Kaiserliche und Konigliche Eisenbahn-Bau Kompanie...

...in Western Galicia 1914-1915, Vol.1, Camera On 15, from MMP Books

Title:  Kaiserliche und Konigliche Eisenbahn-Bau Kompanie Vol.1

Author: Marek Dubinski & Tomasz Basarabowicz

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65958-33-4

For number 15 in their Camera On series MMP have come up with the first of 2 volumes on a very interesting and unusual topic, that of the Austro-Hungarian Railway Companies, military engineers who specialised in Railways in Western Galicia 1914-1015. A fascinating collection of images that will not only interest the military historian but also railway historians and modellers alike.
There is a short section of text on the opening 2 pages which provide the basic background and a handy map to show the area in which the unit operated during these opening years of WW1. The collection of photos show not only the variety of work the units carried out, but the complexities of some of the structures they built, strong enough to hold the weight of full trains as they either repaired or bypassed the spans of impressive river crossings after the original bridges had been brought down. Some interesting and 'substantial' equipment in use, and with a lot of manual effort to support them. They also show support for large siege mortars along with narrow gauge rail lines as well as their work on the standard gauge rail lines themselves. With some of the pictures we see, with large steel bridge spans dropped and their supports destroyed, it does highlight how much damage needed to be repaired/replaced, to the extent of wondering how the engineers must have viewed these scenes of destruction, and wondered just where to start in order to sort things out.
A marvellous collection of photos, all with useful captioning and in series which show the progress of some of the particular projects from start to finish. Lots of diorama potential here for modellers, and what I'd describe as something a 'bit different'.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided our review copy.