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John Nelson

John Nelson John Nelson

I started out my interest in German AFVs during the mid-1980s, when I tried to assemble various Tamyia kits. I quickly found out that my modeling skills were left to be desired, but I still was fascinated by the subject. I didn’t know why I was fascinated but, William Auerbach, now editor of Panzerwrecks, best summed up the fascination when he wrote the introduction to his photo essay, “Last of the Panzers:”

“…I asked myself why German armour has long held its fascination for those of us predisposed to such things in the first place. I believe it is because they looked the part: capable, efficient and, above all, lethal. One can imagine the Panther, with its sloping armour and vaulting drive sprockets, ranging over the ‘75’ until the odds against them simply became overwhelming…” The first book that started my collection was Tiger, the History of a Legendary Weapon in 1989. Shortly after this I began to be familiar with other authors such as Thomas Jentz, Walter Spielberger, Uwe Feist, and throughout the 1990s, began to slowly purchase various releases from Schiffer Publishing and J.J. Fedorowicz. By the mid-1990s, with the advent of the internet, by interest in the subject deepened when I discovered George Bradford’s AFV News online. Finally, I was able to discuss and connect with other people who had the same interests. After enrolling into several discussion groups, I was able to get my hands on my first copies of original wartime documents in the form of a generous gift from Niklas Zetterling in 1998. He had sent me several copies of the issue records for panzers from the General Inspector of the Panzertruppe, and I was hooked. For me this was the key, as it answered so many questions that the books that I bought did not answer. At the same time, however; it brought up many more questions, and in 1999 I met Martin Block through a discussion group. Because of his vast collection of German language books he began to fill in major pieces of puzzle.

Martin also became interested in original wartime documents, and in early 2003, we organized a trip to the Bundesarchiv Militaer Archiv in Freiburg. From then on Martin would order copies from BA-MA, and I ordered microfilms from the National Archives in the US. Martin took great lengths to digitize many of these microfilms, while I was busy in finishing my Bachelors of Arts Degree in History at California State University, Fullerton in 2006. With Martin’s vast help, we’ve written several articles for AFV Modeling Magazine, and contributed to Nuts & Bolts Volumes 14, 15, 17 and 18. Martin’s efforts has also landed a contribution to J.J.Fedorowicz’s Combat History of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507 in 2003. In recent years, I have been sidetracked in researching the Sturmgeschuetz and Jagdpanzer Kompanien in the various of the Infantrie, Volks-Grenadier, Jaeger, Gebirgs, Luftwaffen-Feld, Marine and Fallschirmjaeger Divisionen. The complexity and vastness of this virtually unknown subject had forced me to put down writing for a couple of years, but recently I have taken it back up. At the same time, Martin has continued to be an indispensible part of the this community and the Nuts & Bolts team and deserves every accolade that he has earned.