M12 Gun Motor Carriage - Images of War

Published: April 15th, 2019     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: 
Michael Reeves, IPMS# 51129
Company: Casemate Publishing
ISBN #: 9781526743527
Other Publication Information: 144 pages, soft cover
Price: $24.95

From the author's website:

Although only 100 examples were produced, the 155mm Gun Motor Carriage M12 served with distinction as an infantry - support weapon and in particular as a bunker - buster during the U.S. assault on the Siegfried Line in the winter of 1944 - 45.

Spread through 144 pages, almost 200 photos, nearly evenly divided between photos of the sole surviving example and vintage development and combat photos, including numerous previously unpublished images, chronicle the history of this pioneering self - propelled gun and its companion M30 ammunition carrier.

What's Inside...

This volume in the series follows the typical format found in the Images of War collection and contains the same excellent level of quality in providing atypical images of this important ancestor of modern self - propelled artillery. The real meat of the book is in the photos and accompanying captions. There is just enough text to provide interest and a good overview of the evolution of the M12 without being overwhelming. The chapter breakdown is:

  • Introduction - goes through a brief background of the various vehicles and their production and operational histories. There are also general and engine data tables in the section.
  • Chapter 1 - The T6 Prototype - From its origin at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, the Gun Motor Carriage T6 mounted a 155mm Gun M1918M1 and its various fittings on a converted M3 medium tank chassis. The chapter includes some excellent, detailed photos of the T6 from various views - with many featuring the details of the spade mechanism used to anchor the vehicle against recoil. Much of the rest of the detailed photos in the chapter is dedicated to the engine, engine compartment, and the details of the spade assembly.
  • Chapter 2 - The M12 - Similar to the T6, the M12 had some revisions, including the gunner's shield and a winch - operated spade. Between July and August of 1942, around 100 were ordered by the Army. The chapter shows repeated three views of some various M12 models - often from the left, right, and top views. It was determined during testing that the M12 could be positioned for firing four times faster than a towed 155mm gun.
  • Chapter 3 - The T14 - This variant, the Cargo Carrier T14, was designed to work alongside the M12. Based again on the M3 chassis, it carried ammunition and supplies for the M12 and was equipped with a mounted .50 - caliber machine gun for defense. It's design allowed it to carry forty 155mm shells, forty 155mm propellant charges, and the needed fuses and primers. Detailed photos of the interior spaces for storing the ammunition for the 155mm gun and the .50 - caliber gun are of interest here.
  • Chapter 4 - The M12 in Combat - The chapter includes photos of M12 vehicles in training in America as well as those of M12 guns in action in WWII. Some of the more fascinating stories are in this section. For instance, by the autumn of 1944, ammunition stocks for 155mm guns were nearly depleted so stocks of captured German 155mm shells were used instead when it was determined they were interchangeable. Most of the photo references feature guns from 991st Field Artillery Battalion and 557th and 558th Field Artillery Battalions. Another interesting trio of photos shows a burned out M12 that was the victim of strafing by Messerschmitt fighter. Crews servicing the gun and switching out engines and tracks round out the chapter.
  • Chapter 5 - The M12 Preserved - The last chapter features thorough walk around photos of the last known surviving 155mm Gun Motor Carriage M12, formerly on display at Aberdeen Proving Ground and now restored and displayed at the US Army Field Artillery Museum at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The featured scheme is of 'Adolf's Assassin', am M12 assigned to Alpha Battery, 991st Field Artillery Battalion. All of the photos are in color and provide an extensive overview of every surface in and around the M12.
  • Notes and References

Conclusion

David Doyle has once again done a stellar job publishing an extensive volume on a low production self - propelled artillery vehicle that really set the stage for all the great pieces that followed. A concept that was originally met with resistance from the towed - artillery crowd, the M12 served admirably - especially busting bunkers during the intense campaign at the Siegfried Line. So whether you're planning a project of building an M12 in your particular scale, or if you're just smitten with indirect - fire self - propelled artillery pieces, this book will fill the niche quite nicely. My sincere thanks to David Doyle and IPMS - USA for the review sample!

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