African American Troops in World War II (Elite) Paperback – 10 Nov 2007
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"Author Bielakowski tells the story of these men service by service and covers some of the greatest successes as well as some of the failures. This is all enhanced by quality period photos and the illustrations of R. Ruggeri. In all, a superb book on a part of WWII that gets very little press. A book I can justifiably recommend to you." -Scott Van Aken, "modelingmadness.com" (December 2007)
Author Bielakowski tells the story of these men service by service and covers some of the greatest successes as well as some of the failures. This is all enhanced by quality period photos and the illustrations of R. Ruggeri. In all, a superb book on a part of WWII that gets very little press. A book I can justifiably recommend to you. "Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (December 2007)""
This book is a concise history of the service records and combat experience of the African American troops who rose above discrimination to fight for the Allied cause and paved the way for integrated armed forces.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Though it's always unfair to criticize authors for not including more given the tight confines of Osprey's format, a little more coverage could have been included on the tank and tank destroyer units. The 761st Tank Bn and 827th TD Bn are given good coverage, but were they the only such units to see combat? A photo caption mentions the 784th Tank Bn, but that's all. Given that most African Americans in the Army served in support units, coverage of these units is adequate, and certainly more than in your typical Osprey book, focused on combat troops as they are.
I was slightly surprised not to more on the USAAF aircraft, but this is an Elite book after all, focusing on soldiers not gear, but Osprey's Aviation Elite book should give more than adequate coverage.
The only downside I found were the color plates, which were a bit unimpressive and lacking in detail, but those who are interested in the details of US uniforms should go to one of the other Ospreys that cover this in greater detail.
Bielakowski argues that as the counterpart of field artillery, the Coastal artillery was not useful for modern warfare because they were 'planted' in one place and could not be moved. Yes, that was true -- until 1939, when an entirely new concept in anti-aircraft, mobile anti-aircraft battalions were developed. These units, could move in, set up, break down and be one their way in a day when the need increased elsewhere.
The typical AAA battalion was comprised of about 1000 men and an array of mobile units: Self-propelled units where an M16 halftrack was equipped for low altitude fire with a quad - 4 set-up. Four machine guns mounted in a square and capable of being fine tune so that all 4 barrels would strike an enemy craft at precisely the same spot, frequently causing the airplane to simply collapse and disintegrate in flight. The bofors short range cannon was used by both the Germans and the Allies (Switzerland, our "peaceful" country, supplied the weapon to both sides)
It is true that more German warplanes were destroyed by other airplanes, but not as Bielakowski would have the reader think. The Luftwaffe was not destroyed by fighters mixing it up with each other in combat but rather by American bombers relentlessly bombing german airplane manufacturing plants and airfields.
The value of the mobile AAA units was not in the gross number of german planes they destroyed but in the amount of our own artillery, infantry and armored units which they protected, saving their lives and enabling the units they protected to move on as a fighting force rather than be left in ruins by German warplanes attacking unprotected combat units.
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