Panzer Soldier in Africa and Italy 1942-45”
This book is the first in a series of publications entitled Photographs by Soldiers that will be produced by our company. Each will be based on photographs taken by individual participants in the war, accompanied as required by more or less extensive text. The photos, along with surviving diary entries or letters, will be set against the overall framework of events. Supplementary photographic material will be used sparingly and only when there are gaps that must be filled to assure overall continuity. The series is intended to allow the reader to understand the war from the subjective point of view of the individual soldier. When necessary, letters and diary entries will be supplemented by footnotes to explain phraseology or concepts from the period.
Volume 1 in the series focuses on Hans Becker. Attached to the headquarters staff of the 8th Panzer Regiment in Africa in 1942-43, he extensively photographed frontline operations there. After he was wounded, he was flown home, and after recovering from his wounds, in autumn 1943 he joined the 508th Heavy Panzer Battalion during its formation. Soon afterwards, the battalion commander tasked him with “recording the battalion’s path photographically, to illustrate the war diary”.
Hans Becker therefore also photographed the Tiger unit’s actions in Italy in 1944-45, both in black-and-white and color.
Hans Becker’s photographs are well above average, both in terms of subject selection and quality. Happily his diaries and letters to his wife were also made available to the author. The result is an impressive account of operations by two panzer units from the point of view of a member of the headquarters staff, who in part had insight into decisions. Hans Becker not only captured images of tanks, but also other elements of the two units in action and neighboring units, as well as the theaters of war and life behind the front. The book is thus a general photo book covering the fighting in North Africa and Italy from 1942 to 1945.
For all those with an interest in history, it is a stroke of luck that Hans Becker’s outstanding photographs have found the light of day in this way, almost 70 years after the end of the war.
Endkampf um das Reichsgebiet
25 x 28 cm, 160 pages,
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