M65 Atomic Cannon
Pen and Sword has published another tome in David Doyle's Images of War series of books. This most recent volume covers the M65 Atomic Cannon. Should you be unaware of this series of books, David Doyle gathers together an immense number of rare and often times never before published photos on the selected subject. There are well written and informative captions for each and every photo.
For those that may be unfamiliar with the M65 Atomic Cannon there is a vintage film, produced by the U.S. Army, that highlights the cannon and associated vehicles. And if modeling the M65 is in your future this video may even give you a few ideas for displaying this enormous piece of artillery.
Following a brief introductory chapter on the history of large caliber, long ranged artillery, David Doyle's M65 Atomic Cannon is divided into five chapters:
- T1 In Detail
- T10 Development
- M65 Development and Testing
- Atomic Cannon in Service
- Atomic Cannon in Detail
The introductory chapter covers the development concept of a large caliber weapon and its transport as well as some cool photos of some of the early contenders for the prime movers of what would later be called the T10.
The T1 chapter covers the main gun cradle and barrel. There are a number of photos in this section of the main gun cradle under construction. Owing to its size, fabrication and construction of the T 1 was handled by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Pennsylvania. For a gun carriage over 84 feet and a 'dry' weight of 94,000 pounds, where else could you build it?
T10 was the designation for the doubled-ended, heavy lift transporter consisting of the prime movers and lifting forks. This chapter has a number of photos of both the exterior and interior of the A (lead) truck and B (rear) truck as well some nice detail photos of the lifting forks for the gun carriage.
The chapter entitled 'M65 Development and Testing' contains an array of photos of the combined gun carriage and prime movers during field testing and gun crew familiarization trails. [Fun Fact: When the gun carriage was emplaced, it could be pivoted on its base by just five crew members. Although it does look like they are 'putting their backs into it'.]
The remaining two chapters cover the M65 in service and an exhaustive collection of walk-around type photos of an M65 on display at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
All of this is followed by three appendices with some brief information on general data on the cannon and prime movers, battalions (units that fielded the M65), and an organizational chart of the M65 field artillery battery. [Fun Fact: An M 65 battery consisted of ten separate units plus the cannon and prime movers. So not a small gathering of men and material.]
There are other portfolios on the Atomic Cannon, notably an offering from Tankograd. While that book offers an extraordinary amount of information about unit dispositions, organization, and deployments David Doyle's M65 Atomic Cannon ,with its plethora of photographs and informative captions, is by far and away a more satisfactory reference, particularly for the modeler.
I can't vouch for your copy but mine was signed by the author and included a bookmark. Let's hope that your copy is signed as well. However, you may have to get your own bookmark.
Thanks to David Doyle / Pen and Sword Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review copy.