ARM: Book Review - Allied-Axis Issues 12 and 13

Book Review: Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War; Issue 12 (2003), 96 pp., no ISBN number; Issue 13 (2004), 96 pp., no ISBN number; both
published by Ampersand Publishing, Delray Beach, Florida; price $15.95 each
Advantages: big, clear photos of subjects, keyed for the most part to recent plastic kit releases; wide variety of archives researched and used
Disadvantages: some misidentified photos; some photos familiar to all from NARA or other heavily used sources
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all WWII fans
    I have become a fan of this series, as in a number of cases the authors have provided good coverage – or at the very least big, clear, uncropped versions of well-known photos – that are extremely useful in modeling their subjects. In some cases, A-A is the only source for some subjects, and as such merits inclusion in the reference library of anyone modeling WWII armor (albeit mostly US and German subjects – some archives are harder to access, such as the old Soviet State Archives in Russia.)
    Issue 12 provides coverage of five subjects. First is the Sturmtiger self-propelled heavy mortar (45 photos) that concentrate on its interior and also the exterior differences between it and the standard Tiger I chassis.
    Next is an in-action set of photos covering the long-wheel-base version combination dump and cargo truck version of the CCKW-353 GMC 2 ½ ton truck, with a wide variety of photos showing these trucks in the field. 22 large-format show the truck as used with 8 of them covering a preserved model and its piston and hinging arrangement; as resin conversions are now out for this variant, this should be very handy in building one.
    This is followed by part 2 on the White M3A1 Scout Car in pre-war and wartime US and British service, and a total of 14 full-page photos show how the vehicle was used by the forces.
    Next is a section on the M10 and M36 tank destroyers, now in kit form from two different manufacturers, and it provides a lot of new photos of both vehicles in service and maintenance. 35 mostly full-page photos cover their use in combat and also a nice shot of a Jagdpanther knocked out by an M36 with two shots.
    Lastly is coverage of the lowly Krupp "Boxer" (L 2 H 143) 6 x 4 cargo truck that was the main carrier early in the war for the Panzergrenadiers. Photos (12) of both the tractor version and the cargo version are included.
    Issue 13, following the same format as all Allied-Axis books, covers five more subjects in detail.
    The first subject in this book is part 2 of the US M3 medium tank ("General Lee") and its use in both combat and training. 19 full-page photos show them in action or in servicing, including the British "Warwell" 50-ton bogie fishbelly flat car used to transport tanks. One shot of great embarrassment (not for Ampersand, but the victim!) is one of a 32nd Armored Regiment tank (3AD) upside down in Indio, California, after arguing with the Santa Fe and losing. The markings, 32-2-1, are not as noted 2nd Battalion I company (as I Company was in the 3rd Battalion) but 32nd Armored, 2nd Battalion, Tank 1, which at that time was the tank of the battalion commander. Ouch!
    Next is a series covering the Panzer 38(t) Skoda-built light tank that formed the backbone of the early "Blitzkreig" forces. 20 photos show details of this popular subject.
    The "Long Tom" and all of its various prime movers get the next slot with 26 full-page photos, and it shows the guns being towed by such items as a Caterpillar D8 tractor and the later M4 18-ton High Speed Tractor. The book also covers the point that there were two different rear body styles for the M4, the box body with winch/derrick assembly used for the 155mm and 8" prime movers, and a smaller box body without the winch/derrick for use with 90mm AA guns. There is even a photo of the 90mm prime mover with add-on wood panels to carry more ammunition boxes. Note that the text notes most of the switches between weapons, as they show the M1 (later M59) 155mm gun as well as the M115 8" howitzer that used the same carriage and prime mover.
    There is a short "beginner's course" on early and late model Sherman tanks, with 28 full-page photos covering the variants and some "they didn't do that" models such as late model M4A3 tanks with HVSS (E8) suspensions and M1A1 guns with no muzzle brakes. Always good for the Shermahaholic!
    Last is a short segment of a popular and widely used weapon that has yet to appear in plastic – the 40mm M1 Bofors gun, produced under license by nearly everyone during the war and yet not produced to date as a 1/35 plastic kit. 8 full-page photos cover this gun in both combat and march order, and give a lot of ideas as to what to do with that Tamiya GMC kicking around the model room.
    Overall, these books are a good investment and provide a good set of reference photos for many new or recent kits. (Too bad that nobody has a good M4 18-ton or Bofors out!)
    Thanks to Pat Stansell of Ampersand for the review copies.
Cookie Sewell
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