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on 18 June 2012
This book should be useful for serious students of unarmed combat in WW2. In German and English, with illustrations, this slim volume was meant to teach ordinary German soldiers how to beat British commandos in unarmed combat. It should be read alongside the British manual All-In Fighting.
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on 29 May 2009
I bought this book further to an interest in Messer's Fairbairn & Sykes and though it would be interesting to see how those "on the receiving end of their skills" as it were, saw things.

This book provides an annotated version of the photographs and text from a German document produced in (or for) the Norwegian occupying forces, in which it describes the methods developed for German troops which it was thought would offer some defence against Allied Commandos and various other agents.

In my view the placing of an English translation on the opposite page of the German images and descriptions works very well indeed and the salient use of infrequent foot notes helps clarify key points, without becoming a distractive commentary.

The opening chapter by Mr Mathews nicely sets the wartime scene whilst at the same time pointing out the questionable veracity of the document's origin.

I would regard this as an "easy read" in that the descriptions are straight to the point with no wasteful references to anything other than the techniques at hand (forgive the unintentional pun).

The soldiers in each image (to my eye at least) are clearly not competent pugilists, given the "wooden" stances and application of techniques, even after taking into consideration the need to "stage" many of the poses given that many soldiers of the early to mid 1940's may have had little (if indeed any) exposure to what we would consider to be "martial arts" today.

It is interesting to note (and although it is not referred to in this book it is not a criticism in any way) that the New York Police Department had complained of U.S gangsters having access to this material.

If U.S. gangsters were to apply these rudimentary techniques (by modern standards at least) in the same manner as depicted in this book, I doubt the N.Y.P.D. would have had too much to worry about.

The image shown on page 45 truly deserves the label of "the three stooges defence" which is somewhat ironic given that each of the three stooges were Jewish - I'm certain this footnote was not in the original document for obvious reasons.

This book would be (in my view) a welcome addition to a collector's library and I have found myself referring to the contents on more than one occasion but, I hasten to add, more for an indication of the counters likely to be used against Allied Commando's and other agents, rather than the value of its guidance on self defence.

All in all and excellent publication and one I would have no hesitation in recommending, provided the reader's expectations are not too high - after all, this was originally produced over 67 years ago and should be read with this in mind!
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on 30 August 2009
As a long time collector of martial arts / self defence books and an instructor with thirty years experience I found this book a fascinating insight into how the Germans sought to counter the techniques as taught by Messrs Fairbairn and Sykes. I am lucky enough to own several other titles written by Fairbairn so this made an interesting addition to my library. The techniques as shown are, in some areas a little suspect, but this may be down to the fact that the book was printed in an occupied country and I have little doubt that the text was 'interfered' with shall we say. This fact in itself makes it of historical interest, I believe, to anyone who has an interest in the development of CQB / Combatives. I think Phil Matthews is to be congratulated for bringing this title out and making it available once more.
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on 7 January 2011
This nice softback is perhaps the only way that most of us will ever get easy access to this rare little manual of WW2. It is competently translated, an easy read, and considering that the original illustrations were probably not printed that clearly has come out very well. It is quite short, but I would endorse many of the comments made by other reviewers, and will therefore not repeat them.

Something that is intriguing however is the question of the original booklet's origins. It is very strange that it lacks the normal types of German identifying marks, odd that it refers only to Norway, and inept in that it trumpets the idea of 'English Silent Death' to hapless sentries. Nowhere does it reassure them, or tell them to use their firearms in case of a problem... Nor is the unarmed combat suggested a very effective counter to the many different techniques mentioned in Fairbairn and Sykes, or other UK and US training literature. In short the whole thing is suspiciously like a British 'Black Op' designed to undermine morale, and encourage the deployment of more of the enemy to Norway - where there was no intention for the Allies to make full scale landings. This however only serves to make the volume more interesting and worth a look. Get one and see what you think !
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on 10 January 2015
A1 product. Recommended.
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on 19 April 2015
Exactly as described
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on 28 January 2015
its what it says
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