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Book Review of

"Staff Cars In Germany WW2: Volume 2"

By Christophe Jacquemont - France

 

Basic Item Information

Title

Staff Cars In Germany WW2: Volume 2

Author

Alan Ranger

Publisher

MMP Books

ISBN

978-8365958808

Media

Soft Cover Book

Number of Pages

80 Pages
Number of Photographs 134 Black/White Photos

Text Language

English

Retail Price

$25 USD

Reviewer

Christophe Jacquemont

Review Date

February 21, 2021

Review Summary

Review Type

Full Read 

Basic Positive Features

Thorough expert coverage of a little known subject; Candid, never-seen photographs.

Basic Negative Features None

Recommendation

A "Must Have"

Photos

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Detailed Review

The review copy was provided by WarWheels sponsor Casemate Publishers.

When I received this book for review, I did not know exactly what to expect. I knew there was already a first volume on WW2 German staff cars in the "Camera On" series from MMP books and I assumed they tried to cover all staff cars in two volumes. Turns out this volume features the cars manufactured by the German company Opel not yet covered in volume one, which was also exclusively Opel focused. This allows of course the vehicles to be presented much more extensively. Given that in World War Two the German Army used a huge variety of staff cars, both manufactured in the Reich or captured/produced in German occupied countries, we can hope for further volumes on the same subject (the Mercedes 170V comes to mind as does the Citroen Traction Avant, some Italian and Czechoslovak vehicles, and so on...).

This publication takes up where the previous "Staff Cars in Germany WW2 Vol. 1" left off (the first volume covers the Opel Olympia versions, the second all other staff cars manufactured by Opel).

After a short but very informative text introduction over 3 pages, "Staff Cars in Germany WW2 Vol. 2" presents successive chapters highlighting period pictures of the following subjects :


- Opel P4 (4 pages)
- Tank Mockups based on Opel P4 (8 pages)
- Opel 2 liter (6 pages)
- Opel Kadett model 1937 (4 pages)
- Opel Kadett K38 (8 pages)
- Opel Super 6 (16 pages)
- Opel Kapitän (15 pages)
- Opel Admiral (14 pages)

For those unfamiliar with the "Camera On" series, they are mostly photo works, with private pictures taken by German soldiers (as opposed to the official Propaganda Kompanien photographers) gathered by author Alan Ranger and never seen in print before. The quality varies depending on the original pictures and the ratio of very good to passable pics varies from book to book (I have 9 of them so far). In this one the picture quality is generally high, and you're getting a total of 134 photographs!

The vehicles’ states range from brand new looking to destroyed, but the vast majority of the cars are in good condition, displayed in a variety of theaters from Germany to Greece, the Eastern Front, France, Italy and Yugoslavia. It's nice to see a few examples of cars with two instead of just one photo, giving more clues for military vehicles enthusiasts and modellers. Most of the time, one or several soldiers feature on the pics, adding a human aspect to the whole book. There are many informative tidbits within the text. For instance, I learnt a few things about Opel factory civilian finishes (no, all cars weren't gloss black). Another interesting fact is that the Opel Kapitän had the same engine as the 3-ton Opel Blitz truck: for that reason, the production of the cars stopped in October 1939 when military truck production was given top priority.

One thing that struck me was that the captions are amazingly researched and detailed, almost every time you get a micro story around the picture. Very interesting compared to so many military photo books where little effort is put into the caption, often only amounting to educated guesses any military vehicle afficionado could make. In the rare cases when the author can't tell much about a photo (like the Luftwaffe Kapitän on page 63, top), he candidly acknowledges so.

Yet another impressive thing is the coverage given to each type. To be frank I have many books and magazine articles on the subject and had never seen before as many photos of the Käpitan and Admiral for instance.

On the slight downside, I did pick up a very few errors, typos or idiosyncrasies. For instance, I doubt the "Panzerattrape" P4 photo at the bottom of page 11 was really taken in 1930 as the vehicles all have WH licence plates, and in 1930 they would have had RW (Reichswheer) plates. In addition, the author states under the pic of a civilian P4 top of page 9 that “The only thing that would have been changed immediately upon entry into service was a change of number plate to denote it as a military vehicle”. At the same time, many pics in the book obviously show in service vehicles still sporting German civilian plates, albeit with WH lettering on the bodywork to confirm they had been requisitioned.

Conclusion

Very few niggles aside, this is a fantastic book and I'll be ordering volume one very soon to have the perfect reference combo for Opel staff cars in WW2. It will be very interesting for military vehicles enthusiasts, military vehicles collectors and last but not least modellers who will find inspiration and reference for their projects. In 1/35th scale, ICM offer Opel Kadett, Kapitän and Admiral kits (some later reboxed by Revell) and Wespe Models have several Opel resin kits, including the Opel Super 6. Wespe Models also have some 1/72 models such as the 1938 Kadett and the Kapitän.

 

A "Must Have".

 

Thanks to Casemate Publishers for the Review Sample.

 
Copyright: Christophe Jacquemont - February 2021