SLP's The Steam Engines of WWII in Europe
|$60.00 from www.casematepublishing.com|
144 pages, 6.7 x 9.4
inches, 200 illustrations, hardbound w bookmark
It is always a delight to read a book that is somewhat different from the norm and this one certainly fills the bill. Few people really take into consideration how important the railways really were during WWII. They were the means of moving large quantities of men and materiel to and from the war fronts.
As such, the fighting powers put a lot of emphasis on providing sufficient numbers of locomotives to meet the needs. We all hear about the large number of tanks and aircraft built but equally large by comparison were locomotives. During the war, these were generally 'austere' vehicles that had all of the frills removed so they could be built as quickly as possible. This was particularly true in Germany where resources were stretched to the limit.
The book covers the main types used by Germany, the UK, and those US engines that were sent to Europe. Each of the three sections of the book covers all sizes from the small 'tank' engines that were used mostly on short runs and as yard shuttles up to the long haul 2-10-0 types and others in between.
The vast majority of the images are post war as these locomotives were often used right up into the mid-1970s. Fortunately, a considerable number have been preserved either as static museum pieces or as locomotives that are fully functional and run for excursions for train enthusiasts.
The author provides a fairly complete history of each type and most of the photos in the book are his. In addition to the main sections, there is a fairly complete appendix that provides the whereabouts and conditions of each of the various locomotives that are still extant. Most are preserved, though some are derelict or awaiting preservation. The book itself is in landscape format using very high quality paper and unusual for many books, includes a cloth bookmark. I found it a delight to read (probably because I'm fond of railroads anyway), and as such, can highly recommend it to anyone with a like mind or those who simply want to read something interesting.
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