Thursday, March 22, 2007

Osprey Publishing
The French Army 1914-18 (MAA 286), The German Army in WWI (1) 1914-15 (MAA 394), The Austro-Hungarian Forces in WWI (2) 1916-18 (MAA 397), The British Army in WWI (3) The Eastern Fronts (MAA 406), Ukrainian Armies 1914-55 (MAA 412) and The German Army WWI (3) (MAA 419)
Like all Osprey books in the Men at Arms (MAA) series, each is 48 pages with 8 color plates and multiple black and white photos. While only one of these books deals specifically with Russian Civil War units, they are very useful if you are considering building forces that fought in that conflict, especially in western Russia.
After the end of WWI, most countries lacked the funds necessary to supply their armies with standardized uniforms. Therefore, soldiers fought in the uniforms they had been issued during WWI. Soldiers fought in a mix of ex-Russian (see the HMGRS review of RCW/Russian armies Ospreys on 3 January 07), German and Austro-Hungarian uniforms. Polish armies, for example, fought in uniforms supplied by France (Haller’s army fought in France and was transferred east to Poland in 1919), Russia, Austro-Hungary, Great Britain, early war (1914) and late war style German uniforms. Great Britain and France sent troops (termed “Interventionists” by the Bolsheviks) to fight in Russia and, initially, generously supplied the White cause with uniforms. Though WWI was primarily an infantryman’s fight, cavalry units were of major importance in the RCW, likely due to the vastness of the areas covered. Uniforms from “foreign countries” were also present; these books help with the correct colors for the uniforms, leather, battle gear and more.
Each book is beautifully illustrated and the eight color plates show off a variety of WWI uniforms/equipment that are appropriate for armies that fought in the RCW. The artwork of Mr. Rudenko and Adamenko (Ukrainian Armies) does not compare to other Russian artists like Andrei Karachtchouk (Osprey RCW Reds, Whites and WWI Russians); still, each book fills a very necessary spot in my wargaming library. I know I will need them all and I am pleased that I have them.
For the WWI period these books discuss a wide variety of topics: the specific national armies, the evolving strategy and tactics, organization, unit battle insignia, rank insignia, operations, specialist troops, gas warfare, primary and secondary theaters, some history and uniforms and equipment (of course – the primary reason for getting these books in the first place!) For the study of the RCW, the uniforms and equipment information is essential though the rest of each book is a great read and worth the time. As always, Osprey books form the first line of any “attack” on a new period of study! Couple these books with those from Gauntlet International and you will have an awesome amount of information at your fingertips.
Additional Osprey books about armies from Japan and China would be useful sources when addressing the civil war fighting in Siberia. A future topic, perhaps?


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