Armed Forces of World War II
By Andrew Mollo
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co 2001 225 Pages
PDF 94 MB
With the publication of this volume I have at last produced the sort of book about which I dreamed as a boy of five, when I first became interested in military uniform at the end of World War II. Living as I did near Aldershot - home of the British Army - I saw so many men and women in uniform that my childish curiosity led nic to ask what a particular uniform or badge signified.
The postwar period when men and women all over Europe were gratefully shedding their uniforms, was a pretty bleak one for anybody trying to satisfy such an unusual interest. There were no lavishly stocked model shops, no book shops offering rows of titles ranging from the armies of By/aiiiium io those of NATO. The only military luniks available were the Times and Hamilton illustrated histories of World Wars I and II. and the dreary old regimental histories. So bit by bit I assembled my own scrap books from cuttings and the odd coloured postcard or photograph. Any representation of a soldier, however inaccurate, was gratefully pasted in. While other children were preoccupied with football and cricket I used to demolish the Illustrated London News.
This book has been divided into four main sections, each of which deals with a major theatre of operations. The armed forces engaged in a particular theatre are described under three sub-headings - background, organisation and uniform. The coverage given to a nation is not necessarily in proportion to its sue or contribution to the war. The major nations arc already well covered in numerous books, but there is very little readily available in the English language on the smaller nations.
The uniform text is perforce brief, but the running let is complemented by Malcolm McGregor's and Pierre Turner's superb artwork, the detailed captions to the figure drawings, and the 125 black and white photographs. Obviously tine has not been able to go into the minutiae so beloved by the expert, but in no other book will be found 266 figure drawings based tin contemporary photographs. 39 coloured charts of badges of rank and other insignia, and 11 organisational diagrams.