Howitzer For A Game Of Soldiers
The 25 pounder field troop howitzer was the major British field gun during World War II (and beyond). It could fire Direct Fire particularly when being used in an anti-tank capacity and it could also fire as a high-arc howitzer for Indirect Fire. It was widely regarded as the most outstanding field artillery piece used by British and Commonwealth forces and served with them in every theatre of the war. By the end of the war over 12,000 had been produced.
This set, compatible with the Flames of War series rules for 15mm scale, comprises 4 Artillery guns with their ammunition limbers and crew. It provides the field artillery essential to any Infantry or Armoured Division.
The 25 pdr Field Howitzer was developed during the inter-war period. It saw active service from 1940 right through the Second World War and beyond. It could fire a (not surprisingly) 25 lb High Explosive shell up to 13,400 yds. It had a high rate of fire and mounted on its distinctive, circular firing platform it could be rotated quickly by the crew into new firing positions. This platform also made the gun very stable by transferring recoil into the ground.
In 1943 a new “super” charge was added with a separate bagged “increment” charge to provide high velocity for anti-tank use. This required a muzzle-brake to be added to the barrel. At the same time 17pdr Anti-Tank guns were developed to counter thicker german armour. Initially they were mounted on the 25 pdr gun carriage in a variant called “Pheasant”.
The ammunition trailer carried 32 rounds of ammunition in 16 trays of 2 rounds each. This was protected by two steel doors. The ammunition was in two parts with a shell being loaded followed by a cartridge carrying the propellent charge.
Each gun had a nominal detachment of 6 men with a reduced detachment of four men. The gun detachment comprised the following: No 1 – detachment commander (a sergeant) No 2 – operated the breech and rammed the shell No 3 – layer No 4 – loader No 5 – ammunition No 6 – ammunition, normally the "coverer" – second in command and responsible for ammunition preparation and operating the fuze indicator.
The Flames of War 25pdr Field Troop kit comprises.
- 4 x 25 pdr guns in 7-part kits
each gun comes with a choice of Standard Barrel, Muzzle Brake Barrel and 17pdr Anti-Tank Gun Barrel
- 4 x ammunition trailers in 5-part kits
each can be fitted with doors open or closed
plus 2 shells and 2 cartridge cases that can be used for scenic efffect
- 4 x 6 man gun teams
- 1 x Unit Card : 25 pdr Field Troop
- 1 x Unit Card : Honey OP (note this tank is not supplied)
- 4 x Medium 6-hole bases
- 2 x 4 blanking plugs
The highly-detailed models were well cast with no discernible flash.
The parts fitted together easily and well, regardless of which options were chosen.
Note: if you look at the full instructions online it suggests you put the wheels on first. I found it easier to add the gun sight, barrel and shield before adding the wheels.
My only criticism is that the base is a bir cramped to get everything on. Indeed given the positions of the holes it is impossible to get all 6 crew members on with the gun and ammunition trailers. Given that the Flames of War rules mean a whole team is lost all together rather than ias individuals this doesn’t matter in practice but it’s a bit niggly.
This Field troop kit is a nicely made kit and should form part of any Flames of War British Army. It is unfortunate that you do not get the icononic Morris “Quad” tractor with it. In fact this vehicle is not available from Battlefront Miniatures but it can be sourced in 15mm from other manufacturers. Maybe this is a reflection of the fact that the Flames of War rules do not cover limbering up and moving artillery.