US Airborne Soldier versus German Soldier

Published: June 22nd, 2018     
Product Image
Author: David Campbell; Illustrator: Steve Noon
Reviewed by: 
Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 9781472828569
Other Publication Information: 80 Pages; Paperback
Price: $20.00
Product / Stock #: CBT 33 Combat Series

During the earlier stages of WW2, the German military demonstrated a new approach to warfare never really encountered before - the airborne assault force. In hotly contested battles in places such as Norway, Denmark and Belgium, they proved the effectiveness of a shock force that could appear virtually anywhere at virtually any time.

It wasn't that long before the Allies took note and created their own versions of this elite force. Two units in the United States - the 82nd and 101st became the first large-scale units to develop the tactics and weapons necessary to serve as effective combat units in areas where they were likely to be surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy with little chance of immediate reinforcement.

David Campbell walks us through three of the major engagements by these forces in that war - the Sicilian campaign, the D-Day invasion and Operation Market Garden. All of these employed substantial numbers of airborne troops and show their effectiveness in sowing confusion within the rear ranks of enemy-held territory.

The book is replete with maps showing the combat operations in these areas, as well as photos of equipment and the men themselves from the time. These are supplemented with excellent artwork showing examples of each force's fighting men as well as Osprey's "patented" two-view combat scene, this one depicting a harrowing engagement during Market Garden for a seemingly insignificant bridge.

As with some other books in this series, I was taken by the contrast between the opposing forces highlighted in this book. U.S. Airborne troops were some of the most elite forces in the Army - taught to fight and think in ways that typical soldiers simply weren't expected to do. They were innovative, resourceful and imbued with a real fighting spirit that brings to mind modern-day SEALs, as just one example.

The Germans thrown against them, on the other hand, were clearly not front-line forces, for the most part - which is what you'd expect to be found in the rear echelons. Often cobbled together from bits and pieces of various units, they nonetheless proved themselves time and again worthy adversaries in sometimes impossible situations. What usually seems to have let them down was confusion and lack of leadership - as the situation in Sicily where units of the 82nd were confronted with the new and formidable Tiger tanks, and yet were still able to beat them off with the light weapons at their disposal.

As fodder for the modeling buff, this book provides a host of ideas and scenarios that beg translation into 3D. In today's burgeoning market there are numerous figure and armor sets that would do well to recreate these dramatic conflicts. The central piece of this book - the battle for the bridge - springs immediately to mind. My modeling fingers are even now twitching to grab an X-Acto and go to it.

This book gives a terrific overview in a fairly small space, and does so with excellent pictures and art that help capture these moments in time. I highly recommend this publication to anyone interested in campaigns of World War 2, or who are simple looking for inspiration for that next diorama. Thanks, of course, to Osprey for putting this book out and to IPMS/USA for a chance to read and review it.

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  • Map
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  • Back Cover
    Back Cover