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Book Review
Salerno 1943
Salerno 1943 – The allies invade southern Italy
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by: Randy Harvey [ HARV ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

HISTORY

In mid-September 1943, at the opening move of the Allied campaign to liberate the mainland of Italy, an Anglo-American invasion force landed on the beaches of the Gulf of Salerno only a few dozen miles to the south of Naples. Italy had just surrendered and the soldiers in the landing craft prayed that the invasion would be unopposed. It was not to be. The Germans had seized control of the Italian-built beach defences and were ready and waiting. The ferocious ten-day battle at Salerno was eventually decided by a combination of Allied reinforcements and secondary landings in support of the beleaguered bridgehead.

THE BOOK

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Salerno 1943 – The Allies invade southern Italy as Number 257 in their Campaign series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, color maps, informational charts, 3-D bird’s-eye-views, author’s notes and detailed captions. It has a 2013 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78096-249-8. As the title states, the book details the command strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces throughout the crucial stages of Salerno 1943 – The allies invade southern Italy during World War II.

CONTENTS

Introduction
The Strategic Situation
Chronology
Opposing Commanders
  • German commanders
  • Allied commanders

Opposing Forces
  • German forces
  • Allied forces
  • Orders of battle

Opposing Plans
  • Soviet plans
  • Allied plans

Operation Avalanche
  • The landings
  • Expanding the bridgehead
  • The left flank
  • Battle along the Tusciano
  • The struggle for Altavilla
  • The Tobacco Factory
  • ‘Black Monday’
  • The tide turns

Aftermath
The Battlefield Today
Further reading
Index

THE TEXT

Angus Konstam has done a wonderful job of detailing the events surrounding the fighting at Salerno in 1943 during the Second World War. The contents portion where I listed the contents of the book is accurate as to what is discussed. Angus Konstam is able to place the reader where the action is by detailing every minute detail leaving nothing to guess as to what took place by whom and when. Specific military units such as armored units, key individuals, commanders, and various dates and day by day actions are all listed providing all of the details the reader would want and or need when studying this key event at Salerno in 1943 during the Second World War. Angus Konstam covers both sides of the conflict with equal detailing so that the reader is supplied with a non-biased narrative and informative history. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors throughout the book. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone interested in World War II history, military warfare and weaponry and the fighting at Salerno itself will find this excellent book very informative and interesting and will leave the reader with no doubt as to what took place during this famous historical event.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

There are a total of 61 black and white photographs and 3 color photographs shown throughout the book. The photographs range in subjects such as armor, artillery, troops, small arms, lend-lease vehicles from the United States, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, German of war (POWs), casualties, landing ships and landing craft, barrage balloons and many other subjects of similar composition. Most of the photographs are nice, clear, centered and focused images and are of a good quality and will benefit the scale modeler and military enthusiast and historian. Angus Konstam has stuck with photographs that I refer to as even specific meaning that they are of or in relation to the fighting at Kharkov and not just random World War II photographs that were used as filler. I appreciate the fact that a majority of the photographs were of the “in-action” variety which I feel helps place the reader in the action of the conflict itself.

Some of the photographs that I found interesting were:
  • A Sherman tank of the US 2nd Armored Division entering Palermo on 22 July 1943
  • Landing ships of TG 81.3 using barrage balloons for air protection
  • A camouflaged German Stug III assault gun of the 16th Panzer-Division on the move
  • An American M1 155mm howitzer in action
  • An aerial view of the Salerno plain
  • British Universal Carriers of the 6th Lincolnshire Regiment of the British 46th Division disembarking from an American LST on Uncle Red Beach
  • A US Ranger patrolling near the Chiunzi Pass
  • An American DUKW disembarking from a LST near a crew manning a 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun
  • A British M4A3 Sherman tank belonging to the Scots Greys
  • A British PIAT team
  • American truck loaded with equipment and supplies being loaded onto a tank landing ship from a transport ship via a crane An Aerial view of the Fiocche Tobacco Factory

Some of the key individuals shown are:
  • Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring
  • General der Panzertruppen Heinrich von Vietinghoff
  • General der Panzertruppen Traugott Herr
  • General Sir Harold Alexander
  • General Bernard Montgomery
  • Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark
  • Lieutenant-General Richard McCreery
  • Major-General Ernest J. Dawley

THE ILLUSTRATIONS


There are 3 color illustrations and 3 accompanying black and white illustrations by illustrator Steve Noon. Each color illustration is accompanied by a black and white copy of the same illustration that describes the scene and points out and describes key areas of interest. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
Plate A
The Battle For ‘Lilienthal’, Uncle Beach, 0630HRS, D-Day
A rifle section from the 2/5th Queen’s Regiment taking cover from machine-gun fire on the southern bank of the River Asa.
Plate B
The Fight For The Tobacco Factory, VI Corps Sector, D 3, 1330HRS
American GIs of the 1/157th RCT (Regimental Combat Team) hold a shell-damaged warehouse on the western edge of the large circular Tobacco Factory complex.
Plate C
Kampfgruppe Von Doering’s Attack, Sele-Calore Corridor, D 4, 1830HRS
German LXXVI Panzer Korps under fire from the American 158th and 159th Field Artillery battalions while approaching the River Calore.

MAPS
There are 6 color maps included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
  • The Allied invasion of southern Italy
  • The Gulf of Salerno and its environs
  • British X Corps area of operations
  • US VI Corps area of operations
  • The German counter-attack, 12-14 September 1943
  • The German withdrawal and the Allied pursuit, 15 September-8 October 1943

There are 3 ‘birds-eye-view’ 3-D color maps also included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
  • The British Left Flank, 9-16 September 1943
  • The River Tusciano, 10-16 September 1943
  • The Battle Around Altavilla, 12-13 September 1943

THE INFORMATION CHARTS:
There is 1 informational chart provided which provides information on:
Key to military symbols and unit identification

THE CAPTIONS

The captions are very nicely written and contain a wealth of detail and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place. The captions go into very specific detail as to specific individuals, soldier’s military affiliation, dates and locations, weapon types such as artillery and tanks as well as small arms, specific military units and the results of the actions that are shown, and other such pertinent information. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. I did find one error in the form of a missing word in the caption accompanying the Plate C illustration. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I did find one error in the form of a missing word, but it is minor. The captions themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detailed what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to the who, what, when, why and where. I was pleased with Angus Konstam’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

THE NOTES:
There are 3 notes included in this volume:
Editor’s Note
Artist’s Note
The Woodland Trust

CONCLUSION

This is a very nice reference book that contains many nice illustrations, photographs and well written and detailed text and captions. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library. An excellent well written and researched reference and history book of the actions at Salerno in 1943 during the Second World War that will benefit the scale modeler as well as the military enthusiast and historian.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.

REFERENCES


German Tanks of World War Two ‘In Action’
George Forty
Arms And Armour

World The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg

World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia
Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013
Published in 1977
Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton

Tank And AFV Crew Uniforms Since 1916
Martin Windrow
Color Illustrations by Gerry Embleton
Squadron/Signal Publications

The Second World War
Martin Gilbert
Owl Books

World War II Day by Day
An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945
Donald Sommerville
Dorset Press

WWII Time-Life Books History of the Second World War
By the Editors of Time-Life Books
Foreword by Eric Sevareid
Prentice Hall Press

The American Heritage Picture History of World War II
C.L. Sulzberger
American Heritage Publishing Co. Inc.

The Military History of World War II
Consultant Editor: Barrie Pitt
The Military Press

Illustrated History of World War II
Ian Beckett
Portland House


Tank Force
Allied Armor in World War II
Kenneth Macksey
Weapons Book, No 15
Ballantine’s Illustrated History of World War II

The Guns: 1939-45
An Account Of The Artillery Of WWII As Told By One Of The World’s Finest Artillerymen
Ian V. Hogg
Ballantine Books

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SUMMARY
Highs: Nicely written precise text and captions with event specific photographs and illustrations
Lows: Nothing to specify
Verdict: An excellent well written and researched reference and history book of the actions at Salerno in 1943 during the Second World War.
Percentage Rating
92%
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-78096-249-8
  Suggested Retail: UK £14.99 / US $21.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 10, 2013
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.22%

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2019 text by Randy Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



   

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