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Review- Railway Guns of WW1 by Osprey


RAILWAY GUNS OF WORLD WAR I.  Marc Romanych & Greg Heuer. Osprey New Vanguard 249 2017.  ISBN 978 1 4728 1639 9

No one would claim the term environmentally friendly for siege artillery, yet most railway guns were recycled from former naval and coastal defence guns. WW1 saw the largest number of railguns ever being produced by major warring nations in response to static trench warfare and the need to overcome strong border fortresses.  Early guns were relatively small calibre weapons mounted on simple railway wagons, but evolved to become complex super heavy guns of over 270 tons by 1918.  Designing these monsters to fit within railway loading gauge dimensions was a challenge, and many innovative solutions were devised for appropriate and workable recoil, traverse and elevation systems.  Stresses of firing from the track required track reinforcement measures. Multiple axle bogie trucks and carriage mountings were designed to cope with firing stresses and evenly distribute weight on the track.  Some guns had turntables or special heavy firing platforms on which the guns were emplaced after demounting from their transport bogies. Trains with special equipment and crews were required for the transport and erection of these guns, sometimes taking several weeks to complete.  Detailed artwork complementing period photos illustrate some of the different colour schemes applied to these weapons.  This is a very good general account of a specialized subject by two knowledgeable authors. Thanks to Osprey for the sample.        John Ham.  MAFVA. August 2017.


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