Review: Uniforms of the SS
- Published: 27 April 2010 27 April 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
Andrew Mollo & Hugh Page Taylor
This book, "Uniforms of the SS: Collected Edition" by Andrew Mollo & Hugh Page Taylor (the latter is not credited on the cover but wrote one and co-wrote another of the sections) is made up of six sections, each previously published as a separate book and all are now available together in one book. The corrections to these books have not been made in the text, but rather in an errata at the end of each section.
The following sections are included in the book:
Sicherheitsdienst and Sicherheitspolizei
The first section (some 75 pages long) covers the development over the uniforms of the Allgemeine-SS in photos and illustrations, from the earliest days until the end. Much of the material focuses on cloth insignia (which is covered in many rather detailed illustrations), but all aspects of the uniforms (trousers, tunics, headgear, belt buckles, edged weapons, overcoats etc) are covered, at least briefly. The last six pages cover the flags and standards of the Allgemeine-SS.
The second section (some 80 pages long) is written by Hugh Page Taylor and covers the history and organisation of the Germanische-SS (SS organisations raised outside of Germany) as well as the uniforms worn by their members. It begins with an introduction on the general history of the Germanische-SS before covering each country that had such a formation: the Netherlands, Belgium (Flemings), Norway and Denmark. Following this the Germanische Sturmbanne and the Germanic Proficiency Runes are covered.
The third section (some 100 pages long) is co-written by Mollo and Hugh Page Taylor and covers the history and organisation of the SS-Verfügungstruppe until it became the Waffen-SS. The background and the general history of the SS-VT is covered before moving on to the history of the main units and schools. Following this background the uniforms are covered in the same detail as those in the first section.
The fourth section (some 50 pages long) covers the history and organisation of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, both those units that would form the SS-Totenkopf-Division (and provide manpower for other units) and those units that guarded the concentrations camps until the end of the war. Similar to the section on the SS-VT, the history and main units are covered before moving on to the uniforms.
The fifth section (some 50 pages long) covers the history and organisation of the Sicherheitsdienst and Sicherheitspolizei. Similar to the section on the SS-VT, the history and main units (including a wide range of units such as Einsatzgruppen, Führer-Begleitkommando, Schuma etc) are covered before moving on to the uniforms.
The sixth and final section (some 130 pages long) covers the uniforms of the Waffen-SS in a similar (but somewhat more detailed) fashion as in the first section. This section also includes a lot more photos than the previous sections.
As I have written above the uniforms of the various parts of the SS is covered in detail in this book and as a bonus the history of the more "obscure" units are also covered. Personally I feel the book is at its best when background information is included too, as it then also becomes a great book for those interested in the history of the often ignored parts of the SS.
There are two major things about this book that I don't like, the fact that no index is included and more importantly the lack of photos of the items, in particular the cloth ones. Sure, the book includes a lot of illustrations of these, but it is simply not the same.
Another thing I would like to have seen is more colour photos/illustrations. It includes three pages with colour illustrations, two in the beginning of the book with illustrations for the Allgemeine-SS section and one page at the end of the book with Waffen-SS camouflage patterns, but I would liked to have seen more.
This is a very good book for those interested in the uniforms (including insignia, headgear etc) of the SS, though if you are interested in a lot of detail on a particular aspect (headgear, cloth etc) it is probably better to buy a book focusing on that particular aspect.
It is also a very good book, excellent even, for those interested in the history of the Germanische-SS, SS-Totenkopfverbände or SS-Verfügungstruppe as the history of these units often are more or less ignored in book on the SS.
(Reviewed by Marcus Wendel)