The Battles of El Alamein

...The End of the Beginning, BattleCraft from Pen & Sword

Title: The Battles of El Alamein
Author: Ben Skipper
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39900-762-7

This is the first book in a new series under the heading of BattleCraft, from Pen & Sword and author Ben Skipper. A 64-page soft-cover book, in a very similar style to their TankCraft and LandCraft series.
The first half of the book, so 32-pages, tells us the story of the 2 battles at El Alamein. It starts with looking at the general background and the key commanders involved on each side, along with the Orders of Battle for each side. After the first battle, in July 1942, there was another clash at Alam Halfa, which is described as an Interlude. Then there is a nice clear explanation of the second battle, which dragged on from October to November 1942, including operations Lightfoot and Supercharge. It is well illustrated with archive images and useful maps to support the text of events. The second half of the book is devoted to modellers, and focuses on 4 fine model builds. Two are armour kits, a 1/35 Panzer III L and a Crusader, while the other 2 are a 1/48 Me 109 E-4/N Trop and a Curtis P-40. There is detailed coverage of the 4 builds, with plenty of progress photos, plus 'Quartermaster' notes on the various kits and accessories that on the market for each of them.
What a good start to this new series, and Ben has done a good job with picking out the content and providing a clear description of both the history and the modelling elements. As it says as a sub-title for the book, El Alamein was considered the End of the Beginning. I still remember my father telling me how the sky was lit up by the volume of Allied artillery fire when the second battle began. Recommended, not just for the nice clear history of the battles, but for modellers as well.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.

Robin