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Elite 122: World War II Infantry Tactics, Company and Battalion

by Dr Stephen Bull, illustrated by Peter Dennis

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-663-1, 64 pages.

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Dr. Bull’s latest title ably continues the work he began with his earlier title, Elite 105: World War II Infantry Tactics Squad and Platoon. Using the armies of the USA, UK and Germany during the war in Europe as examples, he provides information on doctrine, organization, equipment and deployment of company and battalion-sized infantry units.

The text begins with an introduction centered on the development of the “combat team”, which is followed by a section describing company and battalion tactics. He then gets into the real meat of the subject by describing in turn such supporting weapons as machine guns, mortars, mines, infantry guns, various anti-tank weapons (including such things as anti-tank rifles, grenades and mines; anti-tank guns and rocket launching devices and expedient anti-tank weapons). Note that the emphasis here is on crew-served support weapons that were organic to infantry units, so the upper end of the systems described is usually weapons in the 75mm class. There is also a well-done section describing motorized infantry units and their tactics, with interesting anecdotes relating to “armored infantry” on the attack and in the defense. Finally, there is a section devoted to “tank-infantry cooperation”, which ably describes the strengths and limitations of such operations. The author then ends the book with some conclusions drawn from official post-war writings. I saw nothing in the text that I would disagree with, except that US infantry units did not have 3-inch anti-tank guns as organic assets as the author appears to believe.

All of this is supported by 34 B&W photos, eight pages of color art, six B&W drawings, five charts and an index. The photographs are all very well-chosen to illustrate the points the author is making in the text, and additionally are well-captioned. The photos are of a useful size and are very well-reproduced, making details quite easy to see. The color plates by Mr. Dennis ably detail a number of battle scenarios such as: British anti-tank tactics in an urban setting, company-size assaults in open country and against strong-points; German field defenses, urban defense tactics, Panzergrenadier assaults, mixed battle group (“Kampfgruppe”) assaults, and minefield layouts; and finally, a US battalion-size assault on prepared enemy positions.

In conclusion, this is an extremely competently presented little book, chock full of useful bits. All of this is excellent reference material for diorama, figure, ordnance and AFV modelers.

Highly recommended.

Frank V. De Sisto

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