Friday, 5 August 2016

Scout’s Out - Robert Edwards

Tiitle: Scout’s Out
Author: Robert Edwards
Publisher: Stackpole Casemate
ISBN: 978-0-8117-1311-5
Year: 2013
Photo’s: 500+ b/w

Robert Edwards has produced a broad-ranging synopsis of the German reconnaissance force of the Second World War. Knowledge, as any one will confirm, is power and the faster that it can be attained the more effectively it may be used to disrupt or undermine the plans of the enemy.  The German Army recognized the critical importance of this and placed special emphasis on the development of equipment and training to facilitate this area of expertise.

Scout’s Out starts with a history of the German Recce forces and their re-establishment during the interwar period. The reader is not only introduced to the methodology surrounding the doctrinal development of this element but also the iterations that the recce unit structure underwent as it developed. This is important because it shows how the Germans adapted their forces to meet not only the changing nature of their operational environment but also to accommodate the lessons learned as the war progressed.

The author spends a significant amount of the book discussing the equipment that the soldiers used to undertake their tasks. Again, one sees the significant amount of innovation and adaptability that the German forces used to increase their effectiveness. Certainly, the reader is left with a very high impression of the quality of German equipment. Included are colour templates of the different recce vehicles use throughout the war.

The book also discusses at length the operational history of the various Recce Units of the German Armoured Forces. As a reference and synopsis this is very useful. The book represents an excellent history and reference for these forces. The author is himself a retired Armoured Officer and brings a critical and knowledgeable eye to the subject.

This book represents an overview of these forces. It is not a combat history of any one unit but a comprehensive guide to the development, equipment tables, structure and rogue’s gallery of the units that undertook this vital task. Recce has always been a more independent arm of any armoured force with a fierce pride and professionalism. Edwards brings this out in his work. Replete with hundreds of photographs, a very high level of quality in the publication of the book, a clear and concise analysis of all aspects of the recce specialty; Edwards’ book is well worth the money and time to read and enjoy.

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