The Ram Development and Variants Volumes 1 and 2
by Paul Roberts.
Canada's Weapons of War Series, WOW001 and WOW005
A5 size softback, 24 pages
ISBN: 1-894581-13-X and 1-894581-19-9
Service Publications,

Reviews by Peter Brown

Some tanks have a strong service history and were the right vehicle in the right place at the right time. For several reasons, the Canadian Ram was not one of them. Despite that its story is well worth relating. It was a mix of British and American ideas, to call it an alternative to the Sherman is not too wide of the mark as it used the M3 Medium as its basis with a new, cast upper hull and the main armament in a fully-rotating turret. Its British origins were betrayed by the small machine gun turret on the hull and the choice of a 2 pounder gun for the main armament. This proved to be the tank's weakest point, though most vehicles carried the better 6 pounder and a few were even refitted with the British 75mm gun, the lack of a big gun meant that while many Canadian units trained on Rams in Canada and the United Kingdom, it was not to be used as a gun tank.

Its main contribution to the war effort was as the basis for the Sexton 25pdr self-propelled gun, with some tanks completed as Observation Post vehicles to support them. The Sexton is not covered here, that is sensibly left to a later book promised for some point in the future. Its other use as the Kangaroo armoured personal carrier is included along with details of the Badger flame-thrower, as well as experimental vehicles such as the vehicle with 3.7" anti-aircraft gun, armoured recovery vehicles and even a rarity in the form of the Porpoise Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle.

Divided into two volumes, this is a good account of the vehicle including its design and production - with a full listing of vehicle serial numbers and details of design changes introduced as production progressed - all illustrated with period photos showing all types in use, including several of the Kangaroo with some of the interior. Each book also has a 1/35th scale plan in the centre pages, Volume 1 shows a 2pdr armed Ram I and Volume 2 has a Ram II complete with colour details for a tank in training in England.

The only criticism I can find of these books is that both are needed to get the full account of the tank as coverage including photos is split between them, but that is as much to do with the series format than anything else. As the series is reasonably priced, the two-part format is not a major drawback and both should find their place in the bookshelves of serious students of Canadian and WW2 armour.

Also check out RAM registry of Canada's Tank) for additional information on the RAM Tank.

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

Page created January 8, 2005