Government Issue: U.S. Army European Theater of Operations
Collectors Guide, Volume II
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

By Henri-Paul Enjames
Publisher: Histoire & Collections
ISBN: 978-2-35250-079-7

I'm sure that all of you either own, or at least know of Government Issue: U.S. Army European Theater of Operations Collectors Guide, Volume 1. It was an amazing piece of work, an obvious labor of love, and one of the most useful reference books ever published on the subject. It is almost "required reading" is you are attempting just about any aspect of modeling U.S. Army troops, in a European country, at any time during World War II.

Now, we have Government Issue: US Army European Theater of Operations Collectors Guide, Volume II. This is also by Henri-Paul Enjames, and also published by Histoire & Collections. That's where the similarities end. While the first volume contained just about anything and everything that your basic Army soldier would need, use or be issued, the second volume, in my opinion, falls flat.

Don't get me wrong, the book is useful, to an extent. It does contain a nice order of battle for infantry, armored and airborne divisions. But, beyond that, it goes into areas that most, if any, of us modelers would seldom need or have an interest in. It was said that after the first volume was published, that many collectors and even veterans, sent mail discussing what wasn't in the book, hence Volume 2, said to contain everything that not included in the first. Well, there's a reason for that. It's not that interesting!

Very little is included as to combat troops. Sure, there are a picture or two, with the appropriate description, of some combat gear, a jacket or set of boots, or the assault vests made famous in Saving Private Ryan. There is a section on small arms and crew served weapons also, but this consists of an M1 Garand, a Thompson submachine gun, and a Browning .30 cal. MG on a tripod, all things covered in greater depth in Volume 1.

A majority of the book covers training camp items, gas protection equipment, POW items, and a section on WACs. You may want to buy the book simply to see what slips and nylon panties issued to WACs looked like in the 1940s. There's a large section devoted to publications, both Army and civilian. Also included is the somewhat useful selection on U.S. Army Rations. But I think the largest section in on U.S. Army Chaplains. Considering everything that was in the first volume, the second volume should have been titled An Afterthought to U.S. Army Gear.

And price will become a consideration to us all as well. I purchased the first volume, brand new, for less than $35, including shipping. Volume 2, with shipping, was just over $69.50! Double the price for a less than great book.

I'm not going to tell you to skip it, or don't buy it. Always judged that for yourself. You may want, as I did, to have both books simply because the subject has now been completely covered by the author. This is just my take on it, even if it does sound a little harsh. Combined, Volume 1 and 2 should have every aspect of U.S. Army equipment reference covered for about $100. Not a bad deal. And if you are into collecting instead of modeling then these two books will be invaluable to you. Someone told me years ago, when you have to make a choice between spending your hobby dollar on either a new kit, or a new book, always buy the book. That's what I've done, and I rarely regret it. Kits come and go, either through reissue, going through an online auction site, at vendors tables, or talking a modeling buddy out of one in his stash, but good needed books almost always are hard to get after printing stops.

That said, there's my take on this book. Use you own judgment.

-Rod Crisman


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2009 Timothy S. Streeter