World War II Infantry Fire Support Tactics, Gordon L. Rottman

World War II Infantry Fire Support Tactics, Gordon L. Rottman

Elite 214

This book is probably a bit over-ambitious, in that it looks at Soviet, German, US and British and Commonwealth infantry fire support tactics and how they evolved over the course of the Second World War, a massive topic, especially for only 64 pages! The main focus is on the later part of the war - 1944 onwards - although there is also material on the earlier years.

The main value of this book for me is that it brings together material on various types of weapons that are normally examined in isolation - machine guns, infantry guns, anti-tank guns, hand-held anti-tank weapons and mortars. Many studies of these weapons only compare them to each other - mortar vs mortar etc - but that isn't how things worked in battle. Here we get an idea of how the lighter, more portable anti-tank guns were used once they stopped being useful against tanks, how the various types of weapons were distributed across the battlefield and how they supported each other. We do start with an examination of each weapon type in turn, followed by a look at their impact on the battlefield, but we then move onto how they were organised, and how they were deployed on the battlefield, before finishing with a single case study.

It is interesting to see how some weapons became less suitable for use by the infantry as they got more effective at their own job - anti-tank guns are the main example, which eventually became far too large and heavy to be used by the infantry.

The example deployment maps are probably the best way to understand how the various weapons were deployed and interacted, although they do take some work to understand, as one has to keep referring to the key to make sense of them, but the visual reference does eventually make sense.

Infantry Fire Support Weapons
Fire Support Weapons' Effects
Fire Support Units
Tactical Employment

Author: Gordon L. Rottman
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2016

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