by: Adie Roberts [ ]
Artillery is a class of large military weapons built to fire munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach fortifications, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the largest share of an army's total firepower.
Starting of with the introduction TrackPad publishing gives you an idea of the history around the use of artillery, from the Hundred years war in Europe and taking us to the use of artillery in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), when it was first used and the connection to the Sherman tank.
The first chapter covers the start of the use of artillery in the IDF from the guns that were used not used just by the allies in World War II but also some German artillery, from the allies QF- 25 pounder, to the axis Krupp 75mm gun. This section is full of pictures some of which have not been published before and not just black and white but also colour. The number of pictures will give the modeller plenty of reference material to use for the build of any of these field guns.
One of the pictures that caught my eye was a battery of 25 pounders preparing for an exercise and or demonstration with two of the guns missing their muzzle breaks, the gun crews are all wearing olive drab British-style uniforms and berets.
The twenty-five pounder gun was still in widespread use during the Six-Day War in 1967.
Chapter 2 of the book is the start of the use of the Sherman chassis as mobile artillery gun with the M7 Priest. The IDF Deputy Chief of Staff expressed an interest in obtaining at least 40 M7 Priest self-propelled howitzers, though it was not until 1960 that first Priests were bought from France enough to fill three battalions.
The whole chapter goes into incredible depth explaining the use of the Priest in the IDF service add to this the numerous pictures accompanying the chapter it makes a solid reference for modellers and anyone interested in the history of the IDF Artillery.
There were so many eye-catching pictures that included the 1965 parade to pictures during the Six-Day War, for those who like me would like to make dioramas there were even photos of wrecked Priests. Some fantastic colour walk around pictures of an IDF Priest finish of the chapter.
Chapter 3 Tomat M50 155mm Part1- Continental-engine Tomat
It soon became obvious during World War 2, that a much larger calibre artillery gun with a much greater range was required to be able to support the growing number of armoured units. It was decided that the reliable Sherman would be the carrier.
Pictures and explanations follow on in a similar fashion to the 2nd chapter.
This whole chapter goes into some detail from the first of the Sherman V hulls being converted to carry the Tomat with lots of photos, it also covers the trials of the Tomat.
It explains the use of the continental engine within the vehicle its good and bad points before being upgraded to the Cummins engine.
The Israeli people are shown the gun and the actual artillery vehicle during parades.
Chapter 4 Tomat M50 155mm Part 2-Cummins-engined Tomat
Even before the first Continental- powered Tomat M50 entered production, the IDF had already begun replacing the radial engine in its primary gun tanks, the M50 and M51. Due to the high-costs, the tank conversions had to wait.
Plenty of information is contained explaining the Cummins engine and its use with yet again plenty of reference material including plenty of pictures. Some of the pictures include some action shots, the chapter comes to an end with the fantastic close up walk around pictures.
Chapter 5 Mapik Fire-control team vehicles
The fire control vehicle ‘Mapik' was a half-track, has a table used for the calculations although not many photos of the fire control vehicles are available, however, those that are here include some pictures of the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The chapter finishes off with some nice colour walk around pictures.
This is followed by the Appendices and further pictures.
I found this offering from Trackpad publishing to be a very good read with so much information and fantastic pictures that I have read it twice now and still find myself opening it up and looking at the different pictures of the vehicles.
I particularly like the way that each photo in the book carries information about the photo including in some, some technical information yet not overwhelming you with the data.
This is a very well written and thought out book with so many photos that include the walk around section towards the end of each chapter for the modeller interested in Israeli Defence Forces or the Sherman line of tanks then this should be a must for your library.
I am lucky enough to be able to review volume 2 and I am just hoping it will be as good as volume 1