It is said that artillery won the Second World War for the Allies – that Soviet guns wore down German forces on the Eastern Front, negating their superior tactics and fighting ability, and that the accuracy and intensity of the British and American artillery was a major reason for the success of Allied forces in North Africa from El Alamein, in Italy and Normandy, and played a vital role in the battles of 1944 and 1945. Yet the range of weapons used is often overlooked or taken for granted – which is why this highly illustrated history by Simon and Jonathan Forty is of such value. They stress the importance of artillery on every front and analyze how artillery equipment, training and tactical techniques developed during the conflict.
The selection of wartime photographs – many from east European sources – and the extensive quotations from contemporary documents give a graphic impression of how the guns were used on all sides. The photographs emphasize the wide range of pieces employed as field, antiaircraft and antitank artillery without forgetting self-propelled guns, coastal and other heavyweights and the development of rockets. The authors offer a fascinating insight into the weapons that served in the artillery over seventy years ago.