M108/M109 Howitzer Walk Around

Published: April 2nd, 2011     
Front cover
Front cover
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: 
Ed Harm, IPMS# 46266
Company: Squadron Signal Publications
ISBN #: 978-0-89747-6171
Other Publication Information: Softbound, 88-pp, with colored photographs, February 15, 2011
Price: $18.95
Product / Stock #: SS5721

From Vietnam to the present day, and many conflicts in between, the M108/M109 and its many variants have been the backbone of the Field Artillery's axiom, "Shoot, Move, and Communicate."  It's presence on any field of battle has provided the ground commander with unparalleled, timely fire support throughout many years, and continues to this day.

This 88-page wealth of full-color information starts with a brief intro into the development programs of the T195 and T196, the contracted builders, and problems associated with certain models. Mr. Doyle also concisely explains how the HIP program developed, which came to bear fruit as the M109A6 "Paladin" which, with stated improvements, should serve into 2060. As a Field Artillery Forward Observer in the early 1980's, it is hard to imagine 60 seconds from the Forward Observer's call for fire to time on target, and with a 30 kilometer reach. Not a nice thing to be on the receiving end of. To say this photo essay is excellent would be an understatement. It may be titled a "Walk Around" but it clearly shows that Mr. Doyle not only walked around, but under, over and inside the subject matter to provide the reader this level of detail.

The colors are bright and clear down to the texture of items, as well as the captions describing the photos. Mr. Doyle also provides photographic insight on subtle modifications which will serve M108/M109 aficionados well. His progression of photos is well thought out and indicates items that are not readily detailed. The interior shots are great, some with troops included, which adds a sense of scale. I can't imagine the difficulty to clearly photograph the inside of a closed-top armored vehicle, but this Walk Around has done so. It fills a gap that has been present on modern self-propelled howitzers and does it well. A top-shelf piece of work.

As for the artwork, what can you say about Don Greer? His great talents always shine through. His work is shown on the front and back of this publication as well as insets on pages 19, 34 and 50. I would love to see more of it. At first glance I thought the back cover art was a photo.

The kits that come to mind are from Revell and Italeri, not to mention many available aftermarket items, including barrels, tracks, ammo containers , and engine compartment details. Aftermarket stowage which can be festooned on one of these, such as rucksacks, boxes and associated field gear, is also widely available. Research the net and you will find most items are in 1/35  scale. Dragon does show one in 1/144 and Rocco Minitanks in 1/87 HO. The possibilities are endless for this subject.

If you are going for that "just right, fire for effect" detail like a full blown interior, or maybe the texture of the anti-skid on the turret top, casting number locations, or the details in the travel lock mechanism -- or even if you're going to make one straight from the box -- this pictorial is a "must have" if diving into one of these Kings of Battle.

Many thanks to Squadron/Signal Publications and IPMS/USA for this review sample.      

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