Firing Now!

Published: June 5th, 2016     
Product Image
Author: Dick Taylor; Color Plates: Tony Debski; Drawings: Dariusz Karnas and Dariusz Grzywacz
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 978-8363678913
Other Publication Information: Hardbound, A4 [8.3” x 11.7:], 136 pages
Price: $49.00
Product / Stock #: Green / 4120
Product provided by: Mushroom Model Publications

Dick Taylor is a recently-retired British Army Lieutenant Colonel who has been deployed in many areas of the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan and lately, in Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. Joining the army as a junior soldier in 1976, he has served exclusively in the Royal Tank Regiment. Commissioned in 2000, he has specialized in tank gunnery instruction, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear operations, Psychological Operations, and defense exporting. He has a First Class degree in History, a Master of Philosophy degree in Historical Research, and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science. He is married with two sons and lives in Blandford Forum, Dorset. Dick Taylor has authored, or co-authored, at least 16 books on armored fighting vehicles, primarily with Mushroom Model Publications.

This book focuses on ammunition used by the British and Americans in World War II. This includes tank, anti-tank, and self-propelled artillery ammunition and its storage and transportation. The interesting part of this book is the discussion of the various types, how ammunition actually functions, and how improvements were made to increase accuracy. Ammunition terminology is extensively covered as well as the vehicles and weapons that wielded the various types of ammunition used operationally. The illustrator, Tony Debski, contributes mightily to the narrative in this book with his extensive color plates of the ammunition featured. Tony Debski highlights not only the ammunition colors and markings but also provides internal cross-sections to feature how the various ammunition types functioned.

I counted 74 black and white photographs and an additional 52 color pics. You also get 471 color drawings and 105 black and white drawings. Interestingly, the product details on many of the online sites selling this book list 160 pages (although the press release that came with the book stated that this book was 136 pages). You will also find seven tables and extensive color charts referencing British BS color call outs and US FS numbers. Mushroom Model Publications' has provided a page by page preview at:

  • The Table of Contents includes the following sections:
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • Part 1 Ammunition Components, Function, Terminology, and Abbreviations
    • Terminology (Page 12)
    • Accuracy, Consistency, and Penetration (Page 19)
    • Packaging, Storing, and Transporting Ammunition
  • Part 2 British Ammunition Natures
    • Introduction
    • The 1944 System (Page 33)
    • .55 Inch Boys Rifle
    • 3 Pounder and 3.7" Close Support Howitzer (Page 43)
    • 3" Close Support Howitzer
    • 2 Pounder (Page 55)
    • Hotchkiss 25mm
    • 6 Pounder[& US 57mm]
    • 17 Pounder (Page 70)
    • 77mm
    • 95mm Close Support Howitzer
    • 25 Pounder
    • 32 Pounder
    • 29mm Blacker Bombard (Page 91)
    • Protector Infantry Anti-Tank [PIAT]
    • 290mm Petard
  • Part 3 USA Ammunition Natures
    • Introduction
    • 2.36" Rocket Launcher [Bazooka] (Page 105)
    • 37mm
    • 75mm & British 75mm
    • 3 Inch (Page 123)
    • 76mm
    • 90mm
    • 105mm

Dick Taylor provides a short development and operational history for each type of ammunition covered coupled with specifications and variants. I am not a huge AFV modeler (other than Swedish...) and I found this book to be a great introduction to the subject of ammunition utilized in WWII. I would guess that most AFV modeler's would find the colors and markings of the ammunition described in this book to be a huge asset to improve any model they build that has visible ammunition. Dick Taylor indicates that if this volume is well received, a sequel may well become available covering medium and heavy artillery, anti-aircraft, mortars, etc.

My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

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