bookUS WWII 155mm Gun M1/M2 Long Tom, 155mm M1917/M1918, 8-in Howitzer M1/M2

Tankograd Technical Manual Series - No 6004
Edited by Michael Franz.
A4 size, 48 pages

Review by Peter Brown

Another in this very useful series which extracts the most useful sections of wartime Technical Manuals for modellers. These handbooks contain very useful material for modellers and American TMs had good illustrations, not only overall views showing vehicles outside and inside but also components and sub-assemblies in pieces. They often show things which even examining an surviving example or detailed photographic walkrounds do not show. Original manuals which appear for sale can be expensive, even reprints or photocopies are often not cheap though scanned versions of many are available on CD-Rom.

The full manual often has a lot of information which is not relevant to modellers which means a lot of searching for what you do want. This series gives us the best of both worlds as it uses extracts from the TMs aimed at providing modelling material. It uses the original illustrations as published with extra details in the form of captions in English and German, supplemented by short historical overviews, specifications and even a few original photos and a couple of colour views of preserved examples. Standard of reproduction is good, the originals were not always to what modern eyes would see as very clear.

Artillery is not well covered in model form though two of the three series here are available in various scales in plastic and/or resin. The first section covers the Great War French "Grand Puissance Filloux" 155mm gun which was adopted by the US Army when it entered that conflict and used in the inter-war period before being replaced by later guns. The ordnance itself was used on the M12 self-propelled gun but coverage here is only the original towed gun, showing it in travelling mode with the barrel drawn back as well as in firing mode, close-ups of gun and carriage, two-wheeled limber, sights, ammunition and two pages of photos of the gun being emplaced and loaded which were not simple operations for a piece this size.

Next up is the better-known M1 and M2 series 155mm used in WW2 and for many years afterwards. This had a more modern carriage with two, four-wheeled axles and improved elevation gear. It is also shown in travelling mode with one photo showing it with its full protective cover. Barrel, breech, recoil mechanism, trails, spades, bogies etc are also shown in detail with shots of the piece being emplaced and loaded, two large photos of the gun "in action" and a page on the "Kelly Mount" firing platform for coast defence use.

Partner piece for the 155mm was an 8-inch howitzer which used the same carriage and this is also shown in similar manner with emphasis on the gun as carriages were interchangeable.

Finally the two-wheeled limbers used on these later guns are shown. These were not always used as the guns were often towed directly by their prime movers.

Details of sizes, weights etc are included as well as the detail differences between marks though in most cases these are manufacturing changes which would not show up in a model. A detailed German-English glossary and list of sources and further reading rounds off the book.

This is an ideal source of material for modellers wanting build one of these pieces from available kits. Both the wartime guns served for many years and some are still in service with some still around even today. The 8" howitzer is now known as the M115 and they both served as the source of guns for self-propelled versions.

Highly recommended as with other publications from Tankograd. 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 November 23, 2005

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