bookHeavy Wrecker
A Visual History of the U.S.Army's Wheeled and Tracked Wreckers 1940-1945
Ampersand Publishing.
The publishers of MMIR magazine.
ISBN: 978-0-9773781-5-9

120 pages soft cover.

Review by Terry Ashley

The Book:
This latest special release from Ampersand Publishing follows the same format as the Allied-Axis series with soft cover and 120 pages devoted solely to the excellent photos included with this book dealing with the U.S.Army's Wheeled and Tracked Wreckers 1940-1945.

The text is kept to a minimum with just a brief 2 page introduction of some of the earlier and makeshift wreckers used leading up to the specialised vehicles covered in the 5 chapters. As with the Allied-Axis series the majority of the photos are one to a page and are large enough to show good details even with semi-close up and overall shots of the vehicles. The walk around close-ups are three or four shots to a page but still large enough to show the details very well.

Most of the photos are period action shots that not only show the vehicle details but also of them working and offer some excellent diorama possibilities with some of the recovery jobs shown as well as giving good coverage of the crew uniforms and stowage. The brief text captions give plenty of info on the vehicle details and photo themes.

Chapter 1: M31/T2 Wrecker (pages 5-20)
This chapter deals with the initial tracked wrecker based on the M3 Lee chassis, both the bolted M3 and welded M3A3 with some excellent workshop photos as well as vehicles undertaking various recovery task mostly in NE Europe. The large format photos show plenty of detail with photos showing the boom deployed both to the rear and the front showing the fitting of the support boom jacks in each configuration.

Chapter 2: M32 series wreckers (pages 21-58)
The M32 was based on the Sherman hulls with the photos covering the initial M4 based M32 as well as the M4A1 based M32B1, the M4A2 based M32B2 and the later M4A3 based M32B3.

The photos are again mostly wartime action shots as well as some pilot model overall shots with all the equipment in textbook position which offers a nice contrast to some of the heavily used vehicles with additional storage as well as the crew gear.

The action shots cover those M32 used in NE Europe as well as the M32B2 of the USMC in the Pacific for good overall details of these vehicles. There are also shots included of the later M32A1B2/3 based on the HVSS chassis with the last 5 pages having a series of close-up shots of the interior of the M32B1 that shows the crew positions as well as internal storage and the large Gar Wood 6M814 winch in the central hull position.

Chapter 3: M1 series wreckers (pages 59-86)
The large wheeled Ward La France M1 wrecker is covered in this section and has shots of the initial test vehicles as well as later production types with both metal and later M1A1 soft cab wreckers with some excellent all around views to give very good views of the boom and equipment arrangements.

Some of the action shots again offer excellent diorama possibilities as well as showing the crew uniforms and other storage carried on the vehicles as well as varied tasks the M1 was called on to perform.

Chapter 4: C2 aircraft wrecker (pages 87-96)
You may ask what is an Air Force wrecker doing in a book on US Army wreckers but here it is and again has a series of excellent wartime action shots of the early model with curved boom and the later model with straight boom. As you might imagine all the action shots are of undertaking aircraft engine changes, replacing wing sections and loading trucks into a C46 cargo bay and are just the thing for modellers who crossover into aircraft dioramas.

Chapter 5: Diamond T 4-ton wrecker (pages 97-120)
This final chapter deals with the big Diamond T wrecker and has details of the initial steel cab and the later soft cap types with again excellent all around views of the vehicles in action shots showing the equipment layout and the stowage and crew uniforms well.

The final 11 pages are a series of excellent close-up walk around type shots of a preserved vehicle with details of the engine compartment exterior, the driver's cab, chassis as well as superb shots of the winch, boom and associated equipment.
Sample pages
Another excellent book in this ongoing series that is a must have reference for anyone slightly interested in heavy wreckers with the book having excellent large format photos to show the details as well as many action shots of the vehicles at work.

There is a good mix of detailed shots and action shots to also provide diorama potential as well as showing the crew uniforms to good advantage.

Highly recommended

Thanks to Ampersand for the review copy.
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Page created November 29, 2008