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Book Reviews


Secret German World War II Manufacturers’ Codes


After many years of hard work, Michael Heidler has written a book entitled “Deutsche Fertigungskennzeichen bis 1945” about the secret German manufacturers’ codes of World War 2. These codes were used on weapons, ammunition and all kinds of military equipment. The book has more than 500 pages, is sorted in two ways (by codes and by Company names), contains all code systems (abbreviations, number codes, letter codes, LDO numbers for medals & insignia and the RZM numbers for NSDAP & SS equipment). The official list with letter codes ends with “ozz”, but IHerr Heidler was able to add three pages of later codes. The foreword and the text are written in German and English although the part with the codes is not translated because there is not much to translate. There is no commercial distribution to dealers outside Germany so, anyone who is interested will have to contact Herr Heidler direct.


Kohima: The Furthest Battle


The price is €35 within Europe including postage. To US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan the cost is US$63 for a single book by airmail including postage.


Herr Heidler’s e-mail address is ggbuch@web.de


Leslie Edwards, author/co-author of several authoritative technical books, has turned his hand very successfully to military history. “Kohima: The Furthest Battle” tells the story of the Japanese advance into India in 1944. By the end of 1943, the Japanese had occupied most of South-East Asia and, on 6th March 1944, the first Units of the Japanese 15th Army crossed the inhospitable border of what was then Burma and invaded India. At the township of Kohima, they were met by a small and hastily assembled force of Indian and British troops, later reinforced by the 2nd Division of Slim’s 14th Army. Described by Mountbatten as the British/Indian Thermopylae, Kohima was a turning point in Japanese fortunes, heralding their continued defeat in battle until their formal surrender on 2nd September 1945. Leslie Edward spent some 10 years researching this work and his definitive analysis of this pivotal battle – largely unknown outside military circles – is well worth reading. It contains many unpublished first hand accounts and a large selection of maps of each stage of the battle and some photographs. Col Hugh Richards, late WORC R, was sent to Kohima as the first Garrison Commander with orders to hold Kohima and to deny the area to the Japanese by the use of The Assam Regiment.


The book, published by The History Press, ISBN 978 1 86227 488 4, is available at £30 each from www.thehistorypress.co.uk and all good bookshops.


Sunday’s Child? – A Memoir


by Leslie Baruch Brent (late The Worcestershire Regiment) Professor Leslie Baruch Brent (known in the scientific world as Leslie Brent) arrived in England late in 1938 in the first of the many Kindertransports. His German-Jewish family was among millions who were murdered by the Nazi regime. In1943, at the tender age of eighteen, he volunteered for the armed forces, served in an infantry regiment, and was demobbed in 1947 with the rank of captain. Having studied zoology at the University of Birmingham, he became an eminent immunologist in the field of tissue and organ transplantation. He was the junior member of a pioneering three-man team, led by Professor P B Medawar (they became known in the USA as “The Holy Trinity”), which established and studied the phenomenon of “immunological tolerance”. This vital discovery, which set up the Holy Grail for clinical organ transplantation, is only now beginning to resonate clinically. It enabled them to transplant foreign tissues such as skin grafts without recourse to toxic drugs or to irradiation. The discovery led to the award of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology to Medawar.


Professor Brent’s memories provide a fascinating and disarmingly frank account of his personal and professional life and they include a vivid description of the state of British politics in the last quarter of the twentieth century, in which he played an active and leading rôle at local level. His well-researched and thought-provoking yet even-handed reflections on some of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – among them the Holocaust, the war years, the creation of the state of Israel and its consequences, his thoughts about France and its conduct under the Occupation and the American-British attack on Iraq – reflect his passionate interest in the world around him and they illuminate some of the most troubling events of our time.


Published on April 1st 2009 by Bank House Books £16.00


112 October 2009


The Mercian Eagle


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