15 cm s.FH 18 German Heavy Howitzer Book Review

15 cm s.FH 18 German Heavy Howitzer

By Alan Ranger

Series:  Camera On Number 12

Softcover, 80 pages, profusely illustrated

Published by MMPBooks, June 2019

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎83-65958-08-2

ISBN-13: ‎978-83-65958-08-2

Dimensions: ‎8.2 x 0.3 x 11.6 inches

The 15 cm s.FH 18 howitzer was used at the Division level by the German army during WWII.  It was also the primary armament of the Sd.Kfz. 165 Hummel self-propelled artillery vehicle.  It was designed in 1933 and initially produced in the Soviet Union to circumvent restrictions on German weapons production imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.  The number “18” in the 15 cm s.FH 18 designation was a part of this deception, the number typically indicating the year of design which therefore should have been “33”, the change was intended to convince the Allies the howitzer was an older design.  6,756 examples were produced.  It was a successful design which saw service with many nations after the war, the last examples in active service were retired by Finland in 2007.

This book is a photo essay of the howitzer in German service, the majority of the photographs being sourced from private collections and not appearing in print before this book.  They are reproduced well, usually two photos per page which makes them large enough for details of the guns and crews to be easily seen.  Where this book really shines is the captions.  Author Alan Ranger clearly knows the operation of artillery and these guns in particular, there is a wealth of detail on how they were employed in the field and serviced by their crews.

I purchased this book as a reference for building the Italeri model in 1/72 scale, I was happily surprised to find there was a volume devoted specifically to this howitzer.  The smaller 10.5 cm Field Gun (an option included in the Italeri kit) used the same carriage, so this book would be a useful reference for modelers of that gun as well.  Recommended for modelers or for readers wanting insights into the operation of heavy artillery pieces.

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