Distributed by International
9/2 Locci Street, 02-928 Warsaw, Poland
Review by Peter Brown
It covers the full history of Pulk 4. Pancerny from its formation from Polish troops who were in the Soviet Union before being shipped to Persia (now Iraq). After travels through the Middle East to Egypt, the Regiment became formally established and received its first tanks in Palestine. Its first armoured vehicles were a mixture of old British Light Tanks and Valentines and even some ex-Italian M13/40s but it was eventually to have a full complement on Sherman III plus Stuart V Recce, Daimler Dingos, White Scout Cars and assorted softskin vehicles before it moved to Italy.
The Regiment fought throughout the Italian campaign from May 1944, seeing action at Cassino, Ancona, at the crossing of the Cesano and Metauro Rivers and on across the Apennines before ending the war at Bologne. All its actions, with details of post-war service and final disbandment, are fully described. Text is dual Polish and English, while the translation is good overall some sections may need to be read a couple of times before they make sense. Supporting this are maps and an organisation chart from the start of the campaign.
Modellers will welcome the photos, the account is illustrated throughout with black and white photos of the "Scorpions" vehicles, mostly the armoured ones. These show all the varied types they used, mostly Sherman III showing the various fixtures and fittings used in Italy but also a Valentine Bridgelayer, Sherman Ib 105mm howitzer and Ic Fireflies, dozer tanks and even turretless fascine carriers, along with the Stuart Recce tanks, scout cars and a few of softskins and also some of the German vehicles they knocked out or captured intact.
Doubly welcome are the colour side views of tanks showing the Light Tanks, Valentines, Shermans in training and action colours, Stuarts and even some Jeeps. Alongside these are lists of the tank names used by the Regiment as well as some individual serial numbers. Photo captions point out details of names and record the charges in markings along with the dates of the changes. The photos also show the men themselves, with enough detail to allow modellers to depict accurate uniforms.
The Italian campaign does not seem as well covered as the Desert or North-West European theatres; this book goes some way to redressing that balance. It also brings the story of Polish soldiers in WW2 into easy reach which is itself no bad thing. As an historical account or inspiration for modellers, this is one book I would strongly recommend.
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Page created 25 February 2004