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Book Review: V21N2

By Dean Roxby

Shooting World War II Small Arms

Mike Venturino is perhaps best known for his writings about western style guns, but he also has a deep interest in firearms from the Second World War era. It is this appreciation for these guns that inspired this book, as well as an uncle that served with the 3rd Marines during WW II. In fact, the book is dedicated to his uncle, James Virse. He states that his uncle “ignited my lifelong interest in World War II history.”

The writing style is a chatty, informal style, relying on many personal observations and anecdotal stories. Mr. Venturino also often refers to, and credits, other military books and authors throughout.

The book features large, crisp, professionally done photographs. Many are studio-type, off-camera flash quality photos, printed on glossy paper. Apparently, his wife Yvonne is as competent and knowledgeable with a camera as he is with a gun.

The book covers the arms of the major countries involved in WW II in detail, as well as some of the minor players. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 cover the US service rifle models M1903, M1917 and the M1 Garand. Chapters 4 and 5 cover the British Commonwealth Lee Enfield rifles SMLE No. 1, Mk III and No. 4, Mk 1, as well as the Enfield Pattern 14.

USSR, German and Japanese infantry rifles are described in detail in following chapters. The German section naturally features the Mauser K98k but also looks at the G43 semi-auto rifle and the MP44/StG44 select fire rifle. This is generally accepted as the first weapon to meet the term “assault rifle.” Mr. Venturino is fortunate to own one. Chapter 12 is a brief overview of several other designs, these being the Swedish M1896 Mauser, Czech VZ 24, Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, Hungarian M95 and the French Model 1936 MAS. The chapters covering service issue handguns are laid out in similar fashion.

There is also a section on sub-machine guns, of which Mike owns five types. He explains that while he didn’t set out to acquire a fleet of hugely expensive full-autos, he was intrigued...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N2 (March 2017)
and was posted online on January 27, 2017

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