...Firepower for the Panzer Divisions from Osprey Publishing
Author: Thomas Anderson
A new hard-back book from Osprey and author Thomas Anderson, one of the acknowledged experts on German armoured vehicles of WW2, and it adds to his earlier books in this series. In this one he examines the story of providing mobile artillery which could keep up with the new Panzer Divisions.
Artillery support included lighter guns which could accompany both infantry and panzer units but they were towed, either by a truck, or in many cases, horses. Larger weapons were also horse-drawn, sometimes with barrel and carriage having to be split into separate loads. Moving these weapons, and setting them up, took time. Hence the move to develop self-propelled mounts. In this we get a detailed account of how the developments went through trials and with experience from combat operations thanks to various reports found in archives, and these make fascinating reading. Everything is accompanied by numerous archive photos, most of which I hadn't seen before and there is some marvellous detail in here for modellers.
Initial opposition in some quarters to modernisation of the artillery, there was also a restriction thanks to the demands on resources, money and manufacturing capacity. From the early sIG 33 mounted onto an old Pz I Ausf B chassis, through the Pz II and the experimental designs such as the 'Grasshopper', based on a Pz IV hull and the successful designs using the Pz 38(t) chassis. In the later years of the war we see both the 105mm armed Wespe and the larger 150mm armed Hummel. Equally useful is that in addition to the gun mounts themselves, we have the support elements explained as well. The ammunition carriers, recovery units, baggage train, Forward Observers, even down to the radios they used. There is also a table of units and details of what equipment they used.
I thought I knew a fair bit about the Panzerartillerie of WW2, yet I found I had so much to learn thanks to reading this. The book is excellent, definitely one I would recommend for your reference bookshelf if you have any interest in WW2 AFVs.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.