bookThe 6-pounder Anti-Tank Gun in Canadian Service
by Doug Knight.
Canada's Weapons of War Series, WOW006
A5 size softback, 24 pages
ISBN: 1-894581-24-5
Service Publications,

Review by Peter Brown

The 6 pounder was widely used in British and Commonwealth service, firstly in artillery anti-tank regiments when first introduced in 1942 and later, when the 17 pounder took over as the main anti-tank gun, in infantry units as their own integral artillery. It was a capable gun, even capable of taking on the Tiger which it did in Tunisia and later even taking out the well-known German tank commander Michael Wittmann. While it was designed and built in the UK, many were also produced in Canada and it is the story of the gun from a Canadian viewpoint which is covered here. That said, much of the content is relevant for British-made guns and other users.

Although designed before the Second World War, the loss of large quantities of equipment in the 1940 French campaign meant that the earlier 2 pounder gun remained in production and service before factories were able to change over to the bigger, better gun. Thus it was to be November 1941 before British production began and Canadian factories produced them at the same time.

The book lists the main variants of the gun, the original shorter 43 calibre and later 50 calibre barrels in towed and tank forms with some capable of being fitted to both, and the carriages which were broadly similar apart from the airborne pattern. Canadian guns and carriages followed the same designs, with an extra "C" denoting Canadian build.

As well as describing the production versions, there are interesting sections on prototype squeeze-bore "Littlejohn" and one with a far longer barrel, the self-propelled version based on the Fox armoured car and even the autoloader used on motor torpedo boats and Mosquito aircraft. Details are given of the various types of ammunition, including performance figures but unfortunately comparison shots of them are not included.

Photos are well chosen, with a wartime colour shot on the cover and black and white ones inside showing the guns in record shots, in service and in action. Apart from brief mentions, coverage of tank guns is limited to a brief list and one shot of a Churchill at Dieppe. Towing vehicles are well covered, including Canadian trials with various types including turretless Fox armoured cars, various trucks and Carriers which lead to T16 being selected though the Canadian-built Windsor was the preferred type though Universals were widely used.

Add to this selected accounts of these guns in use, we have a lot included in this small package. If you are interested in Canadian use this is a good choice, and there is plenty for those who want more British or other use.

Thanks to Clive Law at Service Publications for the review book.

Page created January 8, 2005