by: Bill Plunk [ ]
IntroductionAmpersand Publishing, the same company that produces MMiR, has released issue #20 in their Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War series of photo references. It does not have an ISBN but is readily available from most online hobby retailers such as Great Models, Hobby Link Japan, Squadron, Historex Agents, etc. The issue comes soft-bound and is 8.5 x 11" with 96 pages printed on high quality glossy paper. The issue is divided into 4 sections covering the Raupenschlepper OST, Char lourds FCM 2C, 3.7cm Flakzwilling 43, and the Autocar, Federal, and White 4-5 ton 4x4 tractors.
Review Since the format is a photo journal, the focus is on providing high quality photos as references for the subjects in question. With the exception of the single photo on the rear cover, all photos are in black-and-white and provide a mix of period photos as well as walk-around photos of surviving examples where possible. The photos in this issue include photos drawn from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Bundesarchiv, Koblenz (BA), U.S. Army Ordinance Museum, the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox KY, ATHS and TACOM LCMC as well as photos from Walter J. Spielberger and private collections of the authors of the different sections depending. Each photo is accompanied by a caption and the vast majority of pages recreate the photos as full-page single shots, providing maximum clarity and size in the process. As mentioned, there are 4 sections to this issue and I will break each one down individually.
Raupenschlepper OST: Tractor for the East: This section covers 28 pages and includes a brief introduction of the RSO as it's commonly known and its history. This section was researched and captioned by Jeff Kleinheitz with additional photos by Pat Stansell. 12 period photos are provided of RSO/1s in various roles as prime movers and transports and 2 of RSO/2s or /3s. 1 photo of an RSO/2 showing it in the condition at which it arrived at Ft. Knox is provided and the caption notes that it's currently undergoing restoration there. 4 photos are provided of the RSO mounting the PaK 40 7.5cm anti-tank gun which include good overhead shots of the fighting platform and gun from the front right quarter and rear left quarter. The remaining pages in the section provide a total of 21 walk-around shots of a restored RSO/1 at the Auto und Technik Museum at Sisheim Germany and many of the photos are close-ups combined on a single page, each photo with its own explanatory caption.
Char lourds FCM 2C: This section covers 14 pages with a short history provided on the first page. This section was researched and captioned by John Prigent and the photos come from the author's collection. 15 period photos are provided of this monster of a tank, the majority of which show them entrained in France in 1940 where they became trapped and were disabled by their crews. The photos cover several different vehicles and include shots showing the unique method of rail transport used to move the behemoths to the battlefield.
3.7cm Flakzwilling 43: This section is the shortest at 8 pages and deals with a variation on the "normal" Flak 43 that employed a double mount of the 3.7cm gun as a way to increase its firepower. This section is researched and captioned by Pat Stansell and includes 12 photos, some of which are enlarged detail portions of the same photo to provide clearer details or emphasize a given feature. The text captions in this section go into great detail about the features of this lesser-known double mount of the Flak 43 and includes useful information on the various gun-sights used, ammunition types, and crew size.
Autocar, Federal, and White 4-5 ton 4x4 Tractors: Powering the mainline to the frontline This section is the largest in the issue, taking up nearly half the issue at 46 pages. This section is researched and captioned by David Doyle and includes photos from the author's collection. As titled, the section covers vehicles in this class of 4x4 tractors from three different manufacturers and includes a brief text introduction of the history of the Quartermaster Corps and its need for tractors to pull a variety of trailers for it to fulfill its functions during WW2. 31 period photos showing a variety of rig combinations and usage in different theaters are provided and the captions clearly call out various features and changes between the three different manufacturers throughout the section. 30 walk-around photos, with multiple photos grouped to a page, are included of a surviving example that was displayed at the Beltring military vehicle event. An additional 21 walk-around photos, similarly grouped as multiples to a page, of a Federal tractor and semi-trailer combo owned and restored by Kevin Kronlund are provided and this vehicle is also featured in the color photo on the rear cover.
ConclusionAs a photo reference, the Axis-Allied Photo Journal series is well known for its quality and content. Issue #20 doesn't disappoint and provides a variety of subjects in its pages. The photos are of excellent quality and the mix between period and walk-around photos, where possible, add to the reference value. Highly recommended as a handy reference resource for the subjects covered.