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Radovic, Branislav. German Helmets of the Second World War, volume 1. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2002.
Radovic, Branislav. German Helmets of the Second World War, volume 2. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2002.
ISBN 0-7643-1448-3In addition to more serious works of military history which it releases at a rapid enough clip, Schiffer Publishing continues to produce beautiful books for collectors of militaria, including such arcane subjects as submarine badges. Schiffer's latest publication for collectors is Branislav Radovic's hefty two-volume set on German helmets of World War II, which follows on the heels of his single volume on German helmets of World War I, which might seem like a pattern, but probably isn't.
Many years ago, upon finding Ludwig Baer's History of the German Steel Helmet, 1916-1945 in a bookseller's catalog, a friend turned to this reviewer and with wide eyes inquired, "How could anyone possible write an entire book about a helmet?" Much that same sentiment might be expressed by anyone coming across more than 600 slick pages of photos of German helmets in Radovic's volumes.
In this case Radovic provides fourteen pages of background text, then nothing but photos and captions. Indeed, the casual observer might almost think the author has included a photo of every single helmet that ever rolled of any Germany assembly line, but that would be an exaggeration. Well, not much of an exaggeration. Although he seldom places more than two photos on a single page (usually three photos spread across two pages for each helmet), Radovic manages to include a vast number of images and in the process proves that were these peas nobody could accuse any two of them of belonging to exactly the same pod.
Actually, Radovic covers an assortment of helmet types: M1916/18, M1932, M1935, M1940, M1942, and M1942/45. In addition, his second volume delves into related topics such as paratroop helmets, helmet covers, helmet liners, helmet manufacturer marks, helmet insignia, goggles, aircrew helmets, battle-damaged helmets, helmets in period photos, and helmets in art. Each helmet is captioned:
"M40 helmet shell with M31 liner and chinstrap. This helmet was originally painted a matte field grey, then overpainted in white. It carries the earlier pattern SS runic shield on the right side, and is named to R. Nitsch SS Uscha."
That's about all there is to these two books. Helmets, helmets, and more helmets with captions, captions, and more captions. On the other handfor whatever it's worththis reviewer's wife and son spent more time leafing through Radovic's gorgeous photos than they spent looking at all of last year's Top Ten winners combined.
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Reviewed 17 February 2002
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