15cm s.FH 18...
...German Heavy Howitzer, Camera On 12 from MMP Books
Title: Camera On 12, 15cm s.FH 18
Author: Alan Ranger
Number 12 in the Camera On books from Alan Ranger and MMP Books, and more superb archive photos which have not been published before. In this instance we get a closer look at one of the standard heavy artillery pieces used by the German military in WW2, the schwere Feld Haubitze (Heavy Field Howitzer), the s.FH 18. In the later war period these were mounted on the Pz IV chassis as the Hummel. While this is included in the last few pages of the book, the bulk of this concentrates on the towed version.
The first three pages are text, and these give us the background to this widely used artillery piece, including the basic specifications. The rest of the 80-page softcover book is packed with a marvellous collection of wartime archive photos, and all with useful captioning. We start off with the basic s.FH 18 and the early steel-wheeled version, designed for horse-drawn transport. When towed by horses, the gun was too heavy for a single load, so the barrel was dismounted and fitted to its' own carriage, then the barrel and the gun carriage were moved as separate loads. What we see are the guns in emplaced positions and being moved.
The later section looks at motorised towing, when the gun could be moved in one piece, and with solid rubber tyres. We see them being towed and emplaced for action. When emplaced, they commonly used wicker mats to put under the wheels and as a simple, clean base to stand artillery rounds prepared for firing. The last couple of pages show it mounted as the Hummel self-propelled version. Add the detail we see of crew positions and uniforms, gun accessories and of the gun itself, this makes for a first-class reference for modellers and diorama builders. There are some very nice kits available on the market, so plenty of potential to work with.
This expands the Camera On series from Alan Ranger and MMP, a series I am very happy to recommend.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.