Forgotten Archives 2...

...the Lost Signal Corps Photos, from Panzerwrecks


Title:  Forgotten Archives 2

Author: Darren Neely

Publisher:  Panzerwrecks Publishing

ISBN:  978-1-908032-15-7


Volume 2 in this series and another excellent reference for modellers from Darren Neely and Panzerwrecks.  A hardback book of 240 pages and filled with 252 full page photos, plus another 8 specially commissioned artworks by Felipe Rodna which offer colour interpretations of an adjacent photo from the book, and these all look just right to my eye.

What the book does is to show pictures taken by US Signal Corps photographers during the war, many of which are rare or unpublished before.  The Signal Corps photographers were the only 'official' photographers in the front line and they had to walk a fine line in illustrating the events without giving away any security information which could put those front line troops in danger.

For this new volume the author had the opportunity to work with the families of 8 Signal Corps photographers and to go through their films, the original captions that were done plus some original, additional notes they had recorded.  With these to hand they have added new notes to each image.  Some provide a modern caption when there was no original, while others add corrections on vehicle/unit identification and on the spelling of the French place names.  There are 8 sections in the book, one for each of the featured photographers.

The subjects covered give some great variety, covering Allied and German equipment.  Each photo is a page and very clearly printed so lots of detail plain to see.  To give a flavour of what you will find there are US operated Shermans of various marks, some in use and some knocked out, where the pictures illustrate the damage inflicted on them.  In a similar way, there is a set of photos showing the extraction of the body of a dead crewman from a burnt out Panther, a very graphic illustration of the dangers facing tank crewmen of all sides.  Another has a series of views of Tigers and Pz IV loaded on flat cars in a knocked out train.  Another has a set showing a bogged Sherman with Aunt Jemima mine rollers, and the subsequent, and significant, recovery operation required to get it out, and showing great detail for modellers in particular.  Plenty of Shermans and Panthers, though lots of other vehicle types are featured.  Again, just as some examples, M5 light tanks and M8 GMC, both US and German half-tracks, Priests and other SP artillery along with Stug III and Jagdpanzer IV.  The scenarios we see go from the Normandy summer to winter snows in Belgium.  Maintenance scenes such as welding the Cullin devices to the front of US tanks or detail of vehicles crossing pontoon bridging.

The variety in here is fascinating, with so many photos not published before, helpful notes as well as the original captions, there is great detail in here for the military historian and the modeller in particular.  For the modeller there are also plenty of ideas for some interesting diorama scenarios as well.  Author Darren Neely has unearthed another excellent collection of wartime photos which Panzerwrecks have done a very good job with.  Recommended without hesitation.

It is available from Panzerwrecks.