bookChurchill vol.1
GUNpower 26
By Leszek Moczulski
Published by AJ Press
ISBN 978-83-7237-194-9
176 pages soft cover

Review by Terry Ashley

With the imminent release of the new AFV Club Churchill Mk.III (kit #AF 35153) we'll have a look at this recent GUNpower book from AJ.Press on the Churchill Vol.1 which is in the same large 295mmx210mm soft cover format as the previous books in the GUNpower series.

This volume has 176 pages with both Polish and English text with book briefly covering the development of the gun tanks as well as extensive coverage of the many specialised vehicles built on the earlier Churchill chassis as well as including plans and CAD illustrations of the Mk.I/II and III gun tanks with future volumes covering the later marks in more detail.

The first 50 pages has about 50/50 text with black and white wartime photos and covers the development of the Churchill gun tanks from the A20 prototype as well as the Vauxhall A22 project with development history of each before moving on to the design and development of the Churchill series.

Each of the gun tanks is briefly described in text as well as complimented with B&W photos of each and covers the Mk.I to Mk.VIII, the NA75 as well as the development 'Black Prince' being the for runner to the Centurion.

Pages 51 to 140 are devoted to the many specialised variants with again the text and photos mixed about 50/50 and covers the development and service history of the types featured. The first 7 pages deal with the flamethrower Mk.VII with most of the photos having been seen elsewhere as well as a few shots of the UC Wasp as well as a brief mention of the earlier "Ork" built on the Mk.I chassis with just a single photo taken from the rear of T32049 "Tintagel" which was deployed with the Canadians at Dieppe where it was lost.

Next comes the Combat Engineer AVRE tanks with many B&W photos as well as the extensive text but again many of the photos have been seen in various publications over the years but it's handy to have them all in the one book. There are six close up shots of the 290mm mortar and "flying dustbin" projectile carried by the Mk.III/IV AVRE tanks as well as a few shots of the Mk.VII with 165mm gun.

There are numerous shots of the AVRE with SBG (Short Box Girder Bridge) and others carrying the fascine with a series of training photos of the SBG being deployed over an obstacle followed by the fascine being dropped to allow vehicles to cross the obstacle, again these are not new to me.

There are many more action type shots of the various fascine AVREs carrying and deploying their loads in different situations, all the photos are either on training or demonstrations but offer some good details of the tanks and the different appearances of the fascines. Most of the photos only have small captions to allow larger photos to be included to better show the vehicle and fascine detail.

The next 8 pages cover the TLC (carpet) Laying Device with the photos covering the initial Type A and later Type D as well as 7 pages with photos of the various mine clearing tanks during testing with a few shots of each type featured for a nice overview of the mine clearing Churchills.

Seven pages are devoted to the earlier bridge laying Churchill ARKs which featured the bridge section on top of the vehicle and folding ramps either end which were designed to be driven up to an obstacle or into a ditch allowing other vehicle to drive over the top.

Other AVRE types shown are the various explosive carrying tanks with most shots taken on test and offer some interesting details of these vehicles and their devices with again the photos being mostly two to a page with just brief text descriptions and photo captions.

The book then moves on with 7 pages on the ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicles) with text descriptions and a few photos of the Mk.I and Mk.II types and this is followed by 4 pages on the 3 in Gun Carrier Mk.I with about 50/50 text and photos with again most shots having been seen before.

The next 10 pages have a series of 5 view plans of the Churchill Mk.I/II/III gun tanks in 1:35 scale although the plans in the book are captioned 1:50 scale but this is a mistake repeated on each plan and they are in fact 1:35 scale. On checking these further there are few minor discrepacies between actual dimensions but nothing to get too excited about and can serve as good reference points.

The final 25 pages are taken up by a series of computer generated CAD illustrations of again the Mk.I/II/III gun tanks but IMHO these are little more than pretty pictures for the kiddies to gawk at as they lack any fixed scale as well as being very "sterile" not having many of the details such as weld seams and other details included. These illustrations should be used for basic guides for the general layouts of the vehicles and not relied on for any detail work on your model and quite frankly waste 25 pages of the book unless you just like to look at pretty pictures.


Overall this is a good general reference for the earlier Churchill gun tanks and the many specialised variants with the many B&W photos all being in the one book makes it a useful overall guide especially if you don't have any other Churchill references available.

As mentioned the CAD drawings are just candy floss of little value for the modeller but the plans and the many wartime photos and the text coverage makes it a worthwhile reference despite this.


Sample pages:

Click thumbnails for slideshow view
GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1
GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1GUNpower 26 Churchill vol.1
Close new window to return to review

Thanks to Michael from Airconnection for the review book.
Airconnection carry the full range of AJ Press books

Page created November 12, 2008