Hotchkiss H-35 and H-39...
...Through a German Lens, Camera On 7 from MMP Books
Title: Camera On 7, Hotchkiss H-35 & H-39
Author: Alan Ranger
Another addition to the Camera On series of books from Alan Ranger and MMP Books. Number 7 in the series, this one looks at the French Hotchkiss H-35 and H-39 tanks. A soft-cover, 72-page book, this series from Alan Ranger and MMP books just seems to get better and better. This new collection of photos is simply excellent, and not just a re-hash of pictures we have seen before. Rather than from standard archive collections, these come from the private photo albums of German veterans.
The book starts with 4 pages of text that provide the Introduction and the background information on the development of the two types. What it doesn't do is attempt to provide more detail of their service history. The remainder of the book is divided into three main sections, covering the Hotchkiss H-35, then the H-39 and lastly with both types when in German Service. So we see detail of captured examples of both types in France in 1940, along with knocked out and abandoned tanks. There are images of early and late variants, both with and without tail skids, which had to be fitted to improve their trench crossing ability.
The images all have useful captions, provided by the author, and we see intact tanks, abandoned by their crew, while others show them knocked out in combat, including some completely burnt out. Many also show inquisitive German infantry examining their new prizes of war. One in particular shows an H-35 that has clearly been used for shooting practise, simply covered in the marks of bullet strikes. Other show us even significant groups of tanks together in fields, all knocked out. French camouflage and markings, along with stowage of vehicles in service all provide some useful references.
In the final section we see the tanks in German service, particularly in the Balkans, where they were used for 'policing' duties. We see modifications such as fitted radios and the changed commanders' cupola on top of the turret. The German changed them to provide a split hatch for the commander. Here we see German colours and markings, along with the application of winter white camouflage.
There are some neat kits of both types available these days, in smaller 1/72 scale as well as the larger 1/35. This is a fine modellers reference and one I am certain will prove popular.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.