Irrespective of ethical issues, the Waffen-SS remains a topic of acute interest to many interested in WWII history. Indeed, the runic SS insignia is a symbol that is instantly recognizable worldwide. This formation began as the Schutzstaffel der NSDAP in 1925. It was dedicated to protecting the Nazi leadership, and indeed the name Schutzstaffel (shortened to SS) means "Protection Service". This politicized unit grew into a complete armed force, the Waffen-SS, three months after the commencement of WWII. It developed in strength and capability thanks to the superior training and equipment that was directed its way. The Waffen-SS spawned such famous divisions as the Leibstandarte-SS "Adolf Hitler" (LSSAH), 3.SS-Panzer-Division "Totenkopf", and 2.SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich". These were some of the best fighting formations fielded by Germany in WWII. As the war progressed, foreigners were pressed into service in units like SS-Gebirgs-Division "Nord" and 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking". By the end of 1943, a total of 247,000 men were serving in this famous armed force, and by the close of hostilities in 1945 it totaled 800,000 men in 38 divisions!
This new book from prolific writer Gordon Rottman offers a photographic survey of Waffen-SS fighting men. The series of black and white photos range from the early-war period right through to the last desperate days of 1945. Readers will find a veritable potpourri of interesting uniform, weapons and equipment on display. Even heavier equipment like antitank guns and StuG III assault guns is included too. Each clearly reproduced photo is accompanied by a descriptive caption providing insights pertinent to the Waffen-SS.
This volume opens with a concise description of how the Waffen-SS was created and how it developed. The central four pages also contain color plates by artist Ramiro Bujeiro. These show soldiers in typical uniforms and personal gear. This book is a welcome addition to Concord's Warrior series, and it fills an important niche in the coverage of WWII fighting men.
The centerpiece of this book is a set of 16 color plates produced by Laurent Lecocq, these showing various camouflage schemes and tactical markings. This second book on the popular topic of Sturmartillerie is a treasure trove of information for the historically minded, plus a source of inspiration for model makers.