book The Military Music & Bandsmen
of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich 1933-45

By Brian Matthews
320 pages, 1100 photographs, full colour, hard-back
ISBN 0-9542812-0-9
Published by Tomahawk Films
P.O.Box 279, Winchester, Hampshire. SO21 1XT.

Review by Terry Ashley

This book is something different from the usual we see as modellers and the content came as a bit of a surprise, a pleasant one that is.

The book is hard back with orientation in the Squadron Signal style and includes 1100 high quality B&W and colour photographs in the 320 pages.

A brief history a German Military bands from the 16th century to WWI is given with the fast majority of the book devoted as the title suggest to the period from the rise of Hitler in the early 30s through to 1945. A final section also deals with bands in modern East and West Germany.

There is an extremely detailed history of the formation, training and integration of the bands into the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and the Waffen SS with many period photos to illustrate the text.

Separate chapters in the book show in great detail the Insignia, Uniforms & Accoutrements, the Bandsman’s Medals & Awards, Personal Documents, Sheet Music & Song Books, the Bandsman’s Weaponry & Side-arms, Flags, Banners & Tokens plus the Records and Propaganda of the German home front.

Sample pages, click for larger view

Each of these chapters is lavishly illustrated with colour photos of the original items and equipment mixed in with more period photos and detailed text. As well as photos of the musical equipments, weapons, uniforms and insignia there is also photos of original song book covers and of the recordings of the time and personal papers of the bandsmen.

These colour photos of the original equipment is what from a modellers viewpoint make this book a valuable reference as well as for the historian.

Other interesting chapters include one chronicling the life of Gustav Weissenborn who rose to be second in command of Hitler’s elite Bodyguard Division Leibstandarte-SS. Again this chapter is lavishly illustrated with period photos and of original uniforms and insignia.

A chapter is also devoted to the two Bands stationed in the Channel Islands, the only British territory occupied by German forces in WWII and again has period photos showing the bands performing on English soil as well as of the equipment now preserved in the Islands Occupation Museum.

The final chapters deal with the resurrection of the bands in the modern East and West German Armies to the reunified Germany again lavishly illustrated with photos of the uniforms, insignia and modern recordings.

Sample pages, click for larger view

In all this is an amazingly detailed reference with extensive research gone into the text which in turn is supported by the many excellent photographs of the individual items and equipment as mentioned above.

This book would of great benefit to modellers as well as historians and you would be hard pressed to find a better reference on this subject which was as much a part of history of the Third Reich as the dedicated combat units.

The book is available from:
Tomahawk Films
P.O.Box 279, Winchester, Hampshire. SO21 1XT.
U.K. Telephone: 44 (0) 1962 714989 FAX: 44 (0) 1962 713966
Price is UK £55.00 inc UK p&p, Overseas £59.95 inc p&p
It should become available from good booksellers also.

Thanks to Brian Matthews for the review copy of the book.

Page Created 10 November 2002

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