Images of War – Hitler’s Tank Destroyers – Review

Written by Paul Thomas and published by Pen & Sword Military as part of the Images of War Books Series,  ISBN: 9781473896178 and published on 15 November 2017, this book contains 132 pages with a number of rare photographs from wartime archives, as well as photos of AFVs still existing.

The book is split into an Introduction, then three chapters covering the panzerjäger development and deployment of panzerjägers followed by a chapter on the destruction of the panzerjäger in 1945. Finally there is an Appendix which lists the various panzerjäger vehicles over the period of the war.

Vehicles included are:

  • Panzerjäger I
  • Marder I, II, and III
  • Hornisse/Nashorn
  • Sturmgeschütz IV
  • Elefant
  • Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
  • Jagdpanther
  • Jagdpanther IV
  • Jagdtiger
  • Sturmgeschütz III (technically an assault gun but also used in the Panzerjäger role
  • And the following self-propelled artillery:
    • Sturmpanzer I Bison
    • Sturmpanzer II Bison
    • Grill
    • Hummel

The book follows the usual format of the Images of War series with more contemporary photos than text. Many of the photos are rare photos from wartime archives. There are some great photos of vehicles in this book, including knocked-out vehicles.

Like previous works in this series, this book is one for the bookshelf of anyone interested in the development and deployment of AFVs though the Second World War.

Images of War – Hitler’s Tank Destroyers


The Naval War in the Baltic – 1939-1945 – Review

I read Freeing the Baltic 1918-1920 about six months ago and as a result I was looking forward to The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945. Wow! I wasn’t disappointed.  This book arrived a couple of months ago and I finally had a week where I read rather than painted figures or headed to the pub and this was on the top of the reading pile.

The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945 was originally published on 17 May 2017 however it appears to have been sold out and is now due to re-release on 28 February 2018. The author is Poul Grooss. The book is 400 pages long with ISBN 9781526700001.

Poul Grooss is a retired Danish Naval Captain whose career was 40 years long. He served as an intelligence officer and Soviet analyst. He also speaks Russian. He currently is a teacher at the Royal Danish Naval Academy.

I reckoned I knew a bit about World War II and I also knew there was a lot I didn’t know. Reading Grooss’s book has reminded me of how little I do actually know. Grooss starts setting the scene in the book by describing the geography and the history of the Baltic region, then goes on to discuss the political manoeuvring and naval developments between the wars. His coverage of the 1939 to 1945 period starts with the attack on Poland then looks at the Baltic region through to 1941. Later chapters cover the attack on the Soviet Union to Spring 1942; the war between Spring 1942 and 1944; Spring 1944 to New Year 1944/1945; then from that New Year, month by month to the end of the war. He then looks at the aftermath of the war and a retrospective.

The book is easy to read and Grooss has taken advantage of his Russian language skills to collect data from sources not usually referred to western histories. Grooss was writing for the general reader but has managed to write a book that will appeal to both general readers and the more professional historian.

He covers and uncovers the degree of Swedish cooperation with the Germans. He covers the interactions between the Soviets and the Swedes and while this is a naval history of the Baltic, the land battles are included for context, especially Kronstadt and Leningrad. Hitler’s desire to hang on to Narva is also covered.

The Baltic was a training ground for German U-boat crews but what really amazed me was the quantity of mines that were laid there and the amount of shipping that suffered. I should also mention that the Swedes were not as pro-German as we perhaps think, permitting the British to build a listening station on Swedish soil, for example. Both the Germans and the British seemed to have a laissez faire attitude to Swedish neutrality.

This book is not all about Sweden though. Grooss also covers the minor states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) as well as Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland and of course the main protagonists. The book is supported by many fine photographs, most of which have not been seen in print before as well as well drawn maps. There are a number of appendices and indexes with an index of people and another of ships. There is an appendix containing a chronology of the conflict, a glossary of abbreviations, ranks, terminology and explanations. Another appendix is a cross-reference of place names in various languages as well as an extensive list of sources and bibliography. This book is one I will return to many times in the future I think. For the naval historian, the wargamer and the general reader, it is well worth waiting for this re-release and grabbing a copy.

Some More Kits

The M4A3E8 Sherman of Korean War vintage

I was out and about the other day. I had to go over the MegaMall in Ortigas City, Metro Manila. Apart from a very useful art supply store on the 4th floor of Mega B that has a complete range of Vallejo Paints amongst others as well as some quite good sable brushes, there is a Lil’s HobbyShop in the basement. This particular branch of Lil’s has a good range of 1/72 scale tanks as well as the more popular larger scales. As I had a Pershing, one of the American Tanks that saw some action in Korea, I thought a Korean War Sherman would be a good addition to the collection.

The Sherman is an older Trumpeter kit and has the stretchable plastic tracks that I hate. The cost of the kit was 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20). I’ll get around to an unboxing soon.

The soviet JS-3 (Josef Stalin 3) heavy tank

Once I had found the Sherman I then thought that a Soviet JS-3 was in order, in part to keep the theme for heavy tanks of the World War 2/Korean War era. Trumpeter also make a JS-3 and this kit was newer than the Sherman as the tracks are moulded in the same plastic as the model, much easier to deal with.

Given the clean lines of this tank there is not a great deal of detail that can be moulded on but the model looked clean. As with the Sherman, I will unbox it later. The cost of this was also 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20).


Model Collect is a new Chinese company producing models. The range was small at Lil’s with about 10 kits in stock. The company tends to concentrate on Soviet/Russian equipment currently with some World War 2 German items.

These kits are magnificent however. The barrel is metal and there are also photo-etched parts to this beastie. The tracks look easy to deal with as well. Again, I will do a full unboxing in the not too distant future.

This kit though contains way more parts than the Trumpeter kits and the detail on these models is superb – in part I guess from the photo-etched pieces.

They are more expensive than Trumpeter as well with this model retailing for 1,598 pesos (about $45 Aussie or $33 US). The price direct from Model Collect for this is about $25 so considerably more than Trumpeter but for a kit that is a quantum leap forward in detail and inclusions.

I am looking forward to building these in the near future.

WIP – More WW2 Japanese Being Prepped

Two battalions ready for sand on the bases. Rear one is GHQ Models, front battalion is Ros and Heroics

I had prepared one Japanese World War 2 infantry battalion along with three AA elements. I decided to prepare the next, as well as starting to set up the third for painting along with the rest of the heavy weapons, the artillery and  such.

The first battalion was made up of GHQ models. The second is from Ros and Heroics. There is a nice flag bearer in the Ros and Heroics pack so that does for the command base. I also glued to a base three Medium Machine Gun (MMG) units. As the base is large compared to the figures I based some transport with the MMG.

Next prep will be the third infantry battalion and a large chunk of heavy weapons. I want to be able to start adding sand to the bases next Thursday whilst the APEC holiday is on here.

The Ro and Heroics Command Group
The Ro and Heroics Command Group


Next – Some Japanese

The desk, ready with the infantry, heavy weapons and trucks!
The desk, ready with the infantry, heavy weapons and trucks!

I decided that I would start to finish my World War 2 Jaanese. This way I’ll have a local opponent for my early World War 2 Russians. As the armour is mostly done, and the aircraft half painted, it is time to put together the infantry and artillery. Where the Russians are based around 9 bases to the company/battalion, whatever the level is I am playing at, the Japanese will have 12 bases.

Added to that then the heavy weapons support, artillery from the 75mm Field Gun as well as the 70mm and 105mm howitzers, some 20mm anti-aircraft guns and trucks, loads of trucks, 43 of them, then this force will be ready. I also have some fun stuff to add to the army but more on that later.

First off it will be the infantry heavy weapons and artillery. I’ll worry about the trucks and the pack animals later.

Oh, one largely anachronistic item for this army is the beautiful Mistsubishi G4M3 “Betty”. It did not fly over Manchuria/Mongolia but it is a great little aircraft never-the-less.

Early World War 2 Soviets Finished

My early World War 2 Soviet Battlegroup
My early World War 2 Soviet Battlegroup

Phase 1 is complete!

The early world war 2 Soviet force is shown below. I will be using this against Japanese and Hungarians, both of which I still need to paint. The battles against the Japanese will be a little bit anachronistic as I do not have the very early armour used by the Russians at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan).

Still, look out Doug, there are more to come – including late war heavies to see your Tiger 2s off 😉

In the meantime, feel free to have a look around this force in the gallery below. I will admit that I still need to add decals to the tanks. I am waiting until the mood takes me again to do that much fiddly cutting and decaling!

Lunchtime Love

Yep … it’s love when you just finish your sandwich and the receptionist brings you a nice box with the rest of your World War 2 Blitzkrieg Commander Japanese. I had already received armour and infantry from GHQ and Heroics and Ros. I was waiting on some more armour from CinC. It arrived today. I now have enough to do my Japanese World War 2 army in 1/300¦1/285 scale – a perfect opponent for the Soviets in the early stages of the war. I will detail all of it up later but below are the shots of lunchtime love.

I should add that as far as cost and detail goes, you get what you pay for. With the vehicles, GHQ is is most expensive, CinC the second most expensive and Heroics & Ros the cheapest. The detail follows the same order. With the actual infantry figures, to be honest, I prefer the Heroics & Ros figures over the others. Adler also make World War 2 infantry in 6mm but alas, no Japanese.

Looking at the size of these vehicles I think I will need to base then on half size bases to the ones I am using for the Soviets as these tanks are very small – reminding me of how small it was inside my first Nissan many years ago.

More in this later … in the meantime, back to playing with the new toys!

USAAF Spitfires in World War 2

In one of those usual oddities of Google and the Internet, I was hunting for some information the other day on Soviet World War 2 aircraft camouflage and, as you do at a time like that, came across a reference to the USAAF flying Spitfires in World War 2. “Tally ho”, I thought,  “here’s an oddity to look further into”.

Look into it I did.

Well, not only did the USAAF flying some Spitfires but the US Navy also managed one squadron. There were four groups in the USAAF flying Spitfires for a time, initially out of England and then in the Mediterranean. They were:

United States Army Air Forces

4th Fighter Group

  • 334th Fighter Squadron
  • 335th Fighter Squadron
  • 336th Fighter Squadron

7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group

  • 13th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

31st Fighter Group

  • 2d Fighter Squadron
  • 4th Fighter Squadron
  • 5th Fighter Squadron

52d Fighter Group

  • 307th Fighter Squadron
  • 308th Fighter Squadron
  • 309th Fighter Squadron

United States Navy

Supermarine_Spitfire_Mk.Vc_USAAFI’ll freely admit that this was news to me. I had always associated the USAAF pursuit (fighter) groups with P-40s, P-47s, P-38s and P-51s, never with the Spitfire.

The 4th Fighter Group was fairly typical, It was constituted and activated in 1942, Activation was in England and the core of the Fighter Group were formers members of the RAF Eagle Squadrons. They commenced operations with Spitfires but moved across to P-47s in March of 1943 and P-51s in April 1944. 

Of course, the US Army Air Force was not the only non-Commonwealth country operating Spitfires in World War 2. I mentioned 1942 above. In 1942 Spitfires were being sent to the Soviet Union to assist that war effort. I can see I will need to add some to my Soviet mid World War 2 army. The picture below is of a line of Spitfires, camouflaged and marked with a red star ready for export to the Soviet Union.