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Allied Artillery of World War Two

Peter Brown

Allied Artillery of World War Two by Ian V Hogg, Published by The Crowood Press, Stroud, England. ISBN 1 86126 165 9, Hardback, 230 pages. UK price 19.95

Artillery plays a very important part in warfare, which even the otherfighting arms will acknowledge. Its effects can swing a battle for or against another outcome. Cases where artillery is well handled show this only too well, where it is not used to best effects if can have very serious consequences. Yet despite this, while armoured vehicles and small arms are well covered in print both individually and in general studies, good books on artillery are not common. This makes an new one on the guns welcome, and doubly so when the author is very knowledgeable on his subject and writes in a readable style.

Ian Hogg gives us here a clear and detailled account of the artillery weapons used by the Allies in the Second World War. The many types of gun used by British, American and Russian forces are described type by type in their separate classes of field, medium, heavy, anti aircraft, anti tank, coast defence and railway weapons. This includes some classic designs, such as Britain's 25pdr which had a long and successful career in many countries post war, and like its American equivalent the 105mm M2 series is still in service. Although not strictly an Allied design, the 40mm Bofors was used widely and also still serves. Many Russian guns were in production decades after their introduction and were part of the Warsaw Pact forces as well as being supplied to many nations where again they still give good service.

Alongside the main story of each gun, developments such as armour-piercing shells and the proximity fuse are described where appropriate. The section on anti aircraft guns describes the technical matters relating to how to shoot down a plane and how these were overcome. AA artillery in its classic form is now a thing of the past, and the pure anti tank gun is also no longer widely used, with both being largely replaced by missiles. Only a few countries employ either coast defence or railway artillery, which means this study shows them at the height of their development.

The general themes of development are followed country by country, with representative guns being given more detailed treatment in separate short sections to themselves. All the production guns which saw use are here, along with some of those which almost made it into service which help to show how events progressed. Data on all the guns appears in the form of tables which makes for easy comparison and helps the flow of the text. A glossary of the many terms gunners know better than mere mortals is included. Strangely, self propelled guns which came into use during this period are not.

Illustration takes the form of photographs of guns in action and factory shots as well as several of guns in museums. As may be expected, the amount of detail on Russian guns is not as great as those of the Western allies but there is more than enough for all but the very finicky.

The previous "standard" work on the subject was the same authors' "British and American Artillery of WW2" which has long been out of print. This new book adds the Russian guns and is as good a source of material as the earlier book. Even those who have that on their shelves may well find this one worth having, while those who missed it will be more than happy that another good account is now in print.

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