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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Primary Source Reprints

Primary Source Reprints

There are no other sources as valuable or important to the researcher then primary ones. D, P & G Military Publishers have done historians a great service by offering high quality reprints of a number of key British military resources. Although the reprint editions are not inexpensively priced the importance of the information and the quality of the physical volumes justify the costs.

I purchased two titles from the high end of the D, P & G catalog; Treatise on Service Ordnance Seventh Edition for 1908 and Treatise on Military Carriages and Stores Connected with Them Seventh Edition for 1911. Both came as two volumes, one of text and the second of high quality plates.

The reproduction of the text and illustrations is clean and crisp in the “text” volumes, which contrary to their titles have large numbers of drawings and diagrams. The only word that can be used to describe the plates in the Carriages volume is “glorious”. The diagrams of carriages and their guns are reproduced in the original colors. They are beautiful examples of both the draftsman’s and the Victorian printers’ arts. The current publishers are to be congratulated on the fidelity of their modern reproduction. Each oversized plate was meticulously hand folded for assembly into the volume. The paper is of high quality and although only time will tell the binderings appear to be sturdy.

The Treatise on Ordnance includes data on the construction and performance of a large number of guns in service in 1908. Breechblocks, firing locks, sights and even tools are discussed in great detail. The Text volume, The text reproduction is very good and the included illustrations look excellent. The volume of plates detail the often complex construction of gun barrels, with their multiple tubes, wire winding and shrunken hoops. Each type and size of breechblock has two views and there are several showing all the various parts of the different types as well. If you ever wondered what tools for the different types of ordnance looked like this volume will complete your knowledge.

The carriage book shows the many types of mountings upon which these weapons could be fitted. It also shows everything from pontoon wagons to ambulances. Some of the most interesting are water carts (OK, I found them interesting). Also are details on the more common limbers and cassions for use with the artillery pieces.

Again these books are not for the casual reader. They are for the serious student of the period and topic that wants to have immediate access to detailed primary source material.