Images of War, M12 Gun Motor Carriage, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives

The popular Images of War series has established a winning format that is modified for some books covering vehicles where the wartime photographs are accompanied by full colour images of restored examples of the vehicle. This new addition to the series covers the M12 self-propelled howitzer which may have been used only in small numbers but was highly successful and set the approach for future 155mm gun carriages. – Most Highly Recommended

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NAME: Images of War, M12 Gun Motor Carriage, Rare Photographs From 
Wartime Archives
FILE: R2802
AUTHOR: David Doyle
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 142
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: self-propelled artillery, howitzer, armoured artillery, all arms 
formations, 155mm gun, French gun, WWII, World War Two, World War 2, 
Second World War, liberation of Europe

ISBN: 1-52674-352-3

IMAGE: B2802.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y4vcwbjk
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:   The popular Images of War series has established a winning 
format that is modified for some books covering vehicles where the wartime 
photographs are accompanied by full colour images of restored examples of 
the vehicle. This new addition to the series covers the M12 self-propelled 
howitzer which may have been used only in small numbers but was highly 
successful and set the approach for future 155mm gun carriages. -  Most Highly 
Recommended

The US Army had a variable track record for developing armour vehicles before 1942. There were 
many promising designs that never made it into production, or were produced in small numbers and 
placed in storage. The M12 was one such example, being tried out in prototype, produced in small 
numbers, used for training and then placed in storage.
 
The US Army seems to have had some difficulty in deciding how to deploy armoured vehicles and, 
through WWII, produced designs that could be produced in numbers but which were not as capable 
as other contemporary designs, particularly in German service. There was great benefit in gaining 
feedback from the British who were buying US armour to keep up with the expansion of British forces 
and meet needs in theatres such as North Africa. The US Army was quick to started restructuring, 
based on observation of the battles between British and German armies. However, there was choice 
in how to move forward in development. 

The choice made will probably be argued by historians long into the future but the German experience
of trying to introduce very advanced technology was not successful. The 88mm anti-tank gun was an 
accidental success in deploying a heavy anti-aircraft gun in the anti-armour role. Both the Americans 
and the British could have done exactly the same with very similar weapons already in widespread 
use for anti-aircraft batteries. Beyond that, German armoured development was hit and miss. The 
Panther tank and the Tiger I & II were technically the best produced in WWII but, in attempting to 
rush them into service, reliability suffered and they were produced in inadequate numbers. The 
British suffered in a similar manner with some very promising technology that also suffered the 
same problems of reliability and inadequate numbers. However, the British were able to fall back 
on US mass production. What the M3 and M4 US tanks lacked in protection, fire power and 
performance, they made up for in numbers.

In self-propelled artillery, the US story was a little different and it is clear that the US Army was 
continuing to promote new developments but lacked either the vision for deployment or the funds to 
start production before 1940-42. Ironically, the M12 Motor Gun Carriage was a technically advanced 
solution but produced in small numbers. When it was taken out of storage and 74 were shipped to 
Britain for the liberation of Europe, together with its M30 ammunition carrier, it was to prove very
successful, setting the standard for future self-propelled 155mm howitzers that are now an essential 
part of every armoured formation.

The design of the M12 was greatly simplified by using the M3 tank chassis as the mobile platform, 
with a 155mm French howitzer as the gun. Proven major components made for a fairly fault free 
development and the small number of M12s produced were used for training and then placed in 
storage. Not surprisingly only one is known to have survived and that has now been fully restored, 
providing the excellent colour images included in the book.