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John Walter. Guns of the Third Reich.

John Walter. Guns of the Third Reich, Greenhill Books, London and Stackpole Books, Pennsylvania, 2003, ISBN 1-85367-598-9. Hard cover with dust jacket, 256 pp., 32 b & w illustrations, 16 x 24 cm. UK 19.99 [pounds sterling]

Congratulations once again to John Walter and Greenhill Books for bringing us a stunning treatise, this time on the ever popular subject of WW2 German small arms. This is no pretty picture coffee table book. It is a critical analysis of the subject, with emphasis on the what, when, who and why. Information from such a perspective is quite hard or impossible to find elsewhere.

This difficult-to-put-down book contains the answers to many questions, including that of impressments or utilization of captured equipment, that have long evaded the serious student of arms. All of this highlights once more the depth of knowledge, tenacity of research and the network of contacts that have made the author a worldwide authority on the subject. The author's lucid, easy-to-read style makes it a pleasure to browse or study.

A must-read is the first chapter, which is a succinct but enlightening review of the disjointed development of armaments and competing manufacturing priorities, all of which assisted the Allies. Besides this, the eight chapters of text are enhanced by faultless line drawings and high quality b&w photographic plates which illustrate over 50 weapons and associated items. The appendices incorporate notes on small arms ammunition, manufacturer's letter codes and a particularly helpful glossary. As well, there are a detailed index and an elegant sufficiency of chapter footnotes.

This outstanding publication has surely earned itself the status of a classic on the subject, and for the serious enthusiast, a necessary adjunct to any other book on the subject.
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Author:Wigzell, Syd
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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