"The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

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"The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

Post by askropp » 19 Jul 2019 11:52

The African war is one of my special fields of interest, and I'm always looking for new material on that subject. So I bought this little book with the undertitle "Rare photographs from Wartime Archives". I didn't know anything about the author, but the very first page listing tons of his former works already made me suspicious because literally no one can be an expert on such a broad bunch of different subjects. In German, we have the term Universaldilettant. Well, for some reason, this book which claims to be a photo volume on German tanks begins with the umpteenth renarration of the African campaign, and I'm afraid I have to say it's not one of the better ones. It is full of errors, typos, mix-ups and omissions concerning actual events, unit designations, persons and weapons. I will cite only some examples:

"To the Führer, the thought of sending German units to North Africa appealed greatly."
If this is not a typo for "appalled", it is outright nonsense.

"The advanced units of the new Afrikakorps comprised the 5th Light and 3rd Panzer Regiments."
What a crap! There never was such a thing as a "Light Panzer Regiment", and of course PzRgt 3 was never in Africa.

"An SdKfz 263 leads an armoured column along the seafront."
Just that the column is driving away from the beholder and the SdKfz is at its tail.

"A Kübelwagen armoured car leads a column."
I'm at a loss for words.

"Behind Rommel is a group of Italian officers."
No Italian far and wide, only four Germans, and they are neither "behind" Rommel nor arranged in a "group".

"This photograph clearly shows the difference between obsolete Italian desert dress and the modern German desert uniforms."
Uh huh ... so obsolete that the famous Sahariana was frequently scrounged by german officers.

"The vehicle is clearly displaying the Afrikakorps palm tree insignia."
Yes, it is. Why mention it anyway? I'm not blind.

"A Schwimmwagen passes through a checkpoint. Behind the car are motorcycles and various other vehicles."
The checkpoint is located near Toulon, as a road sign shows. What is this picture doing in this book? And the second sentence is just pathetic.

"An SdKfz 250 advances along a road."
This well-known picture can be found in the chapter "Attack and Retreat 1942", but it shows Mechili in April 1941.

"A column of PzKpfw IVs obviously near a harbour on the advance."
Another out of place-picture showing German tanks on Rhodos.

The majority of the captions are useless, because they are only hollow commonplaces. Several pictures are titled "Rommel and one of his commanders", as if no one was able to identify Bayerlein, Gause, Hoffmann von Waldau, Kleemann and many others. Place and time are seldom given, and if they are, they are often wrong.

The one thing that can be said in defense of this book is that several of the pictures were indeed new to me, but what they really show remains uncertain in the majority of the cases.
Er ist wieder da. Aber auch dieses Mal wird er nicht siegen!

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Re: "The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 19 Jul 2019 14:24

I think there is also a photograph of Pz 35(t) captioned as being Italian M13/40, or the other way around. I saw it once but didn't buy it because it was by that author.

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Re: "The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Jul 2019 15:00

He is an author of an enormous amount of photobooks that are published and distributed widely .
The captions are generally of no use and often wildly inaccurate.

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Re: "The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

Post by Michael Kenny » 19 Jul 2019 17:57

How Ian Baxter makes a living has always puzzled me. I suspect he has compromising photos on the publishers. His previous works are littered with very basic tank identification errors. He is not very good at locations either. Never ever accept anything he writes unless you can confirm it elsewhere. In fact do not even bother reading any of his text.

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Re: "The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps" by Ian Baxter

Post by David W » 30 Jul 2019 06:39

Agree with all posts above

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