Darren Baker takes a look at a recent Tankograd release covering the M65 Atomic Annie.

Introduction

The following introduction is as supplied by Tankograd:

With the Cold War evolving, the search for more military applications of nuclear weapons was carried out by the United States and the Soviet Union. The major aim was, on the one hand, to improve the yield of devices and thus increase their destructive levels, and on the other hand to make them deployable from other launching apparatus. First and foremost, designers on both sides worked on shrinking nuclear devices to the degree they would fit for example into an artillery shell.

The development would in 1951 culminate in the American 280mm M65 Gun, today known by its nickname Atomic Annie. In the Soviet Union, work began on the 406mm 2A3 and 420mm 2B1 super-heavy artillery pieces, built in 1957.
This publication covers the Atomic Annie in great detail with many in-service photos plus excerpts from the technical manual and also sheds new light on its still secret Soviet counterparts.

Review

This offering from Tankograd is dedicated to covering the M65 Atomic Annie and the role she was to play in the event of the Cold War turning Hot during the early years following WW2. This offering is authored by Michael Franz and Jochen Vollert and so you instantly have some idea of how good this book will be. The book is a soft backed book with a card cover that provides a reasonable level of protection for the contents which provides 72 pages. This is offering is one of the duel language books with German on the left of the page and English on the right. The contents of this issue are presented as follows:

1.      280mm Atomic Annie vs406mm 2A3 / 420mm 2B1

2.      Gun, Heavy, Motorized,280mm, M65 Atomic Annie

3.      Truck Gun Lifting, Heavy,4x4, Front M249 (T10A)

4.      Truck, Gun Lifting, Heavy, 4x4, Rear M250 (T10B)

5.      Gun, Heavy, Motorized,280mm, M65

6.      Railroad Transport

7.      2A3 406mm Gun / 2B1 420mmMortar

 

They say that big is beautiful and if that is the case then the M65 Atomic Annie must have been a beauty queen. This offering from Tankograd provides the reader with a look at a fairly unique piece of kit designed to fire an atomic weapon at the enemy and so halt an advance; of course this weapons system was soon overtaken by missiles, but it would have been a sight when in use.

Tankograd in this book has offered a great guide to a weapons system that was never needed to show its teeth, but the book does offer a glimpse of what would be seen if it had ever been used in anger. I do wonder if they would have got troops to use it in that eventuality. Tankograd has also gone one further in this release and provided a good amount of details on the weapons systems designed for use on the other side.

The photographic sections are the area the modellers want to see and they will not be disappointed. The photographs provided have been provided with duel language captions and show the weapons system going into use and being used. I feel the images showing these huge guns being driven through German towns is a testament to the driving ability of the troops who got them where they were needed.

In addition to the photographs of the M65 Atomic Annie we are provided with some great images of the counter weapons in the form of the 2A3 406mm gun and the 2B1 420mm Mortar. Another great aspect to this offering is that due to difficulty in covering all aspect of the M65 Tankograd has provided images of preserved artillery pieces and a number of drawings that cover how to put this weapon into position and recover it and also showing hidden areas that are not easily understood otherwise; yet another great release.

Conclusion

In terms of bang for your buck the M65 Atomic Annie artillery pieces must be the biggest, at least on the NATO side and so this book offers a glimpse into a darker time. The book has tackled the subject in a cleaver way and presented the information in a way that all can understand. The text is well written and the photographs are better than I expected them to be in this period of history which results in a well rounded title that covers all of the bases.

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