2cm Flak Gun 28 & 30
Alan Ranger is a former British Royal Engineer, engineer, collector of World War II militaria and original period photographs, and prolific author. Alan started his publishing days with Model Art of Japan this is his 28th book in the Camera On series (he already has another four in production), typically focusing on weapon systems and vehicles. The beauty of this book is the photos were taken by German soldiers during their wartime service, not typically posed and polished propaganda shots.
Camera On Number 28 focuses on the World War II German 2cm Flak (short for Flugzeugabwehrkanone) 28 & 30. The Flak 28 20mm anti-aircraft (AA) guns was developed just after World War I for the Kriegsmarine and became the primary shipborne light AA weapon. Rheinmetall adapted the gun for army use, which became the 2cm Flak 30. While effective, it had a slow rate of fire (120 rounds per minute) and undersized 20 round magazines. While further development resulted in the Flak 38, the Flak 28 and 30 continued to soldier on throughout the war.
This is the second Camera On series I have reviewed, and I like the format. While there is no table of contents, a brief history of the weapon and its variants are provided. Most of the book then delves into wartime photographs showcasing the German 2cm Flak 28 & 30. Modelers and historians looking for photographic inspiration are bound to find it in this book. While the Flak 28 continued to serve throughout World War II, it was largely obsolete by 1939, it was replaced by its improved cousin, the Flak 30. This is obvious in the number of pages devoted to each variant, the 2cm Flak 28 (pp 6-18) and Flak 30 (pp 19-80).
This book shows the Flak 28 and 30 in use wherever German soldiers deployed and fought. They saw service from the invasion of Poland to the final surrender in Berlin. While effective early on, they became less so as enemy aircraft flew faster and higher. This book reflects both posed and casual crew poses, along with detailed shots that will aid modelers.
There is a lot in these 80 pages of photographs on a crucial WWII German weapon system. While the combat vehicles typically get the majority focus in books, history, and the limelight, it is the often-unsung support roles that set conditions on the battlefield. Author Alan Ranger does an amazing job bringing these 2cm anti-aircraft guns into the spotlight they so richly deserve. Not surprisingly, his next book, Camera On 29 is based on these 2cm Flak replacement, the 2cm Flak 38 (also made infamous for its use in Saving Private Ryan during the final battle scene).
A final note is a photo on page 12 with a caption by Alan Ranger, “A most curious photo this one…it is purported to have been taken by a German naval unit on the Spanish Island of El Hierro Santa Cruz off Tenerife, part of the Spanish-owned Canary Islands.” While the Canary Islands were neutral during World War II, the German navy frequented them prior to the start of hostilities. Plans were made by the British to seize the Canary Islands if the Germans used them. This photo asks a lot of questions, for which the answers would be interesting.
Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.