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Men-At-Arms 397: The Austro-Hungarian Forces in World War I (2), 1916-18

by Peter Jung with color art by Darko Pavlovic

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Soft covers, 48 pages, 7.25 x 9.75-inches, 35 B&W photos, seven tables, eight pages of color art, index and bibliography. MBI order number: 136092AO. ISBN 1-84176-595-3. Price: $14.95 USD


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The author picks up this second part of the story just after the army made basic changes in their field service uniforms, and the tottering Empire received a new Emperor. Suffice to say, the author uses quite a few very interesting photographs and various charts to educate the reader. From the standpoint of figure modelers, the material is there to inspire converters and scratch-builders. Some of the most interesting images depict infantrymen and various Pioneer troops in crystal-clear “drill book” photos. Cavalrymen, medical personnel, air crew, naval personnel and troops in hot and cold weather clothing are also depicted.

Of course, the color plates are germane to the subject and are extremely interesting for their variety alone. They depict infantry and cavalrymen as well as aircrew. There are also plates depicting paramilitary personnel such as postal workers and female “Military Assistants”. Perhaps the most interesting plate of all depicts clergymen (Feldkurats) from various religions including a Muslim Imam, a Jewish Rabbi and a Roman Catholic Priest.

Ordnance modelers may be inspired by the photos of such things as a tiny tripod-mounted 37mm infantry gun on up to the heavy and incredibly inefficient 20cm mortars (Luftminenwerfers), whose projectiles were fired using compressed air. The air cylinders had to be replaced with each shot, giving a rate of fire of ten rounds per hour! There are also photos of more conventional tube artillery as well as searchlights to further whet the appetites of those on the trail of the unusual. Vehicle modelers will be intrigued by the photos of dog carts, as well as the Junovicz and Romfell armored cars. Some aircraft are shown as well.

The text describes the final operations of the war from the autumn of 1916 through the end of the war in November 1918. These include the later battles of the Isonzo River, Caporetto and Vittorio Veneto in which the shattered Imperial forces yielded 300,000 prisoners to the Italians. The later re-organization of the Empire’s armies, began in 1917 are also covered. Mention is also made of the separate treaties made with the Ukraine and Russia, prior to the war’s end.Uniform and equipment changes are also detailed, while the charts cover rank and specialist insignia as well as the re-numbering of infantry battalions. Other charts detail the Orders of Battle of units on the Turkish Front from 1915 through 1918, as well as those on the Western Front, from October 1918.

The text also describes the use of armored cars, searchlight units, Sturmtruppen, chemical warfare units, naval infantry, motorized units (Autotruppen), woman’s auxiliary units and Chaplains. Operations on so-called “secondary fronts” in such places as Turkey and in the West are also briefly touched upon.

Altogether, especially if you are a figure modeler, you will not fail to find something to get the creative juices flowing. Recommended.

Frank De Sisto

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