The Ampersand Group, Inc. and David Doyle in conjunction with Hobbylink Japan have published another book on U.S. Army Half-tracks in the Military Modeling Series. Part 2 is a continuation of their previous book, Part 1, with Part 2 covering half-tracked multiple gun motor carriages and gun motor carriages.
What you get is an 8-1/2" x 11" glossy hardbound book covering 448 pages with high resolution black and white glossy, detailed historical photos covering the different variants of the half-track based vehicle. The book is divided into 8 chapters with Addendums, Appendix and a Bibliography:
- Chapter 1: 81mm Mortar Carriers, pages 1-58, covers the first half-track mounted weapons. This chapter discusses the attempt to standardize the 81mm mortar carriage, the crew testing and the orders surrounding the 81mm. One sees in reviewing the pages in this chapter as well as the complete book is the author's inclusion of detailed pictures along with well-documented captions.
- Chapter 2: Gun Motor Carriages are discussed on pages 59-86. This chapter explains the need for the development and production of self-propelled artillery vehicles. Again the author presents detailed and crisp images of the T12 and T48 pilot program vehicles.
- Chapter 3: Howitzer Motor Carriages are presented in pages 87-110. This chapter discusses the need for artillery self-propelled weapons which could be rapidly deployed. The Ordnance Committee decided to develop and produce programs for the 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriage designated the T30 and the T119 using a 105mm Howitzer.
- Chapter 4: Multiple Gun Motor Carriages are covered in pages 111-230. In this chapter the author reviews and discusses the M13, M14, M15, M16, M17 and other variants such as the T28, T28E1, T37, M15A1 of the multiple gun motor carriages. Undoubtedly because of the numerous variants, this chapter becomes the largest in number of pages within this book. Like all previous chapters the images presented are well detailed and clear.
- Chapter 5: Field Modifications are presented on pages 231-246. This chapter presents pictures and discusses the field unit modifications made by the GI, such as the installation of the M45 mounts from the M51 trailers and mounting them on M2s. These were then designated the M16B or Wasp. Additional field modifications are also included.
- Chapter 6: Field Use 1940-45. Pages 247-324 discuss the field use of the half-tracked vehicles during the 1940 through 1945 period through the use of images "largely in chronological order".
- Chapter 7: Field Use Post-WWII. The author in pages 325-354 writes about the new roles the half-tracked vehicles took on during the post WWII period. Even though most had been declared obsolete, many were used by the Allies and in some scenarios they were used at the start of the Korean War.
- Chapter 8: Three Quarter Tracks. Three Quarter Tracked vehicles are presented on pages 355-394. This chapter discusses the efforts to increase the load capacity of the half-tracks by installing the suspension and tracks from M2 light tanks. Upon the approval from the Ordnance Committee this vehicle would become the Chassis, Half Track, T3. This reviewer was not aware of the existence of the three quarter tracked vehicles and was thoroughly amazed by the author's inclusion in this book.
- Addendums A and B: The author on pages 395-432 gives a brief discussion on topics included in the Part 1 version of U.S. Army Half-tracks and additional information on the M3 Scout Car.
- Appendix: The Appendix has pertinent information in table form detailing the motor carriage contract and registration numbers for the vehicles discussed. Shown in these tables include; Qty, Type, Contract, PO, Registration number, Ord. Serial # and make. These would certainly be valuable references during a model build.
- Bibliography: Within this section the reader will be pleasantly surprised not only to find references used throughout the book but, also 6 full page color prints of manufacturer advertising material. What a great addition David Doyle has provided.
In conclusion let me start out by saying this is a very large book and contains extremely detailed crisp black/white images. For $49.95 the value of this book is well worth the bucks spent. Since most armour modelers require detailed images while performing research prior to building, this book does fulfill that need. I would certainly recommend this book for those historians and modelers to add to their arsenal of reference literature. If Part 1 was purchased, without a doubt Part 2 is a must to have. Part 1 will be placed on my next purchase list.
Thanks to the Ampersand Group, Inc. and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review this book.