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Weapons of World War II Paperback – February 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Putting a twin 88mm machine gun on a CV would take some seriously impressive engineering!
But it keeps going on, a 3 inch gun could actually be referring to a 75mm, 76mm, 76.2mm or even a 77mm. In fact the reference to the Sherman calls both the original 75mm and the upgunned 76mm versions 3in guns in the same paragraph!
In a book about weapons this can only be called sloppy and is a stain on what would otherwise be a very impressive work.
Now the odd: I do not know the author, but this as credit is given to translators I'm assuming this was originally a German work. I say that as because while I have heard of certain German vehicles such as the RSO tractor referred to as 'crawlers', this is the first time I've ever heard either the US M4 High Speed Tractor or the M29 Weasel referred to this way. I want to make it clear that the translators have done an excellent job, but seeing this is just a little strange to English readers.
While the book does an excellent job of choosing which weapons to review, I confess that one omission confounded me. After reviewing the 8cm or 81mm mortars of most armies, the author then goes on to do the same of the Soviet army. I would have though that if only one mortar was going to be included, it would be the Soviet 12cm mortar.
Now, the good: In about 300 pages devoted to weapons, with most pages having 2 weapons, probably somewhere in excess of 500 of the most important weapons of WW2 are covered in a handy, well printed, and astonishingly inexpensive book.
Now, lets be clear: are you looking for an in depth analytical review of the development, testing, battlefield impact and upgrades of anything from the Lee-Enfield .303 to the Panther tank? This book isn't for you! You need to go and get the specialist books that abound on such subjects.
This provides a few paragraphs on the development, use and impact of anything from handguns (usually one per major army of the war) to aircraft carriers. Most weapons get half a page, a few selected weapons (such as the Sherman tank) get a two page spread.
This is an introduction and nothing more. Its value lies in the fact that so many weapons (especially armoured vehicles and aircraft) are side by side and you can see the wartime development of these weapons in a single volume.
For the cost and number of weapons systems reviewed, this should be a 4 star book (the only 5 star book I know of in this field is Chris Bishops Directory of WW2 Weapons, now long out of print I think, and while it is far larger, even it managed to lose the chapter on Allied Destroyers!). Its inability to get weapons calibres right (a rather important consideration when talking about weapons, I'd have thought) reduces it to 3 stars.
A must have if you are interest in details about the equipment used in WWII but don't want a huge, heavy, complex book (or worse, a lot of books)