The war in Africa was a long a hot campaign and several times it came to very heavy clashes between the German and Allied armies. A lot of these battles are very well known such as Tobruk, El Alamein, and, of course, the Kasserine Pass. These names speak to the imagination as places where great commanders set out their strategies against each other. For a long time the German Afrika Korps managed to stand its ground but eventually the scales tipped in the favour of the Allied armies. Panzers of Kasserine is a book that focuses on the Afrika Korps in Tunisia during the battles of the Kasserine Pass where effectively it was the first time the German Afrika Korps met the American forces in the desert.
Written by Claude Gillono, who himself calls the book a photographic essay, this is a softcover book in A4 size and contains 32 pages literally filled with pictures and color plates. In total you will find 83 black and white photographs, mostly taken by Propaganda Photographers. Furthermore you will find 4 pages of color drawings depicting various vehicles, including captured Allied equipment such as halftracks and trucks.
Page 1 has the authors note and the details of the book from the publisher, ISBN number, and who worked on it. Page 2 gives an explanation of which units were around during which time and a general order of battle and activities during the period the book is dealing with.
From Page 3 it starts with pictures of 5 cm PAK 38ís being unloaded from airplanes in Tunis to counter the Allied landings in Morocco. From page 4 it really is a mish mash of vehicles and, with supply lines in the dessert being quite long, every army took what it could get. So you get pictures of Jeeps, US M3 Halftracks, Dodges, the quite rare T28E1 AA halftracks, etc. as well as 8 rads and several types of German halftracks varying from SdKfz 251s to SdKfz 10s towing different sorts of artillery. Of course one cannot forget the workhorses of the German Army, the Panzer III and Panzer IV which were driving around in quite big numbers. In the book you will find a lot of pictures of both tanks although most of them deal with several variants of the Panzer III.
From page 15 you get the color drawings which show drawings of several vehicles complete with markings ranging from Panzer III J and N to a beute M3 Halftrack. There is also a page dealing with the Tigers that eventually arrived in Tunisia.
From Page 19 you get treated with more period pictures, mostly dealing again with Panzer III Js and Ns but you will also find several other vehicles like a Panzer II F, a Canadian Lorry, an SdKfz 251, etc. Pages 28 and 29 deal with the Tigers in Tunisia and the 2 pictures on page 29 show a Tiger tank getting maintenance and it is quite interesting to see what is laying around the tank.
The last pages show several vehicles like Panzer IV G, a Schwere Panzerbuchse 41, Italian M41/14, a 5.0 cm Pak 38, and an exploded Panzer III and a Tiger sharing the same fate. The inside of the back cover shows a table with what tanks were around at the time complete with numbers and additional notes. Below that you will find a section of markings that were found on the vehicles which are also shown in the book.
In my eyes, Factory Publishing have a winner on their hands with this edition. Claude Gillono did some wonderful research and the quality of the pictures is very good with not one blurry picture included. Outside that fact, the pictures show a nice diversity of vehicles. Some true gems can be found ranging from a SdKfz 251 with a 5 cm PAK38 placed on top of it without itís wheels to an SdKfz 10 towing a British 25 pounder with limber and on to columns of mixed vehicles from M3 Halftracks, to Jeeps, to SdKfz 250 and 251, Dodges, Krupp Protze, Horch IA, SdKfz 263 8 Rad, you name it. This is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the Afrika campaigns.
Robert Blokker was contacted by the author, Claude Gillono, pertaining to two incorrect items appearing in the table on the inside back cover, which slipped through the final publishing of Panzers of Kasserine.
1-The first cell of the first column should read "In North Africa on 2 December 1942", not "In North Africa on 2 February 1942".
2-The first cell of the Tiger I column where it states "4" Tiger I's should actually list this as " - " representing zero, as there were no Tiger I's in that time period.
Highs: Good research, high quality pictures, nice subjects truly original pictures.Lows: the softcover makes that the corners bend easily which is a pity. Verdict: A recommendation for everybody interested in German forces in Africa.
About Robert Blokker (FAUST) FROM: NOORD-HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS
Started modelling when I was about 7 or 8 years old had a little break in between (school, girls partying) and eventually returned when finding this site in 2002. Main interest WW2 German army, wheeled vehicles and radio and communication troops or every other thing that manages to catch my interest...