Reviewed by Dean Roxby
This is another high-quality book from Schiffer Publishing. American Breechloading Mobile Artillery 1875-1953, by Williford and Batha describes U.S. artillery from shortly after the American Civil War up to the Korean War.
Following the Civil War, America had plenty of muzzle loading cannon, but no breech loading artillery. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 showed the importance of breech loading guns. The first attempt at a breech loader was actually a conversion of the Civil War-era Model 1861 3-inch ordnance rifle. This gun, essentially a trials gun with only six being made, is covered in The First New Breechloaders chapter.
The book is broken into chapters based on gun types presented in approximately chronological order. Typical chapters are Mountain Guns, Pre-War Heavy Artillery, First World War 75mm Field Artillery, Pack Howitzers, and Anti-Tank Guns. At the beginning of each chapter is a brief rundown of the characteristics of each class of weapons. The book does not contain anything on fixed coastal guns or anti-aircraft cannons. It also does not cover self-propelled guns or rocket artillery. This is by choice, presumably in order to keep the book to a reasonable size. For the same reason, it does not cover mortars, recoilless rifles, etc.
Each model of gun is given two pages and generally includes a history of its development and use in combat, along with a side view line drawing, period photos and a current photo of a surviving piece.
A list of factories that produced cannons or carriages is also included. This is divided into Government Facilities, Private Facilities, and Foreign Facilities. This last group is mainly Canadian, British, and French companies. Each company is given a brief history of its production of artillery pieces. Over the years, there have been a surprising number of firms doing so.
Well written, logically arranged, and featuring an interesting selection of old photos, this title covers the topic perfectly.
- Title: American Breechloading Mobile Artillery 1875-1953: An Illustrated Identification Guide
- Author: Glen M. Williford with Thomas D. Batha
- ISBN: 978-0-7643-5049-8
- Copyright: 2016
- Binding: Hardcover with matching dust jacket
- Size: 8.5 x11in
- Pages: 232 pages
- Photos: 257 B&W photos
- Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
- Website: schifferbooks.com
- MSRP: $50