New Vanguard 48 the 25 pdr Field Gun 1939-72

John Prigent

Chris Henry is Head of Collections at the Museum of the Royal Artillery, and brings his considerable knowledge and access to the museums collections to bear on this subject.  The 25 pdr gun-howitzer was used in action from 1939 right up to the fighting against insurgents in Aden during 1972.  It remains in use as a saluting gun and of course many have been preserved in museums and private collections, so examples are not hard to find by those wanting detailed closeup photographs.

That is not the purpose of this book.  Mr Henry takes us through the origins of the design after World War 1 and its subsequent evolution into a highly effective weapon.  There’s a good deal of technical information here, telling the reader the differences between the several types of carriage and gun barrel including those of the 18/25 pdr used in the French campaign of 1940.  The Australian "short" 25 pdr and the 17 pdr Pheasant are not forgotten, and both the Bishop and Sexton self-propelled 25 pdrs are here too.

Oddly, the introduction of the muzzle brake is not mentioned in the technical section but in the caption to plate C2, and I found no reference to when the counterweight was fitted next to the gun's breech.  Those aside, the text gives masses of information and includes some interesting "user" comments.  It seems that the famous use of 25 pdrs against tanks in the Western Desert campaign was a measure of desperation, it not being as effective as is often thought.  It also left something to be desired when firing in counter-battery mode against the famous "88" since it was substantially outranged by that gun.

Nevertheless, this is a famous gun and it has been given a very comprehensive description here for both modellers and military history enthusiasts.  Recommended!