The Sturmgeschutz-Abteilung 202 was one of the most successful German assault gun units in the Second World War. It had been deployed exclusively on the Eastern Front against the Red Army between 1941 and 1945. The StuGs of this unit were very effective AFVs on the battlefield in the role of heavy weapons for infantry fire support and also as mobile antitank firepower. Dr. Norbert Szamveber, author of Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy and Days of Battle, presents a detailed combat history of this unit, primarily based on archival sources. The book includes a significant number of rare photographs and several maps.
REVIEW of Illustrated History of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202 by Norbert Szamveber (ISBN:978-6158007269). Published by PeKo Publishing.
After learning about this new book from PeKo Publishing awhile ago, I was eagerly awaiting this new book. As of today, after reviewing the book, I now know why. This may be the first real Einheitsgeschichte (Unit’s history) book of Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202, one of the most successful Sturmgeschütz units of the Wehrmacht. This unit did bear a total of 1 Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, 6 Knight’s Crosses and 18 German Cross in Gold-holders. It held Panzerasse (Tank Aces) such as Fritz Amling, Heinz Scharf and Richard Schram.
First of all, the book enjoys a beautiful hardcover and contains a valuable 396 pages filled with information, day by day history, photographs and maps. I do want to note out, and I contacted the publisher already, the e-mail contains a spelling error and it shouldn’t be “[email protected]” but “[email protected]”, should you be interested to contact them.
The book contains in numbers: 396 pages, 108 photos, 40 maps and documents and 9 color plates of Sturmgeschütze. It’s divided in 3 big parts, ‘Part I: In Heeresgruppe Mitte, Part II: In Heeresgruppe Süd and Part III: In Heeresgruppe Nord”, subdivided in various Chapters. Ending with plenty of data statistics, strength, maps, over hundreds of photographs and color plates.
Before you’ll be taken into the unit’s history, the author provides you with a 3-page history behind the concept of the Sturmgeschütz. The unit’s history is nicely presented by a daily chronology, starting from the first operational date of Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202 on September 16, 1941 until its end on May 8, 1945. Perfectly made for research purposes, should you want to know what happened on – for example – 3 December 1941.. Just search the date and you’ll read “The assault-gun Kampfgruppe was subordinated to Infanterie-Regiment 331 and was brought forward from the area of Wasiljewskoje to the regiment.” (P.S.: I took a small entry on purpose). If known, he also lists the casualties and how they died, strength, KO’s or losses and so on.. The daily chronology starts on page 13 and ends on 253. Some dates are missing, however that is mostly because nothing happened or notably worth to mention.
Also provided are various Appendixes containing information such as the unit’s commander list, award holders, technical data sheet or the assault gun inventory (1942-1945). For also an easier search, the author also provides an index, which is neatly alphabetically organized.
As ice on the cake, plenty of extra documents and maps are provided within the book and best of all, they are crystal clear! This is the second book review I do on a book from PeKo publishing but if there’s one thing I learned about them is that they aren’t afraid to spend an extra dime on quality (glossy) printing paper if they are showing maps, documents and photographs.
As always the photographs are remarkable, captioned in detail with the StuG’s Ausführung and notable production mentions or field adjustments, – if known – the name of those seen, where it was taken and so on..
The only thing I miss within the book which could’ve been – however that is just the researcher in me – are (a) list(s) of the Unit’s Commanders, Batterieführers (Batteryleaders) and Zugführers (Platoonleaders), if known, with a little biography or military career.