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The Siegfried Line (Hardback)

Then and Now

Colour Books Military > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > British History Photographic Books WWII > German Forces & Weaponry WWII > Photographic Books World History > Europe

By Daniel Taylor
Imprint: After the Battle
Series: Then and Now
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 147 colour illustrations, 51 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399048538
Published: 10th November 2023

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Lead author Karel Margry, with material by Winston Ramsey and Charles P Stacey

Editor: Daniel Taylor

Text: Approx 63,000 words in main account plus 31,000 word in captions.

Up to 700 images including maps, photographs and illustrations. Of these, around 120 may be in a colour section making up the concluding section of the book.

The book comes in three distinct sections – the first is an in-depth analysis of the German 'Westwall' defence system built between 1936 and 1944. This includes the build phases, the organisation of the workforce and the political background. The second section looks at the Allied campaign to overcome the defences of the Siegfried Line through the winter of 1944/45, focussing on three major operations by the US, British and Canadian armies. The third section deals with the perception of the Westwall in the eighty years since the war and then outlines a battlefield tour guide of those elements that still survive.

Long time MAFVA member Dan Taylor has produced this excellent book on the infamous ‘Siegfried Line’ that was built before WW2, but only saw action late in the war as the Allies attacked in to Germany. Many of you will know of the ‘After the Battle’ magazine series, and indeed it was this monthly publication that I used in several trips across Europe to find military destinations.
Dan has taken articles from the magazine and merged them together to produce the complete story of the bunker system that opposed stretches of the Maginot line.
Following an introduction to the original research by editors Winston Ramsey and Karel Margry, the first chapter gives us a thorough insight to the planning of the defence works and the original designs of bunker. We are then lead through the changes and subsequent construction that was undertaken into the early part of World War Two. Taking each zone in turn, maps illustrate the locations, and photographs show what was there. There is a vast amount of detail in the supplied information and tied into the photos, gives an excellent picture of events.
A real bonus is the inclusion of scale drawings of the various models of bunkers from the skilled hand of Dan Taylor, and also sketches of earthworks that I recognise from the ancient Bellona softback book (1969), which I believe were from a German manual. All really useful information.
There are many excellent photographs, many that are new to me, and the quality of the prints in the book is outstanding. As you might expect with a book from the ‘After the Battle, Then and Now’ stable, there are corresponding modern colour photos to compare to the wartime monochrome images. This is ideal if you have the opportunity to explore, as well as visit those bunkers that have been opened up as visitor centres. Then this book keeps on giving as it has a bibliography, comparison rank chart and organisational tables.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and can recommend it to historians, model-makers and wargamers. Also for those travelling in western Germany!
Review copy kindly supplied by Pen and Sword, who now include the ‘Then and Now’ publications.

Paul Middleton, MAFVA

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and can recommend it to historians, model-makers and wargamers. Also for those travelling in western Germany!"

IPMS magazine

No hesitation in recommending this one.

Read the Full Review Here

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