bookUS WWII M4, M5 and M6 High Speed Tractors

Tankograd Technical Manual Series - No 6002
Edited by Michael Franz.
A4 size, 48 pages

Review by Peter Brown

Original vehicle handbooks are a very useful source of material for modellers. American Technical Manuals or TMs had good illustrations, not only vehicles outside and inside but components such as engines and transmissions out of the vehicle and suspension units in pieces. They show things which even examining an original vehicle or detailed photographic walk-arounds do not show. Sometimes manuals appear for sale from but they can be expensive. There are reprints or photocopies which can also be expensive and scanned versions of some on CD-Rom.

However, one downside is that they can have so much information that much of the content is not relevant which means a lot of searching for what you want. This series gives selected extracts from the TMs which have enough detail for most people. They present illustrations as published with extra details in the form of captions in English and German, supplemented by short historical overviews and specifications and a few original vehicles photos and a couple of colour views of preserved vehicles. Standard of reproduction is good, the originals were not always to what modern eyes would see as very clear.

This collection covers tracked gun tractors. These were designed for different classes of artillery piece, the 13-ton M5 for lighter field pieces such as the 105mm and 155mm howitzers and 4.5" gun, the 18-ton M4 for the middle-weight 3" and 90mm AA guns, 155mm gun and 8" and 240mm howitzers, and the 38-ton M6 for the heaviest M1-series 120mm AA gun and the 8" gun and 240mm howitzer which were transported as separate barrel and carriage loads.

All three series are described, with specifications, photos of the complete vehicles, interiors, drivers compartments, stowage areas, winches, AA machine gun mounts, engines, transmissions, suspensions, tracks and tarpaulin covers, with photos of typical vehicles towing guns for good measure. They are shown from all angles - including underneath - with details of how they changed during production.

As with other publications from Tankograd, highly recommended. Available from Tankograd Militarfahrzeug distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks go to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created 11 May 2005

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