155mm Long Tom Gun In Action
After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle ‘graduated’ to full-fledged books in 2003. His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles. He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics. David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that still displays at shows. In June 2015, was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide." Be sure to check out David’s website at www.DavidDoyleBooks.com where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP all his books that are still available.
David Doyle’s latest book continues to expand on Squadron Signal’s long standing In Action series that initiated back in 1971. This is a completely new topic for the Squadron Armor In Action series. This book follows the normal format of the current 80-page In Action series, detailing the development and service history of the 155mm Long Tom Gun and 8” Howitzer. This is expanded from Squadron’s previous standard 60 page version of their In Action format and it is packed with large, clear photographs. The front cover features a color photograph of a 155mm Long Tom with a Mack NO prime mover. The rear cover features a color photograph of an 8” Howitzer being fired near the Imjin River in Korea on 10/31/51. I counted 228 well captioned photographs; 6 in color and 222 in black and white. Past In Action series have also included line drawings showing the variants, but they are absent from this edition.
The 155mm Gun M1 was designed to replace the WWI era French designed 155mm Cannon, the Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF). The US Army looked at replacement of this gun in 1920, but no serious funding was allocated. Still, efforts to update and gain a replacement dribbled along until late 1940 when the US Army finally got production going for the 155mm Gun M1. The nickname “Long Tom”, had been applied to many guns or cannons in the past and here it was applied to the 155mm Gun M1 and its sister, the 8” Howitzer M1. The 8” Howitzer entered production in mid-1942, but both had much in common and appear identical with the exception of the barrel length. Both the 155mm Gun and the 8” Howitzer formed the backbone of the US artillery force and both served through WWII and the Korean War. During the Cold War, the 155mm Gun was renamed the M59 and the 8” Howitzer became the M115. Both served the US, and a dozen other nations.
David Doyle starts off with the development of the 155mm Long Tom Gun and 8” Howitzer in an Introduction and then proceeds to the well captioned photographs. He covers the predecessors and the various prototypes that led up to the M1 of WWII. I was pleased that David did include photographs on the ammunition carriers and the variety of prime movers. I have come to expect that books from David Doyle provide well captioned clear photos and this book is no exception.
The Topics (My Titles) are as follows:
- Introduction [Page 5]
- 155mm Gun
- 8” Howitzer
- M10 (G-660) Ammunition Trailer
- M21(G-213) Ammunition Trailer
- M23 (G-216) Ammunition Trailer [Page 18]
- Mack NO (G-532) 7 ½ Ton 6x6 Prime Mover
- Allis-Chambers M4 (G-150) 18 Ton High Speed Tractor
- Mack M125 (G-792) 10 Ton Prime Mover
- Long Tom Gun and Howitzer In Action WWII [Pages 52, 67]
- Data Table
- Long Tom Gun and Howitzer In Action Korea [Page 74]
David Doyle included many action photographs in sequence I found very interesting. One in particular is found on page 55 that illustrates just how much fun it was to load a 155mm gun. A normal crew for both the 155mm Gun and the 8” Howitzer consisted of 14 men. Hand loading of the separate projectile and the propellent charge is shown to good effect. This set of photographs also depicts the breechblock in all its glory. David also did leave out our Scandinavian fans as there are many photographs of winter operations where the entire 155mm Gun was whitewashed.
This is a gorgeous soft-bound book and is well worth the money. David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with detailed captions. I’ve always enjoyed Squadron’s In Action format as their line drawings focus on the differences from variant to variant, making it easy to spot the different versions in the period black and white or color photographs. You can find a video highlight of the books contents at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeoQxBBHS0A.
My thanks to David Doyle Books at (www.DavidDoyleBooks.com ) and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.