and his brother Simon have continued the family tradition, writing mainly on historical and military subjects including books on Hadrian's Wall, the Napoleonic wars and the two world wars, often in collaboration. Simon's latest book, published by Historic England, is D-Day UK: 100 Locations in Britain; Jonathan's Heavyweights: The Military Use of Massive Weapons. They are also co-authors of Tank Warfare 1939-1945.


About Simon Forty

Simon Forty was educated in Dorset and the north of England before reading history at London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing since the mid-1970s, first as editor and latterly as author. 


Son of author and RAC Tank Museum curator George Forty, Simon and his brother Jonathan have continued the family tradition, writing mainly on historical and military subjects including books on Hadrian's Wall, the Napoleonic wars and the two world wars, often in collaboration. Simon's latest book, published by Historic England, is D-Day UK: 100 Locations in Britain; Jonathan's Heavyweights: The Military Use of Massive Weapons. They are also co-authors of Tank Warfare 1939-1945.

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