The German Operation Wacht am Rhein (Watch on the Rhine), also called the Ardennenoffensive (Ardennes Offensive) occurred from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, launched in the same area as the German 1940 attack on France, through the densely forested area between Belgium and Luxembourg. At this late stage in the war, the German military realized the only hope of stemming the Russian assault, which paused only when they outran their supply lines, was to force the Allies to surrender or accept a separate peace. Germany realized that a sudden, swift attack into this lightly held area was the only way they had any chance for success. The goal was the capture of the Belgian port of Antwerp, which would increase Allied supply lines and have the secondary effect of splitting four allied armies.
This book is really in four parts. The first is a general description of the development and deployment of these two vehicles. It’s not technical and doesn’t go into the internal working of the mechanical “stuff” but it does give you a good idea of how the Scorpion and Scimitar came to be and why the design decisions that were made were made the way they were and how the design has evolved through various modifications/changes. Rounding this section out is a description of the deployments of the vehicles by the UK as well as other users and some organizational charts of Scorpion/Scimitar units. The second part is a series of 13 color profiles of various examples of both vehicles in service with the UK and other countries. Following this is a listing of all the available kits and after-market parts for modeling the tanks and finally there is a section with four sample builds of the AFV club model.
This landscaped, hardback book is written in both English and Hungarian, featuring select German armored vehicles throughout all theaters in World War II from 1939 to 1945. This is an incredible book with many previously unpublished photos of armored vehicles in depots, in the field and after combat. The next page reveals more surprises that the previous.
First and foremost, this book is written in Hungarian, and this language is shown first, followed by the English translation (and a great job by the editor, by the way; this is not a case of stereo instructions printed in one language and translated into another that doesn’t have words for stereo equipment). The author sets up the book with the following introductory paragraph, “In the strictest sense of the term, “Panzerwaffe” means tank or armour weapon. For the Wehrmacht (German armed forces), the Panzerwaffe was that part of the Heer (army) that consisted of armoured formations.”
Operation Studie Nord, the German plan for the invasion of Scandinavia was further developed into two separate plans that were to run concurrently – Weserubung (River Exercise) and Weserubung Sud (River Exercise South) for Norway and Denmark, respectively. The plans were drawn up after Germany’s invasion of Poland and during the “Phoney War” (Queen’s English as the book’s author is English). This often-overlooked campaign violated both Denmark and Norway’s neutrality before the German military campaign against France and the Low Countries and took place shortly after the Russian-Finish Winter War of 1939-1940. Besides Denmark and Sweden being neutral, both countries’ monarchs were brothers. The similarities between both countries continued with relatively low numerical military strength and modern weapons; the difference was how the countries chose to respond.
Hungary found itself on the losing side of World War I and the Treaty of Trianon was similar to the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany. As a result, Hungary was partitioned (see map on page 5) and reduced from 282,000 square kilometers to 93,000 square kilometers and its population from 18 million to 9.5 million people, absorbed by foreign countries hostile to Hungary; Hungary’s industrial base was reduced by almost 80%, and its military was limited in size and scope. Hungary’s involvement in World War II was seen through the lens of regaining their lost territories from Slovakia, Romania, Austria, and Yugoslavia. When political methods didn’t work, Hungary’s limited military did what it could, but soon found itself allied with Germany to achieve its aims.