Friday, 16 May 2014

Oooooooooooh, An Osprey, on the Spanish Civil War.......How Exciting

Saw it, ordered it...and its now arrived at Higgins Towers, so lets give it a little review.
Now, I need to warn folks in advance, I am not a massive fan of the Osprey series, yes they are useful, in their own little way, but I have had "facts" gleaned from these books, shoved down my throat as being "accurate" when they clearly are not. The imagery being a case in point, there is a large amount of artistic licence, and supposition used to construct the colour plates, and the number of arguments I have had over some of these plates......sheesh!
So look at the pretty pics, and don't read the words, because I will not pull any punches :-)
So, we have a nice shiny cover, and the alarm bells ring immediately, the centre figure, oh great, a Moroccan cavalry guard, from Franco's personal bodyguard, thats one wasted image straight away. So we have a quick shuftie, because lets be honest here, the first thing we all look at in an Osprey, are the colour plates, so here are some teeny images of the plates

I've made them teeny, because its a bit naughty to add all the colour plates, for people to pinch :-)
First plate, oh look, its Franco!!! Ho hum kinda guessed he would be in here somewhere, as the book covers the Nationalist side, the other plates are Ok, nicely drawn? Well yes they are, good gritty images, some of them based on period photos, which is a nice touch.
Now the problems, you know its not going to be great, when the author tells you its "just a taster" so if you were expecting an indepth look at the Nationalist army, prepare to be disappointed, as the book is little more than a cursory glance, a case in point being the last colour plate, you get a Blueshirt from O'Duffy's legion, O'Duffy himself, a Portuguese Viriato, and one, yes folks just the one image of an Italian from the CTV. Yes I know that there is another Osprey on the Italian blackshirts, but why waste space on two images from a unit that did absolutely F**k all in the war, and whilst we are on the theme of wasted images, we have Franco, why? We also get a plate dedicated to the Navy and Air Force, nope, don't need them either,and of course there is the aforementioned Moroccan mounted guardsman.
Missed opportunities, yes indeed, but I suppose as a "taster" we were not going to get much else really.

Overall verdict, plates are nice, text is adequate for an intro to the Nationalist side in the conflict, would I feel inspired to delve deeper into the conflict, after reading this book? Hard for me to say, I shall have to lend my copy to a mate, who has little interest in the period, to see what they think. Its a crying shame that the Spanish Civil War gets such limited exposure from Osprey, with a decent author, and some more inspiring plates, you could easily break the Nationalist forces down into three, or four very good books, as it stands I suppose we should be grateful for this "taster"
The Republican version will be with us next year, yes folks next year, as Osprey undoubtedly have lots more WW2 German, or Napoleonic bit part players to release first. Cynical Moi?

So SCW fans, another tome to add to your collections, as we will all buy a copy, because lets be honest, any book is bette than no book at all :-(


  1. Depends on how much you want from it, just a few pretty pictures, then its fine, in-depth info on unit make up, insignia, ORBATS etc, you'll be disappointed.

  2. Thanks for the overview Nigel, nothing to get your teeth into info wise then, but has you say I may just get it fir the pretty pics at some point, will not rush though.

  3. I can understand to why the images are in there as in my limited experience I find that the author want him, them, and them and must have them. The illustrations do look very nice but for someone like me who has passing interest would like more on orbats and insignias