Saturday, September 8

Allied - Axis 28 reviewed...

Ampersand Publishing has sent us their latest in the series of Allied-Axis books – these books as are small, inexpensive and filled with walk around and period photographs of a few different machines which are examined in detail each in turn. Great for modellers and military machine enthusiasts alike – we get to check no 28 out – come and have a look…

By David Doyle, Scott Taylor & Jeff Kleinhenz
Publisher: Ampersand Publishing
Paperback: 96 pages with black & white photos
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches (A4 Landscape) 
Price: $15.95

The latest in the series of Allied-Axis books has arrived on our desk and we have here a familiar format that most would be used to already – the landscape orientated publication with a soft cover packed with four or five different picture driven walk around and period photograph stories tied together with text to explain and enliven the experience.
This – number 28 in the series covers a few different subjects both on the allied and Axis sides of the coin. This issue features photo stories on the:

SdKfz 6 5-ton halftrack prime mover
3-inch antitank gun M5
U.S. T1/M6 Heavy Tank
Sprengladungsträger (SdKfz 301) Ausf. A and B
Covenanter Heavy Cruiser Tank

The book’s chapters are either captioned or photographs provided my messirs Doyle, Taylor & Kleinhenz who would be pretty well known to a few people out there from other publications like the “walk around” series from Squadron. This book does remind me of those books a little - it is different however to the “Walkaround” series in that there are fewer pictures but of a larger size and the action here seems more like an explanation of each type of the vehicles shown.
The books are not just a walkaround though – they are also a story of the vehicles development history. Usually we start with the earlier vehicles in the series and we work through to the later types, along the way pointing out changes and the idiosyncrasies of each vehicle.

Each section is about twenty pages and the quality of the paper is of a good glossy quality, the photographs are usually of a legible quality as well. This book has some great shots of the German prime movers for instance and some interesting touched up photos of the T1/M6 heavy tank which are just as interesting. The closes up detailed shots taken in the modern day are presented in black and white.

Let’s take a look at the sections in turn…

SdKfz 6 5-ton halftrack prime mover

One of the primary tracked towing vehicles of the Wehrmacht – these were meant to tow things like anti-aircraft guns into the battlefield. We are shown the early war variants through the early campaigns in Europe and places like Greece through to the eastern front in many different conditions and configurations.
Interesting to me were the variants with the 37mm cannon on the rear deck which served as an anti-aircraft platform with considerable success. We are also explained the differences between the artillery towing vehicle and the pioneer and troop carrying versions. Particularly impressive are some of the shots of the vehicle rearing up over embankments – the halftrack looking like a dinosaur…

3-inch anti-tank gun M5.
There are lots of good shots of this vehicle in action. Many from the later WWII period showing allied soldiers hustling around this cannon or taking it through mud. There are also some good diorama ideas of these guns covered in natural foliage and camouflage with the surrounding rubble and building parts including louvered doors!
There are some excellent and very detailed walk around shots taken here clearly in the modern day which have been transferred to black and white. These give you a good idea of the smaller parts of the gun especially around the breech and gun controls. This will be really handy for modellers of the type.

U.S. T1/M6 Heavy Tank
Right! Now I know why this tank is so hard to take out when I’m playing “World of Tanks” – the most heavily armed tank at the beginning of WWII – this large tank was heavily armed with a 76mm and 37mm gun (as well as a skyward looking AA gun) in the turret and some very thickly armed front and sides.
Some very interesting shots of this vehicle with the same driver at either a proving ground or some promotional event to show the tank off to the “brass”. There are also some great new walkaround pictures here in black and white to complement the excellent text which is informative but not intrusive.

Sprengladungsträger (SdKfz 301) Ausf. A and B
Built to be loaded up with a large explosive device in a pod and then driven into a battle area – the explosive device was placed next to an obstacle or enemy hard point and then remotely detonated by the vehicle occupants who had retreated to a safe distance. This vehicle is as interesting as it was thinly armoured and there are some great shots of the AFV in action and captured variants (complete with the “Keep Clear” exclamation signs as well)
Some great close ups of captured vehicles show this halftrack inside and out at close quarters. The vehicle was surprisingly well equipped and the complete driving compartment with full dials meant that this vehicle wasn’t a throw away type like the earlier smaller remotely controlled “goliath” There are some excellent references and text included here in this section.

Covenanter Heavy Cruiser Tank
Reading the story behind this tank made me really sorry for all those who had to drive and crew it. Overheating problems, under-gunned and under-armoured this vehicle was upgraded with no real positive effects I loved the part in the comments saying how really bad it was!!
There are some really very good B&W shots of this tank in action(in the rear) with these tanks being used as opposition vehicles in training exercises, the tanks on trains being shipped around the United Kingdom, as well as close ups of the crew compartments and engines.

This book is like a walkaround and vehicle history story all in one. This makes sense with David Doyle writing or contributing to three of the four sections, and this isn’t a bad thing. Although this book isn’t a specialized publication dedicated to one vehicle the twenty or so pages usually give you a good enough idea of  the structure and details to get a good perspective on the fell an maybe a few diorama ideas for your model.

If you are a fan of these vehicles than you will get some good coverage here – well done on a nice addition to the series!

We thank the excellent people at Ampersand Publishing for the book.