Italian Artillery in WW2 is a subject long neglected in the modeling field, although it’s good to see Italeri and other companies starting to create kits of these subjects. Italy’s artillery arm during that war suffered, to a certain degree, from their successes in the Great War, where they captured or otherwise obtained large numbers of artillery pieces from the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire. This led to a certain complacency in the higher military echelons concerning further developments, so that Italy was always suffering from inadequate support in this field. That being said, when they did develop new materials they were consistently excellent with innovations such as easily replaceable inner barrels.
Enrico Finazzer and Ralph A. Ricco have written an excellent and comprehensive book covering this somewhat esoteric field. The book is logically laid out, discussing everything from indigenous products to ex-WW1 items to captured equipment to self-propelled versions, each in its own section with detailed information right down to exact numbers employed on the field. Each piece is discussed in terms of development and deployment, with a line drawing of each item and a good number of hitherto unpublished black and white photos.
The first section deals with “modern guns” – that is, weapons designed after the First World War, starting with the ubiquitous Breda 20mm cannon. The second section details still-operational WW1 weapons, most of them from the defeated Austro-Hungarian army. Section 3 deals with both German weapons employed by the Italian armed forces as well as captured British weapons of various types, including the famous 25-lb dual-purpose gun. The last two sections deal with self-propelled guns and gun tractors.
Altogether, I must admit to having mixed feelings about this book’s value to the average modeler. Long on detailed technical specifications, there is a comparatively small amount of information supplied about deployment of various types except in the most general terms. The single line drawing for each piece of equipment, although well done, is inadequate documentation for those hoping to scratch build some of the more esoteric pieces, nor is there any information provided concerning markings, camouflage and the like.
Despite these perceived shortcomings, this is inarguably an excellent resource for someone relatively unfamiliar with the subject, and a great comprehensive guide to this little-documented aspect of World War 2’s Italian forces. I learned an enormous amount about this topic, and it’s certainly whetted my appetite for making more models around this fascinating subject. My thanks to MMP Books for a chance to add this to my library as well as to IPMS/USA for the review copy.