|Home > Reviews > Other > Men-at-Arms 419: The German Army in World War I (3) 1917-18|
This final part of the trilogy detailing the organization, uniforms and campaigns of the German Army in the Great War, is a fitting end to the series.
Using a fine selection of 40 B&W photos and the now-classic eight pages of color art, the author and the illustrator have teamed up to graphically depict the Imperial German Army in the last year of the war. Unlike the other two books in the series, this one also has a few photos of ordnance, A7V tanks and crew-served weapons, making this a bit more useful to a greater variety of modelers. In fact, it is really quite amazing to learn how many different types of uniforms and how ornate some of them actually were, this late in the war. Apparently, “standardization” is indeed a relative term!
The excellent color art also has a number of very interesting renderings, including an AFV crewman, mortar crewman with his weapon, “Sturmtruppen”, clergyman (a Rabbi), mountain unit personnel, tropical uniformed personnel, medics, officers and various infantrymen. Many of these renderings depict special equipment or weapons, and are far from “run-of-the-mill”. Naturally, these will all serve as excellent references for figure painters. The photo captions are all informative as are the more extended captions that accompany each color plate.
The text is extraordinarily detailed and includes the numbers and names of all extant military divisions and brigades, including whatever type they were as well as whatever titles they may have had. Information on special uniform distinctions is given where applicable. The organization of Army Groups, Armies, Corps, Divisions and Brigades is also detailed, as well as where they were stationed at any given time. A brief history of the various campaigns that were being waged in the last year of the war is also given. The best term to use in describing this part of the book is “statistical density”, courtesy of the late guitarist/composer, Frank Zappa.
Finally, the remainder of the text is devoted to describing the various types of uniforms in use by officers, enlisted men and civilian bureaucrats who were required to wear uniforms. These are further broken down to cover the traditional arms such as infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineer, alpine, labor, veterinary, police and supply units, as well as the newer additions in the first mechanized war, such as tank, automobile, flying and communications units. Orders and decorations are also described as are the insignia of special units.
As I have said before, the only limitations regarding the usefulness of a book such as this to modelers, is the relatively tiny amount of vehicle, ordnance and figure kits available from this fascinating era. Manufacturers, please take note!
Frank De Sisto