Vorwärts immer - Rückwärts immer! Volume I An Illustrated Guide to the History and Fate of the German Assault Artillery in WW II
Volume I: The Early Years
Volume II: Attack
Volume III: Defence
This first of three volumes on the German Assault Artillery in World War II covers the first years of establishing and deploying this new weapon up to the preaparation of opearation "Barabarossa", the invasion in Russia: The Sturmartillerie was extablished before outbreak of WW II as an integrative support arm of the infantry, which was far way from thorough mobility. Sturmgeschuetze - assault guns - turretless tanks armed with a 7,5 cm gun - should push forward the attack breaking any enemy resistance, destroying infantry guns, MG nests and bunkers. In the further course of the war the young service branch would have to stand the impetus of ever growing numbers of enemy tanks.
The purpose of this first volume is to introduce this small, but remarkable service arm to the reader. Development and combat of of the first units in battery - scale and the later Sturmgeschütz battalions resp. brigades will be explained by photos, diagrams and colored artwork. The author turned his attention to the identification of Sturmartillerie units, markings and characteristics will be clarified wherever possible. During his research the author relied only on sources found in German archives. Subjective recollections of veterans have been used to illustrate the nature of this service arm.
This study includes 250 historical photographs, most published for the first time, 40 color illustrations (Drawings), 1 map and some tables of organisation. Format: 20*28 cm, 209 pages, Hardcover.
Here some reading samples, fragments:
Frank de Sisto (Network 54.com)
The Sturmgeschütze III is one of my favorite modeling subjects. While building a StuG.III Ausf.G December 1942 production version using the Tamiya base kit and the Chesapeake Model Designs resin conversion, during my research I came across Thomas Andersons excellent article in MMiR number 16. Here I felt, was a kindred spirit, since the Sturmgeschütze III along with the Panzerkampfwagen III are my favorite German AFV types. Fast-forward to 2011 and Mr. Anderson has begun publication of what is scheduled to be a three-volume treatment on this typically German answer to the problem of supporting infantry in the assault.
That this book has been published by the renowned History Facts house (their superb two-volume set on the Sturmgeschütze III has also been reported upon here at ToT), simply adds gravitas to Mr. Andersons obvious labor-of-love.
The text begins with a brief introduction, which describes the concept behind the design of the StuG.III, followed by information regarding the formation of the first training unit, the Artillerie-Lehr-Regiment, located in Jüterbog, near Berlin. This segment is accompanied by a pair of two-page maps, showing pertinent details of the training area and its environs. A number of well-captioned photographs fill out the section. This set of photos contains images of the training grounds, the men involved and, of course, the AFVs in use. The latter consist of early StuG.IIIs, Pz.Kpfw.III chassis used fro driver training, and the two support vehicles designed to accompany the StuG.III in action: the le. gep. Munitionskraftwagen Sd.Kfz.252 (referred to as a Muniwagen by the troops) and the le. gep. Beobachtungskraftwagen Sd.Kfz.253 (called Führerwagen by its users).
Then, the book covers all of the early units in turn, to include their campaigns. First are the six battery-sized units deployed (or activated) for the campaigns in the west in 1940... One in particular is interesting not only for its extent, but for the fact that it was translated in 1940 by the US Military Attachés office in Berlin, and includes his own analysis....Unit-specific modifications are also shown and described. This segment is also helpful to modelers in that it finally and correctly ties in markings with each unit, ending any guess-work (including my own!)...
Several pages make up the next section, which provides some technical information on the StuG.III, the Sd.Kfz.252 and the Sd.Kfz.253. This is followed by a section showing the various uniforms and head-gear worn during this early period. The appendices contain a bibliography, a brief biography of the author, a table showing German ranks and their equivalents, and a glossary. The final main part of the book is the section containing 16 pages of color plates. Beginning with a full-color archival image, a total of 18 vehicles are depicted. Several thumb-nail images show unit insignia and their variations. These drawings are based on scale plans by Hilary Doyle and have been created by a team called Filipiuk and Giancaterina. The plates are very well-rendered and feature correct camouflage colors and patterns for the periods depicted. It would seem to me however, that the AFVs from the later units were probably manufactured and delivered after the change to monotone Dunkelgrau was mandated. However, in this area, as in all Things Sturmgeschütz, I defer to the author. Commentary is informed and (where necessary) sometimes extensive.
This is an excellent start to the series and I have very little to criticize except for a few production issues. I noted that three of the monochrome insignia illustrations and one included in the color plate section are of low resolution. There are a very small number of typographic errors, but they are nothing to be concerned with. The paper used is not of the glossy coated stock variety, which has a slightly adverse effect on the otherwise very well-reproduced photos; the same observation applies to the color plates. Of all things, I think the latter deserves a re-think by the publishers as glossy paper adds extra depth and clarity to any image or drawing. It should be again emphasized that image reproduction is otherwise excellent, based, of course, on the quality of the original photograph.
I am delighted with this book and eagerly look forward to the remaining two volumes in the proposed series. The way in which it is organized is superb, allowing for easy access to unit-specific modeling information. Any modeler with an interest in this subject should have this book on his shelf, along-side the previous two History Facts books on the Sturmgeschütze III. I do, and I am leaving room for the remainder!
William L. Robinson (Amazon.com)
Another great title about the Sturmatillerie branch of the World War II German Army. The pictures and their captions were a delight. One of the most useful books on the history of this new branch of modern warefare and a pleasant read.
Tom Cockle (Network54.com)
In English, the title translates to Forward ever, rearward never!, the motto of the newly formed Artillerielehrregiment training facility located in Jüterbog near Berlin in 1936. The book presents a chronological historical look at the creation of the first Sturmartillerie units beginning with the first six independent Sturmbatterien (640, 659, 660, 665, 666 and 667) in November 1939 and their battlefield experiences in the battle of France in May 1940. This is followed by an account of the creation of the first five Sturmartillerie-Abteilungen (184, 185, 190, 191 and 197) in July 1940 and their experiences during the Balkan Campaign. Each unit is discussed in detail and includes a Table of Organization and numerous photographs illustrating the unit markings and support equipment. The book finishes off with a brief discussion on the uniforms used by the Sturmartillerie.
Most of the photographs are previously unpublished from the authors personal collection as well as from several veterans personal albums and other well known sources.
I found it to be a very interesting read with enough technical information and descriptive photograph captions to keep my attention but not too much to make it boring and was able to finish it in about four hours. Anyone interested in the history and equipment of the German Sturmartillerie will find this book to be a valuable addition to their library.
Dean Allisoon (amazon.co.uk)
If you like stugs you must buy this book.
The book only covers the early war vehicles and the units which operated them. There is a vast amount of information in this book which you will not find in any other book about the Stug I know because I own 99% of them.If you are especially interested in the Stug used in France 1940 then you are going to be impressed with this book and as I you will consider it a vital referrence. I build models in my spare time and consider this book to be the missing link in my research about the Stug A and 2nd production Stug A.
The book compliments the two History Facts books on the same subject and like me if you have these two books you must have this.
An excellent book, I can't wait for the other four in the projected series.
Hernani S. Oliveira Filho (São Paulo, SP Brasil) on amazon.com
This book is a very interesting source of what happened with german stug battalions in the beggining of the war...
Robin Buckland (UK) on militarymodelling.com
Don't be misled by the German language title as this is an English language publication, and an excellent opening book in a planned series on the Sturm artillerie from Thomas Anderson. The early period of the Stug is covered in this first volume and one well worth seeing for any modeller with an interest in these early war vehicles.
amazon.com 09/10 (Doug Nash)
'Forwards ever, rearwards never! is the translation of the title, and let me start by saying that the book is entirely in English language, despite the German language title. This is the first new book in a series from the publisher 'History Facts', and is written by Thomas Anderson, an author with a strong interest in the German Assault Artillery of WW2. His name may be familiar to many modellers who may have noticed his name credited on a good many Dragon kits and other reference works. He has a long time interest in the assault artillery units, and now he is putting that to use in this new series of books from History Facts.
This first volume covers the early period of the Sturmgeschutz, with the early Stug IIIs with their short 75mm guns. Seen as useful for tackling enemy strongpoints, machine gun positions or bunkers, these were very much Assault Artillery, to be used for pin-point attacks on strongpoints that were holding up an advance...
The book is filled with informative text and a host of excellent period photos and unit organisation charts... The book takes us through that, the first use in combat in 1940, and tackles all the early units that were equipped with the early Panzer III based Stugs. The photos show the vehicles, including the supported variants of the little Sdkfz 252 ammunition carrier as well as the Stugs themselves, and their crews. In the barracks, on the training grounds and in action. Following the opening Introduction, the main segments of the book are the First Units... Very much a book, or to be more precise the first in a planned series of books, clearly by a modeller, and for modellers.
modelarmour.com 10/11 (Vinnie Branigan)
First in a three volume work, the others being Volume 2: Attack and Volume 3: Defence. Despite the title, that translates to 'Forwards Always - Backwards Never!', the book is entirely in English...which is nice. Also, it's mainly photographic in nature...which is also nice....'cos I likes me pictures. :)... The book examines the development and history of the German Sturmartillerie before and during WWII, using this first volume to also show their early deployments and actions. To do this, as I mentioned, the author makes extensive use of period black and white photographs, although don't let this mislead you to thinking the book is light on information. It's not. The captions to each of the reproduced photographs are fairly comprehensive, and there are lengthy text sections where necessary to impart relevant information. This not only includes the author's own research, but also the reproduction of official reports made at the time, maps and tales of organisation. After the introduction, six Sturmbatterie are covered in some detail, their formation, deployment and history, along with useful information on how to identify vehicles belonging to each specific unit, each of the sections being copiously illustrated with relevant period photographs.
The next section examines five Sturmartillerie- Abteilung during the period immediately after the invasion of France, again using photographs, tables of organisation and again including a lengthy section on identifying which particular vehicles belonged to whom. This is followed by a section on illustrating and describing the various types of uniform worn by the Sturmartillerie between 1939 and 1941, the final section being a large selection of colour plates of various vehicles from various units!
If your particular area of interest is StuG's or the Sturmartillerie in general, then this is one series that you're going to consider a must have! Beautifully illustrated, and with another two volumes to collect, it looks set to become a standard work on the German Assault Artillery of WWII. Recommended.
Military Modelling International 10/11 (David Grummit)
MMI's own Thomas Anderson has written the first volume of what promises to be the definitive account of the German Sturmartillerie, or assault gun units, in World War II...
This instalment covers the Initial development of the Sturmartillerie, its first deployment in 1940 during the French campaign, its rapid expansion and subsequent action during Operation Barbarossa. The author, who acknowledges his debt to the renowned team of Jentz and Doyle (the foremost experts in the field), has based his research almost entirely on original German sources; no repeat here of the myths and errors which mar other publications. For the modeller this book contains a wealth of previously unseen photographs: no less than 250 across its 208 pages. Each is expertly captioned and Anderson has gone to great lengths to identify units, markings and other characteristics (such as stowage arrangements) that identified the different units. As well as the StuG III there are plenty of photographs and information on the Sd.Kfz. 252 and 253 support vehicles, as well as the support and recovery vehicles that served alongside the StuGs. The text and photographs are also supported by a wealth of colour profiles, unit markings and a map. Overall, this is a first-class production which I can't recommend highly enough.
Steel Art 10/11 (A.B.)
Questo libro dal titolo "Sempre avanti - indietro mai!" risulta rieeo di foto storiche e succose didascalie a corredo. Tratta della famosa Sturmartillerie nelle prime lasi della guerra. A questo ne dovrebbero seguire altri tre per coprire tutte le fasi dei conflitto. Il libro nasce dalla ricerca certosina dli famoso Thomas Anderson che ha intervistato centinaia di veterani per fornire un documento ricco di curiosità e scatti inediti, che sarà sicuramente giudicato fondamenlaie dagli appassionati. 11 volume e in formato A4 ed e rilegalo. Dentro troverete oltre alle loto disegni a colori dei mezzi. Eslratti di manuali e documenti ufficiafi. 11 tutto in lingua inglese.
missing-lynx.com 10/11 (Tom Cockle)
In English, the title translates to Forward ever, rearward never!, the motto of the newly formed Artillerielehrregiment training facility located in Jüterbog near Berlin in 1936. The book presents a chronological historical look at the creation of the first Sturmartillerie units beginning with the first six independent Sturmbatterien (640, 659, 660, 665, 666 and 667) in November 1939 and their battlefield experiences in the battle of France in May 1940. This is followed by an account of the creation of the first five Sturmartillerie-Abteilungen (184, 185, 190, 191 and 197) in July 1940 and their experiences during the Balkan Campaign.
Each unit is discussed in detail and includes a Table of Organization and numerous photographs illustrating the unit markings and support equipment. The book finishes off with a brief discussion on the uniforms used by the Sturmartillerie.
Most of the photographs are previously unpublished from the authors personal collection as well as from several veterans personal albums and other well known sources. I found it to be a very interesting read with enough technical information and descriptive photograph captions to keep my attention but not too much to make it boring and was able to finish it in about four hours. Anyone interested in the history and equipment of the German Sturmartillerie will find this book to be a valuable addition to their library.