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General  Editor 





This  edition  published  by  Barnes  & Noble,  Inc., 
by  arrangement  with  Brown  Packaging  Books  Ltd 
1998  Barnes  £ Noble  Books 

M1098765432  1 

ISBN:  0-7607-1022-8 

Copyright  © 1998  Orbis  Publishing  Ltd 
Copyright  © 1998  Aerospace  Publishing 

This  material  was  previously  published  in  1984  as  part  of  the 
reference  set  War  Machine. 

All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  publication  may  be 
reproduced,  stored  in  a retrieval  system  or  transmitted,  in  any 
form  or  by  any  means,  electronic,  mechanical,  photocopying, 
recording  or  otherwise,  without  the  prior  written  permission 
of  the  copyright  holder. 

Editorial  and  design  by 
Brown  Packaging  Books  Ltd 
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London  NI  9PF 

Picture  credits 

TRH Pictures:  7,9, 20,31,42,52,63,73, 83,93,  101,  111,  123, 
283,293,305,  318,  330,340,  350,  361,  372,383,  393,404,414, 
424,434,443, 452,462, 470,478,487, 497, 509, 519, 529, 540. 

Printed  in  Singapore 




Axis  Tanks 


British  and  French  Tanks 


Soviet  and  American  Tanks 


Tank  Destroyers 


Special  Purpose  Tanks 


Amphibious  Vehicles 


Allied  and  Axis  Halftracks 


Armoured  Cars  83 

Allied  and  Axis  Trucks  93 

Light  Vehicles  101 

Self-Propelled  Guns  1 1 1 

Heavy  Artillery  123 

Field  Artillery  136 

Heavy  Anti-Aircraft  Guns  148 

Light  Anti-Aircraft  Guns  159 

War  Rockets  169 

Anti-Tank  Guns  179 

Infantry  Support  Weapons  191 

Infantry  Anti-Tank  Weapons  203 

Allied  and  Axis  Rifles  215 

Allied  and  Axis  Pistols  225 

Allied  and  Axis  Machine-Guns  236 

Allied  and  Axis  Sub-Machine  Guns  249 

Allied  and  Axis  Flamethrowers  264 

Allied  Fighters  275 

Axis  Fighters  283 

Heavy  Bombers  293 


Light  and  Medium  Bombers 


Jet  Aircraft 


Axis  Ground  Attack  Aircraft 


Ailied  Ground  Attack  Aircraft 




Allied  and  Axis  Flying-Boats 


Allied  and  Axis  Seaplanes 


Anti-Shipping  Aircraft 


Carrier  Aircraft 


Transport  and  Assault  Aircraft 


Alr-to-Ground  Weapons 


Light  Aircraft 


Axis  Submarines 


Allied  Submarines 


British  Aircraft  Carriers 


Japanese  Aircraft  Carriers 


American  Aircraft  Carriers 


Allied  and  Axis  Battleships 


Allied  and  Axis  Cruisers 


Axis  Destroyers 


Escort  Vessels 


Coastal  Craft 


Assault  Ships 


Glossary  of  Weapons 



llTi*  > it  i »* 



-w^TT^TTorld  War  II  affected  virtually  every  corner 
jL  I of  the  globe.  In  the  six  years  between  1939 

Y Y and  1945,  some  50  million  people  lost  their 
lives,  and  very  few  who  survived  were  not  affected. 

It  was  the  costliest  and  most  widespread  conflict  the 
world  has  ever  seen. 

World  War  II  was  fought  on  land,  sea  and  in  the 
air  with  weapons  which  had  first  been  used  in  the 
Great  War  of  1914-18.  Ironically,  an  even  greater 
conflict  was  to  emerge  from  the  burning  embers  of 
that  "war  to  end  all  wars",  and  with  it  huge  advances 
in  weapons  technology.  The  countries  involved  in 
World  War  II  now  had  the  means  and  the  capability 
to  fight  each  other  in  a more  efficient  - and  more 
deadly  - manner. 

Yet  only  Great  Britain,  her  Empire  allies  and 
Germany  were  involved  during  the  whole  period. 

For  other  nations  the  conflict  was  of  a shorter  dura- 
tion. The  USA  and  Japan,  for  example,  were  at  war 
from  December  1941  to  August  1945  (and  the  USA 
was  simultaneously  at  war  with  Germany,  until 
Hitler's  defeat  in  May  1945). 

The  situation  was  so  complicated,  the  skeins  of 
alliance  and  enmity  so  intertwined  that  it  would  take 
a very  large  chart  indeed  to  describe  them.  Only  one 
factor  was  more  straightforward  and  common  to  all 
the  countries  involved:  the  nature  of  the  weapons 
that  the  men  (and  sometimes  women)  used  to  fight 
their  way  to  victory  - or  defeat. 

There  were  differences  in  detail,  of  course:  the 
German  Panzerkampfwagen  V 'Panther'  tank  was  a 
very  different  vehicle  from  the  American  M4 
Sherman,  the  Russian  T-34,  or  the  British  Cromwell. 

But  essentially  they  were  all  much  the  same  - 
armoured  vehicles  mounting  powerful  guns  running 
on  tracks. The  small  arms  with  which  the  various 
combatant  nations  equipped  their  armies  were  very 
different  in  detail  too,  but  essentially  they  were  all 
devices  for  launching  projectiles  at  high  speed. 

In  short,  many  would  simply  say  that  guns  are  guns, 
bombs  are  bombs,  aircraft  are  aircraft,  and  so  on.  But 
there  is  certainly  more  to  it  than  that,  for  the  capacity 
to  win  or  lose  a war  actually  rested  on  these  weapons' 
qualities,  just  as  much  as  it  did  on  the  fighting  skills  of 
those  who  employed  them  and  on  the  strategic  sense 
of  those  who  directed  them  in  their  use. 

We  cannot  simply  bundle  these  weapons  together  - 
not  if  we  really  want  to  understand  why  and  how 
20th  century  history  unfolded  the  way  it  did. 

The  Complete  Encyclopedia  of  Weapons  of  World 
War  II  makes  a very  important  contribution  to  the 
subject  - perhaps  even  a vital  one  - for  it  describes 
every  major  weapon  and  vehicle  employed  during 
the  full  period  of  the  conflict,  on  land,  sea  and  in  the 
air,  in  enormous  detail,  both  in  textual  and  in  graphic 
form.  It  also  provides  detailed  specifications  about 
the  'core'  weapon  or  system  and  all  its  major  variants. 
Thus  it  allows  straightforward  comparisons  to  be 
made  accurately  and  effectively. 

Its  sheer  comprehensiveness  makes  The  Complete 
Encyclopedia  of  Weapons  of  World  War  II  com- 
pelling reading.  Clearly  it  will  have  considerable 
appeal  to  all  manner  of  students  of  the  period  as  the 
first  - and  probably  the  definitive  - source  of  clear, 
concise  information  on  the  nature  and  history  of  dif- 
ferent weapons,  including  specifications,  capabilities 



and  capacities,  varying  forms,  the  colour  schemes  in 
which  they  appeared  and  the  manner  in  which  they 
were  employed. 

The  text  and  tables  have  been  prepared  by  some 
of  the  foremost  experts  in  the  field,  and  this  same 
team  provided  and  approved  specifications,  plans 
and  drawings  and  photographic  reference  material  to 
assist  the  best  graphic  artists  available  to  produce 
illustrations,  the  like  of  which,  in  terms  of  quality, 
precision  and  accuracy,  are  seldom  seen  outside  offi- 
cal  circles. 

The  Complete  Encyclopedia  of  Weapons  of  World 
War  II  covers  the  terrestrial  equipment  of  all  arms  of 
service,  from  the  infantryman's  handgun,  rifles  and 
machine-guns,  to  the  support  weapons  he  used  to 
take  on  tanks  and  subdue  fortified  defensive  posi- 
tions; from  light  armoured  cars  used  for  reconnais- 
sance to  heavy  assault  tanks  and  special-purpose 
armoured  vehicles;  from  towed  anti-tank  guns  to  tank 
destroyers  and  from  lightweight  field  artillery  pieces 
to  self-propelled  guns  and  howitzers,  not  forgetting 
wheeled  and  tracked  utility  vehicles. 

The  war  was  also  conducted  at  sea,  and  World  War 
n saw  warships  of  every  calibre  employed  all  over 
the  globe,  from  the  70,000-tonne  monster  battleships 
to  the  diminutive  motor  gun-boats  and  motor  torpe- 
do-boats, and  the  best  of  these  are  described  in 
detail.  Pride  of  place,  however,  goes  to  the  new  breed 
of  capital  ships  - the  aircraft  carriers,  which  were 
born  in  the  inter-war  period  and  which  achieved 
maturity  just  as  hostilities  broke  out.  Alongside  them 
space  is  also  given  to  another  new  naval  weapon:  the 

Here,  too,  are  described  the  last  of  the  old  genera- 
tion of  capital  ships  - for  which  World  War  II  was  to 
be  their  swansong.The  battleships  of  both  sides  were 
to  become  household  names  all  over  the  world 
between  1939  and  1945,  and  here  they  are  described 
and  illustrated  in  full  colour  and  in  tremendous 
detail.  Cruisers,  destroyers  and  escorts,  coastal  craft 

and  assault  ships  also  played  vitally  important  parts, 
and  they,  too,  are  described,  illustrated  and  docu- 
mented here. 

New  weapons  appeared  throughout  the  war,  but  it 
was  in  the  air  that  the  real  changes  were  rung.  Until 
quite  late  in  the  1930s,  the  world's  air  forces  were 
equipped  with  biplanes  with  relatively  low-powered 
engines,  thus  limiting  their  performance,  endurance 
and  load-carrying  capacity.  Germany,  risen  from  the 
ashes  of  defeat  in  1918  and  plagued  throughout  the 
next  decade  by  internal  strife  and  near-revolution, 
was  the  first  to  recognize  the  potential  for  a new  gen- 
eration of  all-metal  aircraft,  and  soon  produced  such 
masterpieces  as  the  Bf  109  interceptor/fighter,  and 
the  Dornier,  Heinkel  and  Junkers  medium  bombers. 

Britain  followed  suit,  and  began  turning  out  long- 
range  heavy  bomber  aircraft,  such  as  the  Lancaster, 
widely  held  to  be  the  best  of  its  type,  while  the  USA 
- slow  to  get  going  initially  - built  up  an  aircraft 
industry  second  to  none,  which  came  to  dominate 
the  field  by  the  end  of  the  war,  producing  magnifi- 
cent aircraft,  such  as  the  Mustangs  and  Thunderbolts, 
which  doubled  as  both  fighters  and  ground  attack 
aircraft,  and  the  redoubtable  B-7  and  B-29  Fortresses. 
The  former  USSR's  powerful  aviation  industry  also 
had  its  roots  in  World  War  II,  and  its  products,  as  well 
as  those  of  Japan,  are  also  covered  in  great  detail. 

In  all.  The  Complete  Encyclopedia  ofWeapons  of 
World  War //is  a unique  and  essential  document,  cov- 
ering the  equipment  and  weapons  systems,  which 
themselves  dictated  the  nature  of  the  most  wide- 
spread, most  expensive  and  most  destructive  conflict 
the  world  has  ever  seen.  World  War  II  quite  literally 
altered  the  face  of  the  planet  and  the  nature  of  its  peo- 
ples' lives,  and  its  reverberations  are  still  to  be  felt  half 
a century  later.  Here,  at  least  and  at  last,  we  have  the 
means  to  understand  how  technological  advances  and 
fantastic  leaps  of  imagination  of  this  vitally  important 
period  manifested  themselves  in  the  tools  with  which 
the  war  was  won  - and  lost. 




By  the  end  of  World  War  I the  tank  was  a familiar  sight  on  the  battlefield; 
it  took  the  power  of  the  German  Blitzkrieg  to  convince  conventional  military 
strategists  that  the  tank,  and  more  importantly  its  method  of  use,  can  have  a 
profound  effect  upon  the  outcome  of  a battle. 

A German  PzKpfw  IV  tank  being  held  in  reserve  in  anticipation  of  a call  to  action  following  the 
Allied  landings  at  Normandy  in  June  1944.  Note  the  side  skirt. 

Although  Italy  and  Japan  pro- 
duced significant  numbers  of 
tanks  before  and  during  World  War 
II,  it  is  the  German  tanks  which 
are  best  known.  At  the  outbreak 
of  the  war  the  Panzerkampfwagen 
(PzKpfw)  I and  PzKpfw  II  were 
the  most  common  models,  but 
within  a few  years  these  had  been 
phased  out  of  service  and 
replaced  by  the  PzKpfw  III  and 
PzKpfw  rV.  The  latter  had  the  dis- 
tinction of  remaining  in  produc- 
tion throughout  the  war.  It  was  an 
excellent  design  that  proved  to  be 
capable  of  being  upgunned  and 
up-armoured  to  meet  the  chang- 
ing battlefield  threat.  The  Panther 
and  Tiger  arrived  on  the  scene 
towards  the  end  of  the  war,  but 
these  could  not  be  produced  in 
anything  like  the  required  num- 
bers as  a result  of  shortages  in 
materials  and  manpower  and  of 
the  effectiveness  of  Allied  bomb- 
ing on  German  plants,  even 
though  many  of  these  had  been 
dispersed  early  in  the  war.  The 
Panther  and  Tiger  were  rushed 
into  production  without  proper 
trials,  however,  and  many  were 
lost  during  their  initial  deploy- 
ments as  a result  of  mechanical 
breakdown  rather  than  direct 
enemy  action.  The  Tiger  was,  in 
particular,  a very  heavy  tank  and 
lacked  mobility  on  the  battlefield. 
Its  armour  protection  and  guns 

were  first  class,  and  this  tank 
proved  a difficult  one  to  destroy 
on  both  the  Eastern  and  Western 
Fronts.  Often  four  Shermans 
would  be  required  to  neutralize 
just  one  Tiger:  two  would  try  to 
draw  its  fire,  often  being  knocked 
out  in  the  process,  while  the  oth- 
ers worked  round  its  flanks  and 
attacked  it  from  its  more  vulnera- 
ble sides.  To  wards  the  end  of 
World  War  II  Germany  turned  its 
attention  to  producing  more  and 
more  tank  destroyers  as  by  that 
time  the  German  army  was  on  the 

defensive,  and  these  vehicles  were 
quicker,  easier  and  cheaper  to 
produce  than  tanks,  such  as  the 
Panther  and  Tiger. 

While  some  of  the  Italian  tanks 
were  fairly  modern  in  1939,  by 
the  early  part  of  Italy's  war  they 
had  become  completely  obsolete. 
The  better  armed  and  armoured 
P 40  heavy  tank  never  entered 
service  with  the  Italian  army, 
although  a few  were  taken  over 
by  the  Germans. 

Japan  used  tanks  during  the 
invasion  of  China  before  World 

War  II  as  well  as  during  the  Far 
Eastern  campaigns  from  1941. 

As  few  Allied  AFVs  were  available 
at  that  time  the  Japanese  vehicles 
were  quite  adequate,  the  more  so 
as  their  primary  role  was  infantry 
fire  support  rather  than  tank- 
against-tank  operations. 

Czech  tanks  are  included,  as 
many  were  subsequently  taken 
over  by  the  Germans  during  the 
invasion  of  France  in  1940  and 
remained  in  production  in 
Czechoslovakia  after  that 
country's  occupation. 



LT  vz  35  light  tank 

In  October  1934  the  Czech  army 
placed  an  order  for  two  prototypes  of  a 
medium  tank  called  the  S-ll-a  (or  I'- 
ll) which  were  completed  in  the  fol- 
lowing year,  Army  trials  with  these 
vehicles  started  in  June  1935  and  soon 
uncovered  many  faults  as  a result  of  the 
tank's  rushed  development.  Without 
waiting  for  these  faults  to  be  corrected 
an  order  was  placed  for  afirstbatch  of 
160  vehicles  in  October  1935,  and  the 
first  five  of  these  were  delivered  in  the 
following  year.  So  many  faults  were 
found  with  these  vehicles  that  these 
were  returned  to  Skoda  for  modifica- 
tions. A further  batch  of  138  was 
ordered  for  the  Czech  army,  which 
called  it  the  LT  vz  35,  while  Romania 
ordered  126  under  the  designation  R- 
2.  Gradually  most  of  the  faults  were 
overcome  and  the  vehicle  gained  a 
good  reputation.  The  Germans  took 
over  the  remaining  vehicles  under  the 
designation  Panzerkampfwagen  35(t), 
and  a further  219  were  built  specifical- 
ly for  the  German  army  in  the  Skoda 
works.  Such  was  the  shortage  of  tanks 
in  the  German  army  at  that  time  that  the 
6th  Panzer  Division  was  equipped  with 
the  PzKpfw  35(t)  in  time  to  take  part  in 
the  invasion  of  France  in  1940.  These 
continued  in  service  until  1942  when 
most  of  these  were  converted  into 
other  roles  such  as  mortar  tractors 
(German  designation  Morserzugmit- 
tel),  artillery  tractors  (German  de- 
signation Zugkraftwagen)  or  mainte- 
nance vehicles  with  tank  battalions.  It 
is  often  not  realized  that  Czechoslova- 
kia was  a leading  exporter  of 
armoured  vehicles  and  artillery  prime 
movers  before  World  War  II,  with 
sales  made  to  Austria,  Bulgaria,  Hun- 
gary, Latvia,  Peru,  Romania,  Sweden, 
Switzerland  and  Turkey. 

The  hull  of  the  LT  vz  35  was  of  riv- 
eted construction  that  varied  in  thick- 
ness from  12mm  (0.47  in)  to  a max- 
imum of  35mm  (1.38m).  The  bow 
machine-gunner  was  seated  at  the 
front  of  the  vehicle  on  the  left  and  oper- 
ated the  7.92-mm  (0.3 1 -in)  ZB  vz  3o  or 
37  machine-gun,  with  the  driver  to  his 
right.  The  commander/gunner  and 
loader/radio  operator  were  seated  in 
the  two-man  turret  in  the  centre  of  the 
hull.  Mam  armament  consisted  of  a 
37.2-mm  Skoda  vz  34  gun  with  a 7.92- 
mm  (0.31 -in)  ZB  35  or  37  machine-gun 
mounted  co-axially  to  the  right.  Totals 
of  72  rounds  of  37  mm  and  1,8^00  rounds 
of  machine-gun  ammunition  were  car- 
ried. The  engine  and  transmission 
were  at  the  rear  of  the  hull,  the  trans- 
mission having  one  reverse  and  six  for- 
ward gears.  The  suspension  on  each 

side  consisted  of  eight  small  road 
wheels  (two  per  bogie),  with  the  drive 
sprocket  at  the  rear,  and  idler  at  the 
front;  there  were  four  track-return  rol- 

An  unusual  feature  of  the  tank  was 
that  the  transmission  and  steering 
were  assisted  by  compressed  air  to 
reduce  driver  fatigue,  so  enabling  the 
tank  to  travel  long  distances  at  high 
speed.  Problems  were  encountered 
with  these  systems  when  the  tanks 
were  operated  by  the  Germans  on  the 
Eastern  Front  because  of  the  very  low 
temperatures  encountered. 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  10500  kg  (23,148  lb) 
Dimensions:length4.9m(16ftl  in); 

Czechoslovakia  provided  many  of 
the  tanks  used  by  the  Wehrmacht  in 
the  battle  for  France.  ThePz35( t) 
equipped  the  6th  Panzer  Division  in 
that  campaign,  and  some  tanks 
continued  in  service  until  1942. 

width  2. 159  m (7  ft  1 in);  height  2. 209  m 
(7  ft  3 in) 

Powerplant:  one  Skoda  six-cylinder 
water-cooled  petrol  engine 
developing  120hp(89kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (25  mph) ; maximumrange 
4 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0.787  m (2  ft  7 in) ; trench 
1,981  m(6  ft  6 in) 

Used  by  two  Panzer  Divisions  in  1940, 
the  PzKpfw  38(t)  was  in  production 
for  the  German  army  until  1942.  The 
basic  chassis  was  la  ter  used  for  a 
number  ofSP  artillery  conversions. 

armament  was  another  7.92-mm  (0,31- 
in)  machine-gun.  Totals  of  90  rounds  of 
37-mm  and  2,550-rounds  of  machine- 
gun  ammunition  were  carried.  The  en- 
gine was  at  the  rear  of  the  hull  and 
coupled  to  a transmission  with  one  re- 
verse and  five  forward  gears.  Suspen- 
sion on  each  side  consisted  of  four 
large  rubber-tyred  road  wheels  sus- 


TNH  P-S  light  tank 

In  1937  the  international  situation  was 
rapidly  deteriorating,  so  the  Czech 
army  issued  a requirement  for  a new 
light  tank.  This  time  the  army  was  de- 
termined that  the  troubles  encoun- 
tered with  the  LT  vz  35  light  tank  when 
it  entered  service,  resulting  from  a 
lack  of  testing,  would  not  be  repeated. 
Skoda  entered  its  S-ll-a  and  S-ll-b, 
while  CKD  entered  an  LT  vz  35  with 
the  engine  and  transmission  of  the 
TNH  tank,  the  LTL,  the  TNH  P-S 
(already  produced  for  export)  as  well 
as  a new  medium  tank  called  the  V-8- 
H.  During  the  extensive  trials  the  TNH 
P-S  was  found  to  be  the  best  design 
and  on  1 July  1938  was  adopted  as  the 
standard  light  tank  of  the  Czech  army 
under  the  designation  LT  vz  38,  but 
none  had  entered  service  at  the  time  of 
the  German  occupation  in  1939.  The 
vehicle  remained  m production  for  the 
German  army  between  1939  and  1942, 
more  than  1,400  being  built  under  the 
designation  Panzerkampfwagen  38(t) 
Ausf  S to  PzKpfw  38(t)  Ausf  G.  (Aws- 
• ' : Ge 

fuhrung  is  the  German  word  for  model 
or  mark.)  The  Germans  also  exported 
69  vehicles  to  Slovakia,  102  to  Hungary, 
50  to  Romania  and  10  to  Bulgaria.  Dur- 
ing the  invasion  of  France  the  tank  was 
used  by  the  7th  and  8th  Panzer  Divi- 
sions, and  continued  in  service  as  a 
light  tank  until  1941-2. 

The  hull  and  turret  of  the  vehicle 
were  of  riveted  construction,  the  top  of 
the  superstructure  being  bolted  into 
position.  Minimum  armour  thickness 
was  10mm  (0.4  in)  and  maximum 
thickness  25  mm  ( 1 in),  although  from 
the  Ausf  E this  was  increased  to  50  mm 
( 1 .96  in).  The  driver  was  seated  at  the 
front  of  the  tank  on  the  right,  with  the 

bow  machine-gunner  to  his  left  and 
operating  the  7.92-mm  (0,31 -in)  MG 
37(t)  machine-gun.  The  two-man  turret 
was  in  the  centre  of  the  hull  and  armed 
with  a 37.2-mm  Skoda  A7  gun,  which 
could  fire  both  armour-piercing  and 
HE  rounds  with  an  elevation  of  +12° 
and  a depression  of  -6°.  Mounted  co- 
axial with  and  to  the  right  of  the  main 


pended  in  pairs  on  leaf  springs,  with 
the  drive  sprocket  at  the  front  and  idler 
at  the  rear,  and  with  two  track-return 

When  outclassed  as  a tank  the 
PzKpfw  38(t)  was  widely  used  as  a re- 
connaissance vehicle,  and  the  Ger- 
mans even  fitted  some  chassis  with  the 
turret  of  the  SdKfz  222  light  armoured 
car  complete  with  its  20-mm  cannon. 

The  chassis  of  the  light  tank  was  also 
used  as  the  basis  for  a large  number  of 
vehicles  including  the  Marder  tank 
destroyer,  which  was  fitted  with  a new 
superstructure  armed  with  75-mm 
(2.95-in)  anti-tank  gun,  various  self- 
propelled  15-cm  (5.9-in)  guns,  a 20-mm 
self-propelled  anti- aircraft  gun,  sever- 
al types  of  weapons  carriers  and  the 
Hetzer  tank  destroyer,  to  name  just  a 
few.  The  last  was  armed  with  a 75-mm 
(2. 95 -in)  gun  in  a fully  enclosed  fighting 
compartment  with  limited  traverse, 
and  was  considered  by  many  to  be  one 
of  the  best  vehicles  of  its  type  during 
World  War  II.  A total  of  2,584  was  built 
between  1944  and  1945,  and  produc- 
tion continued  after  the  war  for  the 
Czech  army,  a further  158  being  sold  to 

Switzerland  in  1946-7  under  the  de- 
signation G-13.  These  were  finally 
withdrawn  from  service  in  the  late 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  9700  kg  (21,385  lb) 

Dimensions:  length  4.546  m ( 14  ft 
1 1 in) ; width  2 . 1 3 3 m (7  ft  0 in) ; height 

Powerplant:  one  Praga  EPA  six- 
cylinder  water-  cooled  inline  petrol 
engine  developing  150  hp  ( 1 1 2 kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42  km/h  (26  mph) ; maximumrange 
200  km  ( 1 25  miles);  fording  0.9  m (3  ft) ; 
gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical  obstacle 
0.787  m (2  ft  7 in);  trench  1.879  m (6  ft 
2 in) 

A PzKpfw  38( t)  during  the  invasion  of 
France;  the  7th  and  8th  Panzer 
Divisions  used  the  tank.  The 
commander  of  the  7th  Division 
became  well  mown  later  in  the  war- 
hisname  was  Rommel. 


Panzerkampfwagen  I light  tank 

In  1933  the  German  Army  Weapons 
Department  issued  a requirement  for  a 
light  armoured  vehicle  weighing  ab- 
out 5000kg  (11,025  1b)  that  could  be 
used  for  training  purposes,  and  five 
companies  subsequentlay  built  pro- 
totype vehicles.  After  trials  the  Army 
Weapons  Department  accepted  the 
Krupp  design  for  further  development, 
the  design  company  being  responsi- 
ble for  the  chassis  and  Daimler-Benz 
for  the  superstructure.  To  conceal  the 
real  use  of  the  vehicle  the  Army 
Weapons  Department  called  the  vehi- 
cle the  Landwirtschaftlicher  Schlep- 
per  (industrial  tractor).  The  first  batch 
of  150  vehicles  was  ordered  from 
Henschel,  and  production  com- 
menced in  July  1934  under  the  de- 
signation PzKpfw  I(MG)  (SdKfz  101) 
Ausf  A and  powered  by  a Krupp  M 305 
petrol  engine  developing  only  57  hp 
(42  kW).  There  were  problems  with 
the  engine,  however,  and  the  next- 
batch  Ausf  B had  a more  powerful  en- 
gine which  meant  that  the  hull  had  to 
be  longer  and  an  additional  roadwheel 
added  on  each  side.  This  model  was  a 
little  heavier,  but  its  more  powerful  en- 
gine gave  it  a maximum  road  speed  of 
40  km/h  (25  mph).  This  entered  ser- 
vice in  1935  under  the  designation  of 
the  PzKpfw  1(MG)  (SdKfz  101)  Ausf  B. 
Most  of  the  vehicles  were  built  by 
Henschel  but  Wegmann  also  became 
involved  in  the  programme,  peak  pro- 
duction being  achieved  in  1935  \Gien 
over  800  vehicles  were  completed. 

The  Panzerkampfwagen  1 was  first 
used  operationally  in  the  Spanish  Civil 
War,  and  at  the  start  of  the  invasion  of 
Poland  in  1939  no  less  than  1,445  such 
vehicles  were  on  strength.  It  had 
already  been  realized,  however,  that 
the  vehicle  was  ill-suited  for  front-line 
use  because  of  its  lack  of  firepower 
and  armour  protection  (7-13mm/0.28- 
0.5 1 in),  andmtheinvasionofFrancein 
1940  only  523  were  used,  although 
many  more  were  still  in  Germany  and 
Poland.  By  the  end  of  1941  the  PzKpfw  I 
had  been  phased  out  of  front-line  ser- 
vice, although  the  kleiner  Panzer- 
befehlwagen  I (SdKfz  265)  command 

model  remained  in  service  longer. 

Once  the  light  tank  was  obsolete  its 
chassis  underwent  conversion  to  other 
roles,  and  one  of  the  first  of  these  was 
the  Munitions-Schlepper  used  to  carry 
ammunition  and  other  valuable  car- 
goes. For  the  anti-tank  role  the  chassis 
was  fitted  with  captured  Czech  47-mm 
anti-tank  guns  on  top  of  the  superstruc- 
ture with  limited  traverse.  These  were 
used  on  both  the  Eastern  and  North 
African  fronts,  but  soon  became  obso- 
lete with  the  arrival  of  the  more  heavily 
armoured  tanks  on  the  battlefield.  The 
largest  conversion  entailed  the  in- 
stallation of  a 15-cm  (5.9-in)  infantry 
gun  in  a new  superstructure,  but  this 
really  overloaded  the  chassis  and  less 
than  40  such  conversions  were  made. 

The  turret  was  in  the  centre  of  the 
vehicle,  offset  to  the  right  and  armed 
with  twin  7,92-mm  (0.31 -in)  machine- 
guns,  for  whichatotal  of  l,525rounds  of 
ammunition  were  carried.  The  driver 
was  seated  to  the  left  of  the  turret. 

Above:  TwoPzKpfwIs  undu  heuvier 
PzKpfw  III  in  France  in  1940.523  of 
the  little  Ugh  t tanks  were  used  in  the 
campaign,  in  spite  of  their 
unsuitability  for  combat. 

Right:  The  PzKpfw  I was  heavily 
involved  in  the  Polish  campaign  after 
its  operational  debut  in  theSpanish 
Civil  War. 

PzKpfw  I Ausf  B 
Crew:  2 

Weight:  6000  kg  (13,230  lb) 

Dimensions : length4 .42  m ( 1 4 ft  6 in) ; 
width2.06m(6n9in);height  1.72m 
(5  ft  8 in) 

Powerplant:  oneMaybachNE38TR 
six-cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (25  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  140km(87miles);fording0.58m 
(1  ft  1 1 in);gradient60percent; 
verticalobstacle0.36m(l  ft2in); 
trench  1 .4  m(4  ft7  in) 


the  chassis  was  quickly  adopted  for 
many  other  roles,  One  of  the  first  of 
these  was  a self-propelled  anti-tank 
gun  using  captured  Soviet  76. 2-mm  (3- 
in)  guns  ana  called  the  Marder  I.  This 
was  followed  by  a model  called  the 
Marder  II  with  a 7.5-cm  (2,95-m)  Ger- 
man anti-tank  gun,  and  some  1,200  of 
these  were  converted  or  built.  The 
Wespe  was  a self-propelled  gun  fitted 
with  a 10.5-cm  howitzer  and  was  pro- 
duced in  Poland  until  1944. 

Armed  with  a 20-mm  cannon,  some 
1000  PzKpfwIIs  were  used  during 
the  Polish  campaign. 

PzKpfw  II  Ausf  F 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  10000  kg  (22,046  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  4. 64  m(  15  ft  3 in); 
width2.30  m (7  k6.5  in);  height  2.02  m 
(6  ft  7.5  in) 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  six- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
5 5 km/h  (34mph) ; maximumroad 
range  200  km  (125  miles);  fording 
0.85  m(2ft  10  in);  gradient  50  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle0.42m(  1 ft5  in) ; 

trf-nrh  1 VRmrR  ftQ  ini 

Despite  being  intended  as  a training 
machine,  the  PzKpfw  II provided  the 
majority  of  German  Panzer  strength 
during  the  invasions  of  Poland  and 

Panzerkampfwagen  II  light  tank 

To  bridge  the  gap  until  the  arrival  of 
the  PzKpfw  III  and  PzKpfw  IV  tanks,  a 
decision  was  made  in  1934  to  order  an 
interim  model  which  became  known 
as  the  Panzerkampfwagen  II. 
Development  contracts  were  awarded 
to  Henschel,  Krupp  and  MAN  under 
the  designation  Industrial  Tractor  100 
(LaS  100)  to  conceal  its  true  role.  After 
evaluation  of  these  prototypes  the 
MAN  model  was  selected  for  further 
development,  MAN  being  responsible 
for  the  chassis  and  Daimler-Benz  for 
the  superstructure.  Production  was 
eventually  undertaken  also  by  Famo, 
MI  AO  and  Wegmann,  and  the  tank 
formed  the  backbone  of  the  German 
armoured  divisions  during  the  invasion 
of  France,  about  1,000  being  in  front 
line  service.  The  tank  was  also  used  in 
the  invasion  of  the  USSR  in  the 
following  year  although  by  that  time  it 
was  obsolete,  had  inadequate  armour 
protection  and  lacked  firepower.  It 
was  in  fact  intended  primarily  as  a 
training  machine  rather  than  for  actual 

The  first  production  PzKpfw  II  Ausf 
A vehicles  were  delivered  in  1935,  and 
were  armed  with  a 20-mm  cannon  and 
7.92-mm  (0.31-in)  co-axial  machine- 
gun.  There  was  a three-man  crew,  and 
combat  weight  was  7,2  tonnes.  Tests 
with  the  early  production  models 
showed  that  the  vehicle  was  under- 
powered with  its  130-hp  (97 -kW)  en- 
gine, so  the  PzKpfw  II  Ausf  B was  intro- 
duced with  a 140-hp  (104-kW)  engine 
and  other  improvements  (notably 
thicker  frontal  armour)  which  pushed 
up  its  weight  to  j u st  under  8 tonne  s , The 
PzKpfw  II  Ausf  C was  introduced  in 
193/,  and  had  better  armour  protec- 
tion. Additionally,  the  small  bogie 
wheels  were  replaced  by  five  inde- 
pendently-sprung bogies  with  leaf 
springs  on  each  side,  and  this  was  to 
remain  the  basic  suspension  for  all  re- 
maining production  vehicles.  In  1938 
the  PzKpfw  II  Ausf  D and  PzKpfw  II 
Ausf  E were  introduced,  with  new  tor- 
sion-bar suspensison  which  gave  them 
a much  increased  road  speed  of 
55  km/h  (34mph),  although  cross- 
country speed  was  slower  than  that  of 
the  earlier  models.  The  final  produc- 
tion model  of  the  series  was  the 

PzKpfw  II  Ausf  F,  which  appeared  in 
194(5-1  and  which  was  uparmoured  to 
35  mm  (1.38  in)  on  the  front  and  20  mm 
(0.79  in)  on  the  sides,  this  pushing  up 
the  total  weight  to  just  under  10  tonnes 
and  consequently  reducing  the  speed 
of  the  vehicle,  which  was  felt  to  be 
acceptable  because  of  the  greater 
protection  provided. 

The  hull  and  turret  of  the  PzKpfw  II 
was  of  welded  steel  construction,  with 
the  driver  at  the  front,  two-man  turret 
in  the  centre  offset  to  the  left,  and  the 
engine  at  the  rear.  Armament  con- 
sisted of  a 20-mm  cannon  (for  which 
180  rounds  were  provided)  on  the  left 
side  ofthe  turret,  and  a 7.92-mm  (0.31- 
m)  machine-gun  (for  which  1,425 
rounds  were  carried)  on  the  right  of 
the  turret. 

The  PzKpfw  II  was  also  used  as  the 
basis  for  a number  of  fast  reconnais- 
sance tanks  called  the  Luchs  (this 
name  was  subsequently  adopted  by 
the  new  West  German  Army  in  the 
1970s  for  its  8x8  reconnaissance  vehi- 
cle) but  these  and  similar  vehicles 
were  not  built  in  large  numbers. 

One  ofthe  more  interesting  vehicles 
was  the  fecial  amphibious  model  de- 
veloped for  the  invasion  of  England  in 
1940.  This  model  was  propelled  in  the 
water  at  a speedof  1 0 km/h  (6  mph)  by 
a propeller  run  off  the  main  engine.  A 
model  with  two  flamethrowers  was 
also  produced  as  the  Flammpanzer  II; 
100  of  these  were  in  service  oy  1942. 

When  the  basic  tank  was  obsolete 


Panzerkampfwagen  III  medium 

It  was  envisaged  in  the  mid- 1930s  that 
each  German  tank  battalion  would 
have  three  companies  of  relatively 
light  medium  tanks  and  one  company 
of  better  armed  and  armoured 
medium  tanks.  The  former  eventually 
became  the  Panzerkampfwagen  III 
(PzkPfw  III)  or  SdKfz  141,  while  the 
latter  became  the  Panzerkampfwagen 
IV  (PzKpfw  IV)  which  was  to  remain  in 
production  throughout  World  War  II. 
In  1935  the  Weapons  Department 
issued  contracts  for  the  construction  of 
prototype  vehicles  against  the  lighter 
concept  to  Daimler-Benz,  Krupp,  MAN 
and  Rheinmetall-Borsig.  At  an  early 
stage  it  was  decided  to  arm  the  tank 
with  a 37-mm  gun  which  would  fire  the 
same  ammunition  as  that  used  by  the 
infantry  anti-tank  gun,  but  provision 
was  made  that  the  turret  ring  diameter 

be  large  enough  to  permit  the  upgun- 
ning  of  the  vehicle  to  50  mm  if  this 
should  be  required.  Following  trials 
with  the  prototype  vehicles  the  Daim- 
ler-Benz model  was  selected,  although 
the  first  three  production  models,  the 
PzKpfw  III  Ausf  A,  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  B 
and  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  C were  built  only 
in  small  numbers,  differing  from  each 
other  mainly  in  suspension  details.  In 
September  1939  the  vehicle  was  for- 
mally adopted  for  service,  and  mass 
production  was  soon  under  way.  The 

Continued  on  page  508 

A Panzer  III  with  accompanying 
infantry  during  1942.  By  this  time  the 
German  tanks  had  come  up  against 
the  excellent  Soviet  T-34,  and  armour 
and  armament  were  being 


PzKpfw  III  was  first  used  in  combat 
during  the  invasion  of  Poland,  The  next 
production  models  were  the  PzKpfw 
in  Ausf  D and  PzKpfw  IE  Ausf  F,  the 
former  with  thicker  armour  and  a re- 
vised cupola,  and  the  latter  with  an 
uprated  engine  and  only  six  road 
wheels.  In  1939  it  was  decided  to  push 
ahead  with  the  50-mm  model  and  this 
entered  production  in  1940  under  the 
designation  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  F.  This 
was  followed  by  the  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  G 
version  with  similar  armament  but 
more  powerful  engine.  For  operations 
in  North  Africa  the  vehicles  were  fitted 
with  a tropical  kit,  while  for  the  pro- 
posed invasion  of  England  a special 
version  for  deep  wading  was  de- 
veloped. The  latter  were  never  used 
for  their  intended  role  but  some  were 
successfully  used  during  the  invasion 
of  the  USSR  in  1941.  The  PzKpfw  Aus  H 
introduced  wider  tracks  and  a number 
of  important  improvements. 

The  50-mm  L/42  gun  was  inadequate 
to  cope  with  the  Soviet  T-34  tank,  so  the 
longer-barrelled  KwK  39  L/60  weapon 
was  installed.  This  had  a higher  muzzle 
velocity,  and  vehicles  fitted  with  the 
weapon  were  designated  PzKpfw  III 
Ausf  J.  Many  vehicles  were  retrofitted 
with  the  50-mm  gun,  and  by  early  1942 
the  37-mm  version  had  almost  dis- 
appeared from  front-line  service.  The 
next  model  was  the  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  L, 
which  had  greater  armour  protection, 
pushing  its  weight  up  to  just  over  22 
tonnes,  almost  50  per  cent  more  than 
the  weight  of  the  original  prototype. 
The  Pzl^fw  III  Ausf  M and  PzKpfw  III 
Ausf  N were  fitted  with  the  75 -mm  L/24 
gun  which  had  been  installed  in  the 

PzKpfw  IV;  a total  of  64  rounds  of 
ammunition  were  carried  for  this  gun. 
Production  of  the  PzKpfw  III  was  finally 
completed  in  August  1943.  The  chassis 
was  also  used  as  the  basis  for  the  75- 
mm  assault  gun  (Gepanzerte  Selb- 
stahrlafette  fur  Sturmgeschutz  7.5  cm 
Kanone  or  SdKfz  142),  of  which  a few 
were  used  in  the  invasion  of  France  in 
1941;  production  of  improved  SP  guns 
on  PzKpfw  III  chassis  continued  until 
theendofWorldWarll.  Other  variants 
included  an  armoured  recovery  vehi- 
cle, an  armoured  observation  vehicle 
(Panzerbeobachtungswagen)  and  a 
command  vehicle  (Panzer- 
befehlswagen  III),  A total  of  15,000 
chassis  was  produced  for  both  the  tank 
and  assault  gun  applications. 

The  layout  of  the  PzKpfw  III  was 

basically  the  same  in  all  vehicles,  with 
the  driver  at  the  front  of  the  hull  on  the 
left  and  the  machine-gunner/radio 
operator  to  his  right.  The  three-man 
turret  was  in  the  centre  of  the  hull,  the 
commander  having  a cupola  in  the 
centre  of  the  roof  at  the  rear.  The  en- 
gine was  at  the  rear  of  the  hull,  and  the 
suspension,  which  was  of  the  torsion- 
bar  type  from  the  PzKpfw  III  Ausf  E, 
consisted  on  each  side  of  six  small  road 
wheels,  with  the  drive  sprocket  at  the 
front  and  the  idler  at  the  rear;  there 
were  three  track-return  rollers. 

PzKpfw  III  Ausf  M 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  22300  kg  (49,160  lb) 

PzKpfw  AusfG,  as  used  by  the  Afrika 
Korps.  Tropicalized,  andwith  a 50- 
mm  gun,  the  German  tankproved 
effective  against  the  lighter  British 
tanks,  and  was  much  moremohile 
than  the  heavy  infantry  tanks. 

Dimensions:  length  (including 
armament)  6.41  m(21  ft0in);iength 
(hull)  5.52  m (18  ft  1.5  in);  width2.95  m 
Poweiplant:  oneMaybachHL  120 
TRM  l2-cylmderpetrol  engine 
developing  300  hp  (224  kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (25  mph);  maximum  road 
range  175km(l  10miles);fording0.8m 
(2  ft  8 in) ; gradient60per  cent ; vertical 
(8  ft  6 in) 

Above:  Panzer  grenadiers  advance 
through  cornfields  in  the  1 942 
German  drive  to  the  Caucasus, 
covered  by  a PzKpfw  IV. 


Panzerkampfwagen  IV  medium 

The  Panzerkampfwagen  IV  had  the 
distinction  of  remaining  in  production 
throughout  World  War  II,  and  formed 
the  backbone  of  the  German 
armoured  divisions.  In  1934  the  Army 
Weapons  Department  drew  up  a 
requirement  for  a vehicle  under  the 
cover  name  of  the  medium  tractor 
(mitteren  Traktor)  which  was  to  equip 
the  fourth  tank  company  of  each 
German  tank  battalion.  Rheinmetall- 
Borsig  built  the  VK  2001(Rh)  while 
MAN  proposed  the  VK  2002(MAN) 
and  Krimp  the  VK  200 1(K).  In  the  the 
end  Krupp  took  over  total 
responsibility  for  the  vehicle,  which 
was  also  known  as  the  Bataillons 
Euhrerwagen  (battalion  commander's 
vehicle).  This  entered  production  at 
the  Krupp-Grusonwerke  plant  at 
Magdeburg  as  the  PzKpfw  IV 

Ausf  A,  or  SdKfz  161,  as  by  this  time  all 
cover  names  had  been  dropped.  This 
model  was  armed  with  a short- 
barrelled  75 -mm  (2.95-in)  gun,  co-axial 
7.92-mm  (0.31-in)  machine-gun  and  a 
similar  weapon  in  the  bow.  Turret 
traverse  was  powered  and  122  rounds 
of  75-mm  (2.95-in)  and  3,000  rounds  of 
machine-gun  ammunition  were 
carried.  Maximum  armour  thickness 
was  20  mm  (0.79  in)  on  the  turret  and 
14.5  mm  (0.57  in)  on  the  hull.  Only  a few 
of  these  were  built  in  1936-7.  The  next 
model  was  the  PzKpfw  IV  Ausf  B, 
which  had  increased  armour 
protection,  more  powerful  engine  and 

more  minor  improvements.  Through- 
out the  PzKpfw  IV's  long  production 
life  the  basic  chassis  remained  un- 
changed, but  as  the  threat  by  enemy 
anti-tank  weapons  increased  so  more 
armour  was  added  and  new  weapons 
were  installed.  (Other  chassis  often 
had  to  be  phased  out  of  production  as 
they  were  incapable  of  being  up- 
graded to  take  into  account  changes 
on  the  battlefield.)  The  final  production 
model  was  the  PzKpfw  IV  Ausf  J,  which 
appeared  in  March  1944,  Total  pro- 
duction of  the  PzKpfw  IV  amounted  to 
about  9,000  vehicles. 

Below: From  1943  the  PzKpfw  IV 
began  to  appear  with  the  tong- 
barrelled  7.5-cm  KWK40/L48 
cannon,  which  made  the  tank  able  to 
give  a good  account  of  itself  against 
almost  any  armoured  opposition. 


The  chassis  of  the  PzKpfw  IV  was 
also  used  for  other,  more  specialized 
vehicles  including  the  Jagdpanzer  IV 
tank  destroyer,  self-propelled  anti- 
aircraft gun  systems  of  various  types 
(including  one  with  four  20-mm  cannon 
and  another  with  one  37-mm  cannon), 
self-propelled  guns,  armoured  recov- 
ery vehicles  and  bridgelayers  to  name 
but  a few, 

" A typical  PzKpfw  IV  was  the  PzKpfw 
IV  Ausf  F2,  which  had  a hull  and  turret 
of  all-welded  steel  armour  construc- 
tion, the  former  having  a maximum 
thickness  of  60mm  (2.36  in)  and  the 
latter  of  50  mm  (1.47  in).  The  driver 
was  seated  at  the  front  of  the  hull  on  the 
left,  with  the  bow  machine-gunner/ 
radio  operator  to  his  right.  The  com- 
mander, gunner  and  loader  were  sea- 
ted in  the  turret  in  the  centre  of  the  hull, 
with  an  entrance  hatch  on  each  side  of 
the  turret  and  a cupola  for  the  tank 
commander.  The  engine  was  at  the 
rear  of  the  hull  and  coupled  to  a manual 
transmission  with  six  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears.  Main  armament  com- 
prised a long  barrelled  75-mm  (2,95- 
in)  KwK  gun  fitted  with  a muzzle  brake 
and  which  could  fire  a variety  of 
ammunition  including  HEAT,  smoke, 
APCR,  APCBC  and  high  explosive,  the 
last  being  used  in  the  infantry  support 
role.  A 7.92-mm  (0.31-in)  MG34 
machine-gun  was  mounted  co-axial 
with  and  to  the  right  of  the  main  arma- 
ment, while  a similar  weapon  was 
mounted  in  the  bow.  Totals  of  87 
rounds  of  75-mm  (2,95-in)  and  3,192 

rounds  of  7.92-mm  (0,31-in)  machine- 
gun  ammunition  were  carried.  Turret 
traverse  was  powered  through  360°, 
though  manual  controls  were  provided 
for  emergency  use. 

The  additional  armour  and  heavier 
armament  pushed  up  the  weight  until 
in  the  final  production  version  it 
reached  25  tonnes,  but  the  PzKpfw  IV 
still  had  a respectable  power-to- 
weight  ratio  and  therefore  good  mobil- 
ity characteristics. 

PzKpfw  IV  AusfH 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  25000  kg  (55,115  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  (including 
armament)  7 , 02  m (23  ft  0 in) ; length 
(hull)  5.89  m (19  ft  4 in);  width  3.29  m 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL 120 
TRM  12-cylinder  petrol  engine 
developing 300 hp  (224 kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
3 8 km/h  (24  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  200  km  (125  miles);  fording  1 .Om 
(3  n 3 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
ob  Stacie  0 . 6 m (2  ft  0 in) ; trench  2 , 2 0 m 
(7  ft  3 in) 

A PzKpfwIVis  serviced  in  the  field  in 
the  USSR.  Visible  is  the  short- 
barrelled  75-mm  gun;  this  was  soon 
found  to  be  inadequate  against 
Soviet  tanks,  and  had  to  be  replaced 
by  a longer,  higher-velocity  gun. 

Panzerkampfwagen  V Panther  heavy  tank 

In  1941  the  most  powerful  tank  m 
service  with  the  German  army  was  the 

PzKpfw  IV,  infrequently  a match  for  the 
new  Soviet  T-34  tank,  which  appeared 
in  small  numbers  on  the  Eastern  Front 
in  that  year.  Work  on  a successor  to  the 
PzKpfw  IV  had  started  as  far  back  as 
1937,  but  progress  had  been  slow  be- 
cause of  changing  requirements.  In 
1941  Henschel  and  Porsche  had  each 
completed  prototypes  of  new  tanks  in 
the  30/35-tonne  class  designated  the 
VK  3001(H)  and  VK  3001(P)  respec- 
tively. These  were  not  placed  in  pro- 
duction, and  further  development  re- 
sulted in  the  Tiger  (VK  4501),  Late  in 
1941  a requirement  was  issued  for  a 
new  tank  with  a long  barrelled  75-mm 
(2. 95 -in)  gun,  well-sloped  armour  for 
maximum  protection  within  the  weight 
limit  of  the  vehicle,  and  larger  wheels 
for  improved  mobility . T o meet  this  re- 
quirement Daimler-Benz  submitted 
the  VK  3002(DB)  while  MAN  submitted 
the  VK  3002(MAN).  The  former  design 
was  a virtual  copy  of  the  T-34  but  the 
MAN  design  was  accepted.  The  first 
prototypes  of  the  new  tank,  called  the 
Panzerkampfwagen  V Panther  (SdKfz 
171)  were  completed  in  September 
1942,  with  the  first  production  models 
coming  from  the  MAN  factory  just  two 
months  later.  At  the  same  time  Daim- 
ler-Benz started  tooling  up  for  produc- 
tion of  the  Panther,  and  in  1943  Hens- 
chel and  Niedersachen  were  also 
brought  into  the  programme  together 
with  hundreds  of  sub-contractors.  It 

AbovQ;  PzKpfw  VPan  ther  in  its  la  te- 
warform.  Skirts  have  been  added  to 
offer  some  protection  to  the  wheels, 
and  spare  track  has  been  used  as 
auxiliary  armour.  The  tank  is 
covered  in  special  anti-magnetic 
paste  as  a protection  against 
magnetic  mines. 

Right: Probably  the  finest  German 
tank  of  the  war,  the  Pan  ther  was 
hampered  by  its  complexity.  Some 
4,800  were  built,  as  compared  to 
11,  000-plus  T-34/85s  built  by  the 
Soviets  in  1 944  alone! 


was  planned  to  produce  600  Panthers 
per  month,  but  Allied  bombing  meant 
that  maximum  production  ever 
achieved  was  about  330  vehicles  per 
month.  By  early  1945  just  over  4,800 
Panthers  had  been  built. 

The  Panther  was  rushed  into  pro- 
duction without  proper  trials,  and 
numerous  faults  soon  became  appa- 
rent: indeed,  in  the  type's  early  days 
more  Panthers  were  lost  to  mechanical 
failure  than  to  enemy  action,  and  con- 
sequently the  crew's  confidence  in  the 
vehicle  rapidly  dwindled.  The  vehicle 
first  saw  action  on  the  Eastern  Front 
during  July  1943  during  the  Kursk  bat- 
tles, and  from  then  on  it  was  used  on  all 
fronts.  Once  the  mechanical  problems 
had  been  overcome  confidence  in  the 
tank  soon  built  up  again,  and  many 
consider  the  Panther  to  be  the  best  all 
round  German  tank  of  World  War  II . In 
the  immediate  post-war  period  the 
French  army  used  a number  of  Panth- 
er tanks  until  more  modern  tanks  were 

First  production  models  were  of  the 
PzKpfw  V Ausf  A type,  and  were  really 
pre-prodution  vehicles;  the  PzKpfw  V 
Ausf  B and  PzKpfw  Ausf  C were  never 
placed  in  production.  Later  models 
were  the  PzKpfw  V Ausf  D followed  for 
some  reason  by  another  PzKpfw  V 
Ausf  A,  which  was  widely  used  m Nor- 
mandy, and  finally  by  the  PzKpfw  V 
Ausf  G.  Variants  of  the  Panther  in- 
cluded an  observation  post  vehicle 
(Beobachtungspanzer  Panther),  ARV, 
Jagdpanther  tank  destroyer,  and  com- 
mand vehicle  (Befehlspanzer  Panth- 
er), while  some  were  disguised  to  re- 
semble MIO  tank  detroy ers  during  the 
Battle  of  the  Bulge. 

Main  armament  of  the  Panther  was  a 
long  barrelled  75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun  for 
which  79  rounds  of  ammunition  were 
carried.  Mounted  co-axial  with  the 
main  armament  was  a 7,92-mm  (0.31- 
in)  MG34  machine-gun,  while  a similar 
weapon  was  mounted  in  the  hull  front 
and  another  on  the  turret  roof  for  anti- 
aircraft defence. 

PzKpfw  V Panther  Ausf  A 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  45500  kg  (100,310  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  (including 
armament)  8 . 86  m (29  ft  0 , 7 5 in) ; length 
(hull)  6.88  m (22  ft  7 in);  width3.43  m 
(11  ft3in);height3.10m(10ft2in) 
Poweiplant:  one  Maybach  HL  230  P 30 
12-cylinder  diesel  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 

Gtrmm  armour,  committed 
piecemeal,  could  not  stop  thtAlUtd 
invasion  of  Europe.  Here  a Panther 
burns  after  being  hit  by  British  an  ti- 
tan k weapons. 

46km/h(29mph)  ;maximumroad 
range  177  km  (1 1 Omiles) ; fording 
1 .70  m (5  ft  7 in) ; gradient  60per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.91  m(3ft0in); 
trench  1 . 9 1 m(6  ft3  in) 

Panzerkampfwagen  VI  Tiger  heavy 

its  thick  armour  anda 
version  of  the  dreaded  88-mm 
AAi'anti-tankgun,  the  PzKpfw  VI 
Tiger  was  an  outstandingly 
powerful  design.  It  was  not  a 
particularly  agile  machine,  but 
could  command  the  battlefield. 

As  far  back  as  1938  it  has  been  realized 
that  the  PzKpfw  IV  tank  would  have  to 
be  replaced  by  a more  modern  design 
some  time  in  the  future.  Various  pro- 
totypes were  built  by  a number  of  Ger- 
man companies,  but  none  was  placed 
in  production.  In  1941  an  order  was 
placed  with  Henschel  for  a 36-ton  tank 
called  the  VK  3601  which  was  required 
to  have  a maximum  speed  of  40  km/h 
(25  mph),  good  armour  protection  and 
apowerful  gun.  A prototype  of  this  tank 
was  built  but  further  work  was  stopped 
as  an  order  was  placed  in  May  1941  for 
a 45 -ton  tank  called  the  VK  4501,  This 
was  to  be  armed  with  a tank  version  of 
the  dreaded  88-mm  (3.46-in)  AA/anti- 
tank  gun,  which  had  then  become  the 
scourge  of  European  armies.  It  was  re- 
quired that  the  prototype  be  ready  for 
testing  on  Hitler's  next  birthday,  20 
April  1942.  As  time  was  short  Henschel 
incorporated  ideas  from  the  VK  3601 
and  another  tank  called  the  VK 
3001(H).  The  end  product  was  the  VK 
4501(H),  the  letter  suffix  standing  for 
Henschel.  Porsche  also  went  ahead 
with  its  own  design  and  built  the  VK 
4501  (Porsche)  to  meet  the  same  re- 
quirement. Both  prototypes  were  com- 
pleted in  time  to  be  demonstrated  on 
Hitler's  birthday,  and  the  Henschel  de- 
sign was  selected  for  production  in  Au- 

Pust  1942  under  the  designation 
zKpfw  VI  Tiger  Ausf  E (SdMz  181). 
The  Tiger  was  in  production  from 
August  1942  to  August  1944,  a total  of 
1,350  vehicles  being  built.  It  was  then 
succeeded  in  production  by  the  Tiger 
II  or  King  Tiger  for  which  there  is  a 
separate  entry.  In  case  trials  proved 
the  VK  4501(H)  a failure,  a batcn  of  90 
VK  450 1(P)  tanks  was  ordered,  and 
these  were  subsequently  completed 
as  88-mm  (3.46-in)  tank  destroyers 
under  the  designation  Panzer]  ager  Ti- 
ger (P)  Ferdinand  (SdKfz  184).  The 
vehicle  was  named  after  its  designer. 
Dr  Ferdinand  Porsche. 

There  were  three  variants  of  the  Ti- 

gei,  these  being  the  Tiger  command 
tank  (Befehlspanzer  Tiger)  which  was 
the  basic  gun  tank  with  its  main  arma- 
ment removed,  but  fitted  with  a winch 
but  no  crane,  and  the  Sturmtiger  which 
had  a new  superstructure  fitted  with  a 
38-cm  (14.96-in)  Type  61  rocket- 
launcher  with  limited  traverse;  only  10 
of  the  last  were  built. 

For  its  time  the  Tiger  was  an  out- 
standing design  with  a powerful  gun 
and  good  armour,  but  it  was  also  too 
complicated  and  therefore  difficult  to 
produce.  One  of  its  major  drawbacks 
was  its  overlapping  wheel  suspension 
which  became  clogged  with  mud  and 
stones.  On  the  Eastern  Front  this  could 
be  disastrous  as  during  winter  nights 
the  mud  froze  and  by  the  morning  the 
tank  had  been  immobilized,  often  at 
the  exact  time  the  Soviets  would 
attack.  When  the  vehicle  travelled  on 
roads  a 51.5-cm  (20.3-in)  wide  track 
was  fitted,  while  a 71,5-cm  (28,1-in) 
wide  track  was  used  for  travel  across 
country  or  in  combat  as  this  gave  a 
lower  ground  pressure  and  so  im- 
proved traction. 

Main  armament  comprised  an  88- 
mm  (3.46-in)  KwK  36  gun,  with  a 7.92- 
mm  (0.31-in)  MG  34  machine-gun  co- 
axial with  the  main  armament  and  a 
similar  weapon  ball-mounted  in  the 
hull  front  on  the  right.  Totals  of  84 

rounds  of  88-mm  (3.46-in)  and  5,850 
rounds  of  machine-gun  ammunition 
were  carried. 

The  Tiger  was  first  encountered  in 
Tunisia  by  the  British  army  and  from 
then  on  appeared  on  all  of  the  German 

PzKpfw  VI  Tiger  Ausf  E 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  55000  kg  (121,250  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  (including 
armament)  8, 24  m (27  ftOin) ; length 
(hull)  6.20  m (20  ft  4 in);  width  3.73  m 

SS  Tigers  bivouac  on  the  Brenner 
Pass,  guarding  the  Italian  border 
with  Austria.  By  this  time  the  Allies 
had  landed  in  Italy  and  Mussolini 
had  been  overthrown. 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL  230  P 45 
12-cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
3 8 km/h  (24  mph) ; maximumrange 
road  100  km  (62  miles);  fording  1 .2m 
(3  ft  1 1 in);  gradient  60  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.79  m (2  ft  7 in) ; 
trench  1 .8  m (5  ft  1 1 in) 



Panzerkampfwagen  VI  Tiger  II  heavy  tank 

of  the  same  year,  the  Western  Allies 
calling  it  the  Royal  Tiger  or  King  Tiger 
while  the  Germans  called  it  the 
Konigstiger  (King  Tiger). 

In  many  respects  the  Tiger  II  was 
similar  in  layout  to  the  Panther  tank, 
and  was  powered  by  the  same  engine 
as  later  production  Panthers,  resulting 
in  a much  lower  power-to-weight  ratio, 
and  the  tank  was  therefore  much  slow- 
er and  less  mobile  than  the  Panther. 
While  its  armour  gave  almost  com- 
plete protection  against  all  of  the  guns 
fitted  to  Allied  tanks,  the  Tiger  II  was 
unreliable  and  its  bulk  made  it  difficult 
to  move  about  the  battlefield  and  to 
conceal.  Many  were  abandoned  or 
destroyed  by  their  crews  when  they 
ran  out  of  fuel  and  no  additional  sup- 
plies were  to  hand. 

The  hull  of  the  Tiger  II  was  of  all- 
welded  construction  with  a maximum 
thickness  of  150  mm  (5,9  in)  in  the  front 
of  the  hull.  The  driver  was  seated  at  the 
front  on  the  left,  with  the  bow  machine- 
gunner/radio  operator  to  his  right.  The 
turret  was  of  welded  construction  with 
a maximum  thickness  of  100mm 
(3,9  in)  at  the  front,  and  accommodated 
the  commander  and  gunner  on  the  left 
with  the  loader  on  the  right.  The  en- 
gine was  at  the  hull  rear.  Main  arma- 
ment comprised  a long-barrelled  88- 
mm  (3.46-in)  KwK  43  gun  that  could  fire 
armour-piercing  and  HE  ammunition. 

the  former  having  a much  higher  muz- 
zle velocity  than  the  equivalent  round 
fired  by  the  Tiger.  A 7.92-mm  (0.31-in) 
MG  34  was  mounted  co-axial  with  the 
main  armament,  and  another  weapon 
was  mounted  in  the  hull  front.  Totals  of 
84  rounds  of  88-mm  (3.46-in)  and  5,850 
rounds  of  7.92-mm  (0.31 -in)  machine- 
gun  ammunition  were  carried. 

The  Tiger  II  chassis  was  also  used  as 
the  basis  for  the  Jagdtiger  B , which  was 
armed  with  a 128-mm  (5 .04-in)  gun  in  a 
new  superstructure  with  limited 
traverse;  only  48  ofthese  powerful  tank 
destroyers  had  been  built  by  the  end 
of  the  war. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  69700  kg  (153,660  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  (including 
armament)  10.26  m (33  ft  8 in);  length 
(hull)  7,26  m (23  ft  9.75  in);  width  3,75  m 
( 1 2ft3 .5  in) ; height3.09m(  1 Oft  1 .5  in) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL  230  P 30 
12-cyhnder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
3 8 km/h  (24  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  1 10  km  (68  miles);  fording  1 .6m 
(5  ft3  in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0. 85  m (2  ft  1 0 in) ; trench 
2.50  m (8  ft  2 in) 

No  sooner  was  the  Tiger  in  production 
than  the  decision  was  taken  to  develop 
an  even  better  armed  and  armoured 
version,  especially  to  counter  any 
vehicle  that  the  Soviets  could  intro- 
duce in  the  future.  Once  again  Hens- 
chel  and  Porsche  were  asked  to  pre- 
pare designs.  Porsche  first  designed  a 
tank  based  on  the  earlier  VK  4501  de- 
sign and  armed  with  a 15-cm  (5.9-in) 
gun.  This  was  rejected  in  favour  of  a 
new  design  with  a turret- mounted  88- 
mm  (3.46-in)  gun,  which  was  soon  can- 
celled as  its  electric  transmission  used 
too  much  copper,  which  at  that  time 
was  in  short  supply.  By  this  time  the 
turrets  were  already  in  production  and 
these  were  subsequently  fitted  to  ear- 

ly-production  Henschel  tanks.  The  VK 
4503(H)  Henschel  design  was  com- 
pleted in  October  1943,  somewhat  la- 
ter than  anticipated  as  a decision  was 
taken  to  incorporate  components  of 
the  projected  Panther  II  tank. 

Production  of  the  Tiger  II,  or  Panzer- 
kampfwagen VI  Tiger  II  Ausf  B (SdKfz 
182)  to  give  its  correct  designation,  got 
under  way  at  Kassel  in  December  1943 
alongside  the  Tiger,  the  first  50  pro- 
duction vehicles  being  completed 
with  the  Porsche  turret.  All  subsequent 
tanks  had  the  Henschel  turret,  and  a 
total  of  485  vehicles  was  built. 

The  Tiger  II  first  saw  action  on  the 
Eastern  Eront  in  May  1944  and  on  the 
Western  Eront  in  Normandy  in  August 

'■  '"—I 

Above! A Tiger  II  with  Henschel 
turret  passes  American  prisoners 
taken  during  the  Ardennes  offensive. 
Many  of  the  tanks  were  abandoned 
as  the  attack  failed  for  lack  of  petrol. 

Righ  t:  A Konigstiger  with  Porsche 
turret.  Utilizing  the  latest  in  sloped 
armour  and  carrying  a long- 
barrelled  88-mm  high-velocity  gun, 
the  Tigerll  was  safe  from  almost  any 
Allied  tank  at  almost  any  r ange. 

Fiat  L 6/40  light  tank 

In  the  1930s  Fiat  Ansaldo  built  an  ex- 
port tank  based  on  the  chassis  of  the  L3 
tankette,  itself  a development  of  the 
The  first  prototype  was  armed  with 
twin  machine-guns  in  the  turret  and  a 
37  mm  gun  in  a sponson.  This  was  fol- 
lowed by  models  with  a turret- 
mounted  37-mm  gun  and  a co-axial 
machine-gun,  and  another  with  twin 
turret-mounted  8-mm  (0.315-in) 
machine-guns.  The  production  ver- 
sion, designated  Carro  Armato  L 6/40, 
was  built  from  1939  and  armed  with  a 
Breda  Model  35  20-mm  cannon  with  a 
co-axial  Breda  Model  38  8-mm  (0.315- 
in)  machine  gun.  Totals  of 296  rounds  of 
20-mmand  l,560roundsof8-mm(0.35- 
in)  ammunition  were  carried.  At  the 
time  of  its  introduction  the  L 6/40  was 
roughly  equivalent  to  the  German 
PzKpfw  II,  and  was  used  by  recon- 
naissance units  and  cavalry  divisions. 
A total  of 283  vehicles  was  built,  and  in 
addition  to  being  used  in  Italy  itself  the 

type  was  also  used  in  North  Africa  and 
on  the  Russian  front.  The  L 6/40  con- 
tinued in  service  with  the  militia  in 
post-war  Italy,  finally  being  phased  out 
of  service  in  the  early  1950s. 

The  hull  of  the  L 6/40  was  of  all- 
riveted  construction  varying  in  thick- 
ness from  6mm  (0,24m)  to  30mm 
(1.26  in).  The  driver  was  seated  at  the 
front  right,  the  turret  was  in  the  centre, 
and  the  engine  at  the  rear.  The  turret 
was  manually  operated  and  could  be 
traversed  through  360°;  its  weapons 
could  be  elevated  from  -12°  to  -e20°. 
The  commander  also  acted  as  gunner 
and  loader,  and  could  enter  the  vehi- 
cle via  the  hatch  in  the  turret  roof  or  via 
a door  in  the  right  side  of  the  hull. 
Suspension  on  each  side  consisted  of 
two  bogies  each  with  two  road  wheels, 
with  the  drive  sprocket  at  the  front  and 
idler  at  the  rear;  there  were  three 
track-return  rollers. 

There  was  also  a flamethrower  ver- 
sion of  the  L 6/40  in  which  the  20-mm 

cannon  was  replaced  by  a flamethrow- 
er for  which  200  litres  (44  Imp  gal)  of 
flame  liquid  were  earned.  The  com- 
mand model  had  additional  com- 
munications equipment  and  an  open- 
topped  turret.  Some  of  the  L 6/40s  were 
completed  as  Semovente  L40  47/32 
self-propelled  anti-tank  guns,  which 
were  essentially  L 6/40  with  the  turret 
removed  and  a 47-mm  anti-tank  gun 
mounted  in  the  hull  front  to  the  left  of 
the  driver.  This  had  an  elevation  from 

-12°  to  -e20°,  with  a total  traverse  of 
27° ; 70  rounds  of  ammunition  were  car- 
ried. In  addition  to  conversions  from 

Continued  on  page  518 

A knocked-outL  6/40  light  tank  is 
inspected  by  Australians  in  the 
desert.  In  spite  of  being  unsuitable 
for  front-line  service,  the  L 6/40  saw 
action  in  North  Africa  and  the  USSR 
as  well  as  in  Italy. 


the  L 6/40  tank  about  300  vehicles  were 
built  from  scratch  and  these  saw  ser- 
vice in  Italy,  North  Africa  and  the  USSR 
from  1941,  A command  version  was 
also  built  on  the  same  chassis  and  this 
had  its  armament  replaced  by  an  8- 
mm  (0.315-in)  Breda  machine-gun, 
which  was  made  to  look  like  the  larger 
calibre  gun  to  make  detection  of  the 
vehicle  more  difficult. 

Carro  Armato  L 6/40 
Crew:  2 

Weight:  6800  kg  (14,991  lb) 

Dimensions : length  3,78m(12ft5in); 
width  1.92m(6&in);height2.03m 
(6  ft  8 in) 

Powerplant:  one  SPA  18D  four- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42  km/h  (26  mph) ; maximumrange 
200  km  (124  miles);  fording0,8  m(2  ft 
8 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0. 7 m (2  ft4  in) ; trench  1,7m 
(5  ft  7 in) 

1^  Fiat  M 11/39  and  M 13/40  medium  tanks 

In  1937  the  prototype  of  the  Carro 
Armato  M 11/39  tank  was  built,  with  the 
suspension  system  of  the  L3  tankette 
but  with  six  road  wheels  on  each  side. 
In  layout  this  was  similar  to  the  Amer- 
ican M3  Lee  tank,  but  with  a 37-mm 
(rather  than  75-mm/2.95-in)  gun  in  the 
right  sponson,  driver  on  the  left,  and  in 
the  centre  of  the  hull  a one-man  turret 
armed  with  twin  8-mm  (0.315-in) 
machine-guns.  Further  development 
resulted  in  a model  with  eight  road 
wheels  and  this  basic  chassis  was  used 
for  all  subsequent  Italian  medium 
tanks.  Only  100  M 1 l/39s  were  built  as 
it  was  considered  that  the  design  was 
already  obsolete,  and  in  1940  70  of 
these  were  sent  to  North  Africa  where 
many  were  captured  or  destroyed 
during  the  first  battles  with  the  British 

Further  development  resulted  in  the 
M 13/40  which  had  a similar  chassis  but 
a redesigned  hull  of  riveted  construc- 
tion varying  in  thickness  from  6 mm 
(0.24  in)  to  42  mm  ( 1 .65  in).  The  driver 
was  seated  at  the  front  of  the  hull  on  the 
left  with  the  machine-gunner  to  his 
right;  the  latter  operated  the  twin  Mod- 
ello38  8-mm  (0.315-in)  machine-guns 
as  well  as  the  radios.  The  two-man  tur- 
ret was  in  the  centre  of  the  hull,  with 
the  commander/gunner  on  the  right 
and  the  loader  on  the  left,  and  with  a 
two-piece  hatch  cover  in  the  turret 
roof.  Main  armament  comprised  a 47- 
mm  32-calibre  gun  with  an  elevation  of 
-1-20°  and  a d^ression  of  -10°;  turret 
traverse  was  3o0°.  AModello  38  8-mm 
(0.315-in)  machine-gun  was  mounted 
co-axial  with  the  main  armament  and  a 
similar  weapon  was  mounted  on  the 
turret  roof  for  anti-aircraft  defence. 
Totals  of  104  rounds  of47-mm  and  3,048 
rounds  of  8-mm  (0.315-in)  ammunition 
were  carried.  The  engine  was  at  the 
rear  of  the  hull,  its  power  being  trans- 
mitted to  the  gearbox  at  the  front  of  the 
hull  via  a propeller  shaft.  Suspension 
on  each  sicie  consisted  of  four  double- 
wheel  articulated  bogies  mounted  on 
two  assemblies  each  carried  on  semi- 
elliptic  leaf  springs,  with  the  idler  at 
the  rear;  there  were  three  track-return 

The  M 13/40  was  built  by  Ansaldo- 
Fossati  at  the  rate  of  about  60  to  70 

vehicles  per  month,  a total  of 779  being 
produced.  The  tank  was  widely  used 
m North  Africa  by  the  Italian  army  but 
was  cramped,  proved  to  be  very  unre- 
liable in  service  and  was  prone  to 
catching  fire  when  hit  by  anti-tank  pro- 

Many  vehicles  were  captured  by 
the  British  army  after  being  aban- 
doned by  their  crews  and  subsequent- 
ly issued  to  the  British  6th  Royal  Tnk 
Regiment  (RTR)  and  the  Australian  6th 
Cavalry  Regiment  early  in  1941  when 
tanks  were  m a very  short  supply  on 
the  Allied  side.  The  Australian  regim- 
ent had  three  squadrons  of  captured 
vehicles  which  they  called  Dingo, 
Rabbit,  and  Wombat.  So  that  they  were 
not  engaged  by  Allied  units,  white 
kangaroos  were  painted  on  the  sides, 
glacis  and  turret  rear. 

The  Semovente  Comando  M 40 
command  vehicle  was  basically  the  M 
13/40  tank  with  its  turret  removed  and 
fitted  with  additional  communications 
equipment  for  use  in  the  command 
role.  Further  development  of  the  M 
13/40  resulted  in  the  M 14/41  and  M 
15/42,  for  which  there  is  a separate 

Carro  Armato  M 13/40 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  14000  kg  (30,865  lb) 

Dimensions:  length  4.92  m ( 16  ft  2 in); 
width  2 . 2 m (7  ft  3 in) ; height  2. 3 8 m (7  ft 
10  in) 

Performance:  one  SPA  TM40  eight- 

cylinder  diesel  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
32  km/h  (20  mph);  maximumrange 
200  km  (125  miles);  fording  1.0  m (3  ft 
3 in);  gradient  70  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0.8  m (2  ft  8 in);  trench  2. 1 m 
(6  ft  11  in) 

A/?ove;M/3/40smr/ie(ieserr,  1941. 
These  are  the  Semovente  Comande 
version,  without  turrets  and  with 
additional  radio  gear.  Many  were 
abandoned  by  theltalians  and  taken 
over  by  the  British. 

Below:  With  a 47-mm  sponson- 
mountedmain  gun  and  twin  8-mm 
(0.3 15-in)  machine-guns  in  the  two- 
man  turret,  the  Ml  1/39  was  soon 
outclassed  with  the  introduction  of 
improved  Allied  tanks. 



Fiat  M 15/42  medium  tank 

The  Carro  Armato  M 14/41  was 
essentially  the  M 13/40  fitted  with  a 
more  powerful  diesel  engine  which 
was  equipped  with  air  filters  designed 
to  cope  with  the  harsh  conditions  of  the 
desert.  Production  amounted  to  just 
over  1,1 00  of  these  vehicles,  which  had 
a similar  specification  to  the  M 13/40 
except  for  an  increase  in  speed  to 
33  km/h  (20  mph)  and  in  weight  to  14.5 
tonnes.  Further  development  resulted 
in  the  Carro  Armato  M 15/42,  which 
entered  service  in  early  1943.  A total  of 
82  of  these  was  built,  most  being  issued 
to  the  Ariete  Division  which  took  part 
in  the  Italian  attempt  to  deny  Rome  to 
the  Germans  in  September  1943.  Some 
of  these  vehicles  were  captured  by  the 
Germans  and  then  used  against  the 

The  M 15/42  was  slightly  longer  than 
the  M 14/41  and  distinguishable  from  it 
by  the  lack  of  a crew  access  door  in  the 
left  side  of  the  hull.  It  was  driven  by  a 
more  powerful  engine  which  made  it 
slightly  faster,  and  had  improved 
armour  protection  and  other  more 
minor  modifications  as  a result  of  oper- 
ator comments. 

The  hull  of  the  M 15/42  was  of  all- 
riveted  construction  which  varied  in 
thickness  from  42mm  (1.65  in)  to 
14mm  (0,55  in),  with  a maximum  of 
45  mm  (1.77  in)  on  the  turret  front.  The 
driver  was  seated  at  the  front  of  the  hull 
on  the  left,  with  the  bow  machine- 
gunner  to  his  right,  the  latter  operating 
the  twin  Breda  Modello  38  8-mm 
(0.315-in)  machine-guns  as  well  as  the 
radios.  The  turret  was  in  the  centre  of 
the  hull  and  armed  with  a 47-mm  40- 
calibre  gun  with  an  elevation  of  -i-20° 
and  a depression  of  -10°;  turret 
traverse,  which  was  electric,  was  360°. 
A Modello  38  8-mm  (0.315-in) 
machine-gun  was  mounted  co-axial 
with  the  main  armament,  and  a similar 
weapon  was  mounted  on  the  turret  roof 
for  anti-aircraft  defence.  Totals  of  1 1 1 
rounds  of  47-mm  and  2,640  rounds  of 

8-mm  (0.315 -in)  ammunition  were  car- 
ried. Suspension  on  each  side  con- 
sisted of  four  double-wheel  articulated 
bogies  mounted  in  two  assemblies 
each  carried  on  semi-elliptical 
springs,  with  the  drive  sprocket  at  the 
front  and  the  idler  at  the  rear;  there 
were  three  track-return  rollers.  The 
engine  was  at  the  rear  of  the  hull  and 
coupled  to  a manual  gearbox  with 
eight  forward  and  two  reverse  gears. 

By  the  time  the  M 15/42  haabeen 
introduced  into  service  it  was  already 
obsolete,  and  design  of  another  tank 
had  been  under  way  for  several  years. 
In  1942  the  first  prototypes  of  the  Carro 
Armato  P 40  heavy  tank  were  built. 
This  was  a major  advance  on  the  ear- 
lier Italian  tanks  and  used  a similar 
type  of  suspension  to  the  M 15/42.  The 
layout  was  also  similar  with  the  driver 
at  the  front,  turret  in  the  centre  and 
engine  at  the  rear.  Armour  protection 
was  much  improved  and  the  hull  and 
turret  sides  sloped  to  give  maximum 
possible  protection  within  the  weight 
limit  of  26  tonnes.  The  P 40  was  pow- 
ered by  a V- 12  petrol  engine  that  de- 
veloped 420  hp  (313kW)  to  give  it  a 
maximum  road  speed  of  40  km/h 
(25  mph).  Main  armament  comprised  a 
75-mm  (2,95-in)  34-calibre  gun  with  a 
co-axial  Modello  38  8-mm  (0.315-in) 
machine-gun.  Totals  of  75  rounds  of 
75-mm  (2.95-in)  and  600  rounds  of 
machine-gun  ammunition  were  car- 
ried, The  P 40  was  produced  by  Fiat  in 
northern  Italy,  but  none  of  tnese  en- 
tered service  with  the  Italian  army  and 
most  were  subsequently  taken  over  by 
the  German  army,  which  ensured  con- 
tinued production  for  itself,  some  re- 
orts  stating  that  over  50  vehicles  were 
uilt  for  German  use. 

CWo  Armato  M 15/42 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  15500  kg  (34,800  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  5.04  m (16  ft  7 in); 

width  2.23  m (7  ft  4 in);  height  2.39  m 
(7  ft  11  in) 

Powerplant:  one  SPA  1 5 TB  M42  eight- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (25  mph);  maximum  range 
220 km  (136  miles);  fording  1,0  m (3  ft 
3 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0. 8 m (2  ft  8 in) ; trench  2. 10m 
(6  ft  11  in) 

A squadron  ofM14/41  tanks  in 
Cyrenaica  in  1 942.  More  than  11 00  of 
these  tanks,  in  effect  tropicalized 
M13140s,  were  produced. 

Another  M14/41,  abandoned  after 
the  first  battle  oJAlamein.  The  Ml 51 
42  looked  simitar  but  had  no  side 
hatch.  Only  82  were  built. 


Type  95  light  tank 

The  Type  95  light  tank  was  developed 
to  meet  the  requirements  of  the 
Japanese  army  in  the  early  1930s,  the 
first  two  prototypes  being  completed 
in  1934  by  Mitsubishi  Heavy  Industries. 
These  were  tested  in  China  and  Japan 
and  the  type  was  then  standardized  as 
the  Type  95  light  tank,  the  company 
calling  the  vehicle  the  HA-GO  while 
the  army  called  the  vehicle  the  KE-GO. 
Over  1,100  Type  95s  were  built  before 
production  was  completed  in  1943, 
although  some  sources  have  stated 
that  production  continued  until  1945. 

The  hull  and  turret  of  the  Type  95 
were  of  riveted  construction  and 
varied  in  thickness  from  0.25  in  (6  mm) 
to  a maximum  of  0.55  in  (14  mm).  The 
driver  was  seated  at  the  front  on  the 
right  with  the  bow  machine-gunner  to 
his  left.  The  latter  operated  the  Type 
91  6.5-mm  (0.255-in)  weapon  (with  a 
traverse  of  35°  left  and  right),  which 
was  later  replaced  by  the  Type  97  7.7- 
mm  (0.303-m)  machine-gun.  The  turret 
was  in  the  centre  of  the  hull,  offset 
slightly  to  the  left  and  fitted  with  a Type 
94  37-mm  tank  gun  firing  armour- 
piercing  and  HE  ammunition.  This  gun 
was  later  replaced  by  the  Type  98  gun 
of  a similar  calibre  but  with  a higher 
muzzle  velocity.  There  was  no  co-axial 
machine-gun,  but  another  machine- 

gun  was  mounted  in  the  turret  rear  on 
the  right  side.  Totals  of  2,970  rounds  of 
ammunition  were  carried  for  the  two 
machine-guns  and  of  1 19  rounds  for  the 
main  armament.  A major  drawback  of 
this  tank,  like  many  Erench  tanks  of  the 

period,  was  the  fact  that  the  tank  com- 
mander also  had  to  aim,  load  and  fire 
the  main  armament  in  addition  to  car- 
rying out  his  primary  role  of  comman- 
ding the  tank. 

Tne  Mitsubishi  six-cylinder  air- 

cooled diesel  was  mounted  in  the  hull 
rear  and  coupled  to  a manual  transmis- 
sion with  one  reverse  and  four  forward 
gears.  Steering  was  of  the  clutch  and 
brake  type,  and  suspension  of  the  bell 
crank  type  consisting  of  each  side  of 


Type  95  tmlcs  cross  paddy  fields 
while  on  exercise.  The  Type  95 
sufficed  in  its  anti-infantry  role,  as  the 
Japanese  army  did  not  come  up 
against  any  armour  of  consequence 
until  meeting  the  Marines  in  1943. 

four  rubber-tyred  road  wheels,  with 
the  drive  sprocket  at  the  front  and  idler 
at  the  rear;  there  were  two  track- 
return  rollers. 

In  those  days  no  air-conditioning 
systems  were  available  to  keep  the 
interior  of  the  tank  cooled  so  the  waUs 
of  the  crew  compartment  were  lined 
with  asbestos  padding  which  in  addi- 
tion gave  some  protection  to  the  crew 
from  injury  when  travelling  across 


In  1943  a few  Type  95  light  tanks 
were  modified  to  carry  the  57-mm  gun 
as  fitted  to  the  97  medium  tank 
under  the  name  KE-RI,  but  the  variant 
was  not  very  successful  as  the  turret 
was  too  cramped.  The  KE-NU  was  the 
Type  95  with  the  complete  turret  of  the 
Type  97  CHI-HA  medium  tank.  The 
Type  95  was  succeeded  in  production 
by  the  Type  98  KE-NI  light  tank,  but 
only  about  100  of  these  were  built  be- 
fore production  was  completed  in  1943 
as  the  type  was  not  considered  a very 
satisfactory  design.  The  Type  2 KA-MI 
amphibious  tank  used  automotive 
components  of  the  Type  95  light  tank, 
and  this  was  widely  used  in  the  early 


^ Type  97  medium  tank 

In  the  mid- 1930s  a requirement  was 
issued  for  a new  medium  tank  to  re- 
place the  Type  89B  medium  tank 
which  by  then  was  rapidly  becoming 
obsolete.  As  the  Engineering  Depart- 
ment and  the  General  Staff  could  not 
agree  on  the  better  design,  two  pro- 
totypes were  built.  Mitsubishi  built  the 
design  of  the  Engineering  Department 
while  Osaka  Arsenal  built  the  design  of 
the  General  Staff.  There  was  in  fact 
little  to  choose  between  the  two  de- 
signs, although  the  Mitsubishi  tank  was 
heavier  and  driven  by  a more  power- 
ful engine.  The  Mitsubishi  prototype 
was  standardized  as  the  Type  97  CHI- 
HA  medium  tank  and  some  5,000  vehi- 
cles were  built  before  production  was 
finally  completed  in  the  middle  of 
World  War  U. 

The  hull  and  turret  of  the  Type  97 
medium  tank  were  of  riveted  construc- 
tion that  varied  in  thickness  from  8 mm 
(0,30  in)  to  25  mm  (0.98  mm).  The  driv- 
er was  seated  at  the  front  of  the  hull  on 
the  right,  with  the  1.1 -mm  (0.303-in) 
^pe  97  machine-gunner  to  his  left. 
The  two-man  turret  was  in  the  centre  of 
the  hull,  offset  to  the  right,  and  could  be 
traversedmanually  through 360°.  Main 
armament  consisted  of  a 57-mm  Type 
97  gun  with  an  elevation  of  +11°  and 
depression  of  - 9°,  and  another  7. 7-mm 
(0.303-in)  machine-gun  was  located  in 
the  turret  rear.  Totals  of  120  rounds  of 
57-mm  (80  high  explosive  and  40  of 
armour-piercing)  and  2,350  rounds  of 
7. 7-mm  (0.303-m)  ammunition  were 

The  12-cylinder  air-cooled  diesel 

was  mounted  at  the  rear  of  the  hull  and 
transmitted  power  via  a propeller  shaft 
to  the  gearbox  in  the  nose  of  the  tank; 
the  gearbox  had  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears.  Steering  was  of  the 
clutch  and  brake  type,  and  suspension 
on  each  side  consisted  of  six  dual  rub- 
ber-tyred road  wheels,  with  the  drive 
sprocket  at  the  front  and  idler  at  the 
rear;  there  were  three  track-return 
rollers.  The  four  central  road  wheels 
were  paired  and  mounted  on  bell 
cranks  resisted  by  armoured  com- 
ression  springs,  while  each  end 
ogie  was  independently  bell  crank- 
mounted  to  the  hull  in  a similar  manner. 

When  first  introduced  into  service 
the  Type  97  was  quite  an  advanced 
design  apart  from  its  main  armament, 
.which  had  a low  muzzle  velocity.  A 
feature  of  most  Japanese  tanks  or  this 
period  was  that  they  were  powered  by 
diesel  rather  than  petrol  engines, 
which  gave  them  a much  increased 
operational  range  as  well  as  reducing 
the  ever-present  risk  of  fire,  the  dread 
of  any  tank  crew. 

In  1942  the  Type  97  medium  tank 
(special)  was  introduced:  this  had  a 
new  turret  armed  with  a 41 -mm  Type 
97  gun  that  fired  ammunition  with  a 
higher  muzzle  velocity  and  therefore 
improved  penetration  characteristics. 
This  weapon  used  the  same  ammuni- 
tion as  Japanese  anti-tank  guns  and 
therefore  helped  ammunition  com- 
monality in  the  front  line. 

The  chassis  of  the  Type  97  was  also 
used  as  the  basis  for  a number  of  other 
vehicles  including  a flail-equipped 

Pacific  campaigns  of  World  War  II. 
Japan  also  used  tankettes  on  a large 
scale  including  the  Types  92,  94  and 
97,  the  last  being  the  most  common. 

When  used  in  China  and  during  the 
early  World  War  II  campaigns  against 
the  Americans,  the  Type  95  proved  a 
useful  vehicle,  but  once  confronted  by 
American  tanks  and  anti-tank  guns  it 
was  outclassed. 

Type  95 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  7400  kg  (16,314  lb) 
Dimensions:  length4.38m(  14  Min); 
width  2.057  m (6  ft  9 in);  height  2. 1 84  m 
(7  ft  2 in) 

A Type  95  m speed,  probably  in 
Manchuria.  Japan's  conquests  were 
aided  considerably  by  the  fact  that 
none  other  opponen  tspossessed 
any  significant  amount  of  armour, 
nor  any  an  ti-tank  capability. 

Powerplant:  oneMitsubishiNVD6120 
six-cylinder  air-cooled  diesel  engine 
developing  120  hp  (89  kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
45  km/h  (28  mph);  maximum  range 
250  km  (156  miles);  fording  1.0  m(3ft 
3 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
ob  Stacie  0 . 8 1 2 m (2  ft  8 in) ; trench  2.0m 
(6  ft  7 in) 

mineclearmg  tank,  self-propelled 
guns  (including  the  150-mm/5.9-m 
Type  38  HO-RO),  self-propelled  anti- 
aircraft guns  (including  20-mm  and  75- 
mm/2.9j-in),  an  engineer  tank,  a re- 
covery vehicle  and  an  armoured 
bridgelayer.  Most  of  these  were  built 
in  such  small  numbers  that  they  played 
little  part  m actual  operations.  The 
Type  97  was  replaced  in  production 
by  the  Type  1 CHI-HE  medium  tank, 
followed  by  the  Type  3 CHI-NU,  of 
which  only  60  were  built  by  the  end  of 
the  war.  The  last  Japanese  medium 
tanks  were  the  Type  4 and  Type  5,  but 
'neither  of  these  well-armed  vehicles 
saw  combat. 

Type  97 
Crew:  4 

Probably  the  best  Japanese 
armoured  vehicle  to  see  any  great 
amount  of  service,  the  Type  97  was  a 
fairly  advanced  design  that  was 
handicapped  by  an  inadequa  te  gun. 

Weight:  15000  kg  (33,069  lb) 
Dimensions : length5 .516m(18ftlin); 
(7  ft  4 in) 

Powerplant:  one  Mitsubishi  12- 
cylinder  air-cooled  diesel  engine 
developing  170  hp(127kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
38  km/h  (24  mph);  maximum  range 
210  km  (130 miles);  fording  1.0  m (3  ft 
3 in);  gradient  57  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacleO,  8 1 2m(2ft6in) ; trench 
2.514  m (8  ft  3 in) 


British  and 
French  Tanks 

Since  the  birth  of  the  tank  in  1916,  the  British  have  led  the  world  in  both  the 
design  and  use  of  armoured  forces,  but  by  1939  internal  army  politics  and 
mistaken  tactical  doctrine  had  robbed  Britain  of  this  important  and 

hard-won  advantage. 


French  mechanized  units  parading  with  their  Hotchkiss  H35  tanks.  A small,  lightly  armed  vehicle 
with  a crew  of  two,  it  saw  service  with  the  French  in  both  cavalry  and  infantry-support  roles. 

The  tanks  discussed  here  are 
among  some  of  the  least 
successful  of  the  World  War  II 
period.  Some  of  them  (such  as 
the  British  Valentine,  Matilda  and 
Churchill)  were  eventually  turned 
into  good  fighting  machines,  but  - 
working  in  a rush  and  without  a 
proper  development  base  from 
which  to  work  up  their  designs  - 

many  British  tank  designers 
produced  tanks  that  were  no 
match  for  their  counterparts  in 
the  German  Panzer  units.  The  rea- 
sons for  this  are  described  herein, 
but  it  is  not  all  a sorry  tale:  despite 
their  drawbacks,  these  tanks  (both 
Infantry  and  Cruiser  types)  were 
at  times  aU  there  was  to  hand  and 
with  them  their  crews  and  com- 

manders learned  the  important 
lessons  that  were  to  produce  the 
eventual  Allied  victory. 

Some  of  the  development  and 
design  results  were  remarkable. 
Working  from  a base  where  virtu- 
ally no  heavy  engineering  facili- 
ties existed,  Australia  was  able  to 
produce  the  Sentinel  from 
scratch,  and  it  was  no  fault  of  the 

designers  that  their  progeny  was 
never  to  see  action.  The  same 
can  be  said  of  the  Canadians, 
who  produced  the  Ram  in  a 
remarkably  short  time,  again  from 
scratch  and  with  no  tank  produc- 
tion experience  whatsoever. 

These  two  projects  must  rate 
among  the  more  remarkable 
production  feats  of  World  War  II, 
but  today  they  are  little  known 
outside  their  home  nations. 

The  tale  of  the  Cruiser  tanks 
produced  by  the  United  Kingdom 
has  by  now  been  often  told  but  it 
still  bears  re-examination,  showing 
as  it  does,  how  a doctrine  accept- 
ed without  proper  investigation 
can  affect  the  course  of  battles, 
even  well  past  the  point  when  the 
doctrine  has  been  found  wanting. 
British  and  Allied  tank  crews  had 
to  drive  their  charges  into  battle 
knowing  that  their  main  guns 
were  too  weak,  their  armoured 
protection  too  thin  and  their 
mechanical  reliability  all  too  sus- 
pect at  a critical  moment.  But  they 
went  into  battle  all  the  same  and 
often  managed  to  defeat  a better- 
armed and  prepared  enemy. 

Thus,  while  reading  of  the  tanks 
one  must  think  of  the  men  who 
manned  and  fought  them,  for 
tanks  are  but  lumps  of  metal 
constructed  in  a certain  fashion, 
and  are  nothing  without  men  to 
drive  and  use  them  in  combat. 



U Hotchkiss  H-35  and  H-39  hght  tanks 

During  the  early  1930s  the  French 
army,  in  common  with  many  other 
European  armies,  decided  to  re-equip 
its  ageing  tank  parks  with  modern 
equipment.  At  that  time  the  French  fol- 
lowed the  current  practice  of  dividing 
tank  functions  into  cavalry  and  infantry 
usage  and  one  of  the  new  tanks  in- 
tended for  cavalry  use  was  a design 
known  as  the  Char  Leger  Hotchkiss 
H-35.  But  although  intended  primarily 
for  cavalry  formation  use,  the  H-35  was 
later  adopted  for  infantry  support  as 
well,  mafang  it  one  of  the  more  impor- 
tant of  the  French  tanks  of  the  day.  The 
H-35  was  a small  vehicle  with  a crew  of 
two,  and  it  was  lightlv  armed  with  only 
a 37-mm  (1.46-in)  short-barrelled  g^in 
and  a single  7.5-mm  (0.295-in) 
machine-gun.  Armour  was  also  light, 
ranging  in  the  thickness  from  12  mm 
(0.47  in)  to  34  mm  (1.34  in).  It  was  also 
rather  underpowered,  and  after  about 
400  H-35s  had  been  produced  from 
1936  onwards  the  basic  model  was 
supplemented  by  the  Char  Leger 
Hotchkiss  H-39,  first  produced  during 
1939.  The  production  totals  for  the  H-39 
were  much  greater  (eventually  run- 
ning to  over  1,000  units),  but  in  general 
French  tank  production  was  slow, 
being  severely  limited  by  a lack  of 
mass  production  facilities,  and  was 
constantly  beset  by  labour  troubles, 
even  after  1939. 

The  H-39  differed  from  the  H-35  in 
having  a 120-  rather  than  75-hp  (89.5- 
rather  than  56-kW)  engine,  and  could 
be  recognized  by  the  raised  rear 
decking,  which  on  the  H-39  was  almost 
flat  compared  with  the  pronounced 
slope  on  the  H-35.  Also  a new  and  lon- 
ger 37-mm  gun  was  fitted,  but  this  was 
only  marginally  more  powerful  than 
the  earlier  weapon  and  soon  proved  to 
be  virtually  useless  against  most  Ger- 
man tanks. 

Both  the  H-35  and  the  H-39  were 
used  in  action  in  France  in  May  1940, 
and  both  were  able  to  give  a good 
account  of  themselves.  However,  their 
part  in  the  fighting  was  more  than  dimi- 
nished by  their  dismal  tactical  use.  In- 
stead of  being  used  en  masse  (in  the 
way  that  the  Germans  used  their  Pan- 
zer columns),  the  French  tanks  were 
scattered  along  the  line  in  penny  pack- 
ets, assigned  to  local  infantry  support 
instead  of  being  used  as  an  effective 
anti- armour  force  and  were  able  to 
make  little  impact.  On  occasion  they 

were  able  to  surprise  the  Germans, 
but  only  in  purely  local  actions,  so 
many  were  either  destroyed  or  cap- 
tured by  the  advancing  Germans,  Al- 
ways short  of  materiel,  the  Germans 
took  many  Hotchkiss  tanks  into  their 
own  service  as  the  PzKpfw  35-H  734(f) 
and  PzKpfw  39-H  735(f),  and  these 
were  used  for  some  years  by  second- 
line  and  occupation  units.  Many  of  the 
H-35  and  H-39  tanks  later  had  their 
turrets  removed  and  replaced  by  Ger- 
man anti-tank  guns  for  use  as  mobile 
tank  destroyers. 

Not  all  the  French  tanks  fell  into  Ger- 
man hands.  Many  were  located  in  the 
French  Middle  Fast  possessions  and 
some  were  either  taken  over  by  the 
Free  French  or  were  used  in  action  by 
the  Vichy  French  during  the  campaign 
in  Syria  in  1941.  Perhaps  the  Hotchkiss 
tanks  with  the  most  unusual  travel  tales 
were  those  taken  by  the  Germans  to 
the  Soviet  Union  in  1941,  when  they 
were  so  short  of  tanks  that  even  the 
captured  French  vehicles  were  found 

Bv  1945  there  were  few  H-35s  or 
H-39s  left  anywhere:  the  Middle  East 
examples  survived  in  small  numbers, 
and  post-war  some  were  used  to  form 
part  of  the  Israeli  army  tank  arm,  re- 
maining in  service  as  late  as  1956. 

Hotchkiss  H-39 
Crew:  2 

Weight:  12.1  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Hotchkiss  6-cylmder 
petrol  engine  developing  120  hp 

Dimensions : length  4 . 22  m ( 1 3 ft  1 0 in) ; 
width  1 .95  m (6  n4.8  in) ; height2, 15m 
(7  ft  0.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
3 6 km/h  (22 . 3 mph) ; maximumroad 
range  120km(74,5miles);fording 
0. 85  m (2  ft  1 0 in) ; gradient  40° ; vertical 

Fitted  with  the  SA  38  37-mm  L33,  the 
H-39  had  a respectable  performance 
by  1930s  standards.  Its  only  major 
disadvantage  was  that  the 
commander  had  to  work  the  gun. 

H-35s,  seen  here  on  parade, 
equipped  many  French  mechanized 
cavalry  units.  Although  armed  with 
the  ineffectual  SA  18  37-mm  121,  they 
could  still  have  performed  effectively 
in  the  reconnaissance  role  but 
instead  were  deployed  piecemeal  to 
bolster  the  infantry. 

obstacle0.50m(l  ft8in);trench  1,80  m 
(5  ft  11  in) 


Renault  R 35 

The  Renault  R 35  had  its  origins  in  a 
design  known  originally  as  the  Renault 
ZM,  produced  in  late  1934  in  answer  to 
a French  army  request  for  a new  infan- 
try support  tank  to  supplement  and 
eventually  replace  the  ageing  Renault 
FT  17  which  dated  back  to  World  War 
I,  Trials  of  the  new  tank  started  in  early 
1935,  and  in  that  same  year  the  design 
was  ordered  into  production  without 
completion  of  the  testing  as  Germany 
appeared  to  be  in  a mood  for  conflict. 
Before  production  got  under  way  it 
was  decided  to  increase  the  armour 
basis  from  30mm  (1.18  in)  to  40  mm 
(1.575  in). 

The  R 35  never  entirely  replaced 
the  FT  17  in  service,  but  by  ^940  over 
1,600  had  been  built  and  it  was  the 
most  numerous  French  infantry  tank  in 
use.  Its  overall  appearance  was  not 
unlike  that  of  the  CT  17,  for  it  was  a 

small  tank  with  a crew  of  only  two.  The 
design  made  much  use  of  cast  armour 
and  the  suspension  followed  the  Re- 
nault practice  of  the  day,  being  of  the 

Continued  onpage  1324 

Two-man  infantry  support 
the  Great  War  tradition,  th 

tanks  in 
the  R 35s 

were  built  in  the  belief  that  tank 
warfare  had  changed  little  since 


swept  through  France. 

Large  numbers  of  R 35s  fell  into  Ger- 
man hands  virtually  intact.  These  were 
duly  put  to  use  by  various  garrison  un- 
its in  France  while  many  eventually 
passed  to  driver  and  other  tank  train- 
ing schools.  With  the  invasion  of  the 
Soviet  Union  many  R 35s  were  stripped 
of  their  turrets  and  used  as  artillery 
tractors  or  ammunition  carriers.  Later, 
many  of  the  R 35s  still  in  France  had 
their  turrets  removed  so  that  their  hulls 
could  be  converted  as  the  basis  of 
several  self-propelled  artillery  or  anti- 
tank gun  models,  the  turrets  then 
being  emplaced  in  concrete  along  the 
coastal  defences  of  the  Atlantic  Wall. 

Thus  the  R 35  passed  into  history, 
and  despite  its  numbers  its  combat  re- 

S-35 gave  a good  account  of  itself 
though  revealing  a serious  design  de- 
fect when  under  fire:  the  upper  and 
lower  hull  halves  were  joined  by  a ring 
of  bolts  along  a horizontal  join,  and  if  an 
anti-tank  projectile  hit  this  join  the  two 
halves  split  apart  with  obvious  dire  re- 
sults. But  at  the  time  this  mattered  less 
than  the  way  in  which  the  tanks  had  to 
be  handled:  the  S-35  had  a crew  of 
three  (driver,  radio  operator  and  com- 
mander), and  it  was  the  commander  in 
his  one-man  turret  who  caused  the 
problems,  for  this  unfortunate  had  not 
only  to  keep  an  eye  on  the  local  tactical 
scene,  but  also  to  assimilate  orders 
from  the  radio  while  loading  and  firing 
the  gun.  The  tasks  were  too  much  for 
one  man,  so  the  full  potential  of  the  S-35 
was  rarely  attained.  As  with  other 
French  tanks  of  the  day  the  S-35s  were 
split  into  small  groups  scattered  long 
the  French  line  and  were  called 
together  on  only  a few  occasions  for 
worthwhile  counterstrokes  against  the 
Panzer  columns. 

After  the  occupation  of  France  the 
Germans  took  over  as  many  S-35s  as 
they  could  find  for  issue  to  occupation 
and  training  units  under  the  designa- 
tion PzKpfw  35-S  739(0-  Some  were 
handed  over  to  the  Italian  army,  but 
many  were  still  based  in  France  when 
the  Allies  invaded  in  1944  and  S-35s 
were  once  more  in  action,  this  time  in 
German  hands.  Any  S-35s  taken  by  the 
Allies  were  passed  over  to  the  Free 
French,  who  in  their  turn  used  them  in 
the  reduction  of  the  beleaguered  Ger- 
man garrisons  locked  up  in  their  Atlan- 
tic sea-port  strongholds. 

type  used  on  the  Renault  cavalry  tank 
designs.  The  driver's  position  was  for- 
ward, while  the  commander  had  to  act 
as  his  own  loader  and  gunner  firing  a 
37-mm  (1,456-in)  short-barrelled  gun 
and  co-axial  7.5-mm  (0.295-in) 
machine-gun  mounted  in  a small  cast 
turret.  This  turret  was  poorly  equipped 
with  vision  devices  and  was  so 
arranged  that  the  commander  had  to 
spend  much  of  his  time  in  action  stand- 
ing on  the  hull  floor.  Out  of  action  the 
rear  of  the  turret  opened  as  a flap  on 
which  the  commander  could  sit. 

For  its  day  the  R 35  was  a sound 
enough  vehicle,  and  was  typical  of 
contemporary  French  design.  In  1940 
a version  with  a revised  suspension 
and  known  as  the  AMX  R 40  was  intro- 


I I SOMUA  S-35 

When  the  re-equipment  of  the  French 
cavalry  arm  with  tanks  started  during 
the  mid- 1930s  several  concerns  be- 
came involved,  among  them  a 
Schneider  subsidiary  in  St  Ouen  and 
known  as  the  Societe  d'Outillage 
Mecanique  et  d'Usinage  d'Artillerie, 
better  known  as  SOMUA,  In  1935  this 
concern  displayed  a tank  prototype 
that  attracted  immediate  attention,  and 
its  very  advanced  design  was  quickly 
recognized  by  the  award  of  a produc- 

duced, and  a few  were  produced  be- 
fore the  Germans  invaded  in  May  1940. 
The  little  R 35s  soon  proved  to  be  no 
match  for  the  German  Panzers.  For  a 
start  they  were  usually  allocated  in 
small  numbers  in  direct  support  of  in- 
fantry formations,  and  could  thus  be 
picked  off  piecemeal  by  the  massed 
German  tanks.  Their  gun  proved  vir- 
tually ineffective  against  even  the 
lightest  German  tanks , though  in  return 
their  40-mm  (1,575-m)  armour  was 
fairly  effective  against  most  of  the  Ger- 
man anti-tank  guns.  Thus  the  R 35s 
could  contribute  but  little  to  the  course 
of  the  campaign  and  many  were  either 
destroyed  or  simply  abandoned  by 
their  crews  in  the  disasters  that  over- 
took the  French  army  as  the  Germans 

medium  tank 

weapon  in  1944.  The  secondary  arma- 
ment was  a single  7.5-mm  (0,295-in) 
co-axial  machine-gun. 

The  S-35  was  ordered  into  produc- 
tion but,  as  in  nearly  all  other  sectors  of 
the  French  defence  industry  before 

1939,  this  production  was  slow  and  be- 
set by  labour  and  other  troubles.  Only 
about  400  S-35s  had  been  produced  by 
the  time  the  Germans  invaded  in  May 

1940,  and  of  those  only  about  250  were 
in  front-line  service.  But  in  action  the 

cord  was  such  that  it  proved  to  be  of 
more  use  to  the  Germans  than  the 

Renault  R 35 
Crew:  2 

Weight:  10000  kg  (22,046  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneRenault4-cylmder 
petrol  engine  developing  61  kW 

Dimensions : length4 . 20  m(  1 3 ft 
9.25  in);  width  1.85  m (6  ftO.75  in); 
Performance:  maximum  speed  20 
km/h(12.4mph);  range  140  km  (87 
miles);  fording  0.8  m (2  ft  7 in);  vertical 
ob  Stacie  0.5m(lft7,7in);  trench  1.6m 
(5  ft  3 in) 

Well  protected  and  manoeuvrable, 
the  SOMUA  S-35  was  undoubtedly 
the  best  Allied  tank  in  1940.  It  had  a 
radio  and  its  47 -mm  gun  could  fire 
both  armour-piercing  shot  and  high 
explosive,  an  obvious  requirement 
which  had  escaped  British 

SOMUA  S-35 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  19.5  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  SOMUA  V-8  petrol 
engine  developing  190  hp  (141. 7 kW) 
Dimensions:  Iength5.38m(17ft7,8in); 
width  2.12  m (6  ft  11.5  in);  height  2.62  m 
(8  ft  7 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.85  mph);  maximum  road 
range 230 km  (143  miles) ; fording 
1 .00  m (3  ft  3 in) ; gradient40°;  vertical 
obstacle  0 . 76  m (2  ft  6 in) ; trench  2.13m 

tion  order.  One  of  the  best  if  not  the 
best  AFV  of  its  day,  the  type  was 
known  as  the  SOMUA  S-35  to  most  of 
Europe  though  to  the  French  army  it 
was  the  Automitrailleuse  de  Combat 
(AMC)  modele  1935  SOMUA 
The  S-35  had  many  features  that 
were  later  to  become  commonplace. 
The  hull  and  turret  were  both  cast 
components  at  a time  when  most  con- 
temporary vehicles  used  riveted 
plates.  The  cast  armour  was  not  only 
well-shaped  for  extra  protection  but  it 
was  also  much  thicker  (minimum  of 
20  mm/0,79  in  and  maximum  of  55  mm/ 
2, 1 6 in)  than  the  norm  for  the  time.  For 
all  that  it  still  had  a good  reserve  of 
power  provided  by  a V-8  petrol  en- 
gine for  lively  battlefield  performance, 
and  a good  operational  radius  of  action 
was  ensured  by  large  internal  fuel 
tanks.  Radio  was  standard,  at  a time 
when  hand  signals  between  tanks 
were  still  common.  To  add  to  all  these 
advantages  the  S-35  was  armed  with  a 
powerful  gun:  the  47-mm  (1.85-in)  SA 
35  was  one  of  the  most  powerful 
weapons  of  the  day  and  a gun  that 
could  still  be  regarded  as  a useful 

In  1940  manySOMUAs  were 
damaged  and  abandoned  like  the 
one  seen  here,  but  the  vehicle  was 
good  enough  for  the  Germans  to  use 
against  the  Allies  four  years  later. 

Below:Despite  the  weakness 
of  having  the  commander  operate 
the  main  armamen  t,  the  S-35  was  a 
fine  tank. 


Crew:  4 

Weight:  3 1,5  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Renault  6-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  307  hp 

Dimensions:  length  6.37  m(20ft 
lO.Sin) ; width2.50m(8ft2.4in)  ;height 
2.79  m (9  ft  1.8  in) 

Performance:  maximumroad  speed 
28  km/h  (17.4  mph);  maximumroad 
range  180km(l  12miles);fordingnot 
known;  gradient  50  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  0.93  m (3  ft  1 in);  trench  2,74  m 

The  Char  B I was  easily  able  to  deal 
with  any  German  tank  in  existence, 
but  abysmal  handling  rendered  it 
largely  inejfective. 

Some  were  fitted  with  flamethrowers 
as  the  PzKpfw  Flamm(f).  In  1944  a few 
were  still  around  to  pass  once  more 
into  French  army  use  but  by  1945  only 
a handful  were  left. 


I I Char  B 1-bis  heavy  tank 

The  series  of  tanks  known  as  the  Char 
B had  a definite  look  of  the  'Great  War' 
era  about  them,  and  this  is  not  surpris- 
ing for  their  development  can  be 
traced  back  as  far  as  1921  and  the 
aftermath  of  World  War  I,  What  was 
demanded  at  that  time  was  a tank  with 
a 75-mm  (2,95-in)  gun  set  in  a hull- 
mounted  embrasure,  but  it  was  not  un- 
til about  1930  that  the  result  of  this  re- 
quest was  finally  built.  This  was  the 
Char  B heavy  tank  with  a weight  of 
about  25  tonnes,  and  prolonged  de- 
velopment led  in  1935  to  the  mil  pro- 
duction version,  the  Char  BI. 

The  Char  BI  was  a powerful  tank  for 
the  period  as  it  had  a turret-mounted 
47-mm  (1.85-in)  gun  and  a 75-mm  (2.95- 
in)  gun  set  in  the  lower  hull  front.  The 
limited  traverse  of  this  latter  gun  was 
partially  offset  by  a complex  steering 
system  that  allowed  the  vehicle  to  be 
rapidly  pointed  towards  the  correct 
target  sector.  Although  its  archaic 
appearance  belied  the  fact,  the  Char  B 
was  full  of  very  advanced  design  fea- 
tures that  ranged  from  self-sealing  fuel 
tanks  to  grouped  lubrication  for  the 
many  bearings;  an  electric  starter  was 
also  provided  and  attention  was  given 
to  internal  fire  protection.  However, 
the  crew  of  four  men  was  scattered 
about  the  interior  in  a way  that  made 
internal  communication  difficult,  and 
this  led  to  many  operational  problems. 
The  crew  of  the  Char  BI  had  to  be  a 
highly-trained  group  of  specialists  to 
make  the  best  or  the  vehicle's  potential 
fighting  value,  and  in  1940  these  teams 
were  few  and  far  between. 

The  final  production  model  was  the 
Char  Bl-bis  which  had  increased 
armour  (maximum  and  minimum  of  65 
and  14  mm/2.56  and  0,55  in  compared 
with  the  Char  Bl's  40  and  14  mrn/1.57 
and  0.55  in),  a revised  turret  design 
and  a more  powerful  engine.  Later 
production  models  had  an  even  more 
powerful  aircraft  engine  and  extra  fuel 
capacity.  Production  of  the  CharBI-bis 
started  m 1937,  and  by  1940  there  were 
about  400  Char  Bs  of  all  types  in  ser- 
vice. By  then  the  Char  BI  and  Char 
Bl-bis  were  the  most  numerous  and 
powerful  of  all  the  French  heavy  tanks, 
and  the  basic  type  was  the  main  battle 
tank  of  the  few  French  armoured 


The  Germans  had  a great  respect 
gun  was  quite  capable  of  knocking  out 
even  their  PzKpfw  IV,  but  they  were 
considerably  assisted  during  the  May 
1940  fighting  by  several  factors.  One 
was  that  the  Char  Bis  were  complex 
beasts  and  required  a great  deal  of 
careful  maintenance:  many  simply 
broke  down  en  route  to  battle  and 
were  left  for  the  Germans  to  take  over 
undamaged.  The  type's  combat  poten- 
tial was  somewhat  lessened  by  the 
need  for  a well-trained  crew  and  by 
the  usual  drawback  in  French  design 
and  usage  of  the  commander  having  to 
serve  the  gun  as  well  as  command  the 
tank  and  crew.  The  final  drawback  for 
the  French  was  that,  as  was  the  case 
with  other  tank  formations , the  Char  B I 
units  were  frequently  broken  up  into 
small  local-defence  groups  instead  of 
being  grouped  to  meet  the  German 
tank  advances. 

The  Germans  took  over  the  Char 
Bl-bis  as  the  PzKpfw  Bl-bis  740(f)  and 
used  it  for  a variety  of  purposes.  Some 
were  passed  intact  to  occupation  units 
such  as  those  in  the  Channel  Islands, 
while  others  were  converted  for  driver 
training  or  were  altered  to  become 
self-propelled  artillery  carriages. 

T/ze  400  or  so  Char  Bis  possessed  by 
the  French  army  in  1940  were 
potentially  a devastating  striking 

Vickers  Light 

The  Vickers  Light  Tanks  had  their  ori- 
gins in  a series  of  tankettes  designed 
and  produced  by  Carden-Loyd  during 
the  1920s.  The  story  of  these  little  vehi- 
cles is  outside  the  scope  of  this  account 
but  one  of  them,  the  Carden-Loyd  Mk 
VIII,  acted  as  the  prototype  for  the 
Vickers  Light  Tank  Mk  I.  Only  a few  of 
these  innovative  vehicles  were  pro- 
duced and  issued,  but  they  provided  a 
great  deal  of  insight  into  what  would  be 
required  for  later  models.  The  Mk  I 
had  a two-man  crew  and  had  a small 
turret  for  a 1.1 -mm  (0.303-m)  machine- 

The  Mk  I led  via  the  Light  Tank  Mk 
lA  (better  armour)  to  the  Light  Tank 
Mk  II  (improved  turret  and  modified 
suspension)  which  appeared  in  1930, 
and  this  formed  the  basis  for  later  ver- 
sions up  to  the  Light  Tank  Mk  VI.  All 
these  fight  tanks  used  a simple  hull 
with  riveted  armour  which  was  of  the 
order  of  10  to  15  mm  (0.39  to  0.59  in) 
thick.  From  the  Light  Tank  Mk  V on- 
wards the  turret  was  enlarged  to  take 


two  men,  making  a three-man  crew  in 
all,  and  the  same  mark  also  saw  the 
introduction  of  a 12.7-mm  (0.5-in) 
machine-gun  alongside  the  original 
7.7-mm  (0.303-in)  weapon.  Of  course 
there  were  changes  between  all  the 
various  marks:  for  instance  the  Light 
Tank  Mk  IV  was  the  first  to  use  the 
armour  as  supporting  plates  for  the 
chassis,  rather  than  tfie  other  way 
round,  and  changes  were  made  to  the 
suspension  to  improve  cross-country 
performance.  With  the  Mk  VI  the  light 
tanks  came  to  the  peak  of  their  de- 
velopment and  were  agile  vehicles 
capable  of  a nifty  cross-country  speed, 
and  were  up- armed  to  the  point  where 
the  Light  Tank  Mk  Vic  had  a 15 -mm 
(0 . 5 9 -m)  heavy  machine-gun  in  the  tur- 
ret. All  manner  of  changes  to  items 
such  as  engine  cooling  and  vision  de- 
vices were  also  introduced  on  this  late 
mark,  and  even  the  machine-gun  was 
changed  to  the  new  Besa  7.92-mm  (0. 
3 12-m)  machine-gun  of  Czech  origins. 

The  Vickers  Light  Tanks  were 

widely  used  throughout  the  1930s  and 
the  early  war  years.  Many  of  the  early 
marks  were  used  in  India  and  for  im- 
perial policing  duties,  in  which  they 
provea  ideal,  but  in  action  during  the 
early  campaigns  of  World  War  II  they 
soon  revealed  themselves  as  being 
virtually  useless.  Their  main  drawback 
was  their  thin  armour,  which  could  be 
penetrated  even  by  small-calibre 
armour-piercing  projectiles,  and  their 

Mounting  a 0.50-in  and  later  a 15-mm 
BESA  machine-gun  with  a co-axial 
7.92-mm  machine-gun,  the  Vickers 
Light  Tank  was  an  adequate  vehicle 
for  armoured  reconnaissance. 


lack  of  a weapon  heavier  than  a 
machine-gun.  In  France  in  1940  they 
were  frequently  incorrectly  deployed 
as  combat  tanks  and  suffered  accor- 
dingly, for  they  were  only  reconnaiss- 
ance vehicles.  Their  hght  armour  and 
lack  of  an  offensive  weapon  made 
them  of  little  use  for  anvthing  else,  but 
in  1940  the  lack  of  numbers  of  tanks  on 
the  ground  often  meant  that  they  were 
rushed  into  action  against  the  German 
Panzers  with  disastrous  results. 

The  Light  Tanks  remained  in  use  in 
the  North  African  desert  campaigns  for 
some  time  until  replacements  came 
along.  Back  in  the  United  Kingdom  the 
later  marks  were  often  used  for  trials. 
One  of  them  was  an  attempt  to  convert 
some  of  the  otherwise  wasted  vehicles 
into  anti-aircraft  tanks,  mounting  either 
four  7.92-mm  (0.312-in)  or  two  15-mm 
(0.59-in)  machine-guns,  but  although 
some  conversions  were  made  they 
saw  little  use.  Other  attempts  were 
made  to  fit  a 2-pdr  (40-mrn/1.58-in) 
anti-tank  gun  in  an  enlarged  turret,  but 
that  idea  was  not  pursued. 

Surprisingly  enough,  the  Germans 
in  France  were  happy  to  use  any  Light 
Tanks  they  could  recover,  not  as  battle 
tanks  but  as  anti-tank  gun  carriers,  but 
only  small  numbers  are  believed  to 
have  been  so  converted. 

Crew:  3 

Weight:  4877  kg  (10,752  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  Meadows  ESTL  6- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  delivering 

Dimensions:  length  3. 96  m(l  3 ft) ; 
width  2. 08  m (6  n 1 Oin) ; height 2. 23 5 m 
(7  ft  6 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 

5 1 .5  km/h  (32  mph) ; range201  km  (2 1 5 


Aft&r  suffering  hea  vy  losses  in 
France  when  mistakenly  used  in 
close  support  of  the  infantry,  theMK 
VI  soldiered  on  in  the  Middle  East 
and  North  Africa. 

Light  Tank  Mk  VII  Tetrarch 

The  Tetrarch  light  tank  started  its  life 
as  the  Light  Tank  Mk  VII,  and  was  a 
Vickers  private-venture  project  to 
continue  its  line  of  light  tank  designs. 
That  was  in  1937,  and  the  first  pro- 
totype started  its  trials  in  1938.  These 
trials  demonstrated  that  the  new  de- 
sign, known  at  that  time  as  the  Purdah, 
lacked  any  of  the  attributes  that  would 
make  it  an  outstanding  weapon;  but  the 
type  offered  some  potential,  and  it  was 
(lecided  to  undertake  further  testing 
pending  a possible  production  con- 

In  its  initial  form  the  Purdah,  later 
designated  the  A17,  and  later  still  the 
Tetrarch,  differed  from  the  earlier  light 
tanks  by  having  four  large  road  wheels 
on  each  side.  A two-man  turret  was 
centrally  mounted,  and  this  turret  was 
large  enough  to  mount  a 2-pdr  (40-mm/ 
1.58-m)  gun  with  co-axial  7.92-mm 
(0.312-in)  machine-gun.  Various  al- 
terations were  demanded  once  the 
prototype  had  completed  its  initial 
trials,  notably  to  engine  cooling  and  for 
provision  of  more  fuel  tanks  to  improve 
range.  Eventually  the  Tetrarch  was  put 
into  production  without  any  great  en- 
thusiasm, but  it  was  at  least  something 
ready  to  hand  at  a period  when  the 
British  army  had  few  tanks  of  any  kind 
to  put  into  the  field.  Light  tanks  were 
recognized  as  a liability  in  action  by 
1941,  however,  so  the  few  that  were 
completed  became  surplus  to  require- 
ments other  than  for  limited  operations 
such  as  the  invasion  of  Madagascar  in 
May  1942.  Numbers  of  Tetrarchs  were 
even  handed  over  to  the  Soviet  Union. 

But  the  fortunes  of  the  Tetrarch 
changed  with  the  establishment  of  the 
airborne  forces,  and  it  was  not  long 
before  the  lightweight  Tetrarch  was 
accepted  as  the  army's  first  airborne 
tank.  A new  glider,  the  General  Air- 
craft Hamilcar,  was  designed  and  pro- 
duced as  the  airborne  carrier  for  the 
Tetrarch,  but  it  was  not  until  April  1944 
that  the  first  trial  landings  were  made, 
some  of  them  being  spectacular  in  the 
extreme,  Eor  their  new  role  the  turrets 
were  fitted  with  a 76.2-mm  (3 -in)  infan- 
try support  howitzer,  the  vehicle  being 
redesignated  Tetrarch  ICS. 

The  Tetrarchs  went  into  action  dur- 

ing the  Normandy  landings  of  6 June 
1944  during  the  second  airborne  wave. 
Most  of  them  landed  near  the  River 
Orne,  where  their  combat  life  was 
short.  They  were  next  used  duriim  the 
Rhine  crossings  on  24  March  1945,  but 
only  a few  were  used  during  that  event 
as  their  numbers  had  been  sup- 
plemented by  the  American  M22  Lo- 
cust. That  marked  the  limits  of  the 

Above:  Carried  in  a Hamilcar  glider, 
the  Tetrarch  was  used  by  British 
airborne  forces  during  the 
Normandy  landings.  Hopelessly 
outclassed  by  German  tanks,  this  j 
Tetrarch  has  a Littlejohn  adapter 
fitted  to  its  2-pdr  gun  to  increase 
muzzle  velocity  and  thus  armour 

Right:  Originally  a Vickers  private 
venture,  the  Tetrarch  was  put  into 
production  despite  lacking  armour, 
effective  armament  or  a properly 
defined  purpose.  It  eventually  saw 
limited  action  in  Madagascar  and  the 
USSR  before  being  adopted  as 
Britain  ^s  first  air-portable  tank. 

type's  airborne  operational  career,  but 
some  were  retained  for  a few  years 
after  the  war  until  their  Hamilcar  glid- 
ers were  withdrawn  from  service. 

The  basic  design  of  the  Tetrarch 
was  used  for  a number  of  develop- 
ments during  the  war  years.  One  was 
the  Light  Tank  Mk  VIII  Harry  Hopkins, 
a numoer  of  which  were  produced  but 
never  used.  The  Harry  Hopkins  was 

virtually  a Tetrarch  with  thicker 
armour  (6-38  mm/0,25- 1 .5  inratherthan 
4-15  mni/0. 1 5 -0,6in)  andmany  mecha- 
nical changes,  but  it  also  acted  as  the 
basis  for  yet  another  variant  known  as 
the  Alecto,  This  was  to  have  been  an 
airborne  or  light  self-propelled  gun 
mounting  a 95-mm  (actually  94-mnV 
3,7-in)  howitzer,  but  few  of  tnese  were 
produced.  Despite  plans  to  produce 
versions  with  25-pdr  or  even  3 2-pdr 
guns,  the  only  versions  to  be  built  were 
fitted  with  dozer  blades  for  a possible 
airborne  engineer  role.  In  the  event 
the  Alectos  ended  up  as  hack  tractors 
on  Salisbury  Plain. 

Crew:  3 

Weight:  7620  kg(16,800  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Meadows  12-cylinder 
petrol  engine  delivering  123  kW 
(165  bhp) 

Dimensions:  length  overall 4. 3 05  m 
(14  ft  1.5  in);  length  ofhull4. 1 15  m(13  ft 
6 in) ; width  2. 3 fm  (7  ft7  in) ; height 
2.121  m(6ft  11.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
64km/h(40mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country speed  45  km/h  (28  mph); 
fording  0.9 14  m(3  ft);  trench  1.524  m 


feis  Cruiser  Tank  Mk  VI  Crusader 

The  Cruiser  Tank  Mk  VI  that  became 
known  as  the  Crusader  had  its  origins 
around  the  same  time  as  the  Covenan- 
ter, but  was  a Nuffield  design  and 
therefore  used  the  Nuffield  Liberty  Mk 
III  engine  and  a Nuffield  gearbox.  In 
overall  appearance  and  layout  the 
Crusader  resembled  the  Covenanter, 
but  there  were  several  differences. 
One  was  that  the  Crusader  had  five 
road  wheels  on  each  side  instead  of 
the  Covenanter's  four. 

The  prototype  was  known  as  the 
A15.  It  nad  the  unusual  feature  of  two 
forward  miniature  turrets,  one  in  front 
of  the  driver's  hood  and  the  other  for  a 
gunner  seated  in  the  front  hull.  Each  of 
these  turrets  was  fitted  with  a 7,92-mm 
(0.312-in)  machine-gun,  but  after  early 
trials  the  driver's  gun  and  turret  was 
eliminated.  These  early  trials  once 
more  highlighted  that  engine  cooling 
was  inadequate  and  that  the  gear- 
change  arrangements  were  unreli- 
able, These  problems,  and  others, 
took  a long  time  to  remedy  and,  in- 
deed, many  were  still  present  when 
the  Crusader  was  withdrawn  from  ser- 

The  first  production  model  was  the 
Crusader  I,  whichhada2-pdr(40-mnV 

I. 58-in)  gun  and  armour  with  a 40-mm 
(1.58-in)  basis.  When  Crusader  Is  en- 
tered service  in  1941  they  were 
already  inadequate  for  combat,  and  as 
the  new  6-pdr  (57-mm/2.24-in)  gun  was 
still  in  short  supply  the  armour  alone 
was  increased  in  thickness  to  a 50-mm 
(1 .97-in)  basis  to  produce  the  Crusader 

II,  and  it  was  not  until  the  Crusader  III 
that  the  6-pdr  gun  was  fitted.  This 
turned  out  to  be  the  main  'combat'  ver- 
sion of  the  Crusader  during  the  North 
African  campaigns  before  it  was  re- 
placed by  the  American  M4  Sherman. 
In  action  the  Crusader  proved  fast  and 
nippy,  but  its  armour  proved  to  be  too 
thin,  and  the  Crusaders  armed  with 
2-pdr  guns  were  no  match  for  their 
German  counteiparts.  Their  reliability 
problems  did  little  for  Crusaders' 
chances  of  survival  under  desert  con- 
ditions, but  gradual  improvements 
were  effected.  The  Crusader  IICS  was 
fitted  with  a 76.2-mm  (3-in)  howitzer. 

Once  they  were  no  longer  combat 
tanks  the  Crusaders  were  used  for  a 
variety  of  special  purposes.  Some 
were  converted  as  anti-aircraft  tanks 

T/ie  Crusader  III  was  the  first  British 
tank  to  be  armed  with  an  effective 
gun,  the  6-pdr.  Its  other  great 
strongpoin  t was  its  suspension, 
which  was  so  tough  that  the 
theoretical  maximum  speed  could 
often  he  exceeded. 

mounting  either  a single  40-mm  (1 .58- 
in)  Bofors  gun  (Crusader  III  A A I)  or 
twin  or  triple  20-mm  (0.787-in)  cannon 
(Crusader  IE  AA II).  There  was  a Cru- 
sader ARV  armoured  recovery  vehi- 
cle version  without  a turret  (but  with  an 
A'  frame  jib)  and  another  turretless 
version  featured  a dozer  blade  for 
combat  engineering  purposes  (Cru- 
sader Dozer).  Many  Crusaders  were 
fitted  with  an  open  box  superstructure 
for  use  as  high-speed  artillery  tractors 
(Crusader  Gun  Tractor),  and  were 
widely  used  in  Europe  during  1944  and 
1945  to  tow  17-pdr  (76,2-mm/3-in)  anti- 
tank guns.  Many  more  were  used  for 
trials  that  ranged  from  engine  installa- 
tions via  mine  warfare  devices  to  wad- 
ing trials  that  led  to  the  'Duplex  Drive' 

The  Crusader  was  one  of  the  'classic' 
British  tanks  of  World  War  II,  and  had  a 
dashing  and  attractive  appearance 
that  belied  its  lack  of  combat  efficien- 
cy. Despite  its  low  and  aggressive 
silhouette  it  was  outclassed  as  a battle 
tank  on  many  occasions,  but  saw  the 
war  out  in  several  special-purpose 

Two  early  model  Crusaders  are  seen 
during  Operation  'Crusader'.  The 
battle  demonstrated  that  gallantry 
alone  is  not  a substitute  for  good 

Crusader  III 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  20067  kg  (44,240  lb ) 
Powerplant:  one  Nuffield  Liberty  Mk 
III  petrol  engine  developing  254  kW 
(340  bhp) 

width  2,64  m (8  k8  in);  height  2.235  m 

(7  ft  4 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
43.4  km/h  (27  mph);  maximum  cross- 
country speed  24  km/h  ( 1 5 mph) ; 
range  with  extra  fuel  tank  204  km  ( 127 
miles);  fording  0.99  m (3  ft  3 in); 
vertical  obstacle  0,686  m (2  ft  3 in); 


Cmiser  Tank  Mk  VIII  Cromwell 

In  the  United  Kingdom  the  differentia- 
tion between  'Cruiser'  and  'Infantry' 
tanks  persisted  almost  until  the  end  of 
the  war  despite  the  fact  that  most  other 
nations  had  never  entertained,  the  no- 
tion. It  persisted  even  after  the  unfor- 
tunate experiences  of  the  early  'Cruis- 
er' designs  had  highlighted  the  draw- 
backs of  producing  a lightly  armed 
and  armoured  main  battle  tank,  and 
continued  even  when  a replacement 
for  the  Crusader  was  being  sought. 
The  need  for  more  armour  and  a big- 
ger gun  was  finally  realized  (and  a 
more  powerful  engine  would  be  re- 
quired) and  in  1941  a new  specification 
was  issued.  It  was  answered  by  two 
main  entrants  to  the  same  basic  A27 
design,  one  the  A27L  with  a Liberty 
engine  (this  was  to  become  the  Cen- 
taur) and  the  other  the  A27M  with  a 
Rolls-Royce  Meteor  that  was  to  be- 
come the  Cmiser  Tank  Mk  VIII  Crom- 

The  first  Cromwells  were  produced 
in  January  1943.  The  first  three  marks 
(Cromwell  I with  one  6-pdr  and  two 
Besa  machine-guns,  Cromwell  II  with 
wider  tracks  and  only  one  machine- 
gun,  and  Cromwell  III  produced  by 
re-engining  a Centaur  I)  all  had  as 
their  main  armament  the  6-pdr  (57- 
mm/2. 244-in)  gun,  but  by  1943  it  had 

A Cromwell  roars  through  a 
village  in  Normandy,  A ugust 
1944.  Initially  mounting  a 6-pdr, 
byD-Day  they  were  armed  with  a 
7 5 -mm  gun  which  gave  them  a 
reasonable  chance  against 
German  armour.  The  Cromwell 
en  tered  service  in  1 943  and  m any 
crews  were  trained  in  it  before 
the  invasion.  In  the  acid  test  of 
combat,  the  Cromwell  itself  did 
not  let  them  down. 


been  decided  that  something  heavier 
would  be  required  and  a new  75 -mm 
(2.95-in)  gun  was  demanded.  For  once 
things  were  able  to  move  relatively 
swiftly  on  the  production  lines  and  the 
first  75-mm  (2.95-in)  Cromwell  Mk  IV 
tanks  were  issued  to  the  armoured 
regiments  in  October  1943.  Thereafter 
the  75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun  remained  the 
Cromwell's  main  gun  until  the  Crom- 
well Mk  VIII,  which  had  a 95 -mm 
(actually  94-mm/3.7-in)  howitzer  for 
close  support. 

Perhaps  the  main  value  of  the  Crom- 
well to  the  British  armoured  regiments 
during  1943  was  as  a training  tank,  for 
at  last  the  troops  had  a tank  that  was 
something  of  a match  for  its  German 
counterparts.  There  was  better 
armour  (8-76  mm/0.315-3  in)  on  the 
Cromwell  than  on  any  previous  'Cruis- 
er' tank  and  the  75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun, 
which  shared  many  components  with 
the  smaller  6-pdr,  at  last  provided  the 
British  tankies  with  a viable  weapon. 
But  by  the  time  they  were  ready  for 
active  service  the  Cromwells  were  in 
the  process  of  being  replaced  by  the 
readily-available  M4  Sherman  for  pur- 
poses of  standardization  and  logistic 
safety.  But  the  Cromwell  did  see  ser- 
vice. Many  were  used  by  the  7th 
Armoured  Division  in  the  campaigns 
that  followed  from  the  Normandy  land- 
ings. Here  the  excellent  performance 
provided  by  the  Meteor  engine  made 
the  Cromwell  a well-liked  vehicle:  it 
was  fast  and  reliable,  and  the  gun 
proved  easy  to  lay  and  fire. 

The  Cromwell  was  but  a stepping 
stone  to  the  later  Comet  tank  which 
was  to  emerge  as  perhaps  the  best 
all-round  British  tank  of  the  war  years. 
But  the  Cromwell  was  an  important 
vehicle,  not  just  as  a combat  tank  but 
for  several  other  roles.  Some  were 
used  as  mobile  artillery  observation 
posts  (Cromwell  OP)  with  their  main 
gun  removed  and  with  extra  radios  in- 
stalled. Others  had  their  turrets  entire- 
ly removed  and  replaced  by  all  the 
various  bits  and  pieces  required  for 
the  Cromwell  to  be  used  as  the  Crom- 
well ARV  armoured  recovery  vehicle. 
The  Cromwell  was  also  used  as  the 
basis  for  a heavily  armoured  assault 

Above:  Cromwell  tanks  move  up  to 
their  start  line  for  one  of  the  breakout 
battles  in  Normandy,  1944.  The  price 
of  attacking  the  well-sited  German 
positions  was  often  heavy,  despite 
the  improved  quality  of  British 

Right:  Although  the  majority  of 
British  tank  units  were  equipped 
with  the  Sherman,  the  Cromwell  was 
a successful  design,  doing  much  to 
restore  the  dreadful  imbalance  of 
quality  between  British  and  German 

tank  that  became  known  as  the  A33, 
which  was  ready  by  May  1944  but  nev- 
er got  into  production. 

Cromwell  rV 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  27942  kg  (61,600  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Rolls-Royce  Meteor 
V- 1 2 petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions : length  overall  6,42m(21ft 
0,75  in);  width3.048  m(lOft) ; height 

2.51  m(8  ft  3 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed  61 
km/h  (38  mph) ; roadrange  278  km  ( 173 

miles);  fording  1 .219  m (4  ft) ; vertical 
obstacle  0.914  m (3  ft);  trench  2.286  m 
(7  ft  6 in) 

Cmiser  Tank  Mk  VIII  Centaur 

The  Cruiser  Tank  Mk  VIII  Centaur  was 
a contemporary  of  the  Cromwell  and 
was  derived  from  the  same  general 
staff  specification.  But  whereas  the 
Cromwell  was  a Rolls-Royce  Meteor- 
engined  vehicle,  the  Centaur  was  a 
Leyland  Motors  project  and  was  fitted 
with  the  Liberty  engine.  In  many  other 
respects  the  Centaur  and  the  Crom- 
well were  identical  (apart  from  the  en- 
gines, gearboxes  ancl  other  transmis- 
sion components)  and  some  Centaurs 
were  fitted  with  the  Meteor  engine  at  a 
later  stage  and  redesignated  Crom- 

Leyland  had  already  produced  a 
'Cruiser'  tank  design  known  as  the 
Cruiser  Tank  Mk  VII  Cavalier  which 
had  proved  to  be  a generally  unsuc- 
cessiul  design  as  a result  of  poor  per- 
formance, mechanical  breakdowns 
and  a short  engine  life.  Leyland  under- 
standably used  some  features  of  the 
Cavalier  on  the  Centaur  but  unfortu- 
nately it  also  carried  over  some  of  the 
earlier  design's  problems,  for  the 
Liberty  engine  was  really  too  low  pow- 

ered to  provide  the  Centaur  with  the 
same  performance  as  the  Cromwell; 
nor  was  the  engine  life  up  to  the  stan- 
dards of  the  Meteor's  reliability. 

The  Centaur  I was  produced  with 
the  usual  6-pdr  (57-mm/2.244-in)  gun  of 
the  period,  and  the  first  examples 
were  ready  in  June  1942.  These  early 
Centaurs  were  used  only  for  training 
purposes,  some  with  auxilian^  fuel 
tanks  mounted  at  the  rear.  The  Centaur 
III  was  produced  in  small  numbers 
only,  but  this  mounted  a 75-mm  (2.95- 
in)  main  gun.  Armour  varied  in  thick- 
ness from  20  to  76  mm  (0.8  to  3 in).  The 
Centaur  IV  was  the  main  'combat'  ver- 
sion of  the  series  as  it  was  specially 
produced  for  use  by  the  Royal  Marines 
Armoured  Support  Group  during  the 
D-Day  landings  in  Normandy  on  6 June 
1944.  These  Mk  IVs  were  fitted  with 
95 -mm  (actually  94-mm/3,7-in)  close- 
support  howitzers;  80  of  them  were 
issued,  and  these  were  intended  to  be 
used  only  in  the  initial  stages  of  the 
amphibious  assault.  In  fact  most  of 
them  landed  safely  and  performed  so 

well  on  the  beaches  and  the  area  im- 
mediately inland  that  many  were  re- 
tained for  some  weeks  afterwards  for 
the  slow  and  dangerous  combat  in  the 
bocage  country. 

Thereafter  the  Centaurs  were  with- 
drawn from  combat  use  and  under- 
went the  u sual  routine  of  conversion  for 
other  purposes.  As  usual  the  simplest 
conversion  was  to  an  artillery  observa- 
tion post  (Centaur  OP)  while  others 
simply  had  their  turrets  removed  to  act 
as  Centaur  Kangaroo  armoured  per- 
sonnel carriers.  The  usual  armoured 
recovery  vehicle  variant  duly 
appeared  as  the  Centaur  ARV  along 
with  the  Centaur  Dozer  turretless  ver- 
sion fitted  with  a dozer  blade  for  com- 
bat engineer  duties.  Two  Centaur  con- 
versions that  did  mount  guns  were  the 
two  marks  of  Centaur  IMV  AAI  and 
Centaur  ni/IV  A All  tanks.  These  had 
the  same  20-mm  anti-aircraft  turrets  as 
the  earlier  Crusader  AA  tanks,  but  the 
Centaur  AA  versions  mounted  20-mm 
(0.787-in)  Polsten  cannon  in  place  of 
the  earlier  Oerlikon  cannon.  Both  of 

these  variants  took  part  in  the  early 
stages  of  the  Normandy  campaign  but 
were  withdrawn  once  the  anticipated 
threat  of  air  attack  did  not  materialize. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  28849  kg  (63,600  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Nuffield  Liberty  Mk  V 
V- 1 2 petrol  engine  developing  295  kW 
(395  bhp) 

Dimensions:  length6.35  m(20ft  lOin); 
width  2,895  m (9  ft  6 in);  height  2,489  m 
(8  ft  2 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
43 .4  km/h  (27  mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country speed  about  25 .7  km/h 
(16  mph) ; range 265 km  (165  miles) ; 
fording  0,914m(3ft);  vertical  obstacle 
0.9 14  m (3  ft) ; trench  2.286  m (7  ft  6 in) 


Wlm  Cruiser  Tank 

The  Cruiser  Tank  Challenger  pro- 
duced during  World  War  II  bore  no 
resemblance  to  the  mighty  Challenger 
that  is  currently  being  issued  to  the 
British  army,  for  the  original  Challen- 
ger was  one  of  the  British  tank  indus- 
try's least  successful  progeny.  It  was 
derived  from  a 1941  request  to  mount  a 
heavy  gun  capable  of  tackling  even 
the  heaviest  German  tanks  and  the  17- 
pdr  (76,2-mm/3-in)  gun,  then  complet- 
ing its  development,  was  selected  as  a 
lifely  weapon.  The  All  Cromwell/ 
Centaur  chassis  seemed  a suitable 
basic  chassis  and  work  began  on 
adapting  this  for  the  heavy  gun  project. 

The  new  gun  would  require  two 
things.  One  was  a much  larger  chassis 
to  accommodate  the  weights  involved 
and  the  other  a larger  turret  ring  to 
absorb  the  recoil  forces.  At  that  time  all 
existing  designs  were  too  narrow  to 
accommodate  so  large  a turret  ring, 
but  by  lengthening  the  existing  Crom- 
well chassis  and  adding  another  road 
wheel  the  turret  ring  section  could  be 
widened  to  enable  a larger  ring  to  be 
installed.  This  formed  the  basis  of  what 
became  known  as  the  A30,  and  even- 
tually the  name  Challenger  was  be- 
stowed upon  the  vehicle. 

The  first  pilot  model  was  ready  in 
March  1942  and  like  many  hasty  im- 
provisations it  showed  up  badly  during 
its  early  trials.  The  extra  weight  of  the 
rather  high  and  awkward  turret  was 
not  balanced  by  the  lengthened  sus- 
pension, which  proved  to  be  a source 
of  many  troubles,  and  the  mounting  of 
the  heavy  gun  in  the  turret  made 
traverse  so  slow  that  the  original 
traverse  mechanism  had  to  be  rede- 


Argusibly  th&  ugliest  tank  design  of 
the  period,  the  Challenger  was  a 
stretched  Crom  well  armed  with  a 17- 
pdr,  armour  being  reduced  to  keep 
weight  down.  Fortunately  for  British 
tankcrews  the  Shermm  Firefly  wa^ 
adopted  instead. 

signed  and  replaced.  The  large  size  of 
the  17-pdr  fixed  ammunition  meant 
that  only  a restricted  number  of  rounds 
could  be  carried  internally,  and  the 
hull  machine-gun  had  to  be  removed 
to  make'more  room,  leaving  only  the 
co-axial  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  gun.  Perhaps 
the  biggest  problem  was  that  the 
weight  overall  was  such  that  the 
armour  protection  had  to  be  reduced 
to  bring  weight  down  to  a reasonable 
level.  Armour  varied  from  20  to  102mm 
(0.8  to  4 in)  in  thickness.  Despite  all 
these  problems  the  Challenger  was 
ordered  into  production  purely  on  the 
strength  of  its  powerful  gun,  which  was 
at  least  something  that  could  destroy 
any  known  German  tank. 

But  the  Challenger  was  slow  to  get 
into  production  for  a variety  of  reasons. 
It  was  not  until  March  1944  that  the  first 
reduction  examples  were  ready  and 
y then  it  was  too  late  for  the  Challen- 
ger to  take  part  in  the  extensive  water- 
proofing programme  that  would  be  re- 
quired for  the  Normandy  landings. 
Another  blow  to  the  Challenger  prog- 
ramme was  the  fact  that  the  M4  Sher- 
man had  been  adapted  to  take  the  17- 
pdr,  and  as  the  Firefly  this  conversion 
assumed  many  of  the  responsibilities 
intended  for  the  Challenger  during  the 
early  stages  of  ,the  post-Normandy 
campaign.  Thus  the  Challenger  lan- 

guished while  the  Firefly  fought  its  way 
across  Europe. 

But  some  Challengers  did  see  ser- 
vice from  late  1944  onwards.  Numbers 
were  issued  to  the  reconnaissance 
regiments  of  the  British  armoured  divi- 
sions to  provide  some  extra  fire  sup- 
port to  the  75-mm  (2.95-m)  Cromwells 
which  were  by  then  the  main  equip- 
ment of  these  units.  As  soon  as  the  war 
ended  most  Challengers  were  with- 
drawn, Some  were  sold  overseas  but 
the  type  rapidly  vanished  from  the 
scene.  The  Challenger  II,  with  a lower 
turret,  was  produced  only  in  prototype 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  33022  kg  (72,800  lb ) 
Powerplant:  one  Rolls-Royce  Meteor 
V- 1 2 petrol  engine  developing  447  kW 
(600  bhp) 

Dimensions:  length  overall  8. 147  m 
height  2.775  m (9  ft  1,25  in) 
Performance:  maximum  speed 
51.5  km/h  (32  mph) ; range  1 93  km  ( 1 20 
miles);  fording  1.37  m (4  ft  6 in)  after 
preparation;  vertical  obstacle  0.914  m 

Infantry  Tank  Mks  I and  II  Matilda 

A requirement  for  a British  army ' Infan- 
try' tank  was  first  made  in  1934  and  the 
immediate  result  was  the  All  Infantry 
Tank  Mk  I,  later  nicknamed  Matilda  I. 
This  was  a very  simple  and  small  tank 
with  a two-man  crew  but  with  armour 
heavy  enough  to  defeat  any  contem- 
porary anti-tank  gun.  The  small  turret 
mounted  a single  7.7-mm  (0.303-in) 
Vickers  machine-gun  and  the  engine 
was  a commercial  Ford  V-8  unit. 
Orders  for  140  were  issued  in  April 
1937,  but  when  the  type  was  tried  in 
combat  in  France  in  1940  it  revealed 
many  shortcomings:  it  was  too  slow 
and  underarmed  for  any  form  of 
armoured  warfare,  and  the  small  num- 
bers that  remained  in  service  after 
Dunkirk  were  used  only  for  training. 

The  Matilda  I was  intended  only  as 
an  interim  type  before  the  A12  Infantiy 
Tank  Mk  II  became  available.  This 
project  began  in  1936  and  the  first  ex- 
amples were  completed  in  1938.  The 
Mk  II,  known  later  as  Matilda  II,  was  a 
much  larger  vehicle  than  the  Matilda  I 
with  a four-man  crew  and  a turret 
mounting  a 2-pdr  (40 -mm/ 1 . 5 7 5 -in)  gun 
and  liberal  belts  of  cast  armour 
(varying  from  20  to  78  mm/0.8  to  3.1  in 
in  thickness)  capable  of  defeating  all 
known  anti-tank  guns.  The  Matilda  II 
was  slow  as  it  was  intended  for  the 
direct  support  of  infantry  units,  in  which 
role  speed  was  not  essential.  Overall  it 
was  a good-looking  tank  and  it  turned 
out  to  be  far  more  reliable  than  many  of 
its  contemporaries.  And  despite  the 
light  gun  carried  it  was  found  to  be  a 
good  vehicle  in  combat.  The  Matilda 
IIA  had  a 7,92-mm  (0.312-in)  Besa 

machine-gun  instead  of  the  Vickers 

The  mam  combat  period  for  the 
Matilda  (the  term  Matilda  II  was  drop- 
ped when  the  little  Matilda  I was  with- 
drawn in  1940)  was  the  early  North 
African  campaign,  where  the  type's 
armour  proved  to  be  effective  against 
any  Italian  or  German  anti-tank  gun 
with  the  exception  of  the  German  '88'. 
The  Matilda  was  one  of  the  armoured 
mainstays  of  the  British  forces  until  El 
Alamein,  after  which  its  place  was 
taken  by  better  armed  and  faster  de- 
signs, But  the  importance  of  the  Matil- 
da did  not  diminish,  for  it  then  entered 
a long  career  as  a special-purpose 

One  of  the  most  important  of  these 
special  purposes  was  as  a flail  tank  for 

mine-clearing.  Starting  with  the  Matil- 
da Baron  and  then  the  Matilda  Scor- 
pion, it  was  used  extensively  for  this 
role,  but  Matildas  were  also  used  to 
push  AMRA  mine-clearing  rollers. 
Another  variant  was  the  Matilda  CDL 
(Canal  Defence  Light),  which  used  a 
special  turret  with  a powerful  light 
source  to  create  'artificial  moonlight', 
Matildas  were  also  fitted  with  dozer 

blades  as  the  Matilda  Dozer  for  combat 
engineering,  and  many  were  fitted 
with  various  flame-throwing  devices 
as  the  Matilda  Erog,  There  were  many 
other  special  and  demohtion  devices 
used  with  the  Matilda,  not  all  of  them 
under  British  auspices  for  the  Matilda 
became  an  important  Australian  tank 
as  well.  In  fact  Matilda  gun  tanks  were 
used  extensively  by  the  Australian 
army  in  New  Guinea  and  elsewhere 
until  the  war  ended  in  1945,  and  they 
devised  several  flame-throwing 
equipments.  The  Germans  also  used 
several  captured  Matildas  to  mount  va- 
rious anti-tank  weapons  of  their  own. 

It  is  doubtful  if  a complete  listing  of 
all  the  many  Matilda  variants  will  ever 
be  made,  for  numerous  'field  modifica- 
tions' and  other  unrecorded  changes 

The  Matilda  was  the  only  British  tank 
with  enough  armour  to  withstand 
German  tank  guns  in  the  early  years. 
After  a brief  moment  of  glory  at 
Arras,  it  won  its  real  reputation  with 
the  8th  Army  in  the  desert. 


were  made  to  the  basic  design.  But  the 
Matilda  accommodated  them  all  and 
many  old  soldiers  still  look  back  on  this 
tank  with  affection  for,  despite  its  slow 
speed  and  light  armament,  it  was  reli- 
ahle  and  steady,  and  above  all  it  had 
good  armour. 

Matilda  II 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  26926  kg  (59,360  lb) 
Powerplant:  two  Leyland  6-cylinder 
petrol  engines  each  developing  7 1 kW 
(95  bhp)  or  two  AEC  diesels  each 
developing  65  kW  (87  bhp) 
Dimensions : length5 . 6 1 3 m ( 1 8 ft  5 in) ; 

width  2.59m(8ft6in);  height  2.51m 
(8  ft  3 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed  24 
km/h  (15  mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country ^eed  12.9  km/h  (8  mph);  road 
range  257 km  (160  miles) ; vertical 
(3  ft);  trench  2.133  m (7  ft) 

A Matilda  is  seen  in  the  desert  in  June 
1941  during  Operation  'Battleaxe',  an 
unsuccessful  attempt  to  relieve 
Tobruk  which  cost  the  4th  Armoured 
Brigade  64  of  their  Matildas.  Tough 
but  slow,  the  Matildas  were  cursed 
with  the  ineffectual  2-pdr  as  main 


Infantry  Tank  Mk  III  Valentine 

In  1938  Vickers  was  invited  to  join  in 
the  production  programme  for  the  new 
Matilda  II  tank,  but  as  the  company 
already  had  a production  line  estab- 
lished to  produce  a heavy  'Cruiser' 
tankknown  as  the  AIO , it  was  invited  to 
produce  a new  infantry  tank  based 
upon  the  AIO.  Vickers  duly  made  its 
plans  audits  AlO-derivedinfantry  tank 
was  ordered  into  production  in  July 
1939.  Up  to  that  date  the  army  planners 
had  some  doubts  as  to  the  effective- 
ness of  the  Vickers  submissions,  re- 
sulting mainly  in  the  retention  of  a 
small  two-man  turret  which  would  limit 
possible  armament  increases,  but  by 
mid- 1939  war  was  imminent  and  tanks 
were  urgently  required. 

The  new  Vickers  tank,  soon  known 
as  the  Infantry  Tank  Mk  III  Valentine, 
drew  heavily  on  experience  gained 
with  the  AIO,  but  was  much  more 
heavily  armoured  8-65  mm  (0.3- 
2.55  in).  As  many  of  the  AlO's  troubles 
had  already  been  experienced  their 
solutions  were  built  into  the  V alentine, 
which  proved  to  be  a relatively  trou- 
ble-free vehicle.  Mass  production  be- 
gan rapidly,  and  the  first  Valentine  I 
examples  were  ready  in  late  1940.  By 
1941  the  Valentine  was  an  established 
type,  and  many  were  used  as  Cruiser 
tanks  to  overcome  deficiencies. 

The  Valentine  was  undoubtedly  one 
of  the  most  important  British  tanks,  but 
the  main  reason  for  this  was  quantity 
rather  than  quality.  By  early  1944, 
when  production  ceased,  8,275  had 
been  made  and  during  one  period  in 
1943  one  quarter  of  all  British  tank  pro- 
duction was  of  Valentines,  Valentines 
were  also  produced  in  Canada  and  by 
several  other  concerns  in  the  United 
Kingdom  apart  from  Vickers. 

There  were  numerous  variants  on 
the  Valentine,  Gun  tanks  ran  to  11  diffe- 
rent marks  with  the  main  armament 
increasing  from  a 2-pdr  (Valentine  I- 
VII)  via  the  6-pdr  (Valentine  VIII-X)  to 
a 75 -mm  (2. 95 -in)  gun  (Valentine  XI), 
and  there  was  even  a self-propelled 
gun  version  mounting  a 25-pdr  field 
gun  and  known  as  the  Bishop.  Special- 
purpose  Valentines  ran  tne  whole 
gamut  from  mobile  bridges  (Valentine 
Bridgelayer)  to  Canal  Defence  Lights 
(Valentine  CDL)  and  from  observation 
posts  (Valentine  OP)  to  mine-clearing 
devices  (Valentine  Scorpion  and 
Valentine  AMRA).  The  numbers  of 
these  variants  were  legion,  many  of 
them  being  one-off  devices  produced 
for  trials  or  experimental  purposes, 
typical  of  which  were  the  early  Duplex 
Drive  Valentine  vehicles  used  to  test 
the  DD  system.  Actually  these  tanks 

were  so  successful  that  the  Valentine 
was  at  one  time  the  standard  DD  tank. 
There  were  also  Valentine 
Flamethrower  tanks,  and  one  attempt 
was  made  to  produce  a special  tank- 
killer  with  a 6-pdr  anti-tank  gun  behind 
a shield.  That  project  came  to  nothing 
but  the  Valentine  chassis  was  later 
used  as  the  basis  for  the  Archer,  an 
open-topped  vehicle  with  a 17-pdr 
gun  pointing  to  the  rear.  This  was  used 
in  Europe  from  1944  onwards. 

The  basic  Valentine  tank  was  exten- 
sively modified  throughout  its  oper- 
ational career,  but  it  remained 
throughout  reliable  and  sturdy.  The 
Valentine  was  one  of  the  British  army's 
most  important  tanks  at  one  point.  It 
was  used  by  many  Allied  armies  such 
as  that  of  New  Zealand,  and  many  saw 
action  in  Burma.  The  bulk  of  the  Cana- 
dian output  was  sent  to  the  Soviet  Un- 
ion, where  the  type  appears  to  have 
given  good  service.  The  Valentine  did 
have  Its  drawbacks,  but  overall  its 
main  contribution  was  that  it  was  avail- 
able in  quantity  at  a time  when  it  was 
most  needed,  and  not  many  British 
tank  designs  could  claim  the  same. 

Valentine  IMV 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  17690  kg  (39,000  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  AEC  diesel 
developing  98  kW  (131  bhp)inMkIII 
or  CMC  diesel  developing  103  kW 
( 138  bhp)  in  Mk  IV 
Dimensions:  length  5 .4 1 m ( 1 7 ft9  in) ; 
width  2 . 629  m ( 8 ft  7 . 5 in) ; height 
2.273  m (7  ft  5.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed  24 
km/h  (15  mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country ^eed  12.9  km/h  (8  mph);  road 
range  145  km  (90  miles) ; vertical 
obstacle0.838m(2ft9  in);  fording 
0.914  m (3  ft);  trench 2,286  m (7  ft 6 in)  . 

An  early  model  Valentine  provides 
the  focus  of  attention  as  Malta 
celebra  tes  King  George  VTs 
birthday.  The  Valentine  was  one  of 
the  more  successful  pre-war 
designs,  and  saw  service  world-wide. 

Mass-produced  from  1940,  the 
Valentine  fought  throughout  the 
desert  campaigns.  Although  slow 
like  the  Matilda,  it  was  a sturdy 
vehicle  and  was  able  to  be  re-armed 
with  better  guns  as  the  war 


Infantry  Tank  Mk  IV  Churchill 

Even  to  provide  a hst  of  all  the  Chur- 
chill marks  and  variants  would  fill 
many  pages,  so  this  entry  can  provide 
only  a brief  outline  of  what  was  one  of 
the  most  important  British  tanks  of 
World  War  II.  In  production  terms  the 
Churchill  came  second  to  the  Valen- 
tine, but  in  the  scope  of  apphcations 
and  variants  it  came  second  to  none. 

The  Churchill  was  born  in  a spe- 
cification known  as  the  A20  which  was 
issued  in  September  1939  and  envis- 
aged a return  to  the  trench  fighting  of 
World  War  I.  Hence  the  A20  tank  was  a 
virtual  update  of  the  old  World  War  I 
British  lozenge'  tanks,  but  experi- 
ences with  the  A20  prototype  soon 

showed  that  a lighter  model  would  be 
required.  Subsequently  Vauxhall 
Motors  took  over  a revised  specifica- 
tion known  as  the  A22  and  designed 
the  Infantry  Tank  Mk  FV,  later  named 
the  Churchill. 

Vauxhall  had  to  work  from  scratch 
and  yet  came  up  with  a well  armoured 
tank  with  large  overall  tracks  that  gave 
the  design  an  appearance  not  unlike 
that  of  World  War  I tanks.  Unfortunate- 
ly the  early  Churchill  marks  were  so 
rushed  into  production  that  about  the 
first  1,000  examples  had  to  be  exten- 
sively modified  before  they  could 
even  be  issued  to  the  troops.  But  they 
were  produced  at  a period  when  inva- 
sion seemed  imminent  and  even  unre- 

liable tanks  were  regarded  as  better 
than  none.  Later  marks  had  these  early 
troubles  eliminated. 

The  armament  of  the  Churchill  fol- 
lowed the  usual  path  from  2-pdr  (Chur- 
chill I-II),  via  ^pdr  (Churchill  III-IV) 
eventually  to  a 75-mm  (2,95-in)  gun  in 
the  Churchill  IV  (NA  75)  and  Churchill 
VI- VII.  There  were  also  CS  (close  sup- 
port) variants  with  76.2-mm  (3-in)  and 
eventually  95 -mm  (actually  94-mm/3.7- 
in)  howitzers  in  the  Churchill  V and 
Churchill  Vni.  The  Churchill  I also  had 
a hull-mounted  76.2-mm  (3-in)  howit- 
zer. The  turrets  also  changed  from 
being  cast  items  to  being  riveted  or 
composite  structures,  and  such  refine- 
ments as  track  covers  and  engine  cool- 

Le/t:  Ch  archills  move  up  to  the 
Normandy  front  line  past  a column  of 
US  M4  Shermans  in  early  August 
1944.  Note  how  the  crews  have 
attached  large  sections  of  track  to  the 
fron  t h ull  and  the  turret  side  as 
additional  armour. 

ing  improvements  were  added  suc- 
cessively. In  all  there  were  1 1 Chur- 
chill marks,  the  last  three  of  them  're- 
works' of  earlier  marks  in  order  to  up- 
date early  models  to  Mk  VII  standard 
with  the  /5-mm  (2,95-in)  gun. 

In  action  the  heavy  armour  of  the 
Churchill  (16-102  mm/0,6-4  in  in  Mks 
I- VI  and  25-152  mm/1-6  in  in  Mks  VI- 
VIII)  was  a major  asset  despite  the  fact 
that  the  tank's  first  operational  use  was 
in  the  1942  Dieppe  landings,  when 
many  of  the  Churchills  used  proved 
unable  to  even  reach  the  beach,  let 
alone  cross  it.  But  in  Tunisia  they 
proved  they  could  climb  mountains 
and  provide  excellent  support  for 
armoured  as  well  as  infantry  units, 
though  they  were  often  too  slow  to  ex- 
ploit local  advantages. 

It  was  as  a special-purpose  tank  that 
the  Churchill  excelled.  Many  of  these 
special  variants  became  established 
as  important  vehicles  in  their  own 
right,  and  included  in  this  number 
were  the  Churchill  AVRE  (Armoured 
Vehicle  Royal  Engineers),  the  Chur- 
chill Crocodile  flamethrower  tank  and 
the  various  Churchill  Bridgelayer  and 
Churchill  Ark  vehicles.  Then  there 
were  the  numerous  Churchill  mine- 
warfare  variants  from  the  Churchill 
Plough  variants  to  the  Churchill  Snake 
with  its  Bangalore  torpedoes.  The 
Churchill  lent  itself  to  all  manner  of 

Above:  The  Churchill  was  essentially 
designed  for  a return  to  trench 
warfare.  As  such  it  was  a classic 
infantry  tank,  slow  but  heavily 
armoured.  Introduced  in  1943,  its 
chassis  was  subsequently  used  for  a 
host  of  specialist  vehicles. 

modifications  and  was  able  to  carry  a 
wide  assortment  of  odd  gadgets  such 
as  wall  demolition  charges  (Churchill 
Light  Carrot,  Churchill  Onion  and 
Churchill  Goat)  mine-clearing  wheels 
(Churchill  AVRE/CIRD),  carpet-laying 
devices  for  use  on  boggy  ground 
(Churchill  AVRE  Carpetlayer), 
armoured  recovery  vehicles  (Chur- 
chill ARV),  and  so  on. 

The  Churchill  may  have  looked 
archaic,  but  it  gave  excellent  service 
and  many  were  still  around  in  the  mid- 
1950s  in  various  guises,  the  last  Chur- 
chill AVRE  not  being  retired  until  1965. 

Churchill  VII 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  40642  kg  (89,600  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Bedford  twin-six 
petrol  engine  developing  26 1 kW 

Dimensions:  length  7 .442  m (24  ft  5 in) ; 
width  1438  m (8  ft) ; height  3.454  m 

Performance:  maximum  speed  20 
km/h  ( 12.5  mph);  maximum  cross- 
country speed about  12.8  km/h 
(8mph);range  144.8km(90miles); 
f ordmg  1 . 0 1 6 m (3  ft4  in) ; vertic  al 
obstacle  0.76  m (2  ft  6 in) ; trench 
3.048  m (10  ft) 


Cmiser  Tank 

In  1939  Australia's  armed  forces  had 
virtually  no  modern  tanks  and  lacked 
almost  any  form  of  heavy  engineering 
background  to  produce  them;  even  an 
automobile  industry  was  lacking. 
Nevertheless  the  Australian  govern- 
ment realized  that  it  was  unlikely  that 
any  large  amounts  of  heavy  war  mater- 
iel would  be  available  to  Australia  from 
overseas,  and  so  set  to  to  produce  its 
own.  Among  the  requirements  were 
tanks,  and  as  there  was  no  local  exper- 
tise on  the  subject  one  engineer  was 
sent  to  the  United  States  and  an  experi- 
enced engineer  was  obtained  from  the 
United  Kingdom. 

With  this  experience  to  hand  the  Au- 
stralian army  staff  issued  a specifica- 
tion and  Australian  industry  set  to  with 
a will.  The  first  design,  known  as  the 
ACl  (Austrahan  Cruiser  1)  was  to  have 
a 2-pdr  (40-mm/l,57-in)  gun  and  two 

Sentinel  ACl 

The  outbreak  of  war  found  Australia  withnomodern  tank  force  and  little  industrial  infrastructure.  TheACl  Sentinel 
was  a home-grown  tank  developed  a t Ugh  tning  speed  tojigh  t off  the  an  ticipa  ted  Japanese  invasion. 


1.1 -mm  (0,303-in)  machine-guns,  and  it 
was  decided  to  use  as  many  compo- 
nents of  the  American  M3  tank  as 
possible.  The  powerplant  was  to  com- 
prise three  Cadillac  car  engines 
joined  together  and  extensive  use  was 
to  be  made  of  cast  armour.  A second 
model,  to  be  known  as  the  AC2,  was 
mooted,  but  by  late  1941  as  the 
Japanese  became  increasingly 
aggressive  in  the  Pacific,  the  AC2  was 
passed  over  in  favour  of  the  existing 
AGI,  which  had  armour  ranging  from 
25mm(l  in)  to  65  mm  (2,55  in)  in  thick- 

The  first  AC  Is  were  ready  by  Janu- 
ary 1942  and  were  soon  named  Sen- 
tinel. The  whole  project  from  paper- 
work requests  to  hardware  had  taken 
only  22  months,  which  was  a remark- 
able achievement  since  all  the  facili- 
ties to  build  the  tank  had  to  be  de- 
veloped even  as  the  tanks  were  being 
built.  But  only  a few  ACl  tanks  were 
produced  as  by  1942  it  was  realized 
that  the  2-pdr  gun  would  be  too  small  to 
have  any  effect  against  other  armour 
and  anyway,  the  hurried  design  still 
had  some  'bugs'  that  had  to  be  mod- 
ified out  of  the  design.  Most  of  these 
bugs  were  only  minor,  for  the  Sentinel 
turned  out  to  be  a remarkably  sound 

design  capable  of  considerable 
stretch  and  modification.  This  was  just 
as  well,  for  the  Sentinel  ACS  mounted  a 
25-pdr  (87.6-mm/3 .45-in)  field  gun  bar- 
rel m the  turret  to  overcome  the  short- 
comings of  the  2-pdr. 

The  25-pdr  was  chosen  as  it  was 
already  in  production  locally,  but  it 
was  realized  that  this  gun  would  have 
only  limited  effect  against  armour  and 
the  Sentinel  AC4  with  a 17-pdr  (76.2- 
mm/3-in)  anti-tank  gun  was  proposed 
and  a prototype  was  built.  This  was 
during  mid- 1943,  and  by  then  the 
background  to  the  hurried  introduc- 
tion of  the  ACl  into  service  had  re- 
ceded. There  was  no  longer  the 
chance  that  the  Japanese  might  invade 
the  Australian  mainland  and  anyway, 
M3s  and  M4s  were  pouring  off  the 
American  production  lines  in  such 
numbers  that  there  would  be  more 
than  enough  to  equm  all  the  Allies, 
including  Australia,  Tnus  Sentinel  pro- 
duction came  to  an  abrupt  halt  in  July 
1943  in  order  to  allow  the  diversion  of 
industrial  potential  to  more  important 

The  Sentinel  series  was  a remark- 
able one,  not  only  from  the  industrial 
side  but  also  from  the  design  view- 
point. The  use  of  an  all-cast  hull  was 

In  spite  of  the  speed  with  which  it 
was  produced,  the  ACl  Sentinel  was 
a remarkably  innovative  design 

way  ahead  of  design  practice  else- 
where, and  the  ready  acceptance  of 
heavy  guns  like  the  25-pdr  and  the 
17-pdr  was  also  way  ahead  of  contem- 
porary thought.  But  the  Sentinel  series 
had  little  impact  at  the  time  for  the 
examples  produced  were  used  for 
training  only. 

Sentinel  ACl 
Crew:  5 

featuring  an  all-cast  hull  and  a heavy 
armament.  This  is  theMklV,  which 
mounted  a 1 7-pdr  gun. 

Weight:  28450  kg  (62,720  lb) 
Powerplant:  three  Cadillac  petrol 
engines  combined  to  develop  246  kW 

Dimensions : length 6.325m  (20  ft  9in); 
width  2.768  m (9  ft  1 in);  height  2,56  m 
(8  ft  4,75  in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
48.2  km/h  (30  mph);  range  322  km  (200 
miles);  treneh  2.438  m (8  ft) 


1^1  Cmiser  Tank  Ram  Mk  I 

When  Canada  entered  World  War  II 
in  1939  it  did  not  have  any  form  of  tank 
unit,  and  the  first  Canadian  tank  train- 
ing and  familiarization  units  had  to  be 
equipped  with  old  World  War  I tanks 
from  American  sources.  However,  it 
was  not  long  before  the  Canadian  rail- 
way industry  was  asked  by  the  UK  if  it 
could  manufacture  and  supply  Valen- 
tine infantry  tanks,  and  this  proved  to 
be  a major  task  for  the  Canadians  who 
had  to  virtually  build  up  a tank  manu- 
facturing capability  from  scratch.  But 
the  Valentines  were  'Infantry'  tanks 
and  the  new  Canadian  tank  units 
would  need  'Cruisers'  for  armoured 
combat.  At  that  time  there  was  little 
prospect  of  obtaining  tanks  from  the 
United  Kingdom  and  the  United  States 
was  not  involved  in  the  war,  so  the  only 
thing  to  do  was  design  and  build  tanks 
in  Canada. 

But  what  tank?  Again,  at  the  time  it 
seemed  opportune  to  build  the  Amer- 
ican M3  (then  entering  production  for  a 
British  order)  but  this  design,  later 
known  as  the  Grant/Lee,  had  the  draw- 
back of  a sponson-mounted  mam  gun 
at  a time  when  it  was  appreciated  that 
a turret-mounted  gun  was  much  more 
efficient.  Thus  the  Canadians  decided 
to  adopt  the  main  mechanical,  hull  and 
transmission  components  of  the  M3, 
but  ally  them  to  a new  turret  mounting 
a 75-mm  (2,95 -in)  main  gun.  But  there 
was  no  prospect  of  a 75-mm  (2.95-in) 
gun  at  the  time,  so  the  readily- 
available  (40-mm/l  .58-in)  weapon  was 
chosen  for  initial  installations,  with  the 
chance  offitting  a larger  gun  later.  This 
turned  out  to  be  the  ^pdr  (57-mm/ 
2.244-in)  gun, 

Builaing  such  a tank  from  scratch 
was  a major  achievement  for  Canadian 
industry,  and  the  prototype  was  rolled 
out  from  the  Montreal  Locomotive 
Works  in  late  June  1941.  It  was  christ- 
ened the  Cruiser  Tank  Ram  Mk  I,  and 
turned  out  to  be  a remarkably  work- 
manlike design  making  much  use  of 
cast  armour;  the  drive  train  and  sus- 

pension demonstrated  its  M3  origins.  It 
was  not  long  before  the  initial  2-pdr 
gun  was  replaced  by  a 6-pdr  in  the 
Ram  Mk  II,  and  production  proper  got 
under  way  by  the  end  of  1941.  The 
secondary  armament  was  one  co-axial 
and  one  hull-mounted  7.62-mm  (0.3-in) 
machine-gun.  Almost  as  soon  as  pro- 
duction commenced  numerous  design 
modifications  were  progressively  in- 
troduced but  none  of  these  changes 
were  fundamental  as  the  Ram  was  a 
basically  sound  tank.  Armour  thick- 
ness ranged  from  25mm  (1  in)  to  89  mm 
(3.5  in). 

All  the  output  went  to  the  new  Cana- 
dian armoured  regiments  and  many  of 
these  regiments,  as  they  were  formed, 
were  sent  to  the  United  Kingdom.  But 
the  Ram  was  never  to  see  action  as  a 
gun  tank.  By  mid- 1943  large  numbers 
of  M4  Shermans  were  pouring  off 
American  production  lines  and  as  this 
tank  already  had  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun 
it  was  decided  to  standardize  on  the 
M4  for  all  Canadian  units.  Thus  the 
Rams  were  used  for  training  only.  As 
they  were  withdrawn  many  had  their 
turrets  removed  to  produce  the  Ram 
Kangaroo,  which  was  a simple  yet 
efficient  armoured  personnel  carrier 

widely  used  in  the  post-June  1944  cam- 
paigns. Some  Rams  had  their  guns  re- 
moved and  were  used  as  artillery 
observation  posts  (Ram  Command/OP 
Tank),  while  others  were  more  exten- 
sively modified  to  become  armoured 
recovery  vehicles,  Some  were  used 
for  various  experimental  and  trial  pur- 
poses, such  as  the  mounting  of  a 94-mm 
(3,7-in)  anti-aircraft  gun  on  top  of  the 

But  the  Ram's  greatest  contribution 
to  the  conflict  was  the  adaptation  of  the 
basic  Ram  hull  to  take  a 25-pdr  artillery 
piece.  The  gun  was  placecl  in  a simple 
open  superstructure  on  top  of  the  hull, 
and  in  this  form  the  Ram  became  the 
Sexton.  A total  of  2,150  was  produced 
for  the  Allied  armies  so  the  Ram  pro- 
duction line  made  a definite  contribu- 
tion to  the  Allied  victory. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  29484  kg  (65,000  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Continental  R-975 
radial  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions  :length5.79m(19ft0in); 
width  2.895  m (9  ft  6 in);  height  2.667  m 
(8  ft  9 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
40,2  km/h  (25  mph);  range  232  km  (144 
miles);  vertical  obstacle0,61m(2ft); 
trench  2. 26  m (7  ft  5 in) 

Canada  had  no  armoured 
forces  in  1939  but  decided 
to  build  her  own  tank  to 
equip  the  expanding 
Canadian  army.  The  Ram 
tank  utilized  the  chassis  of 
the  American  M3,  but 
mounted  its  main 
armament  in  the  turret 
rather  than  in  a sponson  as 
on  the  original  US  vehicle. 


Soviet  and 
American  Tanks 

Nowhere  in  the  course  of  World  War  II  was  the  industrial  might  of  what  were 
to  become  the  Superpowers  more  evident  than  in  the  production  of  armoured 
vehicles.  Manufacture  of  such  war-winning  weapons  as  the  M4  Sherman  and  the 
Soviet  T-34  was  on  a scale  that  the  Axis  could  not  hope  to  match. 

The  American  M4  Sherman  tank  ranks  as  one  of  the  most  famous  ever.  This  one  is  with  General 
Leclerc's  French  Armoured  Division  a few  weeks  after  the  Allies  had  established  their  beachhead. 

The  tanks  described  here 
include  some  of  the  best 
known  examples  which  saw 
action  in  World  War  II.  In  these 
pages  will  be  found  the  Sherman, 
the  T-34,  the  Lee  and  the  Grant, 
but  also  included  are  some 
slightly  lesser  known  names. 

Few  outside  the  former  Soviet 
Union  can  be  familiar  with  the 
little  T-70  light  tank,  but  in  its  day 
it  was  numerically  an  important 
part  of  the  Red  Army  tank  fleet, 
along  with  the  almost  equally 
unknown  T-26. 

The  numbers  and  fame  of  the 
T-34  and  the  various  Shermans 
have  tended  to  obliterate  the  fact 
that  between  1939  and  1945 
there  were  many  types  of  tank 
lurching  around  the  battlefields. 
Despite  the  need  for  strict 
standardization  to  boost  mass 
production  totals,  no  combatant 
was  able  to  say  at  any  time  that 
only  one  specific  tank  type  would 
be  produced.  Constant  supply  and 
demand  fluctuations  prevented 
any  such  thing,  although  at  one 
point  the  Soviets  got  very  close  to 
it  with  the  T-34.  Also,  tanks  were 
generally  retained  in  service  for 
as  long  as  possible,  sometimes 
until  they  had  been  outdated  or 
rendered  obsolete  by  events. 

Thus  the  M3  series  of  American 
light  tanks  continued  to  see 
action  right  through  the  war,  long 

after  there  was  no  longer  a place 
on  the  battlefield  for  their  original 

But  if  any  of  the  tanks  could 
be  said  to  have  overshadowed 
their  fellows  they  were  without 
doubt  the  Sherman  and  the  T-34. 
Together  these  two  examples 
made  major  contributions  to  the 
final  Allied  victory  over  Germany, 

and  so  ensured  that  their  names 
were  recorded  in  history.  Both 
tanks  had  their  faults.  The  T-34 
was  cramped  inside  and  manufac- 
tured to  a standard  that  was 
almost  crude.  The  Sherman  was 
high,  lacked  armour  protection 
and  was  almost  constantly  under- 
gunned. However,  both  types 
possessed  the  key  attributes  of 

mobility  and  availability,  and  in 
war  these  advantages  can  go  far 
towards  tipping  the  balance  of 
fortune  towards  one  side  or 
another.  By  1944  both  the  T-34 
and  the  Sherman  were  instrumen- 
tal in  forcing  the  German  army 
back  towards  the  borders  of  its 
homeland,  and  for  that  alone  they 
will  always  be  remembered. 


USA  W386422 


Light  Tank  M3 

American  light  tank  development  can 
be  traced  back  to  the  1920s  when 
several  infantry- support  light  tanks 
were  developed  in  small  numbers.  By 

the  early 




evolved  into  the  Light  Tank  M2,  and 

there  were  a series  of  designs  all  using 
the  M2  designation,  For  its  day  this 
series  were  quite  well  armed,  with  a 
37-mm  (1. 46-in)  main  gun,  but  by  1940 
the  type  was  at  best  obsolescent  and 
was  used  only  for  training  after 
reaching  its  apogee  with  the  M2A4 

The  events  of  1940  in  Europe  were 
followed  closely  by  the  US  Army, 
which  realized  that  thicker  armour 
would  be  required  by  its  light  tanks. 
This  involved  a better  suspension  to 
carry  the  extra  weight  and  the  result 

was  the  Light  Tank  M3,  based  general- 
ly on  the  M2A4.  It  was  in  full-scale  pro- 
duction by  1941,  and  mass  production 

of  the  M3A1  really  got  under  way  once 
the  USA  had  entered  the  war.  Early 
versions  used  riveted  construction,  but 
welded  turrets  and  eventually  welded 
hulls  were  successively  introduced, 
and  there  were  also  many  detail  de- 
sign changes.  By  the  time  M3  produc- 
tion ceased  5,811  had  been  built.  Basic 
armament  of  the  M3A1  was  one  37-mm 
(1.46-in)  gun  with  a co-axial  7.62-mm 
(0,3 -in)  machine-gun,  and  four  other 
7.62-mm  (0,3-in)  machine-guns  (one  on 
the  turret  roof  for  AA  defence,  one  in 
the  hull  front  and  two  fixed  in  the  spon- 
sons  for  operation  by  the  driver). 
Armour  thickness  ranged  from  15  mm 
(0.59  in)  to43mm(l.o9in). 

The  Light  Tank  M3  was  used  where- 
ver the  US  Army  was  involved.  It 
proved  to  be  a thoroughly  reliable 
vehicle  and  was  greatly  liked  by  its 
crews.  Large  numbers  of  M3s  were 
passed  to  the  USA's  allies,  and  the 
largest  recipient  was  the  UK,  where 
the  M3  was  known  as  the  Stuart.  To 

TheLight  TankMSAl  was  themain  combat  version  of  the  M2/M3  light  tankseriesin  service  ^en  the  United  States 
entered  the  war  in  late  194  Lit  mounted  a 37-mm  (1 .456-in)  main  gun,  and  there  was  provision  for  three 

with  petrol  and  diesel  engines)  fitted 
with  a gyrostabilized  gun,  power- 
traverse  turret  and  turret  basket,  and 

the  product-improved  M3  A3  (Stuart  V) 
with  a larger  driving  compartment. 

British  eyes  the  Stuart  was  large  for  a 
light  tank,  but  crews  soon  learned  to 

appreciate  the  nippiness  and  reliabil- 
ity of  the  vehicle.  One  thing  they  did 
not  particularly  like  was  the  fact  that 
two  main  types  of  engine  were  fitted  to 
different  versions:  the  normal  engine 
was  a Continental  7-cylinder  radial 
petrol  engine  (Stuart  I),  but  in  order  to 
expedite  production  at  a time  of  high 
demand  the  Guiberson  T-1020  diesel 
engine  was  substituted  (Stuart  II).  This 
sometimes  caused  logistic  supply 
problems  but  it  was  a burden  the  Allies 
learned  to  survive.  Major  variants 
were  the  M3A1  (Stuart  III  and  Stuart  IV 

thicker  armour  and  no  sponson  guns. 

The  37-mm  (1.46-in)  gun  was  re- 
tained throughout  the  production  life  of 
the  M3.  By  1944  it  had  very  little  com- 
bat value,  so  many  M3s  and  Stuarts 
serving  with  reconnaissance  units  had 
the  turret  removed  to  assist  conceal- 
ment. Extra  machine-guns  were  car- 
ried instead.  Many  of  these  turretless 
M3s  were  employed  as  command 
vehicles  by  armoured  formation  com- 
manders but  these  were  not  the  only 
variations  upon  the  M3  theme.  The  M3 
was  widely  used  for  all  manner  of  ex- 
periments that  ranged  from  mine- 
clearing  expedients  to  flame-throwers 
of  several  hinds.  Some  vehicles  were 
used  for  carrying  self-propelled  artil- 
lery, but  none  were  accepted  for  ser- 
vice. There  was  even  an  anti-aircraft 

British  service  the  M5  was  the  Stuart 
VI,  the  same  designation  being  used 
for  the  M5A1  with  an  improved  turret 
having  a bulged  rear  for  radio  (as  on 
the  ^ 


With  the  Allies  the  M3/Stuarts  were 
used  from  the  North  African  campaign 
onwards.  Some  were  passed  to  the 

Red  Army  under  Lend-Lease  arrange- 
ments. The  Light  Tank  M5  was  a de- 

velopment powered  by  twin  Cadillac 
engines  that  was  otherwise  generally 
similar  to  the  M3  series  but  was  recog- 
nizable by  the  raised  rear  decking  that 
accommodated  the  twin  engines.  In 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  inaction  12.927  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Continental  W-970- 
9 A 7-cylinder  radial  petrol  engine 
developing  186.5  kW  (250  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  4.54  m(  14  ft 
10.75  in) ; width  2 . 24  m (7  ft  4 in) ; height 
2.30  m (7  ft  6.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
58  km/h  (36  mph) ; maximum  road 

TheM3  {and  the  MS)  series  were 
used  by  many  Allied  armies  for 
reconnaissance.  This  example  is 
seen  negotia  ting  an  improvised  , 

German  roadblock  outside  Harze  in 
Belgium  during  the  late  summer  of  1944. 

range  1 12.6  km(70miles);  fording 
0.91  m(3  ft);  gradient  60  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.6 1 m (2  f t) ; trench 
1.83  m (6  ft) 

Light  Tank  M24  Chaffee 

By  1942  it  was  evident  that  the  day  of 
the  37-mm  (1.46-in)  tank  gun  had  pas- 
sed, and  requests  were  coming  from 
the  field  for  a light  tank  with  a 75 -mm 
(2.95-m)  main  gun.  Attempts  to  fit  such 
a gun  into  the  Light  Tank  M5  were 
unsuccessful,  so  a new  design  was 
started  by  Cadillac,  The  first  was 
ready  by  late  1943  and  it  carried  over 
several  features  of  the  MS,  including 
the  twin  engines,  but  the  main  change 
was  to  the  turret  and  gun. 

The  new  turret  mounted  the  re- 
quired 75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun,  whose  de 

bomber  aircraft  for  anti- shipping  use, 
and  in  this  form  the  T13E1  was  easily 

ad^ted  as  a light  tank  weapon. 

Ine  new  light 


for  service  it  became  the  Light  Tank 

e new  light  tank  was"  initially 
T24  but  when  accepted 

known  as  the 

M24  and  was  later  given  the  name 
Chaffee.  It  was  not  in  full  service  until 
late  1944,  and  thus  was  able  to  take 
only  a small  part  in  the  fighting  in 

Europe  during  1945.  Perhaps  its  big- 
' " ' ' ally " " 

velopment  was  l^gthy.  Originally  it 

had  been  the  old  Erench  '75'  field  gun 
altered  for  use  in  tanks.  Various  efforts 
were  made  to  lighten  the  gun  to  the 
extent  that  it  could  be  mounted  in  B-25 

gest  contribution  was  not  really  felt  un- 
til the  war  was  over,  for  the  M24  was 
designed  to  be  only  a part  of  what  the 
designers  called  a 'combat  team'  of 
armoured  vehicles.  The  idea  was  that 
a common  chassis  could  be  used  to 
provide  the  basis  for  a whole  family  of 
armoured  vehicles  that  included  self- 

pelled  artillery,  anti-aircraft  tanks 
ancT  so  on.  In  fact  this  concept  did  not 
make  the  impresion  that  it  might  have 
done  as  the  war  ended  before  it  could 
be  put  into  full  effect,  and  indeed  the 
M24  did  not  make  its  full  combat  im- 
pact until  the  Korean  War  of  the  early 

The  M24  was  a good-looking  little 
tank,  well  armed  for  its  size  and 
weight,  but  the  armour  (minimum 
12  mm/0.47  in  and  maximum  38mm/ 
1 .5-in)  had  to  be  lighter  than  in  heavier 
tanks  to  give  the  vehicle  its  agility.  The 
M24  had  a surprisingly  large  crew  of 
five  men  (commander,  gunner,  loader, 
radio  operator  who  sometimes  acted 
as  assistant  driver,  and  driver),  i^art 
from  the  main  gun  there  were  two  T.62- 

mm  (0.3-m)  machine-guns  (one  co- 
axial with  the  main  gun  and  one  in  the 
front  hull)  and  a 12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  gun 
on  the  turret  mounted  on  a pintle.  To 
add  to  this  array  there  was  a 51 -mm 
(2-in)  smoke  mortar.  All  this  was  a con- 
siderable armament  for  a vehicle  with 
a tactical  responsibility  that  was  li- 


20  Driver's  hand  levers 
(steering  brake) 

21  Range  selector/ 
transmission  lever 

22  Hand  levertransferunit 
shift  control 

23  Driver's  seat 

24  Fire  escape  hatch  door 

25  Turret  control  box 

26  Turret  driving  mechanism 

27  Stabilizerandturret  motor 

28  Firing  solenoid 

29  Ammunition  storage  boxes 

30  Leftgeneratorregulator 

31  Left  starter  relay 

32  Ventilating  door 

33  Master  battery  switch 

34  Four  6-volt  batteries 

35  Fixed  fire  extinguisher 

36  Radiator 

37  Radiatorairinletgrille 

38  Two  Cadillac  90  V-type  8- 

39  Fuel  tank  covers 

40  Fuel  compartment  vents 

41  Final  drive  sprocket 

42  Shockabsorber 

43  Support  arm 

44  Track  guide 

45  Track  wheel 

46  Torsion  bar 

47  Bumperspring  arm  bracket 

48  Track  support  roller 

49  Compensating  wheel  and 
track  wheel  support 

50  Track  compensating  wheel 

51  Compensating  wheel  link 

52  Track  wheel  link 

53  Loader's  hatch 

Light  Tank  M24 

1 M6  75-mm  gun 

2 M64  combination  gun 

3 0.30MGM1919A4co-axial 
with  main  armament 

4 Telescope  M71 K 

5 0.30MGM1919A4bow 

Chaffee  cutaway 

6 0.50  HB  Browning  MGM2 

7 Commander's  cupola 

8 Direct  vision  blocks 

9 Commander's  periscope 

10  Stowage  box 

1 1 Pistol  port 

drawing  key 

12  Radio  set,  SCR  508 

13  M3  grenade  launcher 

14  Assistant  driver's  door 

15  Hull  ventilator 

16  Front  cover  plate 

17  Portable  fire  extinguisher 

18  Controlled  differential 

19  Differential  output  yoke 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
56  km/h  (35  mph);  maximum  road 
range  161  km  (100  miles);  fording 
1,02  m (3  ft  4 in);  gradient  60  per  cent;? 
vertical  obstacle  0.9 1 m (3  ft) ; trench 
2.44  m (8  ft) 

Light  Tank  M24 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  inaction  18.37  tonnes 
Powerplant:  two  Cadillac  Model  44T24 
V-8  petrol  engines  developing  82  kW 

Dimensions:  length,  with  gun  5.49  m 
width  2.95  m (9  ft  8 in);  height  2.48  m 
(8  ft  1.5  in) 

mited  mainly  to  reconnaissance,  but 
by  the  time  the  M24  entered  service  it 
was  a luxury  that  the  Americans  could 
well  afford. 

As  mentioned  above,  the  M24  went 
on  to  make  its  greatest  impact  after 
1945  and  many  nations  retain  the  M24 
to  this  day,  several  of  them  going  to  the 
trouble  of  re-engining  the  vehicles  and 
updating  their  fire-control  systems. 

Armed  with  a 75-mm  (2. 95 -in) 

gun,  theM24was 

introduced  into  service 

during  late  1944 


formed  the  basis 

for  a new  family 

of  armoured 




Medium  Tank  M3 

When  the  Germans  invaded  France  in 
May  1940  the  consequent  tank  actions 
were  closely  observed  by  various  US 
Army  agencies.  From  their  observa- 
tions the  Americans  learned  that  the 
next  generation  of  medium  tanks  had 
to  have  at  least  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun  as 
their  main  armament,  but  this  pre- 
sented them  with  problems  as  their 
next  tank  generation,  already  being 
produced  in  prototype  form,  was 
armed  with  only  a 37-mm  (1.46-in)  gun 
of  the  type  already  seen  to  be  obso- 

The  American  answer  was  swift  and 
drastic:  they  simply  took  their  existing 
design  and  altered  it  to  accommodate 
the  required  75-mm  (2. 95 -in)  gun.  The 
turret  of  the  new  design  (the  Medium 
Tank  M2,  destined  never  to  see  active 
service)  could  not  take  the  larger  gun 
so  the  weapon  had  to  be  situated  in  the 
hull.  Consequently  the  revised  tank 
design  retained  the  37-mm  (1.46-in) 
gun  turret,  while  the  main  armament 
was  located  in  a sponson  on  the  right- 
hand  side  of  the  hull.  The  75-mm  (2.95- 
in)  gun  was  a revised  version  of  the 
famous  French  75'  field  piece  as  made 
in  the  USA,  but  new  ammunition  con- 
verted it  into  what  was  for  the  time  a 
powerful  tank  weapon.  Secondary 
armament  comprised  four  7.62-mm 
(0.3-in)  machine-guns  (one  in  the  com- 
mander's cupola  atop  the  37-mm/l  .46- 
in  turret,  one  co-axial  with  the  37-mm/ 
1.46-in  gun,  and  two  in  the  hull). 

The  new  design  became  the 
Medium  Tank  M3,  and  was  rushed  into 
mass  production  in  a factory  meant  for 
the  earlier  M2,  Almost  as  soon  as  pro- 
duction started  for  the  US  Army,  a Brit- 
ish mission  arrived  in  the  United  States 
on  a purchasing  trip  to  obtain  tanks  to 
replace  those  lost  m France,  and  the 
M3  was  high  on  its  shopping  hst.  They 
requested  a few  changes  to  suit  their 
requirements,  the  most  obvious  of 
which  were  a revised  turret  rear  out- 
line to  accommodate  radio  equipment 
and  the  absence  of  the  cupola  and  this 
model  was  produced  specifically  for 
the  .British  army.  Once  delivered  the 
British  knew  the  M3  as  the  General 
Grant  I (or  simply  Grant  I),  and  the  first 
of  them  went  into  action  at  Gazala  in 
as  their 

arrival  was  entirely  unexpected,  their 
combination  of  armament  and  armour 
(12  mm/0.47  in  minimum  and  50mm/ 
1,97  in  maximum)  proving  most  useful. 

The  Grants  were  later  joined  in  Brit- 
ish service  by  the  unmodified  M3 
which  was  then  labelled  the  General 
Lee  I.  Further  improvement  led  to  the 
M3A1  (Lee  II)  with  welded  construc- 
tion, the  uparmoured  M3A3  (Lee  IV) 
with  two  General  Motors  6-7 1 diesels 

May  1942  when  they  provided  tl 
ka  korps  with  a nasty  fright 

AbovQ:  The  M3  General  Lee  tank  was 
a hasty  design,  but  it  had  a powerful 
75-mm  gun  which  gave  Allied  tanks  a 
parity  with  German  tanks  for  the  first 

dehvering  375  hp  (280  kW),  the  M3A4 
(Lee  V)  with  the  Ch^sler  A-57  multi- 
bank engine  delivering  370  hp 
(276  kW),  and  the  M3A5  based  on  the 
M3  A3  but  with  a riveted  hull.  By  the 
time  production  ended  in  December 
1942  the  total  had  reached  6,258  and 
the  M3  was  used  in  virtually  every 
theatre  of  war  in  one  form  or  another. 
Many  were  passed  to  the  Red  Army  on 
a Lend-Lease  arrangement. 

The  M3  turned  out  to  be  a reliable 
and  hard-wearing  vehicle,  but  its  hull- 
located  main  gun  was  often  a cause  of 
tactical  difficulties  as  its  traverse  was 
very  limited.  But  it  did  provide  the 
punch  that  Allied  'tankies'  required  at 
that  time.  Its  tactical  silhouette  was 
really  too  high  for  comfort,  but  con- 
sidering that  the  basic  design  was  im- 
provized  and  rushed  into  production, 
at  a time  when  there  were  more  ques- 
tions being  asked  than  answers  pro- 
vided, it  turned  out  to  be  a remarkable 
effort.  Many  of  the  suspension  and 
automotive  features  were  later  in- 
corporated into  other  designs  and  con- 
tinued to  provide  excellent  service, 
but  perhaps  the  main  lesson  to  be 
learned  from  the  M3  was  the  latent 
power  of  American  industry  that  could 
churn  out  such  a vehicle  from  scratch 
in  such  a short  time. 

As  soon  as  the  M4  entered  service 
the  M3s  were  usually  withdrawn  and 
converted  to  other  roles  such  as 
armoured  recovery  vehicles,  but  in  the 
Far  East  they  remained  in  use  until 
1945  in  both  Grant  and  Lee  forms. 

Crew:  6 

Weight:  in  action  27.24  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Continental  R-975- 
EC2  radial  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions : length  5 . 64  m ( 1 8 ft  6 in) ; 
(10  ft  3 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42  km/h  (26  mph);  maximum  road 

TheM3  Grant  was  the  'British ' 
version  of  the  M3  Lee.  Themain 
change  was  to  the  turret  profile, 
which  had  a rear  overhang  to  house  a 
radio  set,  and  the  silhouette  was 
lowered  by  omitting  the  machine- 
gun  cupola  of  the  original  turret. 

range  193  km(120miles);  fording 
1 .02  m (3  ft  4 in) ; gradient  60  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacleO.6 1 m(2ft)  ;trench 
1.91  m (6  ft  3 in) 


Medium  Tank  M4 

While  the  Medium  Tank  M3  was  being 
rushed  into  production,  a new  design 
of  medium  tank  with  a turret-mounted 
75-mm  (2,95-in)  main  gun  was  being 
pushed  through  the  orawing  board 
stages.  To  save  time  this  was  to  use  the 
same  basic  hull  and  suspension  as  the 
M3,  but  the  upper  hull  was  revised  to 
aeeommodate  the  gun  turret.  The  first 
example  of  the  new  tank  was  rolled  out 
in  September  1941  as  the  Medium 
Tank  T6  and  proved  to  be  a very  good 
design.  The  upper  hull  was  cast,  and 
this  not  only  provided  added  protec- 

tion but  speeded  production,  at  that 
time  a definite  asset. 

The  new  weapon  was  rushed  into 
production  as  the  Medium  Tank  M4, 
with  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  main  gun  and 
co-axial  7.62-mm  (0.3 -in)  machine-gun, 
7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  bow  gun  and  12.7-mm 
(0.5-in)  gun  for  AA  defence.  This  base- 
line model  had  minimum  and  max- 
imum armour  thicknesses  of  15mm 
(0,59m)  and  76mm  (2.99  in)  respec- 
tively. It  proved  to  be  an  excellent 
fighting  platform  and  went  on  to  be  one 
or  the  war-winning  weapons  of  the 

Allies,  being  constructed  in  thousands . 
By  the  time  the  production  lines  stop- 
ped rolling  in  1945  well  over  40,000  had 
been  made,  and  the  type  was  built  in  a 
bewildering  array  of  marks,  sub- 
marks and  variants  of  all  kinds.  There 
is  no  space  in  these  pages  even  to 
attempt  a complete  listing  of  all  the 
numerous  versions,  but  suffice  to  say 
that  once  in  service  the  M4  series  was 
differently  engined:  up-gunned  to 
even  more  powerful  75-mm  (2. 95 -in), 
76-mm  (2.99-in)  and  105-mm  (4.13-in) 
main  weapons;  and  developed  into 

numerous  'specials'  such  as  engineer 
tanks,  assault  tanks,  tank  destroyers, 
flamethrowers,  bridging  tanks,  recov- 
ery vehicles,  rocket  launchers,  self- 
propelled  artillery  carriages,  anti- 
mine vehicles  and  so  on,  which  were 
produced  from  scratch  or  improvised 
m the  field.  Gradually  the  M4  series 
became  the  T-34  of  the  W e stern  Allies . 

The  British  army  purchased  large 
numbers  of  M4s  or  took  them  over  as 
part  of  the  Lend-Lease  programme . T o 
the  British  the  M4  was  the  General 
Sherman  (or  simply  Sherman)  and  they 


T/ze  M4A3  was  one 
Sherman  variants  used  until  1945,  as  it  had  a 76- 

mm  (2.99-in)  gun  andHVSS  (horizontal 
spring  suspension). 

too  added  their  variations  to  the  long 
list  of  M4  specials:  one  of  the  best- 
known  of  these  was  the  1944  Sherman 
Firefly,  which  had  a 17-pdr  main  gun. 
The  first  Shermans  went  into  action 
with  the  British  at  El  Alamein  in  Octo- 
ber 1942.  Thereafter  the  Sherman  was 
the  most  numerous  tank  in  British  army 
service  for  the  rest  of  World  War  II. 

The  main  models  of  this  seminally 
important  armoured  fighting  vehicle 
were  as  follows:  the  M3  (Sherman  I) 
already  mentioned,  engined  with  the 
263-kW  (353-hp)  Wright  Whirlwind  or 
298-kW  (400-hp)  Continental  R-975  ra- 
dial engines;  the  M4A1  (Sherman  II) 
with  a fully  cast  rather  than  cast/ 
welded  hull,  and  alternatively  engined 
with  the  336-kW  (450-hp)  Caterpillar 
9-cylinder  diesel;  the  M4A2  (Sherman 
III)  with  a welded  hull  and  a 313-kW 
(420-hp)  General  Motors  6-71  twin- 
diesel  powerplant;  the  M4A3  (Sher- 
man IV)  with  a 373-kW  (500-hp)  Ford 
GAA  III  engine  and  horizontal-  rather 
than  vertical-volute  suspension;  and 
the  M4A4  (Sherman  V)  with  the  317- 
kW  (425 -hp)  Chrysler  five-bank  en- 
gine. It  is  also  worth  noting  that  in  Brit- 
ish service  the  mark  numbers  were 
suffixed  whenever  the  main  armament 
was  not  the  standard  75-mm  (2.95-in) 
gun,  A indicating  a 76-mm  (2.99-in) 


gun,  B a 105-mm  (4.13-in)  howitzer  and 
C a 17-pdr  anti-tank  gun.  The  suffrx  W 
in  US  designations  denoted  the  provi- 
sion of  wet  ammunition  stowage  for  re- 
duced fire  risk.  Armour  protection  was 
also  considerably  developed  in  the 
lengthy  production  run,  the  M4  A2  hav- 
ing a minimum  and  a maximum  of  13 
and  105  mm  (0.51  and  4. 13  in),  equiva- 
lent figures  for  the  M4A3  and  M4A4 
being  15  and  100  mm  (0.59  and3.94in), 
and  2^0  and  85  mm  (0.8  and  3.35  in)  re- 

It  was  the  numerical  superiority  of 
the  M4  that  in  the  end  made  it  a war- 
winner,  The  M4  had  many  drawbacks 
and  was  far  from  being  the  ideal  battle 

tank.  It  was  often  left  behind  in  fire- 
power as  the  German  tank  guns  in- 
creased in  power  and  calibre,  and  the 
armour  thicknesses  and  arrangement 
were  frequently  found  wanting.  In- 
deed many  field  improvizations  had  to 
be  used  to  beef  up  the  armour,  these 
including  the  simple  expedient  of  us- 
ing stacked  sandbags.  The  silhouette 
was  too  high  for  comfort  and  the  in- 
terior arrangements  far  from  perfect. 
Another  problem  frequently  encoun- 
tred  was  that  with  so  many  variants  in 
use  spares  were  often  not  available 
and  engine  interchangeability  was  fre- 
quently impossible,  causing  consider- 
able logistical  troubles. 

Medium  T ank  M4  A3 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  in  action  32.284  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Ford  GAA  V-8  petrol 
engine  developing  335.6  or  373  kW 
(450  or  500  hp) 

Dimensions:  length,  with  gun  7,5  2 m 
(24  ft  8 in),  and  over  hull  6.27  m (20  ft 
7 in) ; width2.68  m(8  ft9.5  in) ; height 
3.43  m (11  ft  2,875  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
47  km/h  (29  mph);  maximum  road 
range  161  km  (100  miles) ; fording 
0.9 1 m(3  ft) ; gradient  60  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.6 1 m (2  ft) ; trench 
2.26  m (7  ft  5 in) 

even  then  seen  as  something  of  an 
anachronism  (later  developments  did 
away  with  it).  In  fact  the  M26  was  only 
the  start  of  a new  generation  of  Amer- 
ican tank  design.  After  1945  the  M26 
was  progressively  developed  through 
various  models  including  the  M47  into 
the  M48  Patton,  which  is  still  in  wide- 
spread service  with  the  US  Army  and 
also  with  other  armies  all  over  the 

The  M26  saw  extensive  action  dur- 
ing the  Korean  War  and  was  for  long 
one  of  the  main  types  fielded  by  the  US 
Army  in  Europe  as  part  of  NATO,  The 
M26  also  spawned  many  variants  and 
hybrids  as  post-war  development  con- 

Heavy  Tank  M26 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  in  action  41.73  tonnes 

Powerplant:  one  Ford  GAF  V-8  petrol 
engine  delivering  373  kW(500  hp) 
Dimensions:  length,  with  gun  8.79  m 
(28  ft  10  in)  and  over  hull  6.5 1 m (21  ft 
2 in) ; width  3 .505  m ( 1 1 ft  6 in) ; height 
2,77  m (9  ft  1 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
48  km/h  (30  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  148  km  (92  miles);  fording  1.22  m 
(4  ft) ; gradient  60  per  cent;  vertical 
obstacle  1 . 1 7 m (3  ft  1 0 in) ; trench 
2.59  m (8  ft  6 in) 

The  M26 Pershing  mounted  a main 
90-mm  (3.54-in)  gun  and  had  a crew 
offive.  It  en  tered  service  in  1945,  just 
toolate  to  have  any  major  impact  on 
the  fighting  in  Europe  butin  time  to 
see  action  during  the  Okinawa 
campaign  in  the  Pacific.  It  was  the 
first  of  a series  leading  to  the  M60  of 

— USA 

Heavy  Tank  M26  Pershing 

The  heavy  tank  did  not  have  an  easy 
time  during  World  War  II  as  far  as  the 
Americans  were  concerned.  Early  on 
they  realized  the  operational  need  for 
a heavy  tank  but  initially  concentrated 
their  considerable  production  poten- 
tial on  the  medium  tank,  the  M3  and  M4 
series  in  particular.  A promising  de- 
sign, the  Heavy  Tank  M6,  came  to 
nought  as  the  result  of  this  concentra- 
tion of  effort,  but  low-priority  develop- 
ment facilities  were  thereafter 
accorded  to  the  heavy  tank.  This  re- 
quirement was  emphasized  when  the 
German  Panther  and  Tiger  arrived  on 
the  battlefield,  and  the  heavy  tank  was 
then  given  a greater  degree  of  prior- 

The  first  of  the  new  generation  of 
American  heavy  tanks  was  a trials 
model  known  as  the  Medium  Tank 
T20.  It  had  a 76-mm  (2.99-in)  gun  and 
used  a suspension  very  like  that  of  the 
M4  medium  tank,  but  progressive  de- 
velopment led  to  a newer  form  of  sus- 
pension of  the  torsion-bar  type.  The 
gun  was  also  replaced  by  a new  90- 
mm  (3 .54-in)  main  gun  in  a revised  tur- 
ret, and  after  a further  series  of  trials 
models  culminating  in  the  Heavy  Tank 
T26E3  (via  the  Medium  Tanks  T22, 
T23,  T25  and  T26)  was  selected  for 
production  as  the  Heavy  Tank  M26.  It 
was  given  the  name  General  Pershing 
(or  simply  Pershing),  but  by  the  time 
the  full  series  of  trials  on  the  new  tank 
had  been  completed  only  a few  were 
ready  for  action  in  World  War  II. 

It  was  early  1945  before  the  first 
M26s  arrived  in  Europe  and  of  these 
only  a relative  handful  saw  any  action 
there.  More  were  sent  to  the  Pacific 
theatre  and  there  rather  more  were 
used  in  anger,  but  by  the  time  they 
arrived  on  the  scene  there  was  little  a 

heavy  tank  could  be  called  upon  to 

Thus  the  M26  contributed  little  to 
World  War  II,  but  its  design  was  the 
long-term  result  of  the  years  of  combat 
that  had  gone  before.  For  perhaps  the 
first  time  on  an  American  tank  adequ- 
ate consideration  was  given  to  armour 
protection  (a  minimum  of  12  mm/ 
0.47m  and  a maximum  of  102  mm/ 
4,02  in)  and  firepower.  With  the  90-mm 
(3.54-in)  gun,  originally  intended  for 
use  as  an  anti-aircraft  weapon,  the  M26 
had  armament  that  was  the  equal  of 
any  and  the  superior  of  most  contem- 
porary tanks.  The  secondary  arma- 
ment comprised  the  standard  three 
machine-guns:  one  12.7-mm  (0.5-in) 
and  two  7.62  (0.3-in)  weapons.  For  all 
that  the  M26  still  had  a few  design 
drawbacks:  the  turret  shape  was  criti- 
cized for  its  shot-trap  potential,  and  the 
retention  of  the  bow  machine-gun  was 



T-40,  T-60  and  T-70  light  tanks 

During  the  1920s  and  1930s  the  tanket- 
te was  a continuing  attraction  for  the 
military  mind  and  the  tank  designer, 
and  the  Soviet  Union  was  no  exception 
in  this  trend.  By  the  late  1930s  the  Red 
Army  had  progressed  through  the 
stages  where  the  one-man  tankette 
had  been  tested  and  dropped  and  was 
in  the  usual  stage  where  the  tankette 
had  developed  into  the  two-man  light 
tank.  By  the  time  the  Germans  attack- 
ed in  1940  the  Red  Army  had  invested 
fairly  heavily  in  the  light  tank,  and  the 
models  in  service  were  the  result  of 
many  years  of  development. 

One  of  the  main  types  in  1940  was 
the  T-40  amphibious  light  tank,  armed 
witha  12.7-mm(0.5-in)machine-gun.  It 
was  the  latest  in  a long  line  of  models 
that  could  be  traced  back  to  the  T-27  of 
the  early  1930s.  This  had  progressed 
through  the  T-33,  the  T-34  (not  to  be 
confused  with  the  T-34  medium  tank), 
the  T-36,  the  T-37  and  finally  the  T-38. 
Most  of  these  lacked  the  amphibious 
capabilities  of  the  T-40  which  was 
placed  in  production  in  about  1940,  so 
that  by  the  time  the  invasion  of  1941 
started  only  a few  (about  230)  were 
ever  completed.  Many  of  the  late- 
production  T-40  models  (with  stream- 
lined nose  and  foldable  trim  vane) 
were  converted  into  Katyusha  rocket- 
launcher  carriers  and  were  never 
used  as  turreted  tanks,  whose  normal 
armament  was  one  12.7-mm  (0.5-in) 
and  one  7.62-mm  (0,3-m)  machine-gun. 
Armour  ranged  from  6 to  13  mm  (0.24 
to  0.51  in)  in  thickness. 

While  the  amphibious  T-40  was 
being  developed  a non-amphibious 
version,  known  as  the  T-40S,  was  prop- 
osed. When  the  Germans  invaded,  the 
call  was  for  many  more  tanks  deli- 
vered as  rapidly  as  possible,  so  the 
simpler  T-40S  was  rushed  into  produc- 
tion and  redesignated  the  T-&  light 
tank.  Unfortunately  it  was  a bit  of  a 
horror  in  service  and  carried  over  the 
primary  bad  points  of  the  T-40:  it  was 
too  lightly  armoured  and,  having  only  a 
20-mm  cannon  plus  a co-axial  7.62-mm 
(0.3-in)  machine-gun  as  armament, 
was  useless  against  other  tanks.  Also  it 
was  so  underpowered  that  it  could  not 
keep  up  with  the  heavier  T-34  tanks 
across  country.  T-60s  were  kept  in  pro- 
duction simply  because  they  could  be 
churned  out  quickly  from  relatively 
small  and  simple  factories.  They  were 
powered  by  truck  engines,  many  com- 
ponents being  taken  from  the  same 
source,  and  the  slightly  improved  T- 
60A  appeared  in  1942  with  slightly 
thicker  frontal  armour  (35  mm/1.38  in 
instead  of  25  mm/0.98  in)  and  solid  in- 
stead of  spoked  wheels. 

AbovQ;  The  T-70  light  tankwas a 
useful  reconnaissance  vehicle,  but  it 
had  only  a 45-mm  (L77-in)  main  gun 
and  was  thus  of  little  use  in  combat 
against  heavier  German  tanks.  In 
action  it  proved  tobe  adequate  but 

Right:  The  20-mm  gun  armed  T-60 
Ugh  t tankwas  nota  grea  t success  in 
action,  for  it  was  too  lightly  armed 
and  armoured  and  lacked  power 
andmobility.  It  was  kept  in 
production  simply  to  get  some  sort  of 
vehicle  to  the  Red  Army  following  the 
disasters  of  the  1941  campaigns. 

By  late  1941  work  was  already  under 
way  on  the  T-60's  successor.  This  was 
the  T-70,  whose  first  version  used  a 
twin-engine  power  train  that  could 
never  have  worked  successfully  in  ac- 
tion and  which  was  soon  replaced  by  a 
revised  arrangement.  The  T-70  was 
otherwise  a considerable  improve- 
ment over  the  T-40  and  T-60.  It  had 
heavier  armour  (proof  against  37-mnV 
1.46-in  anti-tank  guns)  and  the  turret 
mounted  a 45-mm  (1.77-m)  gun  and 
7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-gun.  This 
was  still  only  of  limited  use  against 
heavier  tanks  but  was  better  than  a 
mere  machine-gun.  The  crew  re- 
mained at  two  men,  the  commander 
having  to  act  as  his  own  gunner  and 
loader  in  a fashion  hardly  conducive  to 
effective  operation  of  tank  or  units. 

Production  of  the  T-70  and  thicker- 
armour  T-70  A ceased  in  October  1943, 
by  which  time  8,226  had  been  pro- 
duced. In  service  the  type  proved  re- 
markably unremarkable,  and  the  vehi- 
cles appear  to  have  been  confined  to 
the  close  support  of  infantry  units  and 
some  limited  reconnaissance  tasks.  By 

1943  the  light  tank  was  an  anachron- 
ism, but  the  Soviets  nonetheless  went 
ahead  with  a replacement  known  as 
the  T-80.  Almost  as  soon  as  it  went  into 
production  its  true  lack  of  value  was 
finally  realized  and  the  production  line 
was  switched  to  manufacturing  com- 
ponents for  the  SU-76  self-propelled 



Crew:  2 

Weight:  5.9  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  GAZ-202  petrol 
engine  delivering  52  kW  (70  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  4 . 1 1 m ( 1 3 ft  5 .9  in) ; 
width  2.33  m (7  ft  7.7  in) ; height  1 .95  m 
(6  ft  4.8  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
44  km/h  (27.3  mph);  road  range  360  km 
(223.7  miles);  fording  amphibious; 
gradient  34°;  vertical  obstacle  0.70  m 
(2ft3.75  in);  trench  1.85m(6ft  1 in) 



Crew:  2 

Weight:  6.4  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  GAZ-203  petrol 
engine  delivering  63  kW  (85  hp) 
Dimensions  :Iength4. 1 1 m(  1 3ft5.9in); 
width  2 . 3 m (7  ft  6 . 5 in) ; height  1 .74  m 
(5  ft  8.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
45  km/h  (28  mph);  roadrange450km 
(280  miles);  fording  not  known; 
gradient  29°;  vertical  obstacle  0.54  m 
( 1 ft  9 . 3 in) ; trench  1 .85  m (6  ft  1 in) 



Crew:  2 

Weight:  9. 2 tonnes 
Powerplant:  two  GAZ-202petrol 
engines  delivering  a total  of  104  k W 

Dimensions : length  4.29m(14ft0.9in); 
width2.32m(7  n7.3  in);  height  2. 04  m 
(6  ft  8.3  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
45  km/h  (28  mph) ; road  range  3&  km 
(223.7  miles);  fording  not  known; 
gradient  34°;  vertical  obstacle  0.70  m 
(2  ft3,6  in);  trenchS.  12  m(10  ft2.8  in) 


T-26  light  infantry  tank 

During  the  late  1920s  Red  Army  plan- 
ners inaugurated  a programme  to  re- 
equip the  tank  elements  of  the  Soviet 
armed  forces.  In  common  with  many 
other  nations  they  decided  upon  an 
infantry  support  tank  for  their  non- 
cavalry units  and  after  attempting  to 
develop  a new  design  of  their  own  de- 
cided on  the  mass  production  of  a Brit- 
ish commercial  model,  the  6-ton  Vick- 
ers Type  E light  tank.  This  was  named 
the  T-26  and  the  first  examples  of  the 
British  model  arrived  in  the  Soviet  Un- 
ion during  1930,  being  designated  T- 
26  A-1. 

Soviet  production  of  the  T-26  started 

during  1931.  The  earliest  models  used 
a twin-turret  arrangement  mounting 
two  machine-guns  (two  7 .62-mm/0. 3 -in 
weapons  in  the  T-26 A-2,  and  one  12.7- 
mm/O.S-in  and  one  7,62-mm/0.3-in  gun 
in  the  T-26A-3),  but  some  models  had  a 
machine-gun  in  one  turret  and  a gun 
(27-mm  in  the  T.26A-4  and  37-mm  T- 
26A-5);  this  arrangement  did  not  sur- 
vive for  long  and  later  T-26B  models 
had  a single  turret  mounting  only  a gun 
(37-mm  in  the  T-26B-1,  though  a 45-mm 
gun  was  used  later). 

The  early  T-26  tanks  were  straight- 
forward copies  of  the  British  original, 
and  were  simple,  robust  vehicles  of 

mainly  riveted  construction.  The  first 
model  was  the  T-36  Model  1931  (T- 
26  A) , replacedby  the  T -26  Model  1933 
(T-26B)  which  had  some  design  im- 
provements. Before  1941  the  Model 
1933  was  the  most  widely  produced  of 
all  Soviet  tanks,  about  5,500  being  built 
by  the  time  production  of  that  particu- 
larversion  ceased  in  1936.  Anewmod- 
el,  the  T-26S  Model  1937,  was  then 
placed  in  production  and  this  series 
had  several  changes  compared  with 
the  earlier  versions.  The  T-26S  carried 
the  45-mm  (1.77-in)  main  gun  fitted  to 
later  versions  of  the  Model  1933,  but 
allied  this  to  an  improved  turret  design 

and  all-welded  construction  as  intro- 
duced on  the  T-26B-3. 

The  welding  was  introduced  follow- 
ing operational  experiences  in  the 
border  clashes  with  Japan  that  took 
place  along  the  Mongolian  and  Man- 
churian boundaries  in  1934  and  1935. 
Experience  showed  that  a T-26  which 
encountered  hostile  fire  was  likely  to 
have  its  rivets  knocked  out  to  fly 
around  the  interior.  Welding  was  intro- 
duced with  the  later  Model  1933  tanks 
but  was  standard  on  the  T-26S. 

Throughout  their  hves  the  T-26  tanks 
underwent  many  production  and  in- 
service  changes,  most  of  them  aimed 


at  improving  armour  protection  (mini- 
mum of  6 mm/0.24  in  and  maximum  of 
25  mm/0.98  in)  and  armament.  There 
were  also  many  special  versions. 
Perhaps  the  most  numerous  of  these 
were  the  flame-throwing  tanks  pre- 
fixed by  the  designation  OT.  Again 
there  were  several  of  these,  the  ear- 
liest being  the  OT-26  and  the  last  the 
OT-133.  Most  of  these  had  the  flame- 
throwing projector  in  the  turret  and 
carried  no  main  gun,  but  later  models 
did  carry  a gun  in  addition  to  the  pro- 
jector.  There  were  also  bridge- 
carrying versions  (the  ST-26)  and 
attempts  were  made  to  mount  7 6 . 2 -mm 
(3-in)  guns  for  increased  infantry  fire 
support.  The  type  was  also  developed 
as  a command  vehicle,  variants  being 
the  T-26A-4(U)  and  T-26B-2(U), 
Production  of  the  T-26  series  ceased 
entirely  in  1941  when  the  Germans 
overran  most  of  the  production  facili- 
ties. New  production  centres  set  up  in 
the  Soviet  hinterlands  launched  the 
production  of  later  tank  designs,  but  by 
1941  well  over  12,000  T-26  tanks  of  all 
kinds  had  been  made.  Consequently 

they  were  among  the  most  numerous 
of  the  AFVs  used  during  the  early 
stages  of  the  'Great  Patriotic  War',  and 
were  also  used  in  the  1939-1940  cam- 
paign in  Finland.  Some  had  been  used 
durrng  the  Spanish  Civil  War. 

After  1941  huge  numbers  of  T-26 
tanks  were  destroyed  or  passed  into 
German  hands.  Many  were  later  con- 
verted to  artillery  tractors  or  self- 
propelled  gun  carriers,  usually  by  the 
Germans  who  always  had  a need  for 
such  vehicles. 

Overall  the  T-26  was  an  unremark- 
able little  tank  that  was  unable  to  stand 
up  to  the  demands  of  1941,  but  it  en- 
abled the  Soviet  Union  to  establish  its 
own  mass  production  facilities  and 
know-how,  and  these  stood  them  in 
good  stead  after  1941. 

Crew:  3 

Weight:  9,4  tonnes 

Powerplant:  one  GAZ  T-26  8-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  68  kW 
(91  hp) 

Dimensions:  length4. 8 8 m(  16  ft); 
width3 .4 1 m ( 1 1 ft  2, 25  in) ; height 
2.41  m(7ft  11  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
28  km/h  ( 1 7 .4  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  175  km  (108. 7 miles);  fording  not 
known;  gradient  40°;  vertical  obstacle 
2.8  in) 

One  ofthemmy  variants  of  the  T-26 
light  infantry  tank  was  the  Model 
1931,  which  had  dual  turrets,  usually 
mounting  two  7. 62 -mm  (0.30-in) 
machine-guns,  but  sometimes 
having  one  of  the  machine-guns 
replacedby  a 37-mm  (1.46-in)  short 
infantry  support  gun.  ThelaterT-26 
Model  1933  had  a single  turret. 


T-28  medium 

The  Soviet  T-28  medium  tank  was  an 
indigenous  design  that  entered  pro- 
duction in  Leningrad  during  193j.  It 
was  greatly  influenced  by  current 
trends  shown  in  German  and  British 
(Vickers)  experimental  designs,  and 
so  featured  the  fashionable  multi-turret 
layout,  The  T-28  had  three,  the  main 
gun  turret  being  partially  flanked  by 
two  smaller  ones  armed  with  machine- 
guns,  the  driver's  position  being  be- 
tween the  two  auxiliary  turrets. 

The  prototype  T-28  had  a 45-mm 
(1.77-m)  main  gun,  but  on  T-28  and  T- 
28  A production  models  (the  latter  with 
thicker  front  armour)  this  was  changed 
to  a short  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun,  T28B  pro- 
duction models  after  1938  having  a 
newer  and  longer  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun 
with  improved  performance.  The 
secondary  armament  was  three  7.62- 
mm  (0,3-in)  machine-guns.  Overall  the 
T-28  was  a large  and  slab-sided  brute 
but  the  Soviet  tank  design  teams  were 
still  in  the  process  of  learning  their 
trade,  and  experience  with  the  T-28 
was  later  of  great  importance. 

Construction  of  the  original  produc- 
tionmodel,  theT-28  Model  1934,  lasted 
until  1938  when  the  improved  T-28B 
appeared  with  the  new  gun  (see 
above),  rudimentary  gun  stabilization 
and  some  engine  modifications.  This 
was  the  T-28  Model  1938,  and  manu- 
facture of  this  version  lasted  until  1940, 
when  production  ceased  in  favour  of 
later  models.  The  armour  of  the  diffe- 
rent versions  ranged  from  a minimum 
of  20mm  (0.79  in)  to  a maximum  of 
80mm  (3. 15  in)  in  thickness. 

There  were  several  experimental 
versions  of  the  T-28  including  some 
self-propelled  guns  and  specials  such 
as  bridging  and  assault  engineering 
tanks.  None  of  these  experimentais  got 
past  the  prototype  stage,  but  experi- 
ence with  them  was  or  great  import- 
ance when  later  variations  on  produc- 
tion tanks  were  contemplated.  In  fact 
the  T-28  was  of  more  value  as  an  edu- 
cational tank  than  as  a combat  tank.  Its 
service  life  was  short,  spanning  only 
the  years  from  1939  to  1941,  In  1939  it 
was  used  in  action  against  the  Finns 
during  the  'Winter  War'.  In  that  short 

conflict  the  T-28s  fared  badly  as  their 
crews  found  out  the  hard  way  that  the 
vehicle's  armour  was  too  thin  for  safety 
and  those  tanks  that  survived  under- 
went a hasty  course  of  modifications  to 
add  extra  armour  (up  to  80  mm/ 
3.15m).  The  modified  T-28s  were 
known  as  the  T-28E  (ekanirovki,  or 
screened,  i.e.  uparmoured),  but  the 
crash  programme  proved  to  have 
been  or  doubtful  effectiveness  when 
the  Germans  invaded  the  Soviet  Union 
in  1941.  The  T-28E  was  also  known  as 
the  T-28M  or  T-28  Model  1940. 

In  1941  the  surviving  T-28s  demons- 
trated themselves  to  be  of  only  limited 
combat  value.  Their  large  slab  sides 
and  stately  performance  made  them 
easy  prey  for  German  anti-tank 
weapons.  They  also  proved  vulner- 
able to  mines,  and  during  the  'Winter 
War'  of  1939-1940  some  T-28s  were 
modified  to  carry  anti-mine  rollers  in 
front  of  the  vehicle.  These  rollers  were 
not  a success,  but  again  the  experi- 
ence gained  with  them  proved  to  be  of 
great  value  later.  Thus  the  T-28  passed 

The  T-28  medium  tank  was  one  of  the 
least  successful  pre-war  Soviet  tank 
designs  for  in  action  in  1940  and  1941 
itproved  tobe  cumbersome, 
inadequately  armoured  and  under- 
gunned. The  main  gun  was  a short 
76.2-mm  (3 -in)  weapon  that  was 
replaced  in  some  cases  by  a longer- 
barrelled  gun  of  the  same  calibre. 

from  the  scene,  proving  itself  to  belong 
to  an  earlier  era  of  tank  design. 

Crew:  6 

Weight:  28  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  M-17  V- 12  petrol 
engine  developing  373  kW (5 00  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  7,44  m (24  ft  4.8  in)- 
width2.81  m(9ft2.75  in);height2.82m 
(9  ft  3 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 

Tht  Soviet  T-28  heavy  tank  weighed 
28  tons  but  was  termed  a medium 
tank.  1 1 had  a crew  of  six  and  had  a 
short  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun  as  its  main 
armament,  plusmachine- guns  in  the 
two  extra  turrets  mounted  in  front  of 
themain  turret.  They  were  clumsy 
vehicles  with  armour  that  proved  to 
be  too  thin  once  in  action. 

37  km/h  (23  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  220  km  (136,1  miles) ; fording  not 
known;  gradient  43°;  vertical  obstacle 
1 .04  m (3  ft5  in) ; trench  2. 90  m (9  ft  6 in) 



BT-7  fast  tank 

When  the  Red  Army  tank  staff  decided 
to  modernize  its  tank  fleet  during  the 
late  1920s  it  authorized  the  design 
bureaux  to  use  whatever  sources  they 
liked  to  obtain  the  best  ideas  available. 
Accordingly  many  promising  design 
concepts  from  all  over  the  world  were 
embraced,  and  among  these  were 
ideas  of  the  American  J,  Walter  Christ- 
ie, His  advanced  suspension  designs 
had  little  effect  in  his  own  country  at 
that  time,  but  the  Soviets  embraced  his 
concepts  willingly  and  took  them  over 
for  their  own  further  development.  The 
Christie  suspension  was  integrated 
into  the  BT  series  (bystrochodya  tank, 
or  fast  tank). 

The  first  Soviet  BTs  were  copied  ex- 
actly from  a Christie  prototype  deli- 
vered to  the  Soviet  union  in  1930  and 
designated  BT- 1 . The  first  Soviet  mod- 
el was  the  BT-2,  and  from  1931  on- 
wards the  BT  series  progressed 
through  a series  of  design  develop- 
ments and  improvements  until  the  BT- 
7 was  produced  in  1935.  Like  the  ear- 
lier BT  tanks  the  BT-7  was  a fast  and 
agile  vehicle  intended  for  Red  Army 
cavalry  units,  and  was  powered  by  a 
converted  aircraft  engine.  The  sus- 
pension used  the  Christie  torsion  bars 
that  allowed  a large  degree  of  flexibil- 
ity at  high  speeds.  The  hull  was  all- 
welded  and  well  shaped,  but  the  main 
gun  was  only  a 45-mm  (1.77-in) 

TheBT-  7 was  in  traduced  in  to  service 
m 1935andwasproducedin  two 
main  versions,  both  armed  with  a 45- 
mm  (1.77 -in)  gun.  Although  fast  and 
handy  in  action,  the  BT-7  proved  to 
he  too  lightly  armoured,  but  it  led  in 
time  to  the  development  of  the  T-34 

weapon,  although  this  was  still  larger 
than  that  fitted  on  many  contemporary 
equivalents.  The  secondary  armament 
was  two  7,62-mm  (0,3-in)  machine- 
guns,  and  armour  varied  from  10  to 
22mm  (0,39  to  0.87  in). 

The  BT-7  proved  to  be  very  popular 
with  its  users.  By  the  tme  it  entered 
service  (in  its  original  BT-7  - 1 form  with 
a cylindrical  turret,  replaced  by  a con- 
ical turret  in  the  BT-7-2)  many  of  the 
automotive  snags  that  had  troubled 
some  of  the  earlier  BTs  had  been  eli- 
minated, and  the  BT-7  thus  proved  to 
be  fairly  reliable.  Also,  by  the  time  it 
appeared  there  were  many  variants  of 
the  BTs:  some  were  produced  as 
flamethrower  tanks,  and  there  was  a 
special  BT-7A  close-support  version 
carrying  a short  76. 2 -mm  (3 -in)  main 
gun.  Other  experimentais  included 
amphibious  and  bridging  tanks,  and 
variants  with  various  tracks  to  improve 
terrain-crossing  capabilities. 

The  BT-7  did  have  one  maj  or  tactical 
disadvantage  in  that  it  was  only  lightly 
armoured.  On  the  entire  BT  series 
armour  protection  had  been  sacrificed 
for  speed  and  mobility,  and  once  in 
action  during  1939  the  BTs,  including 
the  BT-7,  proved  to  be  surprisingly 
vulnerable  to  anti-tank  weapons  as 
small  as  anti-tank  rifles,  BT-5s  had  de- 
monstrated this  fact  when  small  num- 
bers were  used  during  the  Spanish 
Civil  War,  but  even  though  the  BT-7 
had  some  armour  increases  this  was 
still  not  enough,  as  revealed  in  Finland 
during  1939  and  1940.  As  a result  the 
design  of  a successor  to  the  BT  series 
was  undertaken  and  this  led  ultimately 
to  the  adoption  of  the  T-34,  Variants  of 
the  BT-7  were  the  BT-7-l(U)  command 
tank  and  BT-7M  (or  BT-8)  improved 

model  with  full-width  and  well-sloped 
glacis  plate  plus  a V-2  diesel  engine. 
Thus  the  BT-7  played  its  major  part 
in  World  War  II  well  before  the  Ger- 
mans invaded  the  Soviet  Union  in  1941. 
Large  numbers  were  still  in  service  in 
1941,  but  they  fared  badly  against  the 
advancing  Panzers.  Despite  their 
mobility  the  Soviet  tank  formations 
were  poorly  handled  and  many  tanks, 
including  BT-7s,  were  lost  simply  be- 
cause they  broke  down  as  the  result  of 
poor  maintenance  or  poor  training  of 
their  crews.  It  was  an  inauspicious  be- 
ginning for  the  Red  Army,  but  worse 
was  soon  to  follow  and  the  large  fleet  of 
BT-7s  was  virtually  eliminated  by  the 
end  of  1941. 

Crew:  3 

The  BT-2  was  the  first  Soviet  tank 
design  to  incorporate  the  Christie 
suspension,  and  led  to  a whole  string 
ofBT  variants  that  were  eventually 
dev  eloped  into  the  T-34  series.  The 
Christie  suspension  gave  the  BT-2  a 
good  cross-country  performance,  as 
this  photograph  graphically 

Weight:  14tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  M-17T  V-12  petrol 
engine  developing  373  kW  (500  hp) 
Dimensions : length  5 . 66  m ( 1 8 ft  6 . 8 in) ; 
(7  ft  11.3  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
86  km/h  (5  3 .4  mph) ; maximumroad 
range 250 km  ( 1 5 5 miles) ; fording 
1.22  m (4  ft);  gradient  32°;  vertical 
obstacle  0.76  m (2  ft  6 in) ; trench  1 .83  m 



T-34  medium  tank 

It  is  now  difficult  to  write  of  the  T-34 
medium  tank  without  using  too  many 
superlatives,  for  the  T-34  has  passed 
into  the  realms  of  legend.  It  was  one  of 
the  mam  war-winning  weapons  of 
World  War  II,  and  it  was  produced  in 
such  vast  numbers  and  in  so  many  ver- 
sions that  entire  books  have  been  writ- 
ten on  the  subject  without  exhausting 
the  possibilities  of  the  vehicle  and  its 

In  simple  terms  the  T-34  had  its  ori- 
gins in  the  shortcomings  of  the  BT-7 
and  its  forebears.  The  first  result  of  the 
BT  series'  up-dating  were  the  designs 
known  as  the  A-20  and  A-30,  produced 
in  1938  as  developments  of  the  BT-IS, 
but  passed  over  in  favour  of  a heavier- 
gunned  tank  with  increased  armour 
and  known  as  the  T-32.  In  the  T-32  can 
be  seen  most  of  the  features  of  the  later 
T-34.  It  had  a well-shaped  hull  with 
sloped  armour,  and  a cast  and  sloped 
turret  which  mounted  a 76.2-mm  (3-in) 
high-velocity  gun.  The  Christie  sus- 
pension, suitably  beefed  up,  was  car- 
ried over  from  the  BT  series,  but  the 
ability  to  run  on  wheels  without  tracks 
was  abandoned. 

Good  as  the  T-32  was,  a selection 
panel  req^uested  yet  more  armour  and 
so  the  T-34  was  born.  It  went  into  pro- 
duction in  1940  andmass  production  of 
the  T-34/76A  soon  followed.  When  the 
Germans  attacked  the  Soviet  Union  in 
1941  the  type  was  already  well  estab- 
lished, and  its  apperance  came  as  a 
nasty  shockto  the  Germans.  TheT-34's 
well- sloped  and  thick  armour  (mini- 
mum of  18  mm/0.7 1 in  and  maximum  of 
60  mm/2.36  in)  was  proof  against  most 
of  their  anti-tank  weapons  and  the  IV30 
76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun,  soon  replaced  in 
service  by  an  evenmorepowerfulIV40 
gun  of  the  same  calibre,  was  effective 
against  most  German  Panzers.  The 
secondary  armament  was  two  7.62-mm 
(0.3 -in)  machine-guns. 

From  1941  onwards  the  T-34  was  de- 
veloped into  a long  string  of  models, 
many  of  them  with  few  external  differ- 
ences. Production  demands  resulted 
in  many  expediences,  the  finish  of 
most  T-Ms  being  rough  to  an  extreme, 
but  the  vehicles  were  still  very  effec- 
tive fighting  machines.  Despite  the  dis- 
ruption of  the  production  lines  during 
1941,  ever-increasing  numbers 
poured  off  the  extemporized  lines , and 
all  manner  of  time-saving  production 
methods  (ranging  from  automatic 
welding  to  leaving  whole  sections  of 
surface  unpainted)  were  used.  The 
second  production  model  was  the  T- 
34/76B  with  a rolled-plate  turret. 

In  service  the  T-34  was  used  for  ev- 
ery role,  ranging  from  main  battle  tank 
to  reconnaissance  vehicle,  and  from 
engineering  tank  to  recovery  vehicle. 
It  was  converted  into  the  simplest  of 
armoured  personnel  carriers  by  simp- 
ly carrying  infantry  on  the  hull  over 
long  distances;  these  'tank  descent' 
troops  became  the  scourge  of  the  Ger- 
mans as  thev  advanced  westwards 
through  the  liberated  Soviet  Union  and 
then  Eastern  Europe.  Successively  im- 
proved models  of  tne  T-34/76  were  the 
T-34/76C  with  a larger  turret  contain- 
ing twin  roof  hatches  in  place  of  the 
original  single  hatch;  the  T-34/76D  with 
a hexagonal  turret  and  wider  mantlet, 
plus  provision  for  j ettisonable  exterior 
fuel  tanks;  the  T-54/76E  with  a cupola 
on  the  turret  and  of  all-welded  con- 
struction; and  the  T-34/76F  identical  to 
the  T-34/76E  apart  from  its  cast  rather 
than  welded  turret.  (It  should  be  noted 

Above:  The  T-34  tankwasa  very 
advanced  design  for  its  time.  This  is  a 
late  production  T-34/76  armed  with  a 
76.2-mm  (3 -in)  main  gun,  and  well 
provided  with  sloping  armour  for 
added  protection.  The  tank  was 
produced  in  thousands  and  proved 
durable,  mobile  and  highly  effective 
in  service. 

that  the  designations  are  Western,  de- 
signed to  provide  a means  of  iden- 
tification in  the  absence  of  Soviet  in- 
formation.) In  time  the  76,2-mm  (3-in) 
gun  was  replaced  by  an  85-mm  (3.34- 
m)  gun  using  the  turret  taken  from  the 
KV-85  heavy  tank.  This  variant  be- 
came the  T-34/85,  which  remains  in 
service  to  this  day  in  some  parts  of  the 
world,  fecial  assault  gun  versions  us- 
ing the  85-mm  (3.34-in)  gun  and  later 
the  100-mm(3.94-in)or  122-mm(4.8-in) 
artillery  pieces  were  developed,  and 
flame-throwing,  tractor,  engineer  and 
mine-clearing  versions  were  also  pro- 

But  it  was  as  a battle  tank  that  the 
T-34  has  its  main  claim  to  fame.  Avail- 
able in  thousands,  the  T-34  assumed 
mastery  of  the  battlefield,  forcing  the 
Germans  back  on  the  defensive  and 
taking  from  them  the  tactical  and 
strategic  initiative  thus  winning  the 
'Great  Patriotic  War'  for  the  SovietUn- 
ion.  Post-war  the  T-34  and  its  succes- 
sors went  on  to  gain  more  laurels,  but  it 
was  as  a war- winner  in  World  War  II 
that  the  T-34  must  best  be  remem- 
bered. It  was  a superb  tank. 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  26  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  V-2-34  V- 1 2 diesel 
developing  373  kW  (500  hp) 
Dimensions : length5 .92  m(  1 9 ft5 . 1 in) ; 
width  3 m (9  ft  1 0 in) ; height  2 . 44  m 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
55  km/h(34mph) ; maximumroad 
range  186km(l  15  miles);  fording 
1 .37  m (4  ft  6 in) ; gradient  35° ; vertical 
(9  ft  8 in) 

Above:  The  commander  of  an  early 
production  T-34/76  tank  looks  out 
from  his  large  one-piece  hatch 
during  Red  Army  exercises  held 
during  1940,  before  the  German 
invasion.  At  that  time  the  T-34/76  was 
kept  under  security  wraps  and  its 
appearance  during  the  1941 
campaigns  came  as  a nasty  shock  for 
the  German  Panzer  troops. 

Below:  T- 34s  in  East  Prussia  during 
the  winter  of 1944-5.  By  that  time  the 
main  production  version  of  the  T-34 
mounted  an  85-mm  (3.34-in)  gun  and 
was  known  as  the  T-34/85.  This  was 
an  excellen  t tank  that  is  still  good 
enough  to  remain  in  service  with 
many  armies  to  this  day  -not  bad  for 
a vehicle  introduced  in  1944. 


T-35  heavy  tank 

The  T-35  was  one  of  the  major  dis- 
appointments for  the  Soviet  tank  desig- 
ners before  World  War  IT  It  had  its 
origins  in  design  studies  that  began  in 
1930,  and  the  first  prototype  was  rolled 
out  in  1932.  In  appearance  and  in  many 
other  ways  the  T-35,  via  the  T-28,  was 
greatly  influenced  by  the  design  of  the 
British  Vickers  Independent,  a tank 
that  was  produced  as  a one-off  only 
and  which  featured  in  a notorious  'spy 
court  case  of  the  period.  The  T-28  car- 
ried over  from  the  Vickers  design  one 
major  feature,  namely  the  multi-turret 

Although  there  were  changes  be- 
tween the  various  production  toches, 
the  tanks  of  the  main  batch  (produced 
between  1935  and  1938)  were  longer 
than  the  originals.  This  increase  in 
length  made  the  T-35  an  unwieldly 
beast  to  steer,  and  its  ponderous 
weight  did  little  to  improve  matters. 
The  multi-turret  approach  to  tank 

weaponry  also  proved  to  be  of  doubt- 
ful value.  Aiming  and  co-ordinating  the 
fire  of  the  five  turrets  proved  very  dif- 
ficult, and  the  overall  effectiveness  of 
the  armament  was  further  limited  by 
the  relatively  small  calibre  of  the  main 
gun,  ,In  fact  the  main  gun  and  turret 
were  exactly  the  same  as  those  used 
on  the  lighter  T-28  medium  tank. 
Armour  varied  from  10  to  30  mm  (0,39 
to  1.18  in)  in  thickness. 

Production  of  the  T-35  was  slow  and 
limited  compared  with  that  of  other 
Soviet  tank  programmes  of  the  time. 

The  huge  size  of  the  T-35  can  be 
readily  appreciated  in  this  shot  of  a 
damaged  and  captured  example 
beingput  on  show  by  German 
soldiers.  Themain  turret  had  a 76.2- 
mm  (3 -in)  gun  with  limited  anti- 
armour performance,  and  two  erf  the 
smaller  turrets  had  37 -mm  or  4 j -mm 
(1.45-in  or  1.77-in)  guns. 



Only  61  were  produced  between  1933 
and  1939,  and  all  of  these  vehicles 
served  with  just  one  tank  brigade  sta- 
tioned near  Moscow.  This  was  politi- 
cally handy,  for  the  T-35s  featured  reg- 
ularly in  the  Red  Square  parades  of  the 
time  and  thus  provided  a false  im- 
pression of  Soviet  tank  strengths.  The 
massive  vehicles  made  a great  im- 
pression as  they  rumbled  past,  but'the 
service  reality  was  considerably  diffe- 

When  they  had  to  go  to  war  in  1941 
only  a relative  handful  actually  saw  ac- 
tion, for  many  were  retained  in  Mos- 
cow for  internal  duties  and  for  purely 
local  defence.  There  appears  to  be  no 
record  of  any  T-35s  going  into  action 
around  Moscow,  but  the  few  used  else- 
where to  try  to  halt  the  German  adv- 
ances did  not  fare  well.  They  were  too 
lightly  armed  and  their  weight  and 
bulk  made  them  easy  meat  for  the  Pan- 

Crew:  11 

Weight:  45  tonnes 

Powerplant:  one  M-17M  V- 12  petrol 
engine  developing  373  kW  (500  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  9.72  m (3 1 ft 
1 0.7  in) ; width3 . 2 m ( 1 0 ft  6 in) ; height 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
30  km/h  (18.6  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  150km(93,2miles);fordingnot 
known;  gradient  20°;  vertical  obstacle 
1 .20  m (4  ft) ; trench3 . 5 0 m (1 1 ft  6 in) 

The  T-35  heavy  tankmade  an 
impressive  showing  on  parade  in 
RedSquare,  butin  action  they  made 
little  impact,  with  only  about  60  built. 
Fire  control  of  the  five  turrets  was 
very  difficult  and  the  grea  t length  of 
the  hull  made  it  a cumbersome 


KV-1  heavy  tank 

By  1938  Soviet  tank  designers  had  real- 
ized that  the  T-35  heavy  tank  would 
need  replacement  and  set  about  the 
design  of  its  successor.  Several  design 
bureaux  were  involved  and  many 
proposed  designs  with  multiple  tur- 
rets, but  by  the  time  prototypes  were 
produced  most  had  just  two  turrets. 
This  approach  still  did  not  appeal  to 
one  of  the  teams,  which  designed  a 
heavy  tank  with  only  one  turret  and 
named  it  after  Klimenti  Voroshilov, 
who  was  defence  commissar  at  the 
time.  Known  as  the  KV-1,  the  new  de- 
sign was  far  more  mobile  than  the 
other  submissions  and  was  field-tested 
during  the  campaign  in  Finland  in 
1940.  This  first  variant  was  armed  with 
a short  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun  and  three  or 
four  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-guns, 
and  armour  up  to  100-mm  (3.94-in) 
thick  was  provided. 

The  KV-1  was  ordered  into  produc- 
tion in  two  main  forms:  one  was  the 
KV-1  A armed  with  a long  76.2-mm  (3- 
in)  gun,  while  the  other  version  was  the 
KV-2,  a marriage  of  the  KV-1  hull,  chas- 
sis and  suspension  with  a large  slab- 
sided  turret  mounting  a 152-mm  (5.98- 
in)  howitzer  (originally  a 122-mm/4. 80- 
in  howitzer) . Thus  the  KV -2  did  not  lack 
in  firepower,  but  the  high  turret  was  a 
ponderous  load  for  the  vehicle  and  the 

KV-2  (and  improved  KV-2B)  did  not 
shine  in  action. 

With  the  KV-1  the  future  for  Soviet 
tank  design  was  established  for  some 
time  to  come.  The  old  multi-turret  con- 
cept was  finally  set  aside,  and  the  KV  - 1 
emerged  as  a formidable  heavy  tank 
that  was  to  serve  the  Red  Army  for 
ears.  It  was  used  often  as  an  assault  or 
reak-through  tank,  forming  the 
spearhead  of  many  attacks,  and  as  the 
war  against  Germany  progressed  the 
basic  design  was  gradually  improved. 

High  on  the  list  of  improvements  were 
armour  increases,  achieved  with  the 
KV-IB  that  had  an  extra  25-35  mm 
(0.98-1.38  in)  added  to  the  hull  front 
and  sides.  Other  changes  were  made 
in  the  turret  which  progressed  from 
being  a mainly  plated  affair  to  a fully 
cast  component,  which  on  the  KV-IC 
also  gave  an  increase  in  protection. 
Much  of  the  extra  armour  was  simply 
bolted  onto  existing  armour. 

For  its  size  the  KV-1  was  undergun- 
ned, but  a scheme  to  increase  the 

The  KV-1  heavy  tank  originally 
mounted  a 76.2-mm  (3 -in)  main  gun 
on  a chassis  that  was  tobe  adapted 
for  la  ter  models  of  Soviet  heavy 
tanks.  Several  versions  existed  as 
progressive  production  changes 
were  in  traduced  to  speed 
manufacture  and  improve  protection 
for  the  crew  offive. 

armamenttoa  107-mm(4.2-in)weapon 
never  came  to  anything  other  than 
trials.  Instead  the  76.2-mm  (3 -in)  gun 


was  lengthened  and  the  152-mm  (5.98- 
in)  gun  in  its  clumsy  turret  was  with- 
drawn. After  1943  numbers  of  85-mm 
(3.34-in)  guns  were  fitted,  and  this 
model  was  known  as  the  KV-85. 

The  K V - 1 was  a sound  design,  but 
had  some  serious  automotive  prob- 
lems, On  early  models  it  was  almost 
impossible  to  change  gear  because  of 
clutch  problems,  and  there  were  other 
transmission  difficulties.  Many  of  them 
were  eventually  eliminatea  but  the 
numerous  increases  in  armour  protec- 
tion were  usually  carried  out  with  no 
increases  in  engine  power,  though  the 
many  examples  were  quite  unable  to 

A KV-I  rolls  through  snowy  Moscow 
streets  to  the  front  in  December  1941. 
The  heavy  tankhad  a 76-mm  main 
gun  (later  to  be  replaced  by  an  85- 
mm  weapon)  and  was  used  by  the 
Red  Army  as  a breakthrough  tank 
where  its  lack  of  speed  was  not  a 

reach  their  expected  performance. 
One  solution  attempted  in  a small  num- 
ber of  KV-IS  (skorostnoy,  or  fast)  tanks 
was  the  omission  of  applique  armour  to 
reduce  weight  and  so  raise  speed. 
One  serious  problem  tactically  was 
that  the  turret  was  so  arranged  inter- 
nally that  the  tank  commander  had  to 

double  as  gun  loader,  a situation  that 
often  put  him  out  of  touch  with  the  tac- 
tical situation  for  critical  periods.  Later 
versions  had  the  usual  angled  armour 
of  most  other  Soviet  tank  designs,  and 
overall  the  KV  - 1 was  abitof  aproblem 
for  German  anti-tank  units. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  43  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  V-2K  V-12  diesel 
developing  448  kW  (600  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  6.68  m (21  ft  1 1 in); 
width3.32m(10ft  10.7  in);  height 

On  the  vast  open  spaces  of  the 
Russian  plain,  the  tack  of  mobility 
inherentin  theKV-1  wasadetinite 
handicap.  In  the  campaigns  of  1942 
manyKV-1  s were  lost  due  to 
mechanical  failure.  The  tank  was 
improved,  however,  and  was  to  lead 
to  the  powerful  Josef  Stalin  tanks. 

2,11  m(8  ft  10.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  (rarely 
achieved)  road  speed  35  km/h 
(2 1 .75  mph) ; maximumroadrange 
150  km  (93 .2  miles);  fording  not  known; 
vertical  obstacle  1 .20  m (3  ft  8 in) ; 
gradient  36°;  vertical  obstacle  1.20  m 
(3  ft  1 1 ,25  in);  trench2.59m(8ft6in) 


IS-2  heavy  tank 

By  the  time  1943  was  through  the  Red 
Army  had  gained  the  strategic  initia- 
tive from  the  Germans  and  was  starting 
the  series  of  advances  that  took  it  to 
Berlin  in  1945.  Along  the  way  the 
Soviets  attempted  to  maintain  an  over- 
all tank  design  supremacy  over  their 
enemies  and  on  the  whole  succeeded. 
This  was  as  true  for  the  heavy  tanks  as 
it  was  for  the  T-34  series,  and  the  KV  - 1 
was  progressively  developed  until  by 
1943  the  KV-85  with  its  85-mm  (3.34-in) 
gun  and  reshaped  turret  was  in  ser- 
vice. But  by  gradually  reworking  the 
transmission,  reshaping  and  redesign- 
ing the  hull  and  suspension,  a new  low- 
er and  lighter  tank  design  was 
evolved.  The  new  design  was  named 
the  IS-1  (IS  for  losef  Stalin). 

The  IS-1  retained  the  85-mm  (3.34- 
in)  gun  of  the  KV-85,  and  was  in  its 
earhest  forms  known  as  the  IS-85,  but  it 
was  felt  that  the  new  design  could 
accommodate  a more  powerful 
weapon.  Trials  were  carried  out  with  a 
new  100-mm  (3.94-in)  gun  (IS- 100 
variant)  and  a long  122-mm  (4.8-in) 
gun,  the  100-mm  (3.94-in)  gun  proving 
to  be  the  better  armour-penetration 
weapon.  However,  the  122-mm  (4.8-in) 
gun  was  almost  as  effective  and  also 
had  the  explosive  power  to  blow  off  an 
enemy  tank  turret  even  if  it  could  not 
penetrate  its  armour.  To  cap  things  in 
the  122-mm  (4.8-in)  guns  favour, 
potential  numbers  were  available 
while  the  100-mm  (3.94-in)  gun  was  still 
not  in  full  production. 

So  the  IS  tank  was  fitted  with  the  long 
122-mm  (4.8-in)  gun  and  this  became 
the  IS-2,  which  had  a number  of  other 
improvements.  The  first  examples 
appeared  in  1944  and  remained  in  pro- 
duction and  service  until  the  war  en- 
ded, It  was  a massive  vehicle,  its  size 
emphasized  by  the  long  gun  barrel. 
The  tmret  and  hull  were  more  than 
amply  supplied  with  armour  (max- 

imum of  132  mm/5.2  in),  but  the  Red 
Army  tank  crews  placed  greater  im- 
portance on  the  tank-killing  power  of 
the  122-mm  (4.8-in)  gun.  This  gun  had  a 
slow  rate  of  fire  and  used  separate 
ammunition,  which  further  slowed  the 
loading  time  (the  A- 19  was  originally 
designed  as  a naval  gun),  and  the 
ammunition  was  so  large  that  only  28 
rounds  could  be  carried  inside  the 
tank.  The  secondary  armament  com- 
prised one  12.7-mm  (0,5-in)  and  one 
7.62-mm  (0,3-in)  machine-gun.  Later 
versions  introduced  a modified  fire- 
control  system  and  a revised  breech  to 
increase  the  speed  of  loading.  Other 
changes  were  introduced  at  the  same 
time,  but  more  were  to  come. 

Good  as  the  IS-2  was,  it  was  felt  that  it 
could  still  be  improved.  The  result  was 
the  IS-3  which  retained  the  122-mm 
(4.8-in)  gun  but  in  a drastically  revised 
well-rounded  turret  behind  a new  and 
heavily  sloped  bow  shape  combined 

When  the  Red  Army  finally  reached 
Berlin  in  May  1 945 IS-2  tanks  were  at 
the  head  of  the  armoured  forces;  this 
example  is  seen  near  the  Reichstag. 
Note  the  great  length  of  the  122-mm 
(4.8-in)  gun  and  the  well- shaped 
turret  and  front  glacis  plate  that 
could  deflect  armour-piercing 

with  the  usual  armour.  Only  a few  IS-3s 
were  completed  before  the  war  en- 
ded, but  the  type  went  on  to  worry 
Western  military  thinkers  for  many 
years  afterwards  as  it  remained  the 
most  powerful  tank  in  the  world  for 
well  over  a decade  (it  is  still  employed 
in  some  Soviet-influenced  nations). 



Crew:  4 

Weight:  46  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  V-2-IS  (V-2K)  V-12 
diesel  developing  447  kW  (600  Im) 
Dimensions:  length9.9  m(32ft5.8in); 

The  IS-2  was  in  traduced  in  to  service 
with  the  Red  Army  during  1944  and 
was  the  most  powerful  of  all  the 
Soviet  heavy  tanks.  11  mounted  a long 
122-mm  (4.8-in)  guninawell- 
protected  cast  turret,  and  carried  a 
crew  offour.  Ammunition  stowage 
was  limited  to  28  rounds. 

width  3 .09  m ( 1 0 ft  1 .6  in) ; height  2.73  m 
(8  ft  11.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
37  km/h  (23  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  240 km  (149  miles) ; fording  not 
known;  gradient  36°;  vertical  obstacle 
1 .0  m (3  ft  3 in) ; trench  2 . 49  m ( 8 ft  2 in) 




Successful  tank  designs  are  the  product  of  a careful  compromise  between  firepower, 
protection  and  mobility.  Nevertheless,  during  World  War  II  many  of  the  belligerent 
nations  resorted  to  producing  'tank  destroyers',  vehicles  which  sacrificed  armour, 
speed  or  flexibility  to  carry  a much  more  powerful  gun  than  contemporary  tanks. 

An  M18  Hellcat  of  the  US  3rd  Army's  4th  Armoured  Division  crossing  the  Moselle  River, 
Germany,  in  November  1945.  The  MISvyas  very  fast  and  excelled  in  its  tank-destroying  role. 

The  tank  destroyer  was  very 
much  a product  of  the 
military  and  economic  develop- 
ments peculiar  to  World  War  II. 
During  the  war  years  the  tank 
destroyer  flourished  for  various 
reasons  which  will  be  described 
in  this  study,  but  in  the  years  that 
followed  1945,  this  type  of  tank 
all  but  vanished,  and  it  is  a rare 
thing  to  find  in  modern  tank 

parks.  The  truth  was  (and  still  is) 
that  the  tank  destroyer  had  severe 
limitations  as  a fighting  vehicle, 
but  that  it  was  capable  of  carry- 
ing a large-calibre  gun,  one  far 
heavier  than  the  corresponding 
tank  chassis  of  the  time  could 
ever  carry  and  fire. 

The  tank  destroyer  and  the 
tank  were  very  different  beasts. 
Although  they  often  used  identical 

chassis,  and  at  times  even  looked 
alike,  they  were  markedly  dissimi- 
lar when  it  came  to  combat.  The 
tanks,  with  their  combination  of 
firepower,  mobility  and  protec- 
tion, usually  had  the  combat  edge 
over  the  tank  destroyer  with  its 
limited-traverse  armament  and 
relatively  thin  armoured  protec- 
tion, but  to  be  set  against  this  the 
tank  destroyer  usually  had  the 

more  powerful  gun  and  a low 
silhouette  that  gave  it  the  edge  in 
concealment.  There  was  at  one 
time  the  philosophy  that  as  tanks 
were  not  expected  to  fight  tanks, 
specialized  tank  destroyers  would 
have  to  be  used.  This  approach 
did  not  last  long  under  the  severe 
strictures  of  combat,  where  it  was 
soon  learned  that  the  best  way  to 
defeat  a tank  was  to  use  another 
tank.  The  tank  destroyer  could 
be  used  for  this  purpose  but  at 
a cost  in  weapon  flexibility  and 
all  too  often  in  protection  for 
the  crew. 

Tank  destroyers  were  also 
important  during  World  War  II  for 
purely  economic  and  production 
reasons.  Among  the  types  of  tank 
destroyer  and  German 
Panzerjager  (tank  hunter)  were 
some  superb  fighting  vehicles 
such  as  the  Hetzer,  the  Ml 8 
Hellcat  and  the  superlative 
Jagdpanther,  the  latter  of  which 
would  be  a viable  fighting 
machine  today.  But  there  were 
some  dreadful  lash-ups  that  were 
for  their  unfortunate  crews  and, 
in  addition  to  these  failings,  were 
so  underpowered  they  had  diffi- 
culty in  moving  at  combat 
speeds.  Add  to  these  lumbering 
monsters  such  as  the  Jagdtiger, 
and  the  scope  of  this  study  can 
be  appreciated. 



Panzerjager  I 

When  the  first  PzKpfw  I (Panzerkampf- 
wagen  I)  light  tanks  were  produced  in 
1934  it  was  intended  that  they  would 
be  used  only  as  training  vehicles,  but 
in  the  event  they  had  to  be  used  as 
combat  tanks  during  the  early  war 
years  for  the  simple  reason  that  larger 
and  heavier  tanks  were  not  yet  avail- 
able in  sufficient  numbers.  But  the 
PzKpfw  I had  a crew  of  a mere  two 
men,  carried  only  a machine-gun 
armament,  and  was  poorly  protected 
by  thin  armour.  By  no  stretch  of  the 
imagination  was  it  a viable  battle  tank 
and  most  were  phased  out  of  use  after 
the  end  of  1940  (but  retained  for  the 
original  training  role).  This  left  a num- 
ber of  spare  tank  chassis  with  no  oper- 
ational role,  so  the  opportunity  was 
taken  to  convert  these  vehicles  into  the 
first  German  self-propelled  gun. 

It  had  already  been  decided  that 
some  form  of  mobile  anti-tank  gun 
would  be  a great  asset  to  the  anti-tank 
units  who  would  otherwise  have  to  use 
towed  guns.  Thus  the  first  example  of 
this  requirement  was  met  by  mounting 
a 3.7-cm  (1.456-m)  Pak  35/36  onto  a 
turretless  PzKpfw  I . While  this  conver- 
sion showed  promise  it  was  not 
adopted  because  even  by  mid- 1940  it 
was  appreciated  that  the  37-mm  gun 
lacked  power  to  deal  with  future 
armour.  Thus  a Czech  47-mm  (1.85-in) 
anti-tank  gun  was  mounted  instead, 
and  this  combination  was  adopted  for 
service  as  the  Panzerjager  I fur  4.7-cm 

The  Czech  gun  was  a powerful, 
hard-hitting  weapon  that  was  well  cap- 
able of  penetrating  most  armour  it  was 
likely  to  encounter  and  Alkett  AG  pro- 
duced a total  of  132  conversions.  The 
result  was  very  much  afirst attempt,  for 
all  that  was  required  was  to  remove  the 
original  turret,  plate  over  the  front  of 
the  turret  ring  and  arrange  a small 
working  platform  over  the  engine  cov- 
ers, The  gun  was  mounted  in  a small 


Marder  II 

As  with  the  PzKpfw  I,  when  the  PzKpfw 
II  entered  service  in  1935  it  was  meant 
to  be  used  onlv  as  a training  and  de- 
velopment tank.  In  the  event  it  had  to 
be  used  as  a combat  tank  from  1939  to 
1942  simply  because  there  were  not 
enough  combat  tanks  to  replace  the 
type,  which  acquitted  itself  well 
enough  despite  the  fact  that  its  main 
armament  was  limited  to  a 2-cm  can- 
non: by  1941  the  PzKpfw  II  was  over- 
due for  replacement  as  its  armament 
was  not  able  to  penetrate  other  than 
soft- skin  targets  and  the  small  turret 
ring  could  not  accommodate  a heavier 
weapon.  However,  the  production  line 
for  the  chassis  was  still  in  being  and  at 
the  time  it  seemed  to  be  too  valuable  to 
waste  so  the  cmportunity  was  taken  to 
convert  the  PzKpfw  II  to  a Panzerjager. 

The  prototype  of  this  new  Panzerja- 
ger was  fitted  with  a 5-cm  (1.97-in)  anti- 
tank gun,  but  the  full  production  ver- 
sion was  fitted  with  a special  version  of 
the  7.5-cm  (2.95-m)  Pak  40  anti-tank 
gun  known  as  the  Pak  40/2.  This 
powerful  gun  was  the  German  army's 
standard  anti-tank  weapon  and  the  in- 
corporation of  greater  mobility  added 
considerabW  to  the  gun's  anti- armour 
potential.  The  gun  was  placed  behind 
a 10-mm  (0.39-in)  thick  armoured 
shield  that  sloped  to  the  rear  to  pro- 
vide the  gun  crew  with  adequate  pro- 

shield that  was  left  open  at  the  top  and 
rear.  The  crew  consisted  of  the  driver, 
still  using  his  original  PzKpfw  I posi- 
tion, and  two  men  serving  the  gun.  A 
total  of  74  rounds  could  be  carried  as 
standard,  although  more  could  be 
added  to  this  total.  The  chassis  mainly 
used  for  the  conversion  was  that  of  the 
PzKpfw  I Ausf  B. 

The  Panzerjager  Is  served  in  North 
Africa  and  during  the  early  stages  of 
the  campaigns  in  the  Soviet  Union. 
They  proved  to  be  powerful  enough  to 
defeat  opposing  tanks,  but  their  over- 
all lack  or  protection  for  the  crew  made 
them  very  vulnerable  targets.  Accor- 
dingly when  better  equipments  be- 
came available  they  were  withdrawn 
from  front-line  use  and  assigned  to 
theatres  where  they  could  be  used  for 
policing  rather  than  for  combat  duties. 
Among  the  locations  so  honoured 
were  the  Balkans,  where  the  vehicles 
were  used  on  anti-partisan  operations. 
Units  operating  on  the  Eastern  Front 
after  about  the  end  of  1942  frequently 
removed  the  guns  and  used  the  chas- 
sis for  supply  carrying,  and  some  units 
replaced  their  Czech  guns  with  cap- 
tured ex-French  47-mm  guns.  Few 
Panzerjager  Is  remained  in  use  after 

Panzerjager  I 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  6000  kg  (13,228  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  NL  386- 
cylmder  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions : length  0 verall  4. 14  m(  13  ft 
7 in) ; width2,0 1 3 m(6ft7.25  in) ; height 
2.1m(6ftl0.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24. 8 mph);  range  140  Ion  (87 
miles);  gradient  57  percent;  vertical 
obstacle  0.37  m ( 1 4 . 6 in) ; trench  1.4  m 

tection.  To  accommodate  the  weight  of 
the  gun  the  engine  was  moved  to  the 
rear  of  the  hull  and  the  engine  covers 
were  used  as  a working  platform  to 
serve  the  gun.  The  vehicle  was  known 
as  the  Marder  II  (Marder  meaning 
marten)  although  other  and  more 
cumbersome  designations  (such  as 
7.5-cm  Pak  40/2  auf  SIf  II)  were  used  on 
official  documents. 

The  Marder  II  remained  in  produc- 
tion until  1944  and  became  one  of  the 
most  widely  used  of  all  the  many  Ger- 
man self-propelled  gun  conversions. 
In  production  terms  it  was  manufac- 
tured in  greater  numbers  than  any 
other  weapon  of  its  type,  for  1,217  were 
made.  The  Marder  II  was  certainly  a 
handy  and  efficient  weapon  in  combat 
for  it  was  relatively  small,  had  a good 
cross-country  performance  and  the 
gun  could  knock  out  virtually  any 
enemy  tank  other  than  super-heavy 
Soviet  tanks  such  as  the  IS-2.  Racks  for 
37  rounds  were  provided  over  the  en- 
gine covers  and  there  was  also  space 
for  stowing  600  rounds  for  the 
machine-gun  usually  carried;  this  was 
a 7.92-mm  (0.312-in)  MG34  or  MG42. 

Most  Marder  II  production  was  sent 
to  the  Eastern  Front,  but  the  Marder  II 
was  found  wherever  German  troops 
were  in  action.  By  1944  the  type  was 
out  of  production  and  the  crew  was 

This  SdKfz  101  Panzerjager  I was  the 
first  example  captured  by  the  Allies 
in  North  Africa  and  was  subjected  to 
a great  deal  of  technical  scrutiny.  It 

mounted  an  ex-Czech  4.7-cm 
(1.85 -in)  anti-tank  gun  in  an  open 
mounting  that  used  only  a frontal 
shield  for  crew  protection. 

This  photograph  of  a Panzerjager  I 
shows  the  extemporized  nature  of 
this  early  German  conversion,  made 
in  an  attempt  to  prolong  the  service 

life  of  the  PzKpfw  1 light  tank.  The 
gun  was  powerful  enough,  but  the 
mounting  provided  virtually  no 

TheSdKfz  131  Marder  11  mounted  a 
7.5-cm  (2.95-in)  Pak40/2  and  was  one 
of  the  more  importan  t of  the 
Panzerjager  conversions.  Based  on 

often  reduced  by  one  man  to  conserve 
manpower,  but  the  development  of  the 
type  did  not  cease.  During  the  latter 
stages  of  the  war  some  Marder  Us 
were  equipped  with  infra-red  search- 
lights for  engaging  targets  at  night  and 
some  of  these  equipments  were  used 
in  action  on  the  Eastern  Front  during 
the  last  stages  of  the  war.  By  then  such 

the  PzKpfw  U Ausf  A,  CorF,  1217 
were  produced  to  be  used  on  all 
fronts.  The  crew  was  four,  including 
the  driver. 

novel  equipment  could  have  but  little 
impact  on  the  outcome  of  the  war. 

Marder  II 
Crew:  3 or  4 

Weight:  11000  kg  (24,251  lb) 


A Marderll  with  the  15-cm  (2.95 -in) 
Pak40/2  gun  barrel  clamps  lowered. 
Although  this  vehicle  was  one  of  the 
more  important  (numerically)  of  the 
Panzerjdger,  it  was  rather  high  and 
generally  lacked  protection. 


Marder  III 

There  were  two  self-propelled  guns 
that  were  known  as  the  Marder  III,  and 
both  used  the  same  chassis,  a deriva- 
tion of  the  Skoda  TNHP-S  tank  chassis. 
This  tank  had  originally  been  pro- 
duced by  the  Skoda  factory  at  Pnsen 
for  the  Czech  army,  but  with  the 
annexation  of  the  Czech  state  by  Ger- 
many in  1939  the  Skoda  works  con- 
tinued production  of  tanks  under  the 
designation  PzKpfw  38(t)  for  the  Ger- 
man army.  The  Germans  introduced 
many  production  and  in-service 
changes  to  the  original  Skoda  design, 
and  by  1941  the  PzKpfw  38(t)  may  be 
regarded  as  a German  design,  but  the 
original  turret  was  too  small  to  carry 
weapons  powerful  enough  to  defeat 
enemy  armour  after  1941,  and  the 
chassis  was  then  kept  in  production  for 
a number  of  alternative  purposes. 

One  of  these  purposes  came  to  light 
in  1941.  The  appearance  of  tanks  such 
as  the  Soviet  T- j4  meant  for  a while  that 
the  German  army  had  no  anti-tank  gun 
powerful  enough  to  knock  them  out 
and  all  manner  of  hasty  improvisations 
were  made  to  counter  this  state  of 
affairs.  One  was  to  take  the  chassis  of 
the  PzKpfw  38(t)  and  mount  on  it  a cap- 
tured Soviet  field  gun,  the  76.2-mm  (3- 
in)  Model  1936.  This  was  a very  good 
dual-purpose  weapon  that  could  be 
used  as  an  anti-tank  weapon,  and  the 
Germans  even  went  to  the  length  of 
converting  some  for  use  as  specialized 
anti-tank  guns.  On  the  PzKpfw  38(t)  the 
gun  was  mounted  in  a fixed  shield  and 
the  conversion  went  into  production  in 
early  1942  as  the  Marder  III,  otherwise 
the  Panzerjager  38(t)  fur  7.62-cm  Pak 
36(r).  Some  344  of  these  conversions 
were  made,  and  the  Marder  III  was 
used  not  only  on  the  Eastern  Front  but 
in  North  Africa  and  elsewhere. 
However,  it  was  at  the  time  regarded 
only  as  a stopgap  until  sufficient  num- 
bers of  the  German  7.5-cm  (2,95-m) 
Pak  40  became  available.  When  this 
happened  during  1942  production  of 
the  Soviet-gunned  Marder  III  ceased 
and  that  of  the  German-gunned  ver- 
sion commenced.  The  gun/chassis 
combination  was  still  called  the  Mar- 
der III,  but  had  the  designation  Pan- 
zerjager 38(t)  Ausf  H fur  7.5-cm  Pak 
40/3  and  used  a slightly  differing  gun 
shield  and  mounting  from  the  earlier 

[ H -i 

i.  ' i 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL  62 
petrol  engine  developing  104.4  kW 
(140  hp) 

Dimensions:  length  6.36  m (20  ft 
10.4  in) ; width  2 , 2 8 m (7  ft  5 . 8 in) ; height 
2.20  m (7  ft  2.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.8  mph);  road  range  190  km 
(118  miles) ; gradient  57  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.42  m (16.5  in); 
trench  1.8  m (5  ft  11  in);  fording  0,9  m 
(35  in) 

Thh  profile  of  the  Marderll  shows 
the  rather  high  mounting  of  the 
7.5-cm  ( 2.95 -in ) Pak40/2,  a special 
version  of  the  standard  German  anti- 
tank gun  of  the  late  war  years. 

model.  The  first  of  the  Pak  40- armed 
Marder  Ills  were  rushed  into  action 
during  the  last  stages  of  the  Tunisian 
campaign  where  some  were  cap- 
tured, providing  Allied  intelligence 
staffs  with  something  to  mull  over.  But 
their  'find'  did  not  last  for  long,  for  the 
Marder  III  was  soon  to  undergo 
another  transformation. 

Up  to  1943  the  various  German  self- 
propelled  guns  using  the  Skoda  chas- 
sis used  the  PzKpfw  38(t)  tank  as  a 
basis.  However,  with  some  early  con- 
versions (including  the  original  Mar- 
der III)  the  vehicles  were  nose-heavy, 
which  at  times  limited  mobility.  Using 
the  original  Czech  design  as  a basis, 
German  engineers  now  relocated  the 
engine  at  the  front  of  the  chassis  and 
moved  the  'working  platform'  to  the 
rear  to  produce  a specialized  self- 
propelled  gun  carrier.  As  soon  as  this 
became  available  Marder  III  produc- 
tion changed  once  more  to  the  new 
Panzerjager  38(t)  Ausf  M fur  7.5-cm 
Pak  40/3  configuration  with  the  gun  and 
its  protection  mounted  at  the  rear  of 
the  vehicle.  This  provided  a much  bet- 
ter balanced  venicle  and  the  new 
chassis  was  also  used  to  mount  a varie- 
ty of  other  weapons.  The  late  type  of 
Marder  III  was  manufactured  by  BMM 
of  Prague,  and  when  production 
ceased  in  May  1944  799  had  been 
made.  They  were  used  on  all  fronts. 

Panzerjager  38(t)  Ausf  M 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  11000  kg  (24,25  lib) 
Powerplant:  one  Praga  AC  petrol 
engine  developing  1 1 1 ,9  kW  (150  hp) 
Dimensions:  lengthoverall4.65  m(  15  ft 
3.1  in);  width2.35  m(7  ft  8, 5 in);  height 
2.48  m (8  ft  1.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42  km/h  (26  mph) ; road  range  140  km 
(87  miles);  gradient  57  percent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.84  m (33  in) ; trench 
1 ,3  m (4  ft  3 in) ; fording  0.9  m (35  in) 

This  Marder  111  was  captured  in 
North  Africa  in  April  1943  and 
mountedits  7.5-cm  (2.95-in)Pak40/3 
in  a central  position.  It  was  a very 
simple  conversion  of  a Czech  tank 
chassis  but  was  effective  enough. 

The  later  Marder  Ills  had  themain 
gun  position  moved  to  the  rear  of  the 
chassis  and  the  engine  to  the  front. 
This  provided  a better-balanced  and 

more  handy  vehicle,  and  nearly  800 
were  produced,  still  using  the  basic 
componen  ts  of  the  PzKpfw  38(  t)  tank. 


Although  tank-destroyer  conversions 
of  existing  tank  chassis  to  produce 
weapons  such  as  the  Marder  III  were 
moderately  successful,  the  results 
were,  in  overall  terms,  high  and  clum- 
sy vehicles  that  lacked  finesse  and 
showed  every  sign  of  the  haste  in 
which  they  had  originally  been  pro- 
duced. In  contrast,  the  various  Sturm- 
geschiitz  close- support  artillery  vehi- 
cles demonstrated  on  many  occasions 
that  they  too  could  be  used  as  tank 
destroyers,  and  thus  in  1943  it  was  de- 
cided to  produce  a light  Panzerjager 
along  Sturmgeschiitz  lines,  the  chassis 
of  the  PzKpfw  38(t)  being  taken  as  the 

The  result  was  one  of  the  best  of  all 
the  German  Panzerjager:  the  Jagdpan- 
zer  38(t)  fiir  7.5-cm  Pak  39,  or  Hetzer 
(baiter,  as  in  bull-baiting).  The  Hetzer 
used  the  basic  engine,  suspension  and 
running  gear  of  the  PzKpfw  38(t)  allied 
to  a new  armoured  hull  that  sloped 
inwards  to  provide  extra  protection  for 
the  crew  of  four.  The  armament  was 
the  usual  7,5-cm  (2.95-in)  Pak  39  mod- 
ified for  the  vehicle,  along  with  a roof- 
mounted  machine-gun.  Production  of 
the  new  vehicle  began  in  Prague  at  the 
end  of  1943  and  also  involved  were 
factories  at  Pilsen,  Koniggratz,  Bohm 
and  Breslau,  These  factories  were 
soon  working  flat  out,  for  the  Hetzer 
proved  to  be  a very  successful  gun/ 
chassis  combination:  it  was  small  and 
low,  yet  it  was  well  protected  and  had 
very  good  cross-country  performance. 
The  gun  could  knock  out  all  but  the 
very  heaviest  enemy  tanks,  yet  the 
Hetzer  itself  was  very  difficult  to  knock 
out  and  in  combat  it  was  so  small  as  to 
be  virtually  invisible  to  the  enemy  gun- 
ners. Calls  for  more  and  more  came 
from  the  front  line,  to  the  extent  that  by 
late  1944  all  available  PzKpfw  38(t)  pro- 
duction was  diverted  towards  the  Het- 
zer. Production  continueduntil  the  fac- 
tories were  overrun  in  May  1944,  by 
which  time  1,577  had  been  built. 

Several  versions  of  the  Hetzer  were 
produced:  one  was  a flamethrower, 
the  Flammpanzer  38(t),  and  another  a 
light  recovery  version,  the  Bergepan- 
zer  38(t).  But  the  Hetzer  story  did  not 
cease  in  1945.  It  was  not  long  before 
the  Hetzer  was  placed  back  in  produc- 

tion for  the  new  Czech  army.  The  Het- 
zer was  even  exported  to  Switzerland 
between  1947  and  1952,  the  Swiss 
army  using  these  Hetzers  until  the 

The  wartime  Hetzers  were  used  for 
a series  of  trials  and  various  weapon 
mountings.  At  one  point  trials  were 
carried  out  with  guns  connected 
directly  to  the  front  hull  armour  and 
with  no  recoil  mechanism  fitted  to  see 
if  the  concept  would  work  (it  did).  One 
trial  model  was  an  assault  howitzer 
mounting  a 15-cm  (5.9-in)  infantry 
howitzer  and  there  were  several  simi- 
lar projects,  but  none  reached  the  pro- 
duction stage  for  the  assembly  lines 
had  to  concentrate  on  churning  out 
more  and  more  basic  Hetzers  to  meet 

The  Hetzer  is  now  regarded  as  one 
of  the  best  of  all  the  German  Panzerja- 
ger for  it  was  a powerful  little  vehicle 
that  was  much  more  economical  to 
produce  and  use  than  many  of  the  lar- 
ger vehicles.  Despite  being  armed 
with  only  a 75 -mm  gun,  it  could  knock 
out  nearly  every  tank  it  was  likely  to 
find  and  yet  it  was  little  higher  than  a 
standing  man. 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  14500  kg  (31,967  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Praga  AC/2800'petrol 
engine  developing  111.9-119.3  kW 

Dimensions:  length  overall  6.20  m (20  ft 
4 . 1 in)  andhull4 .80m(15ft9in);  width 

2,50  m (8  ft  2.4  in);  height  2. 1 0 m (6  ft 
10.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
39  km/h  (24,2  mph);  road  range  250  km 
(155  miles) ; gradient  75  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.65  m (25,6  in); 
trench  1 .3  m (4  ft  3 .2  in) ; fording  0 . 9 m 
(35  in) 

The  low  heigh  t of  the  Hetzer  can  be 
clearly  appreciated.  Note  the  well- 
shaped 'Saukopf  {pig's  head)  gun 
mantlet  that  provided  extra  head-on 

Thisjadgpanzer  38(t)  Hetzer  has  a 
roof-mounted  remote  control 
machine-gun  for  local  and  self- 
protection.  The  small  stand-off 
armour  side  pia  tes  are  fitted  with  the 
large  road  wheels  providing  more 
side-on  protection.  Well  over  1,500  of 
these  vehicles  were  produced. 

protection  and  thelackofa  muzzle 
brake,  usually  fitted  to  other  German 
vehicles  of  this  type. 


Jagdpanzer  IV 

Combat  experience  gained  during  the 

1942  campaigns  indicated  to  German 
staff  planners  that  the  existing  Sturm- 
geschiitz  close  support  artillery  vehi- 
cles would  have  to  be  upgunned  if  they 
were  to  continue  to  be  used  as  tank- 
destroyers,  and  the  future  standard 
weapon  was  selected  as  the  long  ver- 
sion of  the  7.5-cm  (2.95-in)  tank  gun 
fitted  to  the  Panther  tank.  This  gun  was 
70  calibres  long  (as  opposed  to  the 
49-calibre  length  of  the  tank  and  anti- 
tank versions  of  the  Pak  40  family)  and 
to  house  this  gun  in  vehicles  such  as 
the  Sturmgeschiitz  III  would  reguire 
considerable  modifications.  These 
modifications  would  take  time  so  it  was 
decided  to  adapt  the  larger  PzKpfw  IV 
tank  chassis  to  act  as  a 'fail  safe'  model. 
Design  work  was  soon  under  way  on 
this  new  model,  which  emerged  in 

1943  as  the  Jagdpanzer  IV  Ausf  F fur 
7.5-cm  Pak  39  or  Panzeijager  39,  but  by 
the  time  the  first  examples  were  ready 
the  long  7,5-cm  guns  were  earmarked 
for  the  Panther  tanks  and  so  the  first 

examples  had  to  be  content  with  48- 
calibre  guns. 

The  first  of  these  Jagdpanzer  IVs 
appeared  in  October  1943.  They  con- 
sisted of  the  well-tried  suspension  and 
engine  layout  of  the  Pz  Kpf w IV  allied  to 
a new  armoured  carapace  with  well- 
sloped  sides.  This  hull  was  much  lower 

than  the  hull/turret  combination  of  the 
tank,  and  mounted  the  gun  in  a well- 
protected  mantlet  on  the  front  hull.  The 
result  was  well-liked  by  the  Panzerja- 
ger crews,  who  appreciated  the  low 
silhouette  and  the  well-protected  hull, 
so  the  Jagdpanzer  IV  was  soon  in  great 
demand.  The  gun  was  powerful 

7 he  Jagdpanzer  IV  (SdKfz  162)  was  a 
Panzerjager  version  ofthePzKpfwIV 
tank  and  housed  its  7.5-cm  (2.95-in) 
main  gun  in  a superstructure  formed 
from  well-sloped  armoured  plates. 
This  is  an  early  example  with  the 
guns  still  retaining  them  uzzle  brake, 
an  item  later  omitted. 


enough  to  tackle  virtually  any  enemy 
tank,  and  in  action  the  Jagdpanzer  IV 
was  soon  knocking  up  appreciable 
'kill'  totals,  especially  on  the  Eastern 
Front  where  most  were  sent.  The 
secondary  armament  of  two  7.92-mm 
(0.312-m)  MG34  or  MG42  machine- 
guns  also  proved  highly  effective. 

Many  Panzer  commanders  consi- 
dered that  the  Jagdpanzer  IV  was 
good  enough  in  its  original  form  to  re- 
quire no  upgunmng  but  Hitler  insisted 
that  the  change  to  the  long  gun  had  to 
be  made.  Thus  during  1944  some  Jagd- 
panzer IV  mit  7.5-cm  Stuk  42  equip- 
ments with  the  longer  L/70  gun 
appeared,  but  the  changeover  on  the 
production  line  took  time,  too  much 
time  for  Hitler,  who  insisted  that  the 
changeover  to  the  new  gun  had  to  be 
made  even  if  it  meant  diverting  all 
PzKpfw  IV  tank  production  to  that  end. 
Thus  a third  Jagdpanzer  IV  appeared, 
this  time  a hasty  conversion  of  a basic 
PzKpfw  IV  hull  to  take  a form  of  Jagd- 
panzer IV  sloping  carapace  and 
mounting  the  70-calibre  gun.  This  con- 
version was  known  as  the  Panzer  IV/70 
Zwischenlosung  (interim)  and  was  in 
production  by  late  1944. 

In  service  the  70-calibre  gun  Jagd- 
anzer  IVs  proved  to  be  powerful  tank 
illers,  but  the  extra  weight  of  the  long 
gun  made  the  vehicles  nose-heavy  to 
the  extent  that  the  front  road  wheels 
had  to  be  ringed  with  steel  instead  of 
rubber  to  deal  with  the  extra  weight. 
The  gun  weight  also  reduced  the  over- 
all performance  of  the  vehicle,  espe- 
cially across  rough  terrain.  But  by  late 
1944  and  early  1945  such  drawbacks 



During  the  mid-war  years  the  German 
army  carried  out  a large  number  of 
hurried  improvisations  in  order  to  get 
useful  numbers  of  Panzerjager  into  the 
field,  and  some  of  these  improvisations 
fared  better  than  others.  One  of  these 
hasty  measures  was  the  adoption  of  the 
special  weapon-carrier  vehicle  that 
had  originally  been  produced  to  carry 
the  large  15-cm  (5.9-in)  sFH  18  field 
howitzer  and  known  as  the  Geschlitz- 
wagen  III/IV  as  it  was  based  on  the 
chassis  of  the  PzKpfw  IV  but  used 
some  of  the  drive  components  of  the 
PzKpfw  III.  Despite  the  great  demand 
for  the  artillery  version  of  this  weapon 
carrier  it  was  decided  to  adapt  it  to 
carry  the  large  8,8-cm  (3.46-m)  Pak43 
anti-tank  gun  as  the  8.8-cm  Pak  43/1  auf 
GW  III/IV.  The  first  of  these  new  Pan- 
zerjager were  issued  during  1943,  and 
the  type  went  under  two  names:  the 
official  name  was  Nashorn  (rhi- 
noceros) but  Homisse  (hornet)  was 
also  widely  applied. 

The  Nashorn  was  very  much  one  of 
the  'interim'  Panzerjager  designs,  for 
although  the  gun  was  mounted  behind 
armour  at  the  front  and  sides  this 
armour  was  relatively  thin,  and  the  top 
and  rear  were  open.  The  gun  mount- 
ing itself  was  rather  high,  so  the 
Nashorn  had  definite  combat  deficien- 
cies, not  the  least  of  which  was  the 
problem  of  concealing  the  height  and 
bulk  of  the  vehicle  on  a battlefield.  As 
the  chassis  had  been  intended  as  an 
artillery  carrier  the  bulk  problem  was 
originally  of  little  moment,  but  for  a 
Panzerjager  it  was  of  considerable  im- 
portance, making  the  stalking  of  tank 
targets  very  difficult.  Thus  the  Nashorn 

simply  had  to  be  overlooked,  for  the 
Allies  were  at  the  gates  of  the  Reich 
and  anything  that  could  be  put  into  the 
field  was  used. 

The  Jagdpanzer  IV  proved  to  be  a 
sound  Panzerjager  that  enabled  the 
Germans  to  utilize  existing  production 
capacity  and  maintain  the  PzKpfw  IV 
line  in  being  when  it  would  otherwise 
have  been  phased  out.  In  service  the 
Jagdpanzer  IV  was  a popular  vehicle 
and  a powerful  tank-killer. 


Jagdpanzer  IV  mit7.5-cmStuk42 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  25800  kg  (56,879  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  May  bach  HL 120 
petrol  engine  developing  197.6  kW 
(265  hp) 

Dimensions : length  overall  8 . 5 8 m (28  ft 
1 .8  in) ; width  2.93  m (9  ft  7 .4  in) ; height 
overall  1.96  m (6  ft  5. 2 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
(133  miles);  gradient  57  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0.6  m (23.6  in) ; trench 

2.3  m (7  ft  6,6  in);  fording  1.2  m (3  ft 
11  in) 

This  early  production  Jagdpanzer  IV 
has  the  m uzzle  brake  still  fitted.  La  ter 
versions  used  a much  longer  7.5-cm 
(2.95-in)  main  gun,  but  this  longer 
gun  rather  overloaded  the  chassis, 
and  later  versions  also  used  side 
armour  plates.  This  Panzerjager  was 
later  considered  to  be  one  of  the  best 
of  its  type. 

was  often  used  as  a 'stand-off  weapon 
that  was  able  to  use  the  considerable 
power  and  long-range  accuracy  of  its 
gun  to  pick  on  targets  at  ranges  of 
2000  m (z,  1 87  yards)  and  more;  most  of 
the  other  Panzerjager  types  fought  at 
much  closer  combat  ranges. 

The  Nashorn  carried  a crew  of  five 
with  only  the  driver  under  complete 
armoured  protection.  The  rest  of  the 
crew  was  carried  in  the  open  fighting 
compartment  with  only  a canvas  cover 
to  protect  it  from  the  elements.  Most  of 
the  40  rounds  carried  were  located  in 
lockers  along  the  sides  of  the  open 
compartment  and  the  gunner  was 
equipped  not  only  with  the  usual  direct 
vision  sighting  devices  but  also  with 
artillery  dial  sights  for  the  occasions 
when  the  Pak  43  could  be  used  as  a 
long-range  artillery  weapon.  During 
the  latter  stages  of  production  the  Pak 
43  gun  was  replaced  by  the  similar 

3-cm  Pak  43/41,  a weapon  introduced 
to  speed  up  production  of  the  Pak  43; 
although  it  was  manufactured  dif- 
ferently from  the  original  it  was  iden- 
tical as  far  as  ballistics  were  con- 
cerned. The  Nashorn  carried  a 
machine-gun  for  local  defence  and  the 
crew  was  supposed  to  be  issued  with 
at  least  two  sub -machine  guns. 

Most  Nashorn  production  was  cen- 
tred at  the  Deutsche  Eisenwerke,  at 
Teplitz-Schonau  and  Duisburg,  and  by 
the  time  the  last  of  the  vehicles  rolled 
off  the  lines  during  1944  473  had  been 
made.  In  combat  the  powerful  gun 
made  the  Nashorn  a potent  vehicle/ 
weapon  combination,  but  it  was  really 
too  high  and  bulky  for  the  Panzerjager 
role  and  only  a shortage  of  anything 
better  at  the  time  maintained  the  type 
in  production.  As  it  was  it  was  suc- 
ceeded by  the  Jagdpanther. 

7776  SdKfz  164  Hornisse  was  the  first 
Panzerjager  to  mount  the  8.8-cm 
(3. 46-in)  Pak43/l,  and  used  the  same 
chassis  as  the  Hummel. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  24400  kg  (53,793  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL  120 
petrol  engine  developing  197.6  kW 
(265  hp) 

Dimensions:  length  overall  8 .44  m (27  ft 

8.3  in)  and  hull  5.80  m(  19  ftO.3  in); 
(8  ft  8.3  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.8  mph);  range  210  km 
(130.5  miles);  gradient  57  per  cent; 
vertical  obstacle  0,6  m (23. 6 in);  trench 

2.3  m (7  ft  6.6  in);  fording  0.8  m (2  ft 
7.5  in) 



Panzerjager  Tiger  (P)  Elefant 

When  the  tank  that  was  to  become  the 
Tiger  was  still  in  its  planning  stage  two 
concerns,  Henschel  and  Porsche, 
were  in  competition  for  the  production 
contract.  The  Porsche  entry  was  at  one 
time  the  more  favoured,  mainly  as  a 
result  of  Professsor  Porsche's  influence 
with  Hitler,  but  also  because  the  de- 
sign featured  a radical  approach  by 
employing  a petrol-electric  drive  with 
electric  motors  actually  propelling  the 
vehicle.  However,  the  Porsche 
approach  proved  to  be  unreliable  on 
test  and  the  Henschel  entry  went  on  to 
become  the  PzKpfw  VI  Tiger. 

But  by  the  time  the  Henschel  design 
was  in  production,  Porsche  drives  and 
the  hulls  to  put  them  in  were  also  ready 
for  production.  It  was  then  decided  to 
place  the  Porsche  design  in  produc- 
tion for  use  as  a heavy  tank-destroyer 
mounting  the  new  8.8-cm  (3.46-in)  Pak 
43/2  anti-tank  gun,  a development  of 
the  earlier  Flak  18-37  anti-aircraft  gun 
series.  (Actually  the  Pak 43  was  virtual- 
ly a new  gun  and  fired  more  powerful 
ammunition  than  the  earlier  guns.)  The 
gun  would  be  placed  in  a large 
armoured  superstructure  with  limited 
traverse,  ana  90  of  these  vehicles  were 
produced  to  become  the  Panzerjager 
Tiger  (P),  later  known  as  either  Ferdi- 
nand or  Elefant.  The  (P)  denoted  Pors- 

The  Elefants  were  produced  at  the 
Nibelungwerke  in  something  of  a hur- 
ry during  early  1943,  the  urgency 
being  occasioned  by  the  fact  that  Hit- 
ler demanded  them  to  be  ready  for  the 
opening  of  the  main  campaign  of  1943, 
which  was  to  commence  against  the 
Kursk  salient  on  the  Eastern  Front;  the 
new  Panther  tanks  were  also  sche- 
duled to  make  their  eombat  debut  in 
the  same  battle.  Production  delays  and 
training  the  Panzertruppen  to  use  their 
new  charges  delayed  the  start  of  the 
offensive  until  5 July  1943. 

By  then  the  Red  Army  was  more 
than  ready  for  them.  The  defences  of 
the  Kursk  salient  were  formidable  and 
the  delays  had  enabled  the  Red  Army 
to  add  to  their  effectiveness  in  depth  so 
that  when  the  Germans  attacked  their 
efforts  were  of  little  avail.  For  the  Ele- 
fants the  Kursk  battles  were  a dreadful 
baptism  of  fire.  The  Elefants  were 



When  the  vehicle  now  known  as  the 
Jagdpanther  was  first  produced  in 
February  1944,  it  marked  a definite 
shift  away  from  a period  where  Pan- 
zerjager were  hasty  conversions  or  im- 
provisations to  a point  where  the  tank- 
destroyer  became  a purpose-built 
weapon  of  war.  The  Jagdpanther  was 
first  mooted  in  early  194j,  at  a time 
when  tank  destroyers  were  required 
in  quantity,  and  by  taking  the  best 
available  tank  chassis  it  was  hoped  that 
production  totals  would  meet  demand. 
Thus  the  Panther  chassis  was  used  vir- 
tually unaltered  as  the  basis  for  the 
new  Panzerjager,  and  an  8.8-cm  (3.46- 
in)  Pak  43  anti-tank  gun  was  mounted 
on  a well-sloped  armoured  hull  super- 
structure, with  a 7.92-mm  (0.312-m) 
MG34  or  MG42  machine-gun  for  local 
defence.  The  prototype,  then  known 
as  the  Panzerjager  Panther,  was  de- 
monstrated to  Hitler  in  October  1943 
and  it  was  Hitler  himself  who  decreed 
that  the  name  should  be  changed  to 

Above:  The  Elefant  used  a complex 
twin-engine powerpack  driving  an 
electric  transmisison  that  did  not 
work  too  well  in  service.  It  was  heavy, 
slow  andponderous,  making  it  more 
of  a heavy  assault  gun  than  a 
Panzerjager.  Most  were  used  in 
Russia  but  a few  ended  up  in  Italy  in 

organized  in  two  battalions 
(Abteilungenj  of  Panzerregiment  654, 
and  even  before  going  into  action  their 
troubles  began.  The  Elefants  had  been 
rushed  into  use  before  their  many 
technical  bugs  had  been  entirely  re- 
moved, and  many  broke  down  as  soon 
as  they  started  to  move  forward.  Those 
that  did  make  it  to  the  Soviet  lines  were 
soon  in  trouble,  for  although  the  vehi- 
cles were  fitted  with  the  most  powerful 
anti-tank  guns  then  available  they 
lacked  any  form  of  secondary  arma- 
ment for  self-defence.  Soviet  tank- 
killer  infantry  squads  swarmed  all  over 
them  and  placed  charges  that  either 
blew  off  their  tracks  or  otherwise  dis- 
abled them.  The  Elefant  crews  had  no 
way  of  defending  themselves  at  all  and 
those  that  could  either  withdrew  or 
abandoned  their  vehicles  and  ran. 

Some  Elefants  did  survive  Kursk  and 
were  later  fitted  with  machine-guns  to 
defend  themselves,  but  the  Elefant 
never  recovered  from  its  inauspicious 
debut.  The  few  that  were  left  were 

withdrawn  to  other  fronts  such  as  Italy 
but  even  there  their  unreliability  and 
lack  of  spares  soon  rendered  them 
useless.  Some  were  captured  by  the 
Allies  in  Italy. 

Crew:  6 

Weight:  65000kg(143,300  lb) 
Powerplant:  two  Maybach  HE  120  TRM 
V-12  petrol  engines  each  developing 
395.2  kW(530  hp)  and  driving  a 
Porche/Siemens-Schuckert  petrol- 
electric  drive 

Dimensions:  length  overall  8.128  m 
(26  ft  8 in) ; width 3 .37 8 m ( 1 1 ft  1 in) ; 

The  Elefant  was  one  of  the  failures  of 
the  German  Panzerjager  designers, 
for  despite  its  main  8.8-cm  (3.46-in) 
gun  it  was  too  cumbersome  and, 
more  importantly,  the  first  examples 
lacked  any  kind  of  self-defence 
armament.  It  was  also  too 
complicated  and  was  generally 

height  2.997  m(9ft  10  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
20.1  km/h  (12.5  mph) ; road  range 
153  km  (95  miles);  gradient  40  per 
cent;  vertical  obstacle  0.8  m (3 1.5  in) ; 
trench2.65m(8ft8.3in);fording  1 ,0m 
(3  ft  3.4  in) 

The  Jagdpanther  was  one  of  those 
vehicles  where  superlatives  could  be 
justifiably  lavished,  for  it  was  a superb 
fighting  vehicle  and  destined  to  be  one 
or  the  most  famous  of  all  the  many 
World  War  II  armoured  fighting  vehi- 
cles. It  was  fast  and  well  protected, 
and  it  mounted  a potent  gun,  but  not 
content  with  all  that  it  had  about  it  a 
definite  aura  that  distinguished  it  from 
all  its  contemporaries.  So  well  bal- 
anced was  the  design  that  it  would  not 
be  too  out  of  place  in  any  tank  park 
today,  40  years  after  it  first  appeared. 
The  Jagdpanther  could  knock  out  vir- 
tually any  enemy  tank,  including  the 
heavy  Soviet  IS-2s,  although  for  them  a 
side  shot  was  required  for  a certain 
kill.  At  times  single  Jagdpanthers  or 
small  groups  of  them  could  hold  up 
Allied  armoured  advances  for  con- 
siderable periods.  Fortunately  for  the 
Allies,  production  of  the  Jagdpanther 
never  reached  the  planned  rate  of  150 
per  month.  By  the  time  the  production 
facilities  were  overrun  during  April 
1945  only  382  had  been  completed,  a 

fact  for  which  Allied  tank  crews  must 
have  been  very  grateful.  The  main 
cause  of  these  low  production  totals 
was  the  disruption  and  damage 
caused  by  Allied  bomber  raids  on  the 
two  main  centres  of  production,  the 
MIAG  plant  at  Braunschweig  and  the 
Brandenburg  Eisenwerk  Kirchmoser 
at  Brandenburg.  These  disruptions  led 
to  their  being  several  variations  of 
Jagdpanther  m use.  Some  had  large 
bolted-on  gun  mantlets  while  others 
had  much  smaller  mantlet  collars. 
Late-production  versions  used  guns 
built  with  the  barrels  in  two  parts  to 
ease  barrel  changing  when  the  bores 
became  worn,  and  the  stowage  of  tools 
and  other  bits  and  pieces  on  the  out- 
side also  varied  considerably. 

The  Jagdpanther  had  a crew  of  five 
and  there  was  space  inside  the  well- 
sloped  and  heavily-armoured  super- 
structure for  60  rounds  of  ammunition. 
When  the  war  ended  plans  had  been 
made  to  produce  a new  version  mount- 
ing a 12.8-cm  (5.04-in)  anti-tank  gun, 
though  in  the  event  only  a wooden 

mock-up  had  been  built.  But  even  with 
the  usual  8.8-cm  gun  the  Jagdpanther 
was  truly  a formidable  tank  destroyer 
that  was  much  feared  and  respected 
by  Allied  tank  crews.  Few  other 
armoured  fighting  vehicles  of  World 
War  II  achieved  its  unique  combina- 
tion of  power,  lethality,  mobility  and 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  46000  kg(101,411  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HE  230 
petrol  engine  developing  447.4- 
522.0kW^(600-700  hp) 

Dimensions:  length  overall  9.90  m (32  ft 

5.8  in)  and  hull  6.87  m (22  ft  6.5  in); 
width3 . 27  m ( 1 0 ft  8 ,7  in) ; height 
2,715  m (8  ft  10.9  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
55km/h(34.2mph);roadrange  160  km 
(99.4  miles);  gradient  70  per  cent; 
vertical  obstaele  0.9  m (35  in) ; trench 

1.9  m(6  ft3  in);  fording  1.7  m(5  ft?  in) 




By  1943  it  was  an  established  German 
policy  that  as  soon  as  any  new  tank 
design  became  available,  a fixed- 
superstructure  version  mounting  a li- 
mited-traverse gun  would  be  pro- 
duced. Thus  when  the  massive  Tiger  II 
or  Konigstiger  (King  Tiger)  appeared, 
a corresponding  Panzerjager  was  de- 
veloped. An  iron  mock-up  develop- 
ment model  of  this  super-heavy  tank 
destroyer  appeared  in  October  1943, 
and  production  began  during  1944 
under  the  designation  Panzerjager  Ti- 
ger Ausf  B,  more  commonly  known  as 
the  Jagdtiger. 

With  the  Jagdtiger  the  Germans  pro- 
duced the  heaviest  and  most  powerful 
armoured  vehicle  of  World  War  II.  The 
Jagdtiger  had  an  official  weight  of  no 
less  than  70000  kg  (154,324  lb)  but  by 
the  time  extra  combat  equipment  and 
a full  load  of  ammunition  plus  the  crew 
of  six  had  been  added  the  weight  rose 
to  around 76000kg(167,5511b).  Much 
of  this  weight  was  attributable  to  the 
armour,  which  was  no  less  than 
250  mm  (9.84  in)  thickon  the  front  plate 
of  the  superstructure.  The  main  arma- 
ment was  originally  a 12.8-cm  (5.04-in) 
Pak  44  anti-tank  gun,  but  this  was  later 
changed  to  the  similar  Pak  80  and  at 
one  time  a shortage  of  these  guns 
caused  by  Allied  bomber  raids  meant 
that  the  much  smaller  8.8-cm  (3.46-in) 
Pak  43/3  had  to  be  used.  The  12.8-cm 
guns  were  the  most  powerful  anti-tank 
weapons  used  by  any  side  during 
World  War  II,  and  the  large  size  of  its 
ammunition  meant  that  each  Jagdtiger 
could  carry  only  38  or  40  rounds.  The 
defensive  armament  was  two  7.92-mm 
(0.312-in)  machine-guns. 

Without  a doubt  the  Jagdtiger  was  a 
massive  and  powerful  vehicle  as  far  as 
weapon  power  and  protection  were 
concerned,  but  in  respect  of  mobility  it 
could  be  regarded  only  as  ponderous. 
It  was  driven  by  the  same  engine  as 
that  used  in  the  Jagdpanther,  but  this 
engine  had  to  drive  the  much  greater 
weight  of  the  Jagdtiger  and  to  do  this 
had  usually  to  be  driven  full  out,  con- 
siderably increasing  the  fuel  con- 
sumption and  reducing  range.  When 
moving  across  country  the  Jagdtiger 
had  a speed  of  only  14.5  km/h  (9  mph) 
and  often  less,  and  the  maximum  possi- 
ble cross-country  range  was  only 
120  km  (74,5  miles).  This  reduced  the 
Jagdtiger  from  being  a true  Panzerja- 
ger to  a sort  of  mobile  defensive  pill- 

AbovQ:  Two  types  ofsuspension 
were  used  on  the  Jagdtiger.  This 
example  has  theHenschel 
suspension;  the  other  type  used 
larger  road  wheels  from  Porsche. 
Based  on  the  Tiger  II  tankchassis, 
only  about  70  were  produced,  and  it 
was  the  heaviest AFV to  see  service 
during  World  War  II. 

box,  but  by  the  time  the  Jagdtiger  was 
in  service  the  Germans  were  fighting  a 
defensive  war  so  the  lack  of  mobility 
was  not  so  desperate  as  it  once  might 
have  been. 

The  production  line  for  the  Jagdtiger 
was  at  tne  Nibelungwerk  at  St  V alentin 
where  total  production  ran  to  only  70 
vehicles,  as  a result  mainly  of  the  dis- 
ruption caused  by  Allied  bombing,  not 
only  at  the  factories  but  in  the  raw 
material  supply  lines.  By  the  time  the 
war  ended  two  types  of  Jagdtiger  were 
to  be  encountered,  one  with  Henschel 
suspension  and  later  versions  with  an 
extra  road  axle  and  Porsche  suspen- 
sion. In  both  forms  the  Jagdtigers  were 
ponderous  to  an  extreme  and  although 
on  paper  they  were  the  most  heavily 
armed  and  protected  of  all  the 
armoured  fighting  vehicles  used  dur- 
ing World  War  II  (and  for  many  years 
afterwards)  they  remained  consider- 
ably underpowered,  a fact  that  ren- 
dered them  little  more  than  mobile 
weapon  platforms. 

Crew:  6 

Weight:  76000  kg  (167,551  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybachHL230 
petrol  engine  developing 447 . 4 - 
522,0kW(600-700  hp) 

Dimensions:  length  overall  10.654m 
(34  ft  11. 4 in);  width  3.625  m (11  ft 
Performance:  maximum  speed 
34.6  km/h  (21.5  mph);  roaci  range 
170  km  ( 1 05  miles) ; gradient  70per 

The  massive  Jagdtiger  with  its  128- 
mm  (5.04-in)  gun  was  a powerful 
weapon,  but  it  was  underpowered 
and  too  heavy  to  be  anything  other 
than  a purely  defensive  weapon.  Not 
many  were  made  before  the  war 
ended,  but  the  250-mm  (9.84-in) 
frontal  armour  made  it  a difficult 
vehicle  to  knockout. 

cent;  vertical  obstacle  0.85  m (33.5  in) ; 
trench  3,0  m (9  ft  10  in);  fording  1.65  m 
(5  ft  5 in) 

Semovente  L.40  da  47/32 

During  World  War  II  the  Italians  were 
never  noted  for  dramatic  innovations 
as  far  as  armoured  vehicle  design  was 
concerned.  However,  in  one  aspect 
they  were  abreast  of  tactical  thinking 
elsewhere  for  they  became  interested 
in  the  tank-destroyer  concept  during 
the  late  1930s.  At  that  time  they  pro- 
duced an  intriguing  design  known  as 
the  Semovente  L.3  da  47/32  mounting  a 
47-mm  (1.85-m)  anti-tank  gun  with  a 
barrel  32  calibres  long  (hence  47/32). 
The  L.3  mounted  the  gun  on  an  open 

The  Italian  Semovente  L.3  da  47/32 
was  an  early  attempt  to  mount  an 
anti-tank  gun  on  a light  tankchassis, 
and  was  much  used  for  trials  and 
various  gunnery  tests.  It  generally 
lacked  protection  and  was  later 
replaced  by  better  designs. 


mounting  at  the  front  of  a small  and  low 
chassis  based  on  that  of  the  L.3  tanket- 
te; a two-man  crew  was  carried.  This 
early  project  did  not  get  far  for  there 
was  virtually  no  protection  for  the  crew 
and  the  idea  attracted  little  attention. 

When  the  Italians  entered  the  war  in 
1941  they  soon  realized  that  their 
much-vaunted  tank  arm  was  seriously 
undergunned  and  lacked  protection. 
This  was  particularly  true  of  their 
lighter  tanks,  in  which  the  Italian  treas- 
ury had  invested  to  a considerable  de- 
gree, especially  the  L.6  series  that 
generally  lacked  protection  and  were 
armed  only  with  a short  37-mm  (1 .456- 
in)  gun  of  limited  anti-armour  capabil- 
ity. The  main  combat  version,  the  L.6/ 
40,  soon  proved  to  be  of  little  combat 
value  against  the  British  armour  then  in 
use  in  North  Africa  and  was  obviously 
ripe  for  the  usual  limited-traverse  anti- 
tank gun  treatment.  It  was  not  long  in 
coming  when  Fiat-SPA  and  Ansaldo 
combined  to  use  the  chassis  for  the 
basis  of  a tank  destroyer. 

The  gun  used  for  the  new  vehicle 
was  the  powerful  47-mm  licence-built 
version  of  the  Austrian  Bohler  dual- 

purpose  anti-tank/infantry  support 
gun,  one  of  the  hardest-hitting  of  all 
anti- armour  weapons  in  its  day.  On  the 
new  Semovente  L.40  da  47/32  it  was 
mounted  in  a simple  box-like  super- 
structure built  directly  onto  the  light 
tank  chassis,  and  while  this  simple 
arrangement  worked  well  enough  the 
slab  sides  of  the  superstructure  lacked 
the  added  protection  that  sloping  sides 
would  have  provided.  But  it  was  better 
than  nothing  and  went  straight  into  ser- 
vice from  1942  onwards.  In  all  about 
280  were  produced  and  in  action  they 
proved  to  be  capable  enough  when 
dealing  with  the  lighter  British  and 
other  armour  on  the  battlefields  of 
North  Africa,  Ammunition  stowage 
was  70  rounds. 

When  the  Italians  surrendered  to 
the  Allies  in  1943  the  Germans  quickly 
took  over  as  many  Italian  armoured 
vehicles  and  as  much  Italian  equip- 
ment as  they  could.  The  Semovente 
L.40  da  47/j2  was  among  this  booty, 
and  was  quickly  impressed  as  part  of 
the  equipment  or  German  units 
fighting  in  Italy.  However,  the  terrain  of 
many  of  the  Italian  battlefields  during 

the  long  slog  north  that  lasted  through 
1944  and  1945  was  such  that  armour 
could  be  used  on  few  occasions,  and 
the  Semovente  L.40s  often  had  their 
anti-tank  armament  removed  and 
were  used  instead  as  mobile  com- 
mand posts  for  senior  commanders, 
with  an  armament  of  one  8-mm  (0.315- 
in)  Breda  modello  38  machine-gun. 
The  Semovente  L.40  da  47/32  may 
have  been  a simple  conversion  and  it 
had  little  impact  on  enemy  armour,  but 
it  did  demonstrate  that  the  Italians  had 
absorbed  the  tank  destroyer  concept 
at  an  early  stage  of  the  war  and  used  it 
as  well  as  their  limited  production 
basis  allowed. 

Semovente  L.40  da  47/32 
Crew:  2 

Weight:  6500  kg(14,3301b) 

Powerplant:  one  SPA  18D4-cylmder 
petrol  engine  developing  50.7  kW 

Dimensions : length  4 . 00  m ( 1 3 ft  1 . 5 in) 
and  hull  3.782  m (12  ft  4.9  in);  width 
1 ,92  m (6  ft  3 .6  in) ; height  1 .63  m (5  ft 
4.2  in) 

The  Semovente  LAO  da  47/32  was 
used  in  some  numbers  by  the  Italian 
and  later  the  German  armies,  and 
was  a conversion  oftheL.6/40  light 
tank  to  take  the  powerful  Italian  47- 
mm  {1.85-in)  anti-tankgun.  Its  box- 
like superstructure  was  later  widely 
used  to  act  as  a mobile  command 
post  or  ammunition  carrier. 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42.3  km/h  (26.3  mph);  road  range 
200  km  ( 124  miles) ; gradient  84per 
cent;  vertical  obstacle  0.8  m (3 1.5  in) ; 
trench  1.7  m(5  ft?  in);  fordingO.8  m 
(3 1.5  in) 


Semovente  M.4  IM  da  90/53 

Crew:  (on  gun)  2 

Weight:  17000  kg  (37,479  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  SPA  15-TM-418- 

cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 


Dimensions  :length5.205m(17ft 
0 . 9 in) ; width  2.20m(7ft2.6in);height 
2.15  m(7  ft  0.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
35,5  km/h  (22  mph);  road  range 200  km 
( 124  miles);  vertical  obstacle  0,9m 
fording  1 .0  m (3  ft  3 in) 

The  Semovente  M.41  M da  90/53  was 
the  most  power  fui  of  the  Italian  tank 
destroyers,  and  used  the  90-mm 
(3.54-in)  anti-aircraft  gun  mounted 
on  anM.  15/42  tank  chassis. 

A Semovente  M.41  M da  90/53  is 
examined  by  American  troops  after 
being  knocked  out  in  Sicily  in  1 943. 

To  serve  the  gun,  the  crew  had  to 
stand  behind  the  breech  and  only  the 
driver  had  all-round  armour.  These 
guns  were  first  used  in  North  Africa 
in  la  te  1943 and  were  much 


|b|  Semovente  M 

The  Italians  used  the  chassis  of  their 
M.  1 3 tank  as  the  basis  for  a number  of 
self-propelled  guns  (Semovente),  but 
most  of  them  were  built  along  the  lines 
of  the  German  Sturmgeschiitz  types 
and  were  intended  for  use  as  close- 
support  assault  artillery.  At  times  they 
could  be  used  against  tanks  with  some 
degree  of  success,  but  that  was  not 
their  primary  function  and  the  Italians 
produced  only  one  really  heavy  type 
of  tank  destroyer.  This  was  the 
Semovente  M.41M  da  90/53,  which 
used  the  chassis  of  the  M.  14/41  tank,  a 
development  of  the  M.  13  tank  series. 

The  Semovente  M.4  IM  da  90/53  car- 
ried a powerful  anti- armour  weapon  in 
the  form  of  the  cannone  da  90/5J  anti- 
aircraft gun,  a long  and  very  powerful 
weapon  that  had  a performance  very 
similar  to  that  of  the  famous  German 
8.8-cm  (3.46-in)  Flak  series.  The  gun's 
primary  characteristics  were  denoted 
by  the  90/53  designation,  for  it  was  a 
90-mm  (3.54-in)  gun  with  a barrel  53 
calibres  long.  To  accommodate  the 
gun  mounting  the  engine  was  moved 
to  the  front  of  the  chassis  and  the  gun 
was  mounted  at  the  rear.  In  action  two 
men  sat  on  the  gun  mounting  behind  a 
gun  shield;  there  was  no  other  form  of 
protection  as  the  Italian  approach  was 
that  such  a powerful  gun  would  not  be 
used  directly  in  the  front  line  but  would 
instead  be  used  as  a 'stand-off  weapon 
picking  off  tank  targets  at  long  ranges. 
No  ammunition  could  be  carried  on  the 
vehicle  itself;  26  rounds  were  carried 
in  a special  conversion  of  the  L.6  light 
tank  that  used  a box-like  superstruc- 
ture very  similar  to  that  of  the 
Semovente  L.40  da  47/32,  and  another 
40  rounds  were  carried  in  a trailer 
towed  by  the  ammunition  carrier.  In 
action  the  long  rounds  were  loaded 
into  the  gun  breech  by  ammunition 
numbers  standing  on  the  ground  be- 
hind the  Semovente  M.41 . 

After  noting  the  power  of  the  Ger- 
man 8.8-cm  Flak  series  the  Italians 
were  gmck  to  get  their  Semovente 
ple  came  ofrthe  Fiat,  SPA  and  Ansaldo 
lines  during  1941,  but  in  the  end  only  48 

were  produced.  The  main  reason  for 
this  small  total  was  the  lack  of  produc- 
tion potential  within  Italian  industry 
and  the  ever-pressing  requirements 
for  the  Cannone  da  90/53  as  an  anti- 
aircraft gun.  In  the  field  the  Semovente 
M.4IM  proved  to  be  a powerful 
weapon,  especially  across  the  flat 
wastes  of  the  North  African  deserts, 
but  once  that  campaign  ended  so  did 
the  gun's  career  with  the  Italian  army. 
Soon  after  the  fall  of  Sicily  and  the  inva- 
sion of  the  Italian  mainland  the  Italians 
surrendered.  The  Germans  had  been 
expecting  such  a move  and  promptly 
took  control  of  as  much  Italian  war 
materiel  as  they  could  lay  their  hands 
on,  and  among  the  loot  was  a number 
of  Semovente  M.41  Ms.  The  Germans 
soon  had  control  of  the  gun's  ammuni- 
tion production  facilities  and  thus  the 
weapon  ended  up  as  part  of  the  Ger- 
man army's  inventory,  with  the  type 
still  in  service  in  northern  Italy  when 
the  war  ended.  By  then  there  was  little 
call  for  their  tank-killing  capabilities, 
for  much  of  the  Italian  campaign  took 
place  over  mountainous  country 
where  few  tanks  could  move,  so  the 
Semovente  M.41  Ms  were  used  mainly 
as  long-range  artillery. 

3-in  Gun  Motor  Carriage  MIO 

During  the  late  1930s  and  early  1940s 
the  US  Army  formulated  a novel  tactic- 
al doctrine,  whereby  fast-moving 
armoured  formations  were  to  be  coun- 
tered by  a new  tank  destroyer  force 
comprising  towed  and  self-^opelled 
high-velocity  anti-tank  guns.  This  tank 
destroyer  force  was  to  be  used  en 
masse  and  was  to  be  armed  with 
powerful  guns,  and  one  of  the  first 
operational  results  of  this  doctrine  was 
the  Gun  Motor  Carriage  MIO  self- 
propelled  mounting  armed  with  a 
76.2  mm  (3 -in)  gun  known  as  the  M7,  a 
development  of  an  anti-aircraft 
weapon.  The  secondary  armament 
was  one  12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  Browning 

The  MIO  used  the  main  chassis  of 
the  M4A2  medium  tank  (the  Sherman) 
allied  to  a new  thinly- armoured  upper 
hull  and  an  open-topped  turret.  The 
relatively  thin  armour  of  the  hull  was 
improved  by  the  use  of  sloping  armour 
plates  to  increase  protection,  and 
sloped  armour  was  also  used  on  the 
turret.  Unlike  many  other  tank  des- 
troyers of  the  time  the  M I O had  a turret 
with  360°  traverse,  for  although  the 
MIO  was  intended  for  use  as  a tank 
destroyer  it  was  seen  by  the  US  Army 
as  a gun  earner  and  was  not  intended 
for  close-order  combat,  hence  the  re- 
latively thin  armour.  The  gun  was  quite 
powerful  for  the  period  it  was  intro- 
duced. Production  commenced  dur- 
ing September  1942,  and  such  was  the 
potential  of  American  industry  that 
when  production  ceased  in  December 
1942  4,993  had  been  produced. 

The  bulk  of  this  total  went  to  US 
Army  tank  destroyer  battalions,  and  in 
early  1943  there  were  106  active  batta- 
hons.  But  as  the  war  continued  their 
number  gradually  decreased  when  it 
was  realized  that  the  tank  destroyer 
concept  as  an  arm  separate  from  the 
rest  of  the  American  armoured  forces 
was  wrong  and  as  it  emerged  that  the 
best  counter  to  a tank  was  another 
tank.  But  the  tank  destroyer  force  re- 
mained in  being  until  the  war  ended, 
most  of  the  battalions  being  used  in 
Europe.  By  the  end  of  the  war  many  of 
the  M 10s  and  their  associated  equip- 
ments and  towed  guns  were  being 

Above:  The  American  MIO  was 
designed  to  be  the  main  weapon  of 
the  Tank  Destroyer  Command's 
mobile  units,  and  mounted  a 3-in 
(76.2-mm)  gun  in  an  open-topped 
turret.  The  armour  protection  was 
relatively  thin,  as  the  weight  ofbetter 
armour  was  sacrificed  for  all-round 
performance  and  speed  once  in 

used  more  as  assault  forces  than  tank 
destroyers.  The  MIO  was  the  primary 
equipment  of  these  battalions  and  was 
useefnot  only  by  the  US  Army  but  by 
the  British  (who  knew  the  MIO  as  the 
Wolverine)  and  later  by  the  French 
and  Italian  armies.  In  combat  the  MIO 
proved  to  be  less  than  a complete  suc- 
cess, for  despite  its  thin  armour  it  was  a 
large  and  bulky  vehicle  and  as  time 
went  on  the  gun  lost  much  of  its  anti- 
armour  effectiveness.  But  the  MlOs 
were  still  in  use  when  the  war  ended. 
By  then  the  British  had  re-gunned 
many  of  their  M 10s  with  17-pdr  guns 
and  re-named  the  type  Achilles,  The 
MIO  had  in  the  meantime  been  joined 
by  the  MlOAl,  which  was  the  same 
vehicle  but  using  the  chassis  of  the 
M4A3  medium  tank  with  its  different 
engine  installation  and  some  other 

The  M 10s  were  used  in  battalions, 
each  with  around  36  M 10s  and  with 
strong  reconnaissance  and  anti- 

aircraft elements,  By  early  1945  most  of 
the  tank  destroyer  battalions  were  dis- 
tributed among  the  more  conventional 
armoured  formations,  and  were  then 
used  exactly  as  other  armoured  forma- 
tions and  the  exclusive  tank  destroyer 
concept  died. 



Crew:  5 

Weight:  29937  kg  (66,000  lb) 
Powerolant:  two  General  Motors  6- 
cylmder  diesel  engines  each 
developing  276,6  kW  (375  Im) 
Dimensions : length  overall  o.  83  m (22  ft 
5 in);  width3.0  W(lOft) ; height  157  m 

Latein  the  war  theMlO(Mt)  was 
supplemented  by  theMSo  (right), 
which  useda90-mm  (3.54-in)  gwn, 
still  in  an  open-topped  turret.  The 
M3 6 was  designed  as  early  as  1942 
hut  took  a long  time  to  get  into 
production,  so  that  it  was  late  1944 
before  the  first  of  them  reached 
Europe.  By  then  they  were  mainly 
used  as  assa  ult  guns. 

(8  ft  5 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  ^eed 
5 1 km/h  (32  mph) ; roadrange  322  km 
(200  miles);  gradient  25°;  vertical 
obstacle  0 . 4om  ( 1 8 in) ; trench2 . 26  m 
(7  ft5  in);  fording  0.91  m(3ft) 

3-in  Gun  Motor  Carriage  Ml 8 

Whereas  the  MIO  was  produced  for 
the  tank  destroyer  battalions  by  con- 
verting an  existing  tank  chassis  (the 
M4A2),  the  Gun  Motor  Carriage  Ml 8 
was  designed  from  the  outset  for  the 
tank  destroyer  role.  Development  be- 
gan during  1942,  and  the  first  examples 
were  ready  during  1943. 

In  service  the  Ml  8 proved  to  be  one 
of  the  best  examples  of  the  American 
tank  destroyer  concept.  It  was  much 
smaller  than  the  MIO  and  weighed 
only  about  half  as  much,  but  it  carried  a 
more  powerful  gun  and  was  much  fas- 
ter, Indeed,  the  Ml 8 was  the  fastest 
tracked  vehicle  to  be  used  in  action 
during  World  War  II.  The  gun  was  the 
76,2-mm  (3-in)  MIAI  or  M1A2,  the  lat- 
ter having  a muzzle  brake.  The  MIAI 
gun  was  a development  of  the  gun 
used  in  the  MIO,  but  had  a better  all- 
round performance  and  it  was 
mounted  in  an  open-topped  turret.  In 
appearance  the  MI 8 resembled  a 
tank,  and  it  did  indeed  have  a 360° 
traverse  turret,  but  its  armour  protec- 
tion was  much  less  than  would  be  ex- 


pected  in  a tank  and  the  Ml 8 relied 
upon  its  mobility  and  striking  power  to 
defend  itself.  The  engine  was  posi- 
tioned to  the  rear  of  the  hull  and  was  a 
radial  air-cooled  petrol  engine  with 
aviation  origins  that  was  powerful 
enough  to  give  the  Ml 8 a good  power- 
to-weight  ratio  to  provide  the  vehicle 

with  excellent  acceleration  and  agility. 
Internal  stowage  was  such  that  as  well 
as  carrying  the  crew  of  five  men  there 
was  space  for  45  76.2-mm  rounds  and  a 
12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  heavy  machine-gun 
for  local  and  anti-aircraft  defence. 

In  service  with  the  tank  destroyer 
battalions  the  Ml 8 was  given  the  name 

The  Ml  8 Hellcat  had  the  distinction 
ofbeing  the  fastest  ofallAFVs  used 
during  World  War  11.  Armed  with  a 
long  76-mm  (3 -in)  gun,  it  was  an  ideal 
tank-hunting  vehicle,  but  as  with 
other  vehicles  of  its  type  it  generally 
lacked  armour  and  was  fitted  with  an 
open-topped  turret. 


Hellcat.  Despite  their  success  in  action  attempts  to  mount  a 90-mm  (3.54-in) 

the  M 18s  were  gradually  switched  gun  and  turret  on  the  chassis.  None  of 

from  the  tank  destroyer  battalions  as  these  versions  got  past  the  ex- 

the  enthusiasm  for  the  exclusive  tank  perimental  stage,  a fate  shared  by 
destroyer  concept  dwindled,  and  by  many  other  trial  versions  of  the  basic 
1945  many  M18s  were  used  by  con-  Ml 8 including  a mobile  command 

ventional  armoured  formations  within  post,  a utility  carrier  and  an  amphi- 
theUS  Army.  By  then  they  were  being  bious  variant, 

used  more  and  more  as  assault  guns 
and  conventional  self-propelled  artil-  Specification 
lery.  M18 

TheproductionrunoftheM  18  lasted  Crew:  5 
from  July  1943  to  October  1944,  when  it  Weight:  17036  kg  (37,557  lb) 
was  obvious  that  the  war  was  not  going  Powerplant:  one  Continental  R-975  Cl 

to  last  much  longer.  Between  those  radial  petrol  engine  developing 
dates  2,507  M18s  were  produced,  253.5kW(340hp) 
some  being  completed  without  turrets  Dimensions:  length overall6.65m(21  ft 

as  theM39  for  use  as  high-speed  troop  10in)andhull5.44m(17  ft  10  in);  width 
or  smply  carriers.  There  was  also  a 2.87m(9ft5in);height2.58m(8ft 
T65nameTankbasedontheM18with  5.5  in) 

a much  revised  upper  hull  mounting  a Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
flame  gun  in  front.  The  T88  Howitzer  88,5 km/h (55 mph);roadrange  169km 

Motor  Carriage  was  an  attempt  to  (105  miles);  gradient  60  per  cent; 

mount  a 105-mm  (4.13-in)  howitzer  on  verticalobstacle0.91  m (36 in); trench 
the  basic  Ml 8 and  there  were  other  1.88  m (6 ft 2 in);  fording  1.22  m (4 ft) 

Ml  8 Hellcats  went  out  of  production 
in  October  1944  after 2, 507 had  been 
built.  The  Ml  8 was  the  only  vehicle 
specifically  designed  for  the  US 

Army 's  tank  destroyer  role,  and  was 
a most  successful  combat  vehicle 
capable  of  tackling  all  but  the  very 
heaviest  German  tanks. 


Although  the  British  army  tended  to  lag 
behind  the  Germans  in  upgunning  its 
tanks  as  World  War  II  progressed,  an 
early  decision  by  British  planners  to 
make  a quantum  leap  in  anti-tank  gun 
calibres  from  the  57mm  (2.244  in)  of 
the  6-pdr  to  76.2  mm  (3  in)  was  a bold 
one,  for  it  was  made  at  a time  when  the 
6-pdr  was  only  just  getting  into  produc- 
tion. It  was  realized  that  the  new  76.2- 
mm  gun,  soon  to  be  known  as  the  17- 
pdr,  would  be  a very  large  and  heavy 
weapon  on  its  towed  carnage,  so  it  was 
decided  to  find  some  means  of  making 
it  mobile.  Ideally  the  17-pdr  was  to  be 
used  as  a tank  gun,  but  the  tanks  large 
enough  to  carry  such  a large  weapon 
were  still  a long  way  off  (indeed  had 
not  even  left  the  drawing  boards)  so  a 
short-term  alternative  had  to  be  found. 

After  investigating  such  in- 
production means  as  the  Crusader 
tank  chassis  it  was  decided  to  mount 
the  17-pdr  on  the  Valentine  infantry 
tank  chas  sis . The  V alentine  was  in  pro  - 
duction  and  could  be  rapidly  adapted 
for  its  new  gun-carrying  role  by 
adding  a sloping  superstructure,  open 
at  the  top,  on  the  forward  part  of  the 
hull.  To  ensure  the  gun/chassis  com- 
bination would  not  be  nose-heavy  and 
unwieldy,  it  was  decided  to  place  the 
gun  in  a limited-traverse-mounting 
facing  over  the  rear  of  the  chassis.  This 
vehicle  was  obviously  meant  to  be  a 
tank  destroyer  and  it  was  placed  in 
production  in  late  1943. 

It  was  March  1943  before  the firstSP 
17-pdr  Valentine  rolled  off  the  produc- 
tion lines,  the  initial  example  of  800  that 
had  been  ordered.  The  troops  looked 
at  the  new  vehicle  with  some  trepida- 
tion, for  the  idea  of  having  a gun  that 
faced  to  the  rear  only  was  against 
established  practice.  Drivers  were 
also  less  than  enchanted,  for  they  were 
psitioned  at  the  centre  front  of  the 
righting  compartment  and  the  gun 
breech  was  directly  behind  their 
heads;  on  firing  the  breech  block 
came  to  within  a short  distance  of  the 
back  of  the  driver's  head.  The  rest  of 
the  crew  was  made  up  of  the  gun  layer, 
the  commander  ancf  the  loader.  Pro- 
tective fire  could  be  supplied  by  one 
7,7-mm  (0.303-in)  Bren  gun. 

It  was  October  1944  before  the  first 
of  these  Valentine/ 17-pdr  combina- 

tions reached  the  fighting  in  Europe. 
By  then  the  type  had  become  known 
as  the  Archer,  and  in  action  the 
Areher's  tank-killing  eapabilities  were 
soon  demonstrated.  The  rearward- 
facing gun  was  soon  seen  to  be  no 
problem,  but  rather  a virtue.  The 
Archer  was  soon  in  use  as  an  ambush 
weapon  where  its  low  silhouette  made 
it  easy  to  conceal  in  a hide.  As  enemy 
tanks  approached  a few  shots  could  be 
fired  to  kill  a tank  and  then  the  Archer 
was  facing  the  right  way  to  make  a 
quick  getaway  before  enemy  retalia- 
tion arrived.  The  Archers  were  used 
by  the  anti-tank  companies  of  the 
Royal  Artillery,  and  they  were  de- 
finitely preferred  to  the  weight  and 
bulk  or  the  towed  17-pdr  guns  used  by 
the  same  companies. 

The  end  of  the  war  brought  about  a 
halt  in  Archer  production  at  a point 
where  655  of  the  original  order  for  800 
had  been  produced.  The  Archers 
went  on  to  equip  British  army  anti-tank 
units  until  the  mid-1950s. 

Crew:  4 

Weight:  16257  kg  (35,840  lb) 
Poweiplant:  one  General  Motors  6-71 
6-cy  Under  diesel  developing  143.2  kW 

Dimensions:  length  overall  6.68  m (21  ft 
1 1 in)  and  hull  5 .54  m ( 1 8 ft  6 in) ; width 
4.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
(140miles);  graciient32°;  vertical 

The  British  Archer  was  a con  version 
of  the  Valentine  infantry  tank  to 
mount  a 17-pdr  (3 -in/76.2-mm)  anti- 
tankgun  that  fired  over  therearhull. 

The  first  of  them  were  used  in  action 
in  late  1944  and  proved  to  be  very 
useful  weapons  with  a low  silhouette. 
They  were  used  by  the  Royal  Artillery. 

Although  the  rear-facing  main  gun  of 
the  Archer  could  have  been  a tactical 
liability,  the  users  put  it  to  advantage 
by  using  the  Archers  from  an 

ambush  position  and  then  driving 
away  after  the  action  with  the  gun 
barrel  stillpoin  ting  to  the  rear. 


Special  Purpose 


Modem  armies  can  call  upon  a whole  family  of  specialist  armoured  vehicles  for 
combat  engineering  operations,  but  in  World  War  II  such  vehicles  were  a novelty. 
Several  nations  developed  tanks  for  roles,  such  as  armoured  recovery,  but  Britain 
led  the  way  with  a bewildering  variety  of  tank  conversions  known  as  'Funnies'. 

A Churchill  tank  with  a fascine  attached  to  the  front  which  could  be  used  to  lay  a mat  over  soft 
ground  - such  as  sand  on  the  Normandy  beaches  - for  other  tracked  vehicles  to  cross. 

The  contents  of  this  section 
show  something  of  an  imbal- 
ance in  comparison  with  the  con- 
tents of  other  sections  in  this 
book,  for  they  deal  mainly  with 
the  many  types  of  special  pur- 
pose vehicles  used  by  the  British 
79th  Armoured  Division.  For  once 
there  is  no  preponderance  of  US 
designs  because  during  World  War 
II  the  Americans  spent  little  of 

their  considerable  potential  on 
the  types  of  vehicle  included 
here.  They  concentrated  on  com- 
bat vehicles  pure  and  simple,  and 
from  the  factories  of  the  United 
States  poured  streams  of  combat 
tanks  and  all  manner  of  fighting 

But  it  was  a different  matter 
once  these  vehicles  reached 
Europe.  Once  they  had  arrived 

many  of  them  were  reworked  for 
special  purposes,  which  included 
developments  ranging  from 
armoured  engineer  vehicles  to 
mine-clearing  tanks  of  several 
types.  The  situation  was  different 
in  Europe  as  far  as  the  British 
were  concerned:  they  had  a spe- 
cial task  to  perform,  namely  the 
invasion  of  Europe  in  order  to 
take  on  the  German  army  on  the 

continent.  The  only  way  they 
could  do  that  was  by  using 
special  vehicles  of  all  kinds: 
those  which  could  clear  battle- 
field obstacles,  recover  precious 
disabled  vehicles  and  perform 
special  tasks  such  as  burning  out 
stubborn  strongpoints.  The 
Germans  and  Americans  did  not 
bother  to  use  specialist  vehicles 
on  such  a large  scale.  Instead  they 
decided  to  make  do  with  what 
they  had,  and  they  often  suffered 
accordingly.  For  the  simple  fact  is 
that  many  of  the  special  purpose 
vehicles  included  in  this  section 
actually  saved  lives.  Combat  engi- 
neers operating  from  inside  the 
protection  of  an  armoured  vehi- 
cle were  much  safer  in  action 
than  hapless  soldiers  attempting 
to  work  out  in  the  open,  while 
men  using  mine-clearing  tanks 
of  whatever  type  were  safer 
than  men  using  manual  clearing 

However,  not  all  special 
purpose  vehicles  fell  into  this 
category.  Those  described  in 
this  section  include  command 
vehicles,  ammunition  or  cargo 
carriers,  and  even  such  oddities 
as  the  Rammtiger,  which  was 
supposed  to  knock  down  build- 
ings in  urban  warfare.  They  are  a 
motley  bunch  but  full  of  interest 
and  a subject  worthy  of  study  in 
its  own  right. 



Demolition  charges 

The  demolition  charges  used  by  the 
British  'Funnies'  were  nearly  all  car- 
ried by  Churchill  AVREs,  for  the  em- 
placing of  these  special  powerful 
charges  was  one  of  the  tasks  for  which 
the  AVRE  was  intended.  The  charges 
themselves  were  special  obstacle- 
demolishing  packs  of  high  explosive 
that  had  to  be  placed  against  the 
target,  which  might  be  anything  from  a 
sea  or  anti-tank  wall  to  a blockhouse  or 
an  offending  building.  Sometimes  the 
charges  were  large  single  chunks  of 
explosive,  and  in  others  they  were 
small  charges  set  in  a pattern  and  held 
in  a steel  Frame.  One  thing  all  the  va- 
rious charges  did  have  in  common  and 
that  was  odd  and  even  bizarre  names. 

One  of  the  more  straightforward  of 
these  charge  devices  was  the  Banga- 
lore Torpedo.  These  pipe  charges 
were  intended  for  mine-  or  barbed 
wire-clearing,  but  could  be  used  for 
other  purposes  and  on  the  AVRE  they 
were  held  in  front-mounted  frames, 
also  used  for  the  Jones  Onion.  The 
Jones  Onion  first  appeared  in  1942  and 
was  the  codename  given  to  a frame 
onto  which  various  charges  could  be 
attached.  The  frame  was  carried  on 
two  arms,  one  on  each  side  of  the 
AVRE,  and  was  held  upright  as  the 
target  was  approached.  Once  in  posi- 
tion the  frame  was  released  by  pulling 
on  a cable  and  two  legs  on  the  bottom 
of  the  frame  were  so  arranged  that  the 
frame  always  fell  against  the  target 
obstacle.  The  charges  could  then  be 
fired  electrically  by  a trailing  cable 
after  the  AVRE  had  reversed  away. 
The  side-mounted  arms  could  then  be 
jettisoned  if  required. 

Another  device  that  appeared  in 
1942  was  the  Carrot,  This  was  a much 
simpler  device  than  the  large  Onion 
and  consisted  of  a charge  held  in  front 

of  the  AVRE  on  a sirnple  steel  arm.  The 
idea  was  that  the  AVRE  simply  moved 
up  to  the  target  and  the  charge  was 
then  ignited.  The  charges  involved 
ranged  in  weight  from  5.44  kg  (12  lb) 
up  to  11.34kg  (251b),  the  smaller 
charge  r^oicing  in  the  name  of  Light 
Carrot.  The  Carrot  was  used  exten- 
sively for  trials  but  was  abandoned 
during  late  1943  and  was  not  used  in 

However,  the  Goat  was  used  in  ac- 
tion, This  may  be  considered  as  a de- 
velopment of  the  Onion  but  it  was 
much  larger  and  involved  the  use  of  a 
frame  3.2  m (10  ft  6 in)  wide  and  1,98  m 
(6  ft  6 in)  long.  Onto  this  frame  couldbe 
arranged  up  to  816  kg  (1,800  lb)  of  ex- 

plosive, and  the  whole  device  was  car- 
ried on  the  AVRE  by  side  arms.  The 
Goat  was  so  arranged  that  it  could  be 
pushed  against  the  structure  to  be  de- 
molished and  the  frame  would  then 
automatically  release  in  a vertical  posi- 
tion. The  AVRE  would  then  reverse 
away  leaving  the  charges  in  position  to 
be  fired  either  electrically  or  by 
means  of  a pull  igniter,  A close  cousin 
of  the  Goat  was  the  Hevatable  Goat. 
This  was  intended  for  use  against  high 
obstacles  such  as  anti-tank  walls,  and 
when  fitted  on  the  AVRE  was  carried 
on  the  nose  of  the  hull  rather  like  an 
assault  bridge.  The  'bridge'  was  in  fact 
a frame  on  which  linked  charges  were 
slung.  The  frame  was  placed  against 

The  Jones  Onion,  seen  here  carried 
by  a Churchill  tank,  was  a demolition 
device  carried  on  a steel  frame  that 
could  be  placed  against  an  obstacle 
such  as  an  anti-tank  wall  The  frame 
was  then  released  to  allow  the  tank  to 
retire  and  detonate  the  charge. 

the  wall  to  be  demolished  and  then 
released  from  the  AVRE.  Once  in  posi- 
tion another  release  cable  allowed  the 
linked  charges  to  fall  away  from  the 
frame.  The  top  section  of  the  frame  was 
above  the  top  of  the  wall,  and  this 
allowed  the  charges  to  fall  onto  each 
side  of  the  wall,  which  could  then  be 
destroyed  once  the  AVRE  had  moved 


Bangalore  Torpedo  tanks 

The  Bangalore  Torpedo  is  an  ancient 
combat  engineering  device  that  was 
revived  during  World  War  I for  clear- 
ing barbed- wire  entanglements.  In  its 
simplest  form  the  Bangalore  Torpedo 
is  a metal  tube  filled  with  explosive 
and  sealed  at  both  ends.  Most  types 
have  attachment  points  at  each  end  to 
enable  other  torpedoes  to  be  joined  to 
make  up  extra  lengths.  The  charges 
are  set  off  either  by  a burning  fuse  or 
by  some  form  of  remote  detonator. 
These  torpedoes  were  soon  in  use  by 
armoured  combat  engineers  to  clear 
paths  through  minefields,  and  simple 
delivery  devices  such  as  that  fittea  to 
the  front  of  a Churchill  AVRE  were 
soon  devised. 

However  the  normal  Bangalore  Tor- 
pedo is  only  about  1 .5  m (5  ft)  long,  and 
armoured  engineers  were  often  called 
upon  to  bridge  minefields  many 
metres  deep.  It  would  obviously  save 
time  and  effort  if  longer  torpedoes 
could  be  joined  up  to  clear  paths 
through  deep  minefields,  and  this 
course  of  action  was  followed  to  pro- 
duce the  76.2-mm  (3-m)  Snake.  On  the 
Snake  the  lengths  of  explosive-filled 

The  Snake  was  a form  of  Bangalore 
Torpedo  used  to  clear  large 
minefields.  Seen  here  carried  on  a 
Churchill,  the  Snake  was  assembled 
on  the  edge  of  a minefield,  pushed 
across  it  by  the  tank  and  then 
detonated  to  clear  a path. 


tubing  or  pipe  were  6. 1 m (20  ft)  long 
and  could  be  joined  together  into 
lengths  of  up  to  366  m (1,200  ft)  to  en- 
able them  to  be  pulled  across  a 
minefield  and  then  detonated  to  clear 
a path  up  to  6.4  m (21  ft)  wide.  It  was 
better  if  the  Snake  tubing  could  be 
pushed  across  a minefield,  but  when 
this  happened  the  lengths  involved 
were  less.  Only  122  m (400  ft)  of  Snake 
tubing  could  be  pushed  in  front  of  a 
tank  with  any  degree  of  control.  The 
tanks  involved  with  Snake  were  usual- 
ly Shermans  or  Churchill  AVREs,  but 
the  Royal  Engineers  did  also  have 
small  numbers  of  a special  vehicle. 
This  was  known  as  the  Snake  Carrier 

and  was  a conversion  of  the  Churchill 
Gun  Carrier,  a Churchill  variant  with  a 
box  superstructure  that  had  been  in- 
tended to  mount  a 76.2-mm  gun  for  use 
as  a tank  destroyer.  Eor  a number  of 
reasons  the  Churchill  Gun  Carrier  was 
not  accepted  for  service  and  the  few 
vehicles  involved  carried  Snake  in- 
stead, on  both  sides  of  the  box  super- 
structure. The  Gun  Carrier  movea  the 
tubing  to  a point  close  to  the  target,  and 
here  the  crew  assembled  the  Snake, 
which  was  then  pushed  into  position 
across  the  minefield  and  detonated. 
Although  Snake  was  used  for  training 
and  trials  it  was  not  used  operationally. 

The  Conger  was  towed  behind  a 

Churchill  AVRE  or  a Sherman  in  an 
engmeless  Universal  Carrier  that  car- 
ried a rocket,  a length  of  hose  and  a 
tank  of  liquid  explosive.  The  rocket 
carried  the  hose  across  the  minefield, 
and  when  in  place  the  hose  was  filled 
with  the  liquid  explosive  and  deton- 
ated. The  Tapeworm  was  another  hose 
device  that  was  carried  in  a trailer  to 
the  edge  of  a minefield  where  it  was 
deposited.  A tank  with  a CIRD  (Cana- 
dian Indestructible  Roller  Device) 
then  moved  across  the  minefield  and 
as  it  proceeded  the  tank  pulled  the 
explosive-filled  hose  across  the 
minefield.  When  the  full  length  of  hose 
(457  m/500  yards)  had  been  pulled 

from  the  trailer  the  explosive  was  de- 
tonated to  clear  any  mines  that  might 
have  been  missed  by  the  rollers.  The 
1 5 .2  m (50  ft)  of  hose  nearest  to  the  tow- 
ing tank  was  filled  with  sand  for  safety 

Perhaps  the  smallest  of  the  Banga- 
lore-type devices  was  the  Rying  Bang- 
alore. This  was  used  on  Shermans 
fitted  with  CIRD  rollers  and  was  in- 
tended for  barbed-wire  clearing. 
Each  of  the  CIRD  arms  carried  a Bang- 
alore Torpedo  fitted  with  a rocket 
motor.  The  rockets  carried  the  Banga- 
lores  across  the  wire  and  as  they  land- 
ed small  grapnels  held  the  torpedoes 
against  the  wire  for  exploding. 


Mine-clearing  flails 

The  notion  of  using  chain  flails  to  de- 
tonate mines  in  the  path  of  a tank  came 
from  a South  African  engineer.  Major 
A.S.J.  du  Toit.  The  idea  was  that  a hori- 
zontally-mounted drum  carried  on 
arms  in  front  of  a tank  would  be  rotated 
under  power.  As  it  turned  it  would  beat 
the  ground  in  front  with  chains  that  car- 
ried weights  on  their  ends,  and  this 
beating  would  provide  enough  press- 
ure to  set  off  any  mines  underneath. 
Early  trials  proved  the  effectiveness  of 
the  idea,  and  the  first  sets  of  mine  flails 
were  fitted  to  Matilda  tanks  in  North 
Africa  during  1942. 

These  first  flails  were  known  as 
Scoroion,  and  on  the  Matilda  Scorpion 
the  nail  drum  was  powered  by  an  aux- 
iliary engine  mounted  on  the  right- 
hand  side  of  the  tank.  These  Scorpions 
were  used  during  the  El  Alamein  bat- 
tle in  October  1942  and  also  during 
some  later  North  African  actions.  They 
proved  to  be  so  effective  that  a more 
specialized  version,  known  as  the 
Matilda  Baron  was  developed.  On  the 
Baron  the  turret  was  removed  and  the 
flail  drum  was  powered  by  two  auxili- 
ary engines,  one  on  each  side.  Howev- 
er the  Scorpion  concept  offered  more 
long-term  promise  as  it  could  be  fitted 
to  several  types  of  tank  to  produce,  for 
example,  the  Grant  Scorpion  and  the 
Valentine  Scorpion.  But  before  that 
could  happen  a great  deal  of  further 
development  work  had  to  be  carried 
out,  for  the  early  flails  had  demons- 
trated some  unwelcome  traits.  Among 
these  were  uneven  beating  patterns 
that  left  unbeaten  patches,  and  flail 
chains  that  either  became  tangled  and 
useless  or  simply  beat  themselves  to 
pieces.  Another  problem  became 
apparent  on  uneven  ground,  where 
the  flails  were  unable  to  beat  into  sud- 
den dips. 

The  development  work  carried  out 
in  the  UK  resulted  in  a device  known  as 
the  Crab  which  was  usually  fitted  to 
Sherman  tanks  to  produce  the  Sher- 
man Crab.  The  Crab  had  43  chains 
mounted  on  a drum  powered  by  a 
take-off  from  the  main  engine  and  had 
such  features  as  side-mounted  wire- 
cutting discs  to  hack  through  barbed- 
wire  entanglements,  screens  to  shield 
the  front  of  the  tank  from  flying  dust 
and  debris  and,  later  in  the  Crab's  de- 
velopment, a device  to  follow  ground 
contours  and  enable  the  flail  drum  to 
rise  and  fall  accordingly.  Crabs  were 
used  by  the  79th  Armoured  Division 
and  later  a number  were  handed  over 
to  the  US  Army  for  use  in  North  West 
Europe,  The  main  advantages  of  the 
Crab  system  were  that  it  was  very 

The  Sherman  Crab  was  the  most 
widely -used  mine  flail  tank  of  World 
War  II.  Although  fitted  to  other  types 
of  tank,  the  Sherman  was  the 
preferred  carrier.  The  odd-looking 
device  at  the  hull  rear  is  asta  tion- 
keeping  marker  to  guide  other  Hail 

effective  in  its  own  right,  and  also  per- 
mitted the  carrier  to  retain  its  turret 
and  main  gun,  enabling  it  to  be  used  as 
a gun  tank  if  the  occasion  arose. 

Needless  to  say  there  were  many 
other  experimental  models  of  mine 
flails.  One  was  the  Lobster,  a device 
that  came  chronologically  before  the 
Crab  but  was  not  accepted  for  service. 
The  Pram  Scorpion  was  an  off- shoot  of 
the  Scorpion  with  the  drum  drive  com- 

ing from  gears  on  the  front  sprockets  of 
the  carrier  tank.  Again,  it  was  passed 
over  in  favour  of  the  Crab. 

The  Americans  did  not  spend  much 
development  time  on  mine  flails.  In- 
stead they  concentrated  on  anti-mine 
rollers  and  when  they  did  require 
flails,  as  they  did  when  they  encoun- 
tered the  large  defensive  mine  belts 
along  the  German  borders  in  the  win- 
ter of  1944-5,  they  used  numbers  of 

The  Matilda  Scorpion  prototype 
shown  here  was  an  early  attempt  to 
produce  amine  Hail  tank.  The  main 
Hail  drum  was  driven  by  two  22.4-kW 
(30-hp)  Bedford  engines,  one  each 
side  of  the  hull,  and  the  device  was 
later  fitted  to  Valentine  and  Grant 
tanks  as  well  as  the  Matilda. 

British  Crabs  which  they  redesignated 
the  Mine  Exploder  T4 


Churchill  AVRE 

A Churchill  AVRE  is  seen  with  d&ep 
wading  gear  over  the  side  md  resir 
engine  nir  vents,  md  fitted  with  a 
Bullshorn  anti-tank  mine  plough  at 
thefron  t an  d with  a Porpoise  skid 
trailer  at  the  rear.  These  trailers 
could  be  used  to  cmry  a wide  rmge 
of  supplies  such  as  fuel  and 

One  of  the  hard  lessons  learned  during 
the  Dieppe  raid  of  1942  was  that  the 
Canadian  engineers  were  unable  to 
proceed  with  their  obstacle  demoli- 
tions and  general  beach-clearing  be- 
cause of  a complete  lack  of  cover  from 
enemy  fire.  In  the  period  after  the  raid 
a Canadian  engineer  officer  put  for- 
ward the  idea  of  using  a tank  con- 
verted to  the  combat  engineer  role 
that  could  carry  engineers  to  the  point 
at  which  they  had  to  operate,  and  be 
capable  of  carrying  a neavy  demoli- 
tion weapon,  tkis  would  enable  the 
combat  engineers  to  operate  from 
under  armoured  cover  and  would  also 
enable  them  to  operate  in  close  co- 
operation with  armoured  formations . 

The  idea  was  accepted,  and  after 
some  deliberation  the  Churchill  tank 
was  selected  as  the  basic  vehicle  for 
conversion.  The  task  consisted  mainly 
of  conmletely  stripping  out  the  interior 
of  the  Churchill  tank  and  removing  the 
main  armament.  The  interior  was  com- 
pletely rearranged  to  provide  stowage 
for  the  various  items  combat  engineers 
have  to  use,  such  as  demolition  explo- 
sives, special  tools,  mines  etc.  The 
main  turret  was  retained  but  in  place  of 
the  normal  gun  a special  device  known 

as  a Petard  was  fitted.  This  was  a spigot 
mortar  that  fired  a 290-mm  (11 .4-in)  de- 
molition charge  known  to  the  troops 
from  its  general  shape  as  the  'Flying 
Dustbim.  The  Petard  projectile 
weighed  18.14  kg  (40  lb)  and  could  be 
fired  to  a range  of  73  m (80  yards)  to 
demolish  structures  such  as  pillboxes, 
bunkers  and  buildings.  The  Petard 
could  be  reloaded  from  within  the 

The  Churchill  version  was  known  as 
the  ChurchiU  AVRE  (Armoured  Vehi- 
cle Royal  Engineers)  and  it  quickly  be- 
came the  standard  equipment  of  the 
armoured  engineers  attached  to 
formations  such  as  the  79th  Armoured 
Division  and  the  assault  brigades,  RE. 
As  well  as  providing  protection  for 
combat  engineers,  the  AVRE  was  soon 
in  demand  to  carry  all  manner  of  spe- 
cial equipment. 

The  Qiurchill  versions  used  for  the 
AVRE  were  the  Mk  III  and  Mk  IV, 
Many  of  the  conversions  were  carried 
out  using  specially-produced  kits, 
some  by  industry  and  some  by  REME 
workshops.  The  conversions  included 
brackets  and  other  attachment  points 
around  the  hull  to  which  items  of  spe- 
cialized equipment  could  be  fixed.  A 

hook  at  the  rear  was  used  to  tow  a 
special  AVRE  sledge  for  carrying 
combat  stores. 

The  AVREs  were  first  used  on  a 
large  scale  during  the  Normandy  land- 
ings of  June  1944,  where  they  excelled 
themselves  to  such  an  extent  that  the 
AVRE  has  been  with  the  Royal  En- 
gineers ever  since,  the  current  in- 
service  version  being  the  Centurion 
Mk  V AVRE.  The  Churchill  AVRE  re- 
mained in  service  until  the  mid-1950s 
and  even  later  with  some  units.  They 
were  used  to  lay  fascines,  lay  mats 
across  soft  ground,  demolish  strong- 
points  with  their  Petard  mortars,  bring 
forward  combat  engineering  stores, 
place  heavy  demolition  charges  and 
generally  make  themselves  useful. 

Churchill  AVRE 
Crew:  6 
Weight:  38tons 

Powerplant:  one  Bedford  Twin-Six 
petrol  engine  developing  26 1 kW 
(350  hp) 

Dimensions : length  7.67m  (25  ft2  in) ; 
width3.25  m (10  ft  8 in);  height  2.79  m 
(9  ft  2 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 

The  Churchill  AVRE  Markll featured 
a fixed  turret  mounting  a dummy 
gun.  It  could  carry  a front-mounted 
dismountablejib  crane  or  a rear  jib 
with  a higher  lift  capacity.  There  was 
also  a powerful  front-mounted  winch 
that  could  be  used  in  conjunction 
with  the  jibs,  and  an  earth  anchor 
was  mounted  at  therear. 

24 . 9km/h(  1 5 .5  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  193km(120miles) 

Armament:  one  Petard  mortar,  and 




Canal  Defence 


The  device  known  under  the  cover 
name  Cpal  Defence  Light  was  one 
'weapon^  of  World  War  II  that  was  des- 
tinecl  never  to  be  used.  In  essence  it 
was  a simple  idea,  in  which  the  normal 
gun  turret  of  a tank  was  replaced  with 
another  housing  an  intense  light  to  illu- 
minate battlefields  at  night.  All  manner 
of  tactical  ploys  were  advocated  for  its 
use,  ranging  from  simply  blinding  an 
enemy  to  providing  general  target  illu- 

The  idea  of  mounting  powerful 
searchlights  on  tanks  was  first  mooted 
during  the  mid- 1930s  by  a group  of 
interested  civilians  who  'sold'  the  idea 
to  the  War  Office  in  1937.  The  War 
Office  carried  out  a series  of  develop- 
ment trials  under  conditions  of  great 
secrecy,  and  by  late  1939  a turret  was 
ready  for  production.  The  secrecy 
continued  with  the  project  being 
known  as  the  Canal  Defence  Light,  or 
CDL.  The  first  turrets  produced  were 
for  the  Matilda  II  infantry  tank,  and  aU 
that  the  fitting  of  a CDL  involved  was 
the  removal  of  the  normal  turret  and  its 
replacement  by  a new  one,  though 
changes  had  to  be  made  to  the  Matil- 
da's electrical  systems  as  well.  In  the 
turret  the  searchlight  was  positioned 
behind  a vertical  sht  in  which  was  a 
shutter.  In  use  the  searchlight  was 
switched  on  and  the  shutter  was 
opened  and  closed  very  rapidly  to 
provide  a flickering  inmression  to  an 
observer  in  front.  Inis  flickering  made 
the  range  of  the  CDL  light  difficult  to 

determine,  and  anyway  the  light  was 
so  powerful  that  it  was  difficult  to  look 
into  the  beam  even  at  quite  long 

Some  300  CDL  turrets  were  ordered 
to  convert  Matildas  to  the  CDL  role, 
and  one  brigade  of  Matilda  CDL  vehi- 
cles was  based  in  the  UK  and  another 
in  North  Africa.  The  military  planners 
were  determined  to  use  the  impact  of 
the  CDL  units  to  the  full  and  constantly 
awaited  the  chance  to  use  them  to 
maximum  effect.  That  chance  some- 

how never  came  and  the  N orth  African 
campaign  was  over  before  the  CDLs 
could  prove  their  worth.  However  the 
Normandy  landings  1^  ahead,  and  it 
was  planned  to  use  the  CDLs  there . B ut 
at  the  same  time  it  was  felt  that  the  CDL 
turrets  should  be  placed  on  something 
rather  more  up-to-date  than  the  slow 
and  stately  Matildas,  so  Grant  tanks 
became  the  chosen  carriers  for  the 

The  Grant  CDL  ( CanalDefence 
Light)  was  a special  vehicle 
mounting  a turret  in  which  was 
loca  ted  a powerful  searchligh  t that 
was  supposed  to  dazzle  an  enemy 
during  nigh  t opera  tions  or  illuminate 
targets  at  night. 


post- June  1944  campaigns.  But  once 
again  the  chance  to  use  the  Grant  CDL 
in  combat  never  arrived.  Instead  the 
CDLs  were  used  for  the  relatively  un- 
exciting task  of  providing  'artificial 
moonlight'  to  illuminate  the  crossings 
of  the  Rhine  and  Elbe  in  early  1945. 

Thus  the  CDL  was  carried  through- 
out the  war  but  never  used.  However, 
the  idea  certainly  attracted  attention, 
The  US  Army  was  most  impressed  by 


The  ARK  bridging  tanks  were  only  one 
type  of  armoured  bridging  vehicles 
used  by  the  Allies  during  World  War 
II.  The  British  army  had  for  long  had  an 
interest  in  producing  bridging  tanks 
and  actually  produced  its  first  such 
equipment  during  the  latter  stages  of 
World  War  I.  In  the  years  just  before 
World  War  II  it  carried  out  a great  deal 
of  experimental  work  and  one  of  its 
mam  achievements  was  a scissors- 
type  bridge  carried  on  and  laid  by  a 
Covenanter  tank.  However,  during  the 
early  war  years  this  work  had  to  be  put 
aside  in  favour  of  more  pressing  things 
until  the  1942  Dieppe  landing  empha- 
sized the  need  for  armoured  bridging 
vehicles,  not  only  to  cross  wet  or  dry 
gaps,  but  to  enable  other  vehicles  to 
cross  obstacles  such  as  sea  walls. 

It  was  the  79th  Armoured  Division 
that  produced  thefir  St  ARK  (Armoured 
Ramp  Carrier)  in  late  1943.  Known  as 
the  ARK  Mk  I,  this  was  a conversion  of 
a Churchill  tank  with  the  turret  re- 
moved and  a blanking  plate  (with  an 
access  hatch  in  the  centre)  welded 
over  the  turret  aperture.  Over  the 
tracks  were  placed  two  timbered 
trackways  carried  on  a new  super- 
structure and  in  front,  in  line  with  the 
trackways,  were  two  ramps,  each 
1,05m  (3ft  5.25  in)  long.  At  the  rear 
were  two  more  ramps,  each  1 .72  m (5  ft 
8 in)  long.  In  use  the  ARK  I was  driven 
up  to  an  obstacle  such  as  a sea  wall  and 
pushed  up  the  obstacle  as  far  as  possi- 
ble. The  front  and  rear  ramps  were 
then  lowered  from  their  travelling 
positions  and  other  vehicles  could  then 
use  the  ARK  to  cross  the  obstacle.  The 
ARK  could  also  be  driven  into  a wet  or 
dry  obstacle  to  act  as  a bridge. 

The  ARK  Mk  I was  soon  sup- 
plemented by  the  ARK  Mk  II.  Again 
this  used  a Churchill  tank  as  the  basis, 
and  the  same  superstructure/ramp  lay- 
out was  used.  But  the  Mk  II  used  much 
longer  ramps  (3.8  m/12  ft  6 in)  at  both 
ends,  and  the  right-hand  set  of  track- 
ways and  ramps  was  half  the  width  of 
the  other  (O.olm/2ft)  as  opposed  to 
1.213m  (4ft).  This  enabled  a much 
wider  range  of  vehicles  to  use  the 
ARK.  In  use  the  ramps  were  set  up 
front  and  rear  and  held  in  the  travelling 
position  by  cables  and  chains  con- 
nected to  front  and  rear  kingposts. 
When  the  ARK  came  to  a gap  it  drove 
into  it  and  then  released  the  cables  to 
allow  the  ramps  to  drop.  Other  vehi- 
cles could  then  cross  the  ARK  Bridge. 
The  8th  Army  in  Italy  produced  its  own 

Two  ARKMklls  are  used  to  allow 
other  vehicles  to  cross  a deep  ravine. 
The  first  ARK  was  driven  into  the 
ravine  and  the  second  ARK  was  then 
driven  onto  it,  after  which  its  ramps 
were  lowered  to  form  a bridge.  The 
ravine  was  formed  by  the  River  Senio 
in  Italy,  April  1945. 

what  it  saw  of  the  CDL  at  various  de- 
monstrations and  decided  to  adopt  the 
CDL  for  itself,  and  thus  produced  355 
CDL  turrets  for  mounting  on  otherwise 
obsolete  M3  Lee  tanks.  These  were 
used  to  equip  srx  tank  battalions  for 
special  operations  in  Europe.  The  cov- 
er name  TIO  Shop  Tractor  was  used  for 
US  CDL  vehicles,  but  onee  again  the 
CDL  was  destined  not  to  be  used  in 
combat.  As  with  the  British  the  Amer- 

icans awaited  the  right  moment  to  use 
their  lights  and  the  war  ended  before 
that  could  happen. 

Crew:  3 or  4 
Weight:  26  tons 

Powerplant:  two  Ley  land  El  48/E  149 
diesel  engines  each  developing 

Dimensions : length  5 .6 1 m (1 8 ft  5 in) ; 
(8  ft  3 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
24km/h(  1 5 mph)  ;maximumroad 
range  257  km  (160  miles) 

Armament:  one  7.92-mm  (0,312-in) 
Besa  machine-gun 

ARKMkUs,  but  made  them  much  sim- 
pler by  omitting  the  trackways  over 
the  Churchill  tank,  the  tank  tracks  and 
the  top  of  the  body  being  used  as  the 
roadway  instead.  These  versions  were 
known  as  the  ARK  Mk  II  (Italian  Pat- 

There  were  numerous  variations  on 
the  basic  ARK  design.  One  was  a 
raised  ramp  system  carried  on  a Chur- 
chill and  known  as  the  Churchill  Great 
Eastern,  but  that  project  was  discon- 
tinued, Some  Shermans  were  con- 
verted in  Italy  to  what  was  roughly  the 
equivalent  of  the  ARK  Mk  II,  but  the 
numbers  involved  were  not  large. 

Another  system,  known  as  the  Chur- 
chill Woodlark,  was  generally  similar 
to  the  ARK  Mk  II  but  went  into  action 
with  the  ramps  closed  down:  they 
were  meant  to  be  opened  up  into  posi- 
tion by  the  use  of  rockets  on  the  end  of 
each  ramp  and  more  rockets  were 
used  to  soften  the  shock  of  the  ramps 
hitting  the  ground.  The  type  did  not 
pass  the  trials  stage. 

No  data  can  be  provided  regarding 
these  Churchill  conversions  but  a 
Churchill  ARK  Mk  II  had  a crew  of  four 
men  and  weighed  38.5  tons.  Most  con- 
versions were  made  using  Churchill 
Mk  Ills  and  Mk  IVs. 

A Churchill  ARK  Mk  I is  shown 
with  its  approach  ramp 
raised.  These  vehicles  were 
supposed  to  be  driven  up 
against  an  ti-  tank  walls  as  far 
as  possible,  to  enable  other 
vehicles  to  be  driven  up  and 
over  the  roadway  carried 
above  their  tracks. 


Fascine  and  mat-laying  devices 

The  fascine  is  an  item  of  combat  en- 
gineering equipment  that  dates  back 
to  ancient  times,  and  for  armoured 
warfare  the  type  was  resurrected  dur- 
ing World  War  I to  be  dropped  by 
tanks  taking  part  in  the  Battle  of  Cam- 
brai.  At  that  time  they  were  used  tradi- 
tionally, being  dropped  into  trenches 
to  allow  other  tanks  to  cross,  and  they 
were  used  for  the  same  purpose  dur- 
ing World  War  II.  The  advantage  of  the 
fascine  for  the  combat  engineer  is  that 
he  can  make  them  on  the  spot  when 
they  are  required.  The  usual  method 
was  to  cut  brushwood  and  tie  it  into 
large  bundles  3,35m  (lift)  long. 
These  bundles  were  tied  into  rolls  be- 
tween 1 .83  m (6  ft)  and  2.44  m (8  ft)  in 
diameter  and  pulled  onto  wooden  or 
steel  cradles  on  the  front  of  the  tank. 
They  were  then  held  in  place  by 
cables  that  could  be  released  from 
within  the  carrier  tank.  The  main  dis- 
advantage was  that  the  fascines  usually 
restricted  the  driver's  vision  so  that  a 
crew  member  had  to  position  himself 
to  give  driving  instructions.  Attempts 
were  made  to  use  periscopes  to  over- 
come this  drawback  but  in  the  end  the 
solution  was  found  by  redesigning  the 
form  of  fascine  cradle, 

A type  of  fascine  could  also  be  used 
to  make  an  assault  roadway  over  soft  or 
rough  ground.  This  was  formed  by  roll- 
ing up  lengths  of  chespahng  joined 
together  by  wire,  rather  like  a length  of 
fencing,  A Churchill  AVRE  would  car- 
ry this  roll  into  position,  where  one  end 
of  the  roll  could  be  placed  under  the 
front  tracks.  As  the  AVRE  moved  for- 
ward it  unrolled  the  mat  and  rolled 
over  it  to  allow  other  vehicles  to  use  the 
rough  roadway  so  formed.  Rolls  of  up 
to  30.5m  (100ft)  could  be  laid  using 
this  method,  and  more  durable  road- 
ways could  be  produced  by  using  a 
similar  arrangement  involving  logs 
tied  together  (Log  Carpet). 

These  chespaling  or  log  roadways 
were  intended  for  heavy  use,  but  for 
assault  purposes  hessian  mats  were 
also  employed.  These  mats  were  car- 
ried in  front  of  a Churchill  AVRE  on 
bobbins  held  by  side  arms  or  (on  one 
model)  above  a Churchill  AVM  Car- 
petlayer  turret.  There  were  two  main 
types:  the  Bobbin  Carpet  unrolled  a 
hessian  mat  reinforced  by  chespaling 
at  intervals  that  was  wide  enough  to 
cover  the  full  width  of  a tank;  the  other 
was  only  wide  enough  to  cover  a track 

Right:  This  post-war  Churchill  AVRE 
has  an  early  Centurion-style  turret 
equipped  with  smoke  dischargers. 
The  cargo  remains  m uch  as  it  would 
havelookedin  1944,  or  1917forthat 
matter,  and  the  restrictions  the 
fascine  places  on  the  driver's  field  of 
vision  are  obvious. 

width.  Both  were  intended  to  cover 
wire  obstacles  to  allow  foot  soldiers  or 
wheeled  vehicles  to  cross  and  the  first 
of  them  was  used  during  the  Dieppe 
raid  of  1942,  On  all  types  the  bobbin 
could  be  jettisoned  once  it  was  empty 
or  in  an  emergency. 

Most  of  these  fascine-  or  mat-laying 
devices  were  carried  on  Churchill 
AVREs,  but  Shermans  were  also  used. 
In  fact  a special  fascine  carrier,  known 
as  the  Crib,  was  developed  for  the 
Sherman.  Tbis  was  a special  carrier 
frame  that  could  be  tilted  forward  to 
drop  a fascine  or  a log  mat.  Some  'war 
weary'  Shermans  even  had  their  tur- 
rets removed  to  allow  them  to  be  used 
as  full-time  fascine  carriers. 

It  should  be  stressed  that  the  mat- 
laying devices,  both  hessian  or  timber, 

A ChurchillAVRE carries  a 
brushwood  fascine  at  thefrontand 
tows  another  fascine  on  an  AVRE  skid 
trailer.  The  fascines  were  released 
from  their  carrier  frame  by  a quick 
release  device,  and  once  in  position 
could  enable  most  tanks  or  tracked 
vehicles  to  cross  with  relative  ease. 

were  meant  for  short-term  use  only. 
Prolonged  use  by  .heavy  or  tracked 
vehicles  soon  broke  them  up  or  simplv 
tore  them  to  pieces  so  they  were  usual- 
ly used  for  assault  purposes  only  or 

during  amphibious  landings  to  cover 
soft  ground.  It  was  not  until  well  after 
World  War  II  that  flexible  metal  road- 
ways were  developed  to  replace  the 
earlier  devices. 

A Ch  urchillAVRE  opera  tes  a Carpet-Layer  Type  C,  used  to  lay  a con  tin  uous 
hessian  mat  over  rough  or  soft  ground  to  enable  other  wheeled  or  tracked 
vehicles  to  follow.  These  devices  were  used  to  cross  the  sand  on  some  of  the 
Normandy  beaches  on  6 June  1944. 




To  the  front-line  soldier  every  tank  is  a 
valuable  asset  and  any  damaged  or 
disabled  tank  that  can  be  got  back  into 
action  is  a viable  weapon.  Therefore 
the  recovery  of  damaged  or  broken- 
down  tanks  from  a battlefield  is  an  im- 
portant aspect  of  armoured  warfare, 
but  very  often  these  recovery  opera- 
tions have  to  be  undertaken  under 
enemy  fire.  It  therefore  makes  sense  to 
provide  the  recovery  crews  with  their 
own  armoured  vehicles  and  even 
more  sense  to  provide  these  vehicles 
with  mechanical  handling  devices, 
winches  and  other  special  recovery 
tools.  Thus  World  War  II  saw  the  first 
large-scale  use  of  recovery  vehicles, 
and  on  the  Allied  side  there  were 
many  different  types. 

Nearly  all  Allied  Armoured  Recov- 
er Vehicle  (ARV)  types  were  conver- 
sions of  existing  tanks,  usually  models 
that  were  past  their  best  and  could  be 
spared  for  the  role.  Nearly  every  type 
of  Allied  tank  was  used  for  the  ARV 
role  at  some  time  or  another  but  the 
main  types  involved  on  the  British  side 
were  Crusader,  Covenanter,  Centaur, 
Cavalier,  Cromwell,  Ram  and  inevit- 
ably the  Churchill.  Most  of  these  ARV 
conversions  involved  the  removal  of 
the  turret  (along  with  the  main  arma- 
ment) and  its  replacement  by  either  a 
fixed  superstructure  or  an  open  com- 
partment for  the  crew.  Winches  were 
installed  and  various  forms  of  j ib  crane 
or  sheerlegs  were  added.  Many  types 
also  had  the  assistance  of  an  earth 
spade  to  provide  the  winch  with  better 
purchase  and  thus  extra  pull.  The  Brit- 
ish also  made  extensive  use  of  turret- 
less Shermans  for  the  ARV  role. 

The  American  ARV s were  general- 
ly more  involved  vehicles.  They  too 
were  based  on  existing  tank  chassis, 
but  the  conversions  were  often  carried 
out  in  factories  rather  than  the  base 
workshops  of  the  other  Allied  armies 
(including  the  British)  and  thus  more 
detail  design  care  could  be  lavished 
upon  the  final  product.  A typical  Amer- 

ican product  was  the  Tank  Recovery 
Vehicle  M32.  On  this  the  turret  was 
fixed  and  a smoke-firing  81 -mm  (3.2- 
in)  mortar  was  fitted.  In  the  space  nor- 
mally taken  up  by  the  fighting  com- 
partment was  placed  a powerful 
27216-kg  (60,000-lb)  capacity  winch, 
and  an  A-frame  jib  was  mounted  on  the 
forward  hull.  Extra  stowage  points  for 
special  equipment  were  added  all 
over  the  hull.  Several  sub-variants  of 
the  M32  were  produced.  The  M3 
medium  tank  series  was  also  used  to 
produce  the  Tank  Recoveiy  Vehicle 
M31  with  a jib  crane  over  the  rear  of 
the  hull.  The  British  also  made  their 
own  conversion  of  the  M3  Grant  by 
removing  all  the  armament  and  install- 
ing a winch  in  the  main  compartment. 

The  American  ARVs  were  pro- 
duced in  large  numbers,  so  large  in 
fact  that  some  of  the  M32s  could  be 
converted  as  artillery  tractors.  But  one 
factor  that  both  British  and  American 
ARVs  had  in  common  and  that  was  that 
none  of  them  matched  the  power  of  the 
German  Bergepanther,  The  Berge- 
p anther  remained  the  most  powerful 
ARV  of  World  War  II  as  far  as  oper- 
ational models  were  concerned,  but 
the  Allied  ARV  s could  still  tackle  most 
recovery  tasks  without  difficulty,  for 
they  did  not  have  to  cope  with  the  Ti- 
gers and  Panthers  or  the  German 

Crew:  5 orb 
Weight:  40  tons 

Powerplant:  one  Bedford  Twin-Six 
petrol  engine  developing  26 1 kW 
(350  hp) 

Dimensions : length  8,28m(27ft2in); 
width  T35  m ( 1 1 f t) ; height  3 .02  m (9  ft 
11  in) 

Performance:  maximumroad  speed 
24.9  km/h  (15.5  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  193  km(  120  miles) 

Armament:  one  or  two  machine-guns 

A Churchill  ARV  (Armoured  Recovery  Vehicle)  Mid  has  its  front  jib  erected 
and  twin  7.7-mm  (0.303-in)Bren  machine-guns  mounted  in  thehulL  This 
vehicle  had  a crew  of  three  and  carried  special  tools  and  welding  equiment 
for  the  recovery  role.  The  vehicle  was  basically  a turretless  Churchill Mk IV. 

A Cromwell  ARV  (Armoured  Recovery  Vehicle)  is  used  to  tow  a captured 
German  PzKPfwlV  tank  out  of  the  way  of  other  vehicles.  The  CromwellAR  V 
was  a turretless  conversion  of  an  early  mark  of  Cromwell  tank  that  could  be 
fitted  with  a jib  crane  and  other  gear. 

AnM32  TankRecovery  Vehicle  rolls  through  a village  in  north  west  Europe, 
1945.Basedon  theM4  tankhull,  these  vehicles  were  used  from  1943 onwards 
and  used  a fixed  superstructure  in  place  oftheM4  turret.  A large  winch  was 
fitted  along  with  other  special  recovery  gear  and  tools. 

A Sherman  ARV Mkl  tows  a Sherman  gun  tank  during  the  campaign  in 
Normandy,  June/ July  1944.  This  ARV  was  a British  conversion  of  a Sherman 
tank  that  involved  removing  the  turret  and  fitting  a front-mounted  jib  crane 
and  other  equipment. 



; I Sherman  BARV 

By  late  1943  plans  for  the  amphibious 
landings  in  northern  France  had 
reached  the  stage  where  it  was  de- 
cided to  have  deep-wading  recovery 
vehicles  on  hand  at  the  beaches  to 
assist  any  vehicles  that  got  bogged  or 
broken  down  while  still  in  the  water,  It 
was  decided  to  convert  Churchill  and 
Sherman  tanks  for  the  role  but  the 
Churchill  conversion  did  not  get  past 
the  prototype  stage  and  all  work  con- 
centrated on  the  Sherman. 

The  result  was  known  as  the  Sher- 
man Beach  Armoured  Recovery  Vehi- 
cle (Sherman  BARV).  It  was  little  more 
than  an  ordinary  Sherman  with  the  tur- 
ret replaced  by  a tall  superstructure. 
This  superstructure  was  open  at  the 
top  and  nad  plates  that  sloped  to  a boat 
bow  profile  at  the  front.  The  turret 
opening  was  closed  off  and  all  air  in- 
takes and  cowls  were  extended  up- 
wards, Waterproofing  was  extensive 
and  a bilge  pump  was  added  to  the 

ThefirstBARV  was  ready  for  trials  in 
December  1943  and  these  trials 
proved  to  be  so  successful  that  a re- 
quest for  50  conversions  (later  in- 
creased to  66)  was  made  immediately. 
By  the  time  the  D-Day  landings  were 
made  in  Normandy  there  were  52 
BARV  s ready  to  hand,  and  one  of  them 
was  actually  the  first  armoured  vehicle 
to  touch  down  on  the  beaches.  They 
had  plenty  to  do  for  the  weather  on 
D-Day  was  rough,  to  the  extent  that 
many  armoured  and  other  vehicles 
were  swamped  as  they  made  their 
way  from  the  landing  craft  to  the  safety 
of  the  beaches.  The  BARV  was  thus 
used  as  a towing  vehicle  to  get  them 
ashore.  It  could  tow  only,  for  in  the 
haste  to  produce  the  BARVs  it  was  de- 
cided to  omit  the  usual  winches.  In 
their  place  some  measure  of  assist- 
ance to  stranded  vehicles  could  be 
provided  by  nudging  them  with  baulks 
of  timber  secured  to  the  BARV  nose. 
These  nudgers  could  be  used  not  only 
for  vehicles  but  with  small  landing  craft 
that  got  themselves  stuck  on  the 

The  BARVs  could  operate  in  up  to 
3.05  m (10  ft)  of  water,  depending  on 
weather  conditions,  and  often  took  on  a 
nautical  air  enhanced  by  the  use  of 
lifelines  fixed  around  the  upper  super- 
structure. Many  BARV  crews  included 
a diver  in  their  number  and  lifejackets 

The  Sherman  BARVfea  tured  a high 
box-type  superstructure  that 
allowed  the  BARV  to  be  driven  in  to 
deep  water  to  recover  stranded 
vehicles.  At  thefron  t itmoun  ted  a 
nudging  nose  to  push  vehicles  out  of 
trouble,  but  failing  that  it  could  be 
used  as  a straightforward  recovery 
tractor.  It  did  not  have  a winch. 

were  frequently  worn.  The  BARVs 
were  a REME  responsibility  as  they 
were  primarily  recovery  vehicles.  The 
REME  even  had  a hand  in  their  pro- 
duction, for  this  corps  supervised 
BARV  production  in  two  small  Ministry 
of  Supmy  workshops. 

The  BARVs  went  on  to  a long  post- 
war service  career  during  which  they 
acquired  the  name  Sea  Lion.  They 
were  eventually  replaced  by  the 
Centurion  BARV  which  closely  fol- 
lowed the  general  outlines  of  the  Sher- 
man BARV.  Over  the  years  the  Sher- 
man BARVs  were  gradually  updated 
with  better  radios  and  such  refine- 
ments as  ropes  to  soften  the  impact  of 
their  'nudgers',  but  they  never  ac- 
quired winches  or  any  form  of  earth 
spade  to  enable  increased-capacity 
pulls  to  be  made. 

The  Sherman  BARV  (Beach  Armoured  Recovery  Vehicle)  was  developed 
during  1943  to  towbogged-down  vehicles  from  deep  water  during 
amphibious  operations.  It  was  a tractor  device  only,  and  the  crew  usually 
included  a trained  diver  to  secure  towing  cables  to  stranded  vehicles  for  towing. 


Mine-clearing  rollers 

The  mine-clearing  roller  was  one  of 
the  very  first  anti-land  mine  devices 
used  with  tanks  and  in  theory  rollers 
are  among  the  simplest  to  use.  They 
consist  ofa  set  of  heavy  rollers  pushed 
ahead  of  the  tank,  their  weignt  and 
pressure  alone  being  sufficient  to  des- 
troy the  mines  by  setting  them  off  in 
front  of  the  tank.  Translating  this  theory 
into  practice  should  also  have  been 
simple  but  was  not.  The  main  problem 
was  the  weight  and  bulk  of  the  rollers 
that  had  to  be  used:  in  order  to  make 
the  rollers  heavy  enough  they  had  also 
to  be  large,  and  this  made  them  very 
difficult  loads  to  handle  using  the  aver- 
age tank  of  the  period.  In  fact  some  of 
them  were  so  large  and  awkward  to 
push  that  it  sometimes  took  two  tanks 
(the  carrier  tank  plus  another  behind  it 
to  provide  extra  ^push')  to  move  them 
forward.  This  two-tank  arrangement 
was  often  necessary  when  rollers  had 

to  be  pushed  over  soft  or  rough 

The  British  were  probably  the  first  to 
develop  anti-mine  rollers,  and  ex- 
perimented with  them  in  the  years  be- 
fore World  War  II  fitted  to  vehicles 
such  as  the  Covenanter.  They  knew 
their  first  models  as  the  Eowler  Roller 
or  the  Anti-Mine  Roller  Attachment 
(AMRA).  Erom  these  were  developed 
the  Anti-Mine  Reconnaissance  Castor 
Roller  (AMRCR)  system  that  was  fitted 
to  Churchills  and  British  Shermans. 
These  rollers  used  leaf  springs  to  keep 

The  Lulu  roller  device  did  not 
detonate  mines  by  pres  sure,  as  the 
fron  t rollers  were  only  Ugh  t wooden 
con  tain  ers  carrying  electrical  sensor 
devices  to  denote  the  presence  of 
buried  metal  objects  such  as  mines. 
Although  it  worked,  the  Lulu  was  too 
fragile  for  opera  tional  use. 


the  rollers  in  contact  with  the  ground, 
but  they  were  so  cumbersome  that 
they  were  not  used  operationally.  A 
more  successful  design  appeared  in 
1943  and  was  known  as  the  Canadian 
Indestructible  Roller  Device  (CIRD). 
This  used  two  heavy  armoured  rollers 
mounted  on  side  arms,  and  was  so 
arranged  that  if  a roller  detonated  a 
mine  the  resultant  blast  lifted  the  roller 
and  a lever  came  into  contact  with  the 
ground,  the  subsequent  movement  of 
the  tank  operating  the  lever  to  return 
the  roller  to  the  ground  again  for  furth- 
er use.  CIRD  was  fitted  to  both  Chur- 
chills and  Shermans,  but  the  system 
was  not  used  in  action. 

The  Americans  also  became  in- 
volved with  mine  rollers  and  produced 
three  main  models.  The  first  version 
was  the  Mine  Exploder  T1  and  was 
intended  for  use  with  M3  Lee  tanks, 
but  not  many  were  made  as  these 
tanks  had  passed  from  front-line  ser- 
vice by  the  time  the  rollers  had  been 
developed.  From  them  evolved  the 
Mine  Exploder  TlEl  or  Earthworm, 

but  again  this  was  devised  for  use  by 
one  vehicle  only,  in  this  case  the  M32 
Tank  Recovery  Vehicle.  For  use  with 
the  M4  Shermans  came  the  Mine  Ex- 
ploder TIES  (later  the  Mine  Exploder 
Ml)  which  was  generally  known  as  the 
Aunt  Jemima.  This  used  two  very  large 
sets  of  roller  discs  mounted  on  side 
arms  in  front  of  the  carrier,  and  the 
system  was  used  in  action  despite  its 
great  bulk  and  awkwardness.  It 
proved  to  be  successful  enough,  and 
was  even  developed  into  an  MIAI 
version  which  was  even  heavier. 

The  Americans  developed  a whole 
string  of  other  types  of  mine  roller,  few 
of  which  got  past  the  experimental 
stage.  Perhaps  the  oddest  of  them  was 
the  Mine  Exploder  TIO  on  which  the 
rollers  became  the  road  wheels  for  an 
M4  tank  body,  complete  with  gun  tur- 
ret. Two  rollers  were  mounted  forward 
and  another  set  of  roller  discs  was  at 
the  rear  with  the  tank  body  slung  be- 
tween them.  This  device  got  no  further 
than  trials,  and  neither  did  the  series  of 
vehicles  known  as  the  Mine  Resistant 


Gun  tractors 

V ehicle  T 1 5 . This  was  an  M4  tank  fitted 
with  extra  body  and  belly  armour  and 
intended  to  set  off  mines  by  simply 
driving  over  them,  relying  on  its  extra 
protection  for  survival.  None  of  these 
vehicles  was  ready  for  use  by  the  time 
the  war  ended,  and  work  on  the  type 
then  ceased. 

Rollers  were  an  apparently  obvious 
solution  to  a minefield,  but  it  proved 
exceedingly  difficult  to  detonate 
enough  mines  by  the  rollers'  weight 
alone.  Solutions  included  rollers  so 
heavy  that  it  took  several  vehicles  to 
move  them,  and  plough  and  roller 

Asa  general  rule  mo  st  artillery  tractors 
were  specially  developed  for  the  task 
but  some  artillery  weapons  developed 
during  the  war  years  had  to  make  do 
with  what  was  to  hand.  In  nearly  every 
case  this  meant  the  conversion  of  an 
obsolete  or  obsolescent  tracked  vehi- 
cle, especially  for  the  larger  weapons. 
The  use  of  tracked  vehicles  gave  the 
gunners  considerably  more  tactical 
mobility  that  could  have  been 
achieved  by  using  wheeled  tractors, 
but  in  general  terms  using  tracked 
vehicles  was  expensive  and  it  was  a 
measure  that  was  only  bearable  in 

A typical  use  of  an  obsolete  tank 
chassis  can  be  seen  with  the  British 
Crusader  Gun  Tractor  Mk  I.  This  was 
developed  to  tow  the  bulky  17-pdr 
anti-tank  gun,  and  used  the  Crusader  II 
tank  chassis  as  the  basis.  Onto  the 
chassis  was  built  an  open  superstruc- 
ture fitted  out  with  seating  for  the  gun 
crew  and  with  ammunition  lockers. 
These  tractors  were  widely  used  by 
Royal  Artillery  anti-tank  regiments 
serving  with  armoured  divisions  in 
Europe  during  1944  and  1945,  and 
proved  to  be  well-liked  and  fast  trac- 
tors capable  of  towing  their  17-pdr 
guns  almost  anywhere.  Some  turret- 
less Shermans  were  also  used  in  this 

The  Crusader  Gun  Tractor  was 
almost  the  only  conversion  of  a tracked 
vehicle  made  by  the  British,  but  it  was 
otherwise  with  the  Americans.  Their 
far  more  extensive  automotive  manu- 
facturing resources  enabled  them  to 
produce  all  manner  of  special  artillery 
tractors,  many  of  them  based  on  ex- 
isting vehicles.  Typical  of  these  was 
the  Full-track  Prime  Mover  M34,  an 
odd  vehicle,  for  it  was  an  M32  Tank 
Recovery  Vehicle  stripped  of  its  re- 
covery kit  and  used  as  a tractor  only.  It 
was  reserved  for  really  large  items  of 
artillery  such  as  the  240-mm  (9. 45 -in) 
howitzer.  Other  attempts  were  made 
to  convert  old  M2  Lee  tanks  for  the 
tractor  role,  but  they  were  not  de- 
veloped fully  as  special  vehicles  could 
be  produced  without  difficulty. 

There  were  two  main  types  of  trac- 
tor produced  in  the  United  States.  One 

was  the  High-Speed  Tractor  M4  and 
the  other  the  High-Speed  Tractor  M5, 
The  M4  used  components  of  the  M2  A 1 
Lee  tank  allied  to  a new  box-type  body 
that  could  house  the  crew  and  a quanti- 
ty of  ammunition.  Compared  to  other 
types  of  tractor  the  gun  crew  could 
travel  in  comfort  as  the  cab  was  weath- 
erproof and  fitted  with  such  luxuries  as 
heaters,  and  yet  there  was  still  plenty 
of  room  for  stowage.  The  M5  tractor 
was  smaller  and  used  components 
from  the  M3  light  tank  series.  The  crew 
accommodation  was  more  open  than 
that  of  the  M4  but  the  tractor  still  had 
plenty  of  space  and  was  equipped 
with  such  handy  items  as  winches.  The 

M4  was  used  to  tow  artillery  up  to 
155m  (6.1in)  in  calibre,  and  the  M5 
was  used  for  artillery  up  to  203  mm 
(8  in)  in  calibre.  Both  types  were  pro- 
duced in  considerable  numbers  and 
many  of  both  are  in  use  to  this  day. 
Large  numbers  were  handed  out  by 
the  Americans  to  the  Allied  armed 
forces,  and  a few  were  used  by  the 
British  before  the  war  ended. 

High-Speed  Tractor  M5 
Crew:  9 

Weight:  12837  kg  (28,300  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Continental  R-6572 
petrol  engine  developing  175. 2kW 

(235  hp) 

Dimensions:  length4, 85  m(  1 5 ft  1 1 in) ; 
width  2.54m(8n4in);  height  2.64m 
(8  ft  8 in) 

Performance:  maximum  to  wing  speed 
56.3  km/h  (35  mph) ; maximumroad 
range24 1 km(  150miles) 

Armament:  none 

TheM35  Full  TrackPrime  Mover  was 
a turretless  conversion  oftheMWAl 
tank  destroy  erf  or  use  as  a tractor  for 
heavy  artillery.  This  example  is 
towing  the  barrel  of  a 203 -mm  ( 8-in) 
Gun  Ml  towards  Germany  in 
February  1945;  the  CarriageM2 
would  have  been  towed  separately. 




The  German  Bergepanther  was 
based  on  the  Panther  tank  hull  and 
suspension,  and  could  be  used  for 
the  recovery  of  even  the  heaviest 
German  tanks.  Shown  here  in  its 
travelling  configuration,  the 
Bergepan  therhada  powerful  winch 
in  the  h ull  in  teriorand  used  a large 
earth  anchor  at  the  rear  to  improve 
winch  pull. 

During  the  early  war  years  the  Ger- 
man army  used  the  18-tonne  SdKfz  9/1 
and  9/2  for  recovering  broken-down  or 
damaged  tanks,  but  with  the  arrival  of 
the  heavy  tanks  such  as  the  Tiger  and 
Panther  these  vehicles  were  no  longer 
able  to  recover  the  weights  involved. 
The  only  way  they  could  be  used 
effectively  was  in  complicated  tandem 
or  other  arrangements  with  one  vehi- 
cle's crane  acting  in  combination  with 
the  other,  and  it  was  not  always  possi- 
ble to  get  two  of  these  large  halftracks 
to  some  locations,  even  supposing  two 
were  on  hand.  The  only  solution  to  the 
problem  of  large  vehicle  recovery  was 
the  development  of  a new  heavy  re- 
covery vehicle.  Some  of  the  early  Ti- 
ger units  converted  their  machines  to 
take  winches  in  the  turret  in  place  of 
the  main  gun  for  recovery  purposes, 
but  this  was  a waste  of  a valuable  gun 
tank  and  Tigers  were  always  in  short 
supply.  In  the  end  it  was  decided  to 
use  the  Panther  tank  as  the  basis  for  the 
new  vehicle. 

The  new  vehicle  became  known  as 
the  SdKfz  179  Berg^anther,  or  Berge- 
panzer  Panther.  The  first  of  these 
appeared  during  1943,  and  they  were 
conversions  of  early  models  of  Panther 
gun  tanks.  On  the  conversion  the  turret 
andfighting compartments  were  com- 
pletely removed  and  replaced  by  an 
open  superstructure  housing  a large 
and  powerful  winch.  To  increase  the 
'pulr  of  this  winch  the  vehicle  had  at 
the  rear  a large  earth  spade.  In  use  this 
spade  was  lowered  to  the  ground  and 
the  vehicle  was  reversed,  the  spade 
thus  being  dug  down  into  the  ground  to 

act  as  a stable  anchor  when  the  winch 
was  in  use  with  the  cable  running  out 
over  the  vehicle  rear.  The  combination 
of  spade  and  winch  enabled  the 
Bergepanther  to  recover  even  the 
heaviest  vehicles,  and  it  also  carried 
all  manner  of  other  recovery  equip- 
ment, including  a light  crane  j ib  on  the 
left-hand  side  for  use  when  carrying 
out  running  repairs. 

It  was  spring  1944  before  the  first 
Bergepanthers  reached  the  troops,  the 
conversions  being  carried  out  by  DE- 
MAG in  Berlin.  By  the  time  the  war 
ended  297  had  been  produced,  but  not 
all  of  them  were  fully  equipped.  For 
supply  reasons  some  vehicles  were 
issued  without  the  rear-mounted 
spade  which  reduced  them  to  little 
more  than  towing  vehicles;  they  were 
incomplete  vehicles  had  their  winches 
removed  to  enable  them  to  be  em- 
ployed as  supply  and  ammunition  car- 
riers. The  full  standard  Bergepanthers 

proved  to  be  invaluable  and  not  surpri- 
singly they  were  concentratecf  in 
Panther,  Tiger  and  Konigstiger  forma- 
tions. In  service  they  had  a crew  of  five, 
and  most  retained  their  front  hull  7.92- 
mm  (0.312-in)  machine-gun.  Many 
were  also  armed  with  a 2-cm  cannon 
carried  just  forward  of  the  open  super- 
structure on  a mount  that  allowed  it  to 
be  used  either  in  the  anti-aircraft  or 
ground  target  role. 

When  they  were  first  introduced  the 
Bergepanthers  were  well  in  advance 
of  other  contemporary  recovery  vehi- 
cles. Although  it  was  a conversion  of  an 
existing  tank,  its  combination  of  winch, 
earth  spade  and  overall  layout  meant 
that  it  was  quite  simply  the  best  recov- 
ery vehicle  produced  during  World 
War  II. 

Crew:  5 

Weight:  42  tons 

Powerplant:  oncMaybachHL2I0P.30 
petrol  engine  developing  478 .7  kW 
(642  hp) 

Dimensions : length  8.153m  (26  ft  9 in) ; 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
32  km/h  (20  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  169  km  (105  miles)  maximum 
cross-country  range  85  km  (53  miles) 
Armament:  one2-cmcannonandone 
7.92-mm  (0.312-in)  machine-gun 

T/ie  Bergepanther  was  the  best- 
armoured  recovery  vehicle  produced 
in  World  War II.  Only  297 were 
completed  by  the  end  of  the  war,  and 
they  were  generally  concen  tra  ted  in 
the  heavy  tank  battalions. 


Karl  ammunition  carriers 

When  the  design  teams  that  produced 
the  massive  Karl  siege  howitzer  were 
drawing  up  their  plans  they  at  first 
overlooked  one  item:  the  massive 
short-barrelled  howitzers  they  were 
producing  were  mounted  on  large 
tracked  chassis  to  provide  some  mea- 
sure of  mobility  (even  though  this 
mobility  was  strictly  limited  by  the 
sizes  and  weights  involved),  but  they 
forgot  the  matter  of  ammunition  supp- 
ly. This  oversight  was  soon  realized 
and  plans  were  made  to  provide  spe- 
cial ammunition  carriers  that  could 
move  to  wherever  the  Karls  might  be 
emplaced,  and  these  carriers  had  to 
be  tracked  as  well.  They  also  had  to  be 
large,  for  the  Karls  fired  a huge  con- 
crete-busting projectile  that  weighed 
no  less  than  2170  kg  (4,784  lb)  and  with 
a calibre  of  60  cm  (23.62  in);  later  ver- 
sions had  a calibre  of  54  cm  (21.26  in) 
and  the  projectile  weighed  1250kg 
(2,756  lb), 

The  vehicle  selected  to  be  the 
ammunition  carrier  for  the  Karls  was 
the  PzKpfw  IV  Ausf  F.  These  vehicles 
were  not  conversions,  but  were  built 
from  new  using  the  basic  tank  hull. 



suspension  and  other  components, 
though  in  place  of  the  usual  turret  there 
was  a platform  that  covered  the  entire 
top  of  the  hull.  At  the  front  of  the  plat- 
form was  a crane  with  a capacity  of 
3000  kg  (6,614  lb),  offset  to  the  left  and 
with  the  swivelling  jib  normally  stowed 

Above  left;  the  Munitionpanzer  IV 
AusfF  was  used  to  carry  the  heavy 
projectiles  for  the  60-cm  (23.62-in) 
Karl  self-propelled  mortar,  andis 
seen  here  with  its  lifting  jib  raised 
ready  for  use.  The  jib  could  traverse 
through  360  degrees. 

Above:  A Munitionpanzer  IV A usfF  is 
shown  in  its  travelling  configuration 
with  the  jib  folded  and  with  the  shell 
lifting  grab  stowed  on  the  front  of  the 
hull.  Each  of  these  ammunition 
carriers  could  carry  three  60-cm 
(23.62-in)  projectiles. 


facing  to  the  rear.  The  main  platform 
was  used  as  the  carrying  area  for  the 
projectiles,  with  space  for  two  or  three 
shells.  Small  metal  side  walls  were 
fitted,  but  these  were  often  removed  in 
the  field. 

Much  of  the  movement  of  the  Karl 
equipments  had  to  be  carried  out  on 
railways,  and  the  train  that  carried  the 
components  of  Karl  also  had  a couple 
of  flat-cars  to  carry  Munitionpanzer  or 
Munitionschlepper  ammunition  car- 
riers. Once  close  to  the  firing  position 
the  Karls  were  assembled  and  they 
moved  off  to  the  exact  firing  position. 
Projectiles  for  the  weapons  were 
taken  from  the  train  box-cars  either  by 
overhead  gantry  or  by  using  the  crane 
mounted  on  the  carriers.  The  carriers 
then  moved  to  the  firing  position  and 
unloaded  their  projectiles  by  parking 
next  to  the  Karl  breech  and  lifting  the 
ammunition  directly  to  the  breech 
loading  tray  with  the  crane.  Special 
ammunition  handling  grabs  were  used 
on  the  crane  itself.  Once  their  load  had 
been  fired  the  carriers  trundled  off  for 

Not  all  Karl  moves  were  made  by 
rail.  There  was  an  arrangement 
whereby  a Karl  could  be  broken  down 
into  relatively  small  loads  for  road  trac- 
tion, but  it  was  a long  and  arduous  pro- 
cess to  assemble  the  weapon  on  site. 
When  this  occurred  the  carriers  were 

towed  on  special  wheeled  trailers 
towed  by  large  halftracks.  The  usual 
allotment  of  carriers  to  a single  Karl 
was  two.  Also  included  in  each  Karl 
'train'  were  two  trucks,  two  light  staff 
cars  and  at  least  one  1 2-ton  halftrack  to 
carry  the  Karl  crew. 

The  Karl  howitzers  were  among  the 
most  specialized  of  all  German  artil- 
lery weapons.  They  were  designed  as 
fortification  smashers,  and  during 
World  War  II  were  not  much  in  de- 
mand. But  they  and  their  PzKpfw  IV- 
based  ammunition  carriers  did  see  use 

during  the  siege  of  Sevastopol,  and  in 
1944  saw  more  action  during  the  B attle 
of  W arsaw  against  the  unfortunate  Pol- 
ish home  army. 


Crew:  4 

Weight:  25  tonnes 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL 120 
TRM  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions:  lengths  .4 1 m(  1 7 ft9in) ; 
width  2.883  m (9  ft  5.5  in);  height  not 

T/ze  Munitionpanzer  IVA  usfF 
carried  shells  for  the  Karl  self- 
propelled  mortar  on  a platform  over 
the  h ull.  They  were  lifted  on  to  the 
Karl  loa  ding  tray  by  afron  t-m  oun  ted 
jib  crane,  seen  here  folded  over  the 
shell  platform. 


Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
39.9  km/h  (24, 8 mph) ; maximumroad 
range  209  km  ( 1 30  miles) 

Armament:  none 

T/ze  kleiner  Panzerbefehlswagen 
was  a command  version  of  the 
PzKpfw  I light  tank.  Ithadacrewof 
three  and  the  fixed  superstructure 
contained  two  radios,  a map  table 
and  extra  electrical  equipment.  The 
vehicles  were  widely  used,  as  they 
allowed  commanders  to  keep  up 
with  armoured  formations. 

Below  Must  how  cramped  the  PzKpfw 
I command  tank  was  can  be  ga  uged 
from  this  photograph  of  the  basic 
model  PzKpfw  I.  About  200 
conversions  were  made  but  they 
proved  too  small  for  the  task,  and 
they  were  replaced  by  modified 
versions  of  later  tanks. 

they  were  replaced  by  conversions  of 
larger  tank  models. 


kleiner  Panzerbefehlswagen  I 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  5.8  tons 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  NL  38  TR 
petrol  engine  developing  74,6  kW 

(100  hp) 

Dimensions:  length 4.445  m(  14  ft 7 in); 
width2.08m(6ft9.9in);height  1.72m 
(5  ft  7.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (25  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  290  km  (180  miles) 

Armament:  one  7, 92-mm  (0,312-in) 


kleiner  Panzerbefehlswagen 

Once  the  German  army  had  accepted 
the  concept  of  the  Panzer  division  with 
its  large  tank  component  it  was 
appreciated  that  the  large  mass  of 
tanks  would  carry  with  it  considerable 
command  and  control  problems.  Tank 
formation  commanders  would  have  to 
move  forward  with  the  tanks  and  main- 
tain contact  with  them  at  all  times,  and 
at  first  it  seemed  that  the  best  way  of 
doing  this  was  to  have  the  comman- 
ders travelling  in  tanks.  But  it  was  also 
appreciated  that  commanders  would 
have  to  carry  with  them  all  manner  of 
special  equipment  and  extra  person- 
nel to  transmit  orders  and  generally 
assist  the  commander  in  his  task.  Thus 
some  form  of  dedicated  command  tank 
would  be  needed. 

In  typically  thorough  style  the  Ger- 
man designers  came  up  with  an 
answer  as  early  as  1938.  They  decided 
to  convert  the  little  PzKpfw  I training 
tank  for  the  command  role,  and  the 
result  was  the  SdKfz  265  kleiner  Pan- 
zerbefehlswagen (small  armoured 
command  vehicle).  The  command 
vehicle  was  a relatively  straightfor- 
ward conversion  of  the  basic  tank  in 
which  the  rotating  tank  turret  was  re- 
placed by  a box-like  superstructure  to 
provide  extra  internal  space.  The 
crew  was  increased  from  the  two  of  the 
tank  to  three,  in  the  form  of  the  driver, 
the  commander  and  a signaller/gener- 
al assistant.  The  extra  internal  space 
was  taken  up  with  items  such  as  a small 
table  for  the  commander  to  work  on, 
map  display  boards,  stowage  for  more 
maps  and  other  paperwork,  and  two 
radios,  one  for  communicating  with  the 
tanks  and  the  other  to  provide  a link  to 
higher  command  levels.  These  radios 
required  the  provision  of  extra  dyna- 
mo capacity  to  power  them  and  keep 
their  associated  batteries  fully 
charged.  For  armament  a 7. 92-mm 
(0,312-m)  MG34  machine-gun  was 

mounted  in  the  front  plate. 

There  were  three  variations  of  this 
command  vehicle,  one  with  a small 
rotating  turret  set  onto  the  superstruc- 
ture. TTiis  latter  feature  was  soon  dis- 
continued as  it  took  up  too  much  of  the 
limited  internal  space  and  was  soon 
found  to  be  unnecessary.  The  other 
two  variants  differed  only  in  detail.  In 
all  of  them  the  small  size  of  the  vehicle 
inflicted  space  limitations,  and  with 
two  men  attempting  to  work  within  the 
close  confines  of  the  body  things  could 
get  very  cramped.  But  the  concept 
worked  very  well  and  about  200  con- 
versions from  the  PzKpfw  I tank  were 
made.  The  first  of  them  saw  action  dur- 
ing the  Pohsh  campaign  of  1939  and 
more  were  used  in  France  during  May 
and  June  1940.  Later  they  equipped 
the  Afrika  Korps.  One  of  these  North 
African  campaign  examples  was  cap- 
tured by  the  British  army  and  taken 
back  to  the  United  Kingdom.  There  it 
was  closely  examined  by  tank  experts 
who  produced  a large  report  on  the 
vehicle,  which  can  now  be  seen  in  the 
Bovington  Tank  Musem. 

Despite  their  relative  success  in  the 
command  role  the  little  PzKpfw  I tank 
conversions  were  really  too  small  and 
cramped  for  efficiency  and  in  time 




Most  of  the  Great  Powers  used  amphibious  vehicies  during  Worid  War  iL 
Some  of  these  vehicles,  such  as  the  Soviets'  pre-war  amphibious  light  tanks, 
proved  to  be  superfluous  but  others,  like  the  DD  Shermans  and  the  DUKW,  were 

of  crucial  importance. 

American  troops  come  ashore  at  Trinian  in  the  Marianas  Islands.  These  armoured  amphibious 
landing  vehicles  served  the  Americans  well  in  both  Europe  and  the  Pacific. 

The  range  of  vehicles 

contained  in  this  section  is 
much  wider  than  usual,  simply 
because  the  range  of  amphibious 
vehicles  used  during  World  War  II 
was  very  large.  At  the  lower  end 
of  the  range  was  the  little 
German  Schwimmwagen,  while  at 
the  upper  end  of  the  scale  the 
German  LWS  took  some  beating 
for  sheer  size  even  if  the  slab- 
sided  American  LVTs  were  far 
more  numerous.  Such  a diversity 
of  vehicles  was  a result  of  the 
many  and  various  roles  that 
amphibious  vehicles  needed  to 
undertake.  Some  armed  forces 
wanted  them  simply  as  personnel 
or  supply  carriers  that  could 
support  amphibious  operations, 
while  other  forces  needed 
specialized  reconnaissance 
vehicles  that  could  cross  water 
obstacles,  and  yet  others  required 
load  carriers  to  transport  supplies 
anywhere.  They  are  all  included  in 
this  section  so  it  would  be  unfair 
to  make  comparisons  between, 
say,  the  M29C  Weasel  and  the 
Soviet  T-38  amphibious  light 
tank.  The  same  disparities  make 
comparisons  between  the  DD 
Shermans  and  the  Japanese  Type 
2 Ka-Mi  impossible,  because  the 
DD  Sherman  was  intended  simply 
to  accomplish  a short  journey 
from  a vessel  to  a nearby  shore 
where  it  immediately  became  a 

gun  tank,  while  the  Type  2 was 
more  of  a reconnaissance  vehicle 
that  was  able  to  cross  water 

Yet  for  all  these  differences  the 
contents  of  this  study  include 
many  of  the  most  interesting 
vehicles  used  during  World  War  II. 
Each  of  the  types  described  here 
has  some  special  design  or  other 
point  in  its  favour,  although  a few 

have  more  against  than  for  them. 
Perhaps  the  most  interesting  of 
all,  and  not  only  because  of  its 
military  importance,  were  the 
American  LVTs.  These  vehicles 
were  very  much  a compromise 
design  to  obtain  the  best 
possible  performances  overland 
and  on  water.  The  two  are 
disparate  requirements,  but  the 
LVTs  achieved  a good  working 

compromise  and  were  thus  able 
to  carry  amphibious  warfare  from 
the  Rhine  to  the  islands  of  the 
Pacific.  Amphibious  tanks  were 
remarkable  vehicles,  but  one 
can  only  wonder  at  how  their 
crews  had  the  courage  to  use 
their  flimsy  charges  to  approach 
a defended  enemy  shore  and  to 
drive  them  right  at  the  muzzles 
of  the  defender's  guns. 




In  1931  \he  USSR  purchased  from  Vick- 
ers Carden-Loyd  of  the  UK  a number 
of  light  tankettes.  Among  the  purch- 
ases were  a small  number  of  Carden- 
Loyd  A4E11  amphibious  tanks,  and 
these  so  impressed  the  Soviets  that 
they  decided  to  undertake  local  li- 
cence production  in  order  to  meet  a 
Red  Army  requirement  for  light  scout- 
ing tanks,  However,  it  was  not  long 
before  the  Soviet  design  teams  real- 
ized that  the  Carden-Loyd  A4E1 1 did 
not  meet  all  their  requirements,  and  so 
they  set  about  developing  their  own 
light  amphibious  tank  based  on  the 
British  design.  This  resulted  in  the  T- 
33,  which  was  subjected  to  some  rigor- 
ous trials  before  it  was  deemed  un- 
satisfactory. Eurther  design  work  re- 
sulted in  the  T-37  light  amphibious 

By  the  time  the  T-37  was  produced 
there  was  little  left  of  the  original  Brit- 
ish design  other  than  the  concept.  The 
T-37  had  a GAZ  AA  engine  and  the 
suspension  was  an  improved  version 
of  mat  used  on  the  Erench  AMR  light 
tank.  Once  again  the  first  T-37s  were 
subjected  to  a thorough  testing  prog- 
ramme, and  as  a result  changes  were 
introduced  to  the  full  production  mod- 
els, which  first  came  off  the  lines  in  late 
1933  and  early  1934.  The  production 
T-37  was  a small  vehicle  with  a two- 
man  crew,  the  commander  in  a turret 
offset  to  the  right  and  the  driver  seated 
in  the  hull  to  the  immediate  left.  Most  of 
the  buoyancy  came  from  two  pontoons 
on  each  side  of  the  upper  hull  above 
the  tracks,  and  at  the  rear  there  was 
the  usual  single  propeller  and  a rud- 
der, The  T-37  was  meant  to  be  amphi- 

Above:  The  tiny  T-37  light 
amphibious  tank  was  produced  in 
several  versions,  but  all  were  lightly 
armoured  and  had  only  two-man 
crews.  They  were  in  production  from 
1935  onwards,  but  few  survived  after 
theendofl941  as  they  were  too  frail 
to  stand  up  to  prolonged  comba  t. 

bious  on  inland  waterways  only.  As  it 
was  designed  as  a light  scouting  or 
reconnaissance  vehicle,  the  T-37  had 
only  light  armament,  comprising  a 
single  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  air-cooled 

Production  of  the  T-37  continued  un- 
til 1936,  and  during  the  production  run 
several  variants  occurred.  One  was 
known  as  the  T-37TU  and  had  a prom- 

inent radio  frame  aerial  around  the  up- 
per hull;  this  was  used  only  by  com- 
manders needing  to  maintain  contact 
with  rear  command  levels,  while 
orders  were  transmitted  to  other  tanks 
by  signal  flags.  On  some  vehicles  the 
usual  riveted  turret  was  replaced  by  a 
cast  item.  As  was  to  be  expected  on 
such  a small  and  light  tank,  armour  was 
very  thin,  the  maximum  being  only 
9 mm  (0.354  in)  thick  and  the  norm  only 
3 mm  (0. 1 1 8 in) . This  armour  could  not 
withstand  even  light  anti- armour  pro- 
jectiles, but  the  T-37s  were  to  be  used 
as  scouting  vehicles  only  and  were  not 
intended  for  employment  in  a stand-up 
armoured  fight.  Nevertheless  they 
were  so  used  during  the  desperate 
days  of  1941  and  1942  when  the  Soviet 
army  had  at  times  virtually  nothing 

with  which  to  stem  the  advance  of  the 
German  forces.  By  the  end  of  1942  the 
last  of  the  T-37s  had  passed  from  use, 
though  a few  hulls  were  retained  for 
use  as  light  tractors. 

Crew:  2 

Weight:  3200  kg  (7,055  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  GAZ  AApetrol 
engine  developing  29.8  kW  (40  hp) 
width2.10m(6nl0.7in);height  1.82m 
(5  ft  11.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
56.3  km/h  (35  mph) ; maximumroad 
range  185  km  ( 1 15  miles) 

Armament:  one  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  DT 

Disabled  T-37  Ugh  t amphibious  tanks  are  seen  in  the  snow  of  the  Win  ter  War 
against  the  Finns  in  1939-1940.  In  this  campaign  the  T-37s  showed  up  badly,  as 
they  had  only  light  armour.  The  front  vehicle  is  a T-37(TU)  command  tank  with 
the  remains  of  an  aerial  showing. 

T-37  light  amphibious  tanks  on  parade  in  theSoviet  Union.  The  three  leading 
tmfo  are  T-37(TU)  command  tanks  fitted  with  frame  aerials  and  radios;  most 
T-37 shad  to  communicate  with  flag  signals  as  the  general  issue  of  tank  radios 
was  not  standard  practice  un  til  after  1945. 



Almost  as  soon  as  the  first  T-37  amphi- 
bious light  tanks  were  rolling  off  the 
production  lines  a redesign  was  under 
way.  A team  based  in  Moscow  virtually 
took  apart  the  design  of  the  T-37  and 
did  whatever  it  could  to  improve  and 
modernize  it,  for  it  was  realized  by 
1934  that  the  basic  T-37  design 
approach  was  already  out  of  date.  The 

result  was  known  as  the  T-38,  and 
although  it  looked  very  different  to  the 
T-37  was  very  little  advanced  over  the 

The  T-38  was  of  the  same  general 
concept  as  the  T-37  and  the  two-man 
crew  was  retained,  but  the  turret  posi- 
tion was  switched  to  the  left  and  the 
driver's  position  was  also  switched. 

The  T-38  was  wider  than  the  T-37  and 
had  better  floating  characteristics. 
Carried  over  from  the  T-37  was  the 
armament  of  a single  7.62-mm  (0.3-in) 
DT  machine-gun  and  the  power  train 
of  the  GAZ  AA  truck. 

The  first  T-38  was  built  in  1936  and 
full  production  commenced  in  the  fol- 
lowing year.  Manufacture  continued 

until  1939,  by  which  time  about  1,300 
had  been  completed.  Some  changes 
were  introduced  during  the  produc- 
tion run,  the  first  of  which  was  the  T-38- 
Ml,  an  attempt  to  introduce  a new 
transmission  system  that  in  the  end 
proved  too  complicated  for  mass  pro- 
duction. ThencametheT-38-M2which 
was  accepted,  for  it  used  the  power 


train  and  engine  of  the  then-new  G AZ- 
MI truck.  One  field  modification  was 
the  changing  of  the  machine-gun  for  a 
20-mm  ShVAK  cannon  to  produce 
more  firepower. 

When  the  T-38  went  into  action 
alongside  the  T-37  during  the  1939-40 
campaign  in  Finland,  the  weaknesses 
of  the  design  became  very  apparent. 
The  tank  was  quite  simply  too  lightly 
protected,  for  even  machine-gun  pro- 
jectiles could  pierce  the  thin  armour 
and  knock  out  the  vehicle.  Despite 
attempts  by  their  crews  to  keep  out  of 
the  way  and  simply  observe  enemy 
positions,  the  T-37s  and  T-38s  were 
shown  to  be  too  vulnerable  on  the  bat- 
tlefield; but  they  were  not  immediately 
withdrawn,  for  the  simple  reason  that 
there  was  nothing  to  replace  them  at 
that  time.  Instead  T-38s  were  still  in  use 
until  1942  to  the  detriment  of  their 
crews,  who  suffered  heavy  casualties 
as  Soviet  army  commanders  attemp- 
ted to  use  them  as  light  support  tanks. 

In  an  attempt  to  continue  the  use  of 
the  existing  T-38  production  facilities 
an  effort  was  made  to  develop  the  T-38 



Despite  the  lack  of  success  of  the  T-37 
and  T-38  series,  the  planning  author- 
ities of  the  Red  Army  still  considered 
there  was  a need  for  a light  amphi- 
bious tank  for  reconnaissance  pur- 
poses, and  in  1938  a design  team  in 
Moscow  was  given  the  task  of  produc- 
ing a replacement  for  the  T-38.  But  for 
once  an  alternative  to  an  amphibious 
vehicle  was  demanded,  and  it  was  de- 
cided to  produce  amphibious  and  non- 
amphibious  versions  of  the  same  de- 
sign: these  were  given  the  designa- 
tions of  T-30A  (amphibious)  and  T-30B 

The  T-30A  was  completed  during 
1939  and  the  end  of  that  year  it  had 
been  accepted  for  Soviet  army  service 
as  the  T-40.  In  order  to  speed  produc- 
tion the  T-40  had  been  designed  from 
the  outset  to  include  as  many  auto- 
mobile and  truck  components  as  possi- 
ble, but  production  was  surprisingly 
slow,  no  doubt  as  a result  or  the  low 
priority  given  to  light  tanks  at  that  time. 
Compared  to  the  earlier  T-37  and  T-38, 
the  T-40  was  an  entirely  new  vehicle. 
The  two-man  crew  was  retained,  but 
the  small  turret  was  now  mounted  in  a 
iiioie  orthodox  slightly  offset  position 
and  mounted  a 12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  DShK 
heavy  machine-gun.  (It  had  originally 
been  suggested  that  a 20-mm  cannon 
should  be  mounted.)  The  rear  of  the 
hull  was  rather  bulky  in  order  to  pro- 
vide the  necessary  flotation  chambers. 
The  original  production  versions  had  a 
blunt  nose  that  did  little  for  swimming 
characteristics,  so  this  was  later  round- 
ed off  to  a more  streamlined  outline  in  a 
version  known  as  the  T-40  A.  Prop- 
ulsion in  water  was  provided  by  a 
propeller  at  the  rear,  and  there  was  a 
single  rudder. 

The  main  disadvantage  of  the  T-40 
continued  to  be  the  thin  armour  that 
had  to  be  used.  On  the  T-40  this  was  at 
best  14mm  (0.55-in),  with  the  norm 
only  7 mm  (0.275  in).  By  1940  this  was 
considered  to  be  far  too  light,  mainly  as 
a result  of  operational  experience 
gained  during  the  fighting  of  the  pre- 
vious winter  in  Finland.  It  was  decided 
that  if  the  amphibious  properties  of  the 
T-40  were  dispensed  with,  more 

by  adding  some  extra  armour  but  the 
result  offered  few  advantages  over  the 
original  and  the  project  was  termin- 

The  T-38  did  take  part  in  some  in- 
teresting experiments  involving  radio 
control.  The  idea  was  that  T-26  light 
tanks  packed  with  explosives  should 
be  directed  towards  bridges  or  other 
demolition  targets  and  then  exploded 
by  radio  command  from  a T-38,  The 
T-38  was  equipped  with  special  radios 
for  the  purpose  and  was  even  given  a 
new  designation,  NII-20.  There  are  re- 
ferences to  this  demolition  method 
being  used  during  the  Finnish  cam- 
paign, but  its  success  is  not  recorded. 

Crew:  2 

Weight:  3300  kg(7,275  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  GAZ  AA  or  GAZ  M- 1 
petrol  engine  developing  29.8  kW 
(40  hp) 

Dimensions : length  3 .7  8 m ( 1 2 ft  4 . 8 in) ; 
width  3 .33  m ( 1 0 ft  1 1 . 1 in) ; height 
1.63  m (5  ft  4.2  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.9  mph);  maximumroad 
range  170  km  (105.6  miles) 
Armament:  one  7.62-mm  (0.3-m)  DT 
machine-gun  or  one  20-mm  ShVAK 

T/ie  T-38  (left)  could  easily  be 
distinguished  from  the  T-37:  the 
turret  was  now  mounted  on  theleft 
hand  side,  and  the  driver's  position 
moved  to  the  right.  It  remained 
utterly  inadequate  as  a combat 

T/ie  T-40  used  as  many  automobile  components  as  possible  to  speed 
production.  It  was  armed  with  a 12.7-mm  (0.50-in)  machine-gun,  although 
some  mounted  a 20-mm  ( 0. 7 87 -in)  cannon.  Relatively  few  were  produced. 

armour  could  be  carried  and  the  resul- 
tant vehicle  could  be  issued  to 
armoured  units  where  river  crossings 
were  an  unlikely  occurrence.  A vehi- 
cle known  as  the  T-40S  was  produced, 
but  it  emerged  that  this  model  would 
require  far  more  production  facilities 
than  the  original  and  it  was  bulkier  as 
well,  so  that  line  of  development  was 
dropped.  Instead  it  was  decided  to 
turn  to  the  T-30B,  the  non-amphibious 
version  of  the  prototypes  produced  in 
1939.  This  was  accepted  for  service  as 
the  T-60,  which  soon  replaced  the  T-40 
as  the  Soviet  army's  new  light  recon- 
naissance tank. 

Thus  the  T-40  was  not  manufactured 
in  very  large  numbers,  and  production 
ceased  after  only  about  225  had  been 
built  (a  trifling  quantity  by  Soviet  stan- 
dards) and  the  Soviet  light  amphibious 
tank  line  came  to  an  abrupt  end. 

Crew:  2 

Weight:  5900  kg(13,007  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  GAZ-202  petrol 
engine  developing  52.2  kW  (70  bhp) 
Dimensions:  length  4. 1 1 m(  13  ft  5, 8 in); 
width2 . 3 3 m (7  ft  7 .7  in) ; height  1 .95  m 

(6  ft  4.8  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
44  km/h  (27 . 3 mph) ; maximumroad 
range  360  km  (223 .7  miles) 

Armament:  one  12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  DShK 

T/ie  T-40  was  in  small-scale  service 
with  reconnaissance  units  of  cavalry 
an  d arm  our  edform  a fions  in  1941, 
but  was  already  being  replaced  by 
the  slightly  improved  T-60. 




The  Terrapin  was  the  British  equiva- 
lent of  the  American  DUKW,  and 
although  it  was  never  built  in  the  num- 
bers that  the  DUKW  achieved  it  made 
a useful  addition  to  the  amphibious 
load-carrying  fleet  used  by  the  British 
army  in  1944-5. 

The  Terrapin  was  designed  by 
Thornycroft,  but  production  was  car- 
ried out  by  Morris  Commercial.  About 
500  were  built,  and  the  bulk  of  them 
were  used  by  the  79th  Armoured  Divi- 
sion, first  going  into  action  during  the 
autumn  of  1944  when  they  were  used  to 
supplement  DUKWs  during  opera- 
tions to  open  up  the  water  approaches 
to  Antwerp.  The  Terrapin  was  a 
straightforward  amphibious  design 
but  it  had  some  odd  features,  some  of 
which  were  not  to  its  advantage.  One 
concerned  its  two  Ford  V-8  petrol  en- 
gines, each  one  driving  the  four 
wheels  set  along  each  side;  with  the 
Terrapin  in  the  water,  the  engines 
each  drove  one  of  the  two  propellers  at 
the  rear.  The  snag  with  this  arrange- 
ment turned  out  to  be  that  if  one  of  the 
engines  stalled  for  any  reason  the 
other  engine  kept  driving,  causing  the 
vehicle  to  go  into  a rapid  turn  which 
could  cause  alarm  and  damage  to  all 
concerned.  Thus  Terrapin  drivers  had 
to  be  specially  alert  to  this  hazard.  The 
two  engines  were  mounted  almost 
centrally  to  spread  wheel  loadings,  but 
this  had  the  effect  of  dividing  the  cargo 
compartments  into  two  halves.  Thus 
although  the  Terrapin  could  carry 
more  than  the  DUKW  it  could  not  carry 
the  really  large  loads  such  as  guns  or 
large  vehicles. 

The  overall  performance  of  the  Ter- 
rapin was  not  all  that  good.  It  was 
rather  slow  on  land  and  m the  water, 
and  it  was  in  the  water  that  this  per- 
formance really  mattered.  When  fully 
loaded  the  Terrapin  had  only  a limited 


DD  Sherman 

The  DD  Sherman  was  a British  de- 
velopment that  started  during  1941.  An 
engineer  named  Nicholas  Straussler, 
who  had  been  involved  with  armoured 
vehicles  for  some  time,  turned  his 
attention  to  producing  a method  by 
which  an  ordinary  tank  could  float  in 
water  during  amphibious  operations. 
Early  experiments  involveci  the  Tet- 
rarch  light  tank  (Valentines  were  also 
used  at  a later  date)  but  in  the  end  it 
was  decided  to  standardize  the  even- 
tual results  on  the  Sherman  tank,  then 
available  in  some  numbers.  To  pro- 
vide a cover,  these  floating  tanks  were 
named  Duplex  Drive  (DD)  Shermans. 

The  first  DD  Shermans  were  ready 
in  1943  and  were  converted  by  the 
addition  of  a collapsible  fabric  screen 
and  36  rubber  air  tubes  or  pillars.  This 
screen/tube  assembly  was  attached  to 
a boat-shaped  platform  welded 
around  the  hull  of  the  tank.  The  idea 
was  that  the  pillars  were  inflated  from 
two  air  cylinders  carried  on  the  tank, 
and  as  the  inflation  continued  the  pil- 
lars raised  the  screen  to  a point  above 
the  level  of  the  turret.  The  screen  was 
then  locked  into  position  by  struts.  All 
these  operations  could  be  carried  out 
by  the  crew,  and  the  whole  operation 
could  be  carried  out  in  15  minutes 
aboard  a tank  landing  craft.  Once 
ready,  the  tank  could  be  driven  off  the 
landing  craft  ramp  into  the  water, 
where  the  tank  would  then  float  with 

The  Terrapin  was  powered  by  two  Ford  V-8  petrol  engines  and  was  driven  in  the  water  by  two  propellers  at  the 
rear.  There  were  two  cargo  holds  and  the  driver  sat  in  the  centre  of  the  vehicle. 

freeboard  and  it  could  be  all  too  easily 
swamped  in  rough  water.  The  top  of 
the  vehicle  was  completely  open,  but 
raised  moulding  boards  around  the 
holds  could  keep  out  the  worst  of  the 
water.  The  driver  was  located  roughly 
in  the  centre  of  the  vehicle  and  his 
view  to  the  front  and  rear  was  rather 
limited,  meaning  that  other  crew  mem- 
bers had  to  give  directions  during  tight 
landings  or  when  travelling  through 
restricted  urban  areas.  The  Terrapin 
was  also  a rather  uncomfortable  vehi- 
cle during  bad  weather  conditions. 
Being  seated  in  the  open  the  driver 
and  crew  had  to  rough  it,  but  an 
awning  could  be  raised  over  the  front 
compartment.  This  was  meant  to  act  as 
a spray  shield  in  the  water,  but  it  could 
also  double  as  weather  protection;  the 

trouble  was  that  it  restricted  even 
further  the  driver's  forward  view. 

For  all  these  drawbacks  the  Terra- 
pin gave  good  service.  Even  before  it 
was  used  operationally  some  of  the 
drawbacks  had  been  realized  and 
Thornycroft  was  asked  to  produce  a 
new  design.  This  emerged  as  the  Ter- 
rapin Mk  2,  the  original  model  there- 
upon becoming  the  Terrapin  Mk  1.  It 
had  a large  'one-piece^  hold,  much  bet- 
ter all-round  performance  and  the 
driver  positioned  well  forward  under 
cover.  The  hull  shape  was  improved  to 
provide  better  seaworthiness  and  wa- 
ter manoeuvrability  was  much  im- 
proved. But  the  Terrapin  Mk  2 arrived 
on  the  scene  too  late:  the  war  ended 
before  it  could  be  placed  into  produc- 
tion and  the  large  numbers  of  DUKWs 

to  hand  meant  there  was  no  point  in 
developing  it  further,  and  with  the  end 
of  the  war  the  Terrapin  Mk  Is  were 
also  withdrawn. 

Terrapin  Mk  1 
Crew:  l+atleast2 

Weights:  unloaded  6909  kg  (15,232  lb); 
loaded  12015  kg  (26,488  lb) 
Powerplant:  two  Ford  V-8  petrol 
engines  each  developing  o3.4  kW 

Dimensions:  length  7.01  m (23  ft); 
(9  ft  7 in) 

Performance:  maximum  land  speed 
24.14  km/h  (15  mph);  maximum  water 
speed  8 km/h  (5  mph) 

Armament:  none 

the  turret  at  water  level,  about  0.914-m 
(3 -ft)  freeboard  being  provided  by  the 
screen.  Drive  in  the  water  was  pro- 
vided by  two  small  screw  propellers  at 
the  rear.  These  were  driven  via  a gear- 
box from  the  track  drive,  and  steering 
was  accomplished  by  swivelling  the 
propellers.  Extra  steering  could  be 
carried  out  by  the  tank  commander 
using  a simple  rudder  and  tiller 
arrangement  behind  the  turret. 

Forward  progress  in  the  water  was 
slow,  depending  on  the  sea  state,  and 
the  sea  state  also  severely  affected  the 
ability  of  the  DD  tanks  to  float.  Any- 
thing over  sea  state  5 was  considered 
too  risky,  but  at  times  this  limitation 

was  disregarded,  often  with  dire  re- 
sults. Once  the  DD  Sherman  was  in 
about  1.5  m (5  ft)  of  water  the  screen 
could  then  be  collapsed.  It  was  here 
that  the  main  advantage  of  the  DD 
Sherman  became  apparent,  for  it  was 
able  to  retain  its  mam  gun  for  immedi- 

ate use  after  landing.  The  bow 
machine-gun  could  not  be  fitted  to  the 
DD  Shermans  but  the  main  gun  was 
often  used  to  support  79th  Armoured 
Division  operations  directly  after  land- 
ing on  the  beaches,  especially  during 
the  D-Day  landings  or  6 June  194A 

TheDD  Sherman  came  as  a 
great  surprise  to  the 
Germans,  for  their  own 
attempts  to  produce 
swimming  tanks  ended  in 
relative  failure  during  the 
early  war  years. 


Once  out  of  the  water  the  twin  prop- 
ellers could  be  raised  out  of  the  way, 
and  off  the  beaches  the  DD  Shermans 
eould  be  used  in  a normal  combat  role. 

The  DD  Shermans  were  the  only 
item  of  specialized  amphibious  war- 
fare vehicles  used  by  the  US  Army  in 
June  1944,  and  the  Amerieans  even 
produced  their  own  versions.  During 
the  Normandy  landings  the  DD  Sher- 
mans eame  as  a nasty  surprise  for  the 
German  defenders  as  their  own  ex- 
periments with  'floating'  tanks  had 

Below:  TheDD  Sherman  in  the 
foreground  is  in  the  process  of 
lowering  its  wading  screen  just  after 
a river  crossing.  The  wading  screens 
were  supported  on  columns  of  air 
contained  in  rubber  tubes,  and  the 
soldier  in  the  foreground  is  assisting 
their  collapse. 

proved  unsuccessful  and  had  been 
terminated  some  years  earlier.  The 
sight  of  DD  Shermans  clambering  up 
the  beaches  was  too  much  for  some 
defenders  who  promptly  made  them- 
selves scarce.  In  other  locations  the 
DD  Shermans  provided  invaluable  im- 
mediate fire  support  for  units  already 
in  action  on  the  beaches  and  in  the 
immediate  hinterland.  DD  Shermans 
were  also  used  at  the  Rhine  crossings 
and  during  some  north  Italian  opera- 
tions in  1944-5. 

Righ  t:  The  twin  propellers  of  this  DD 
Sherman  can  be  clearly  seen  under 
the  wading  screen,  which  is  in  the 
collapsed  position.  Only  Shermans 
were  used  operationally  with  DD 
equipm  en  tfrom  D-Day  on  wards 
until  the  crossing  of  the  Elbe  in  1945. 

Above:  DD  Shermans  are  seen  after  crossing  the  River  Elbe  in  the  late  stages  of 
the  war  in  Europe  in  1945.  The  wading  screens  could  remain  a ttached  to  their 
parent  tanks  after  use,  as  they  did  not  hinder  the  tank's  fighting  efficiency. 



The  amphibious  truck  that  became 
universally  known  as  the  'Duek'  first 
appeared  in  1942,  and  was  a version  of 
the  standard  CMC  6x6  truek  fitted 
with  a boat-like  hull  to  provide  bu^an- 
ey.  It  derived  its  name  from  the  GMC 
model  designation  system  - D showed 
that  it  was  a 1942  model,  U that  it  was 
amphibious,  K indicated  that  it  was  an 
all-wheel-drive  model,  and  W de- 
noted twin  rear  axles.  From  this  eame 
DUKW,  and  this  was  soon  shortened  to 

The  Duck  was  produced  in  large 
numbers.  By  the  time  the  war  ended 
21 , 147  had  been  built,  and  the  type  was 
used  not  only  by  the  US  Army  but  also 
by  the  British  army  and  many  other 
Allied  armed  forces.  Being  based  on  a 
widely-used  truck  chassis  it  was  a fair- 
ly simple  amphibious  vehicle  to  main- 
tain and  drive,  and  its  performanee 
was  such  that  it  could  be  driven  over 
most  types  of  country.  In  the  water  the 
Duck  was  moved  by  a single  propeller 
at  the  rear  driven  from  the  mam  en- 
gine, and  steering  was  carried  out  us- 
ing a rudder  behind  the  propeller;  ex- 
tra steering  eontrol  could  be  achieved 
by  using  the  front  wheels.  The  driver 
was  seated  in  front  of  the  main  cargo 
compartment,  whieh  was  quite  spa- 

cious and  could  just  about  carry  loads 
such  as  light  artillery  weapons  - it  was 
even  possible  to  fire  some  weapons 
such  as  the  25-pdr  field  guns  during 
the  'run  in'  to  a beach.  The  driver  was 
seated  behind  a folding  windsereen 
and  a canvas  cover  eould  be  erected 
over  the  cargo  area.  For  driving  over 
soft  areas  sueh  as  sand  beaches  the  six 
wheels  used  a central  tyre  pressure- 
control  system. 

The  Duck  was  meant  for  earrying 
supplies  from  ships  over  beaches,  but 
it  was  used  for  many  other  purposes. 
One  advantage  was  that  it  did  not  al- 
ways have  to  unload  its  supplies 
directly  on  the  beach:  on  many  occa- 
sions it  was  able  to  drive  its  load  well 
forward  to  where  the  freight  was 
needed  and  then  return.  Many  were 
used  as  troop  transports  and  the  num- 
ber of  special-purpose  versions  were 
legion.  Some  were  fitted  with  special 
weapons,  such  as  the  114.3-mm(4.5-in) 
rocKet-firing  version  used  in  the 
Pacific  and  known  as  the  Seorpion. 
Mention  has  been  made  of  field  guns 
firing  from  the  cargo  area,  and  some 
Ducks  were  armed  with  heavy 
machine-guns  for  self-defence  or  anti- 
aircraft use.  A tow  hook  was  fitted  at 
the  rear  and  some  vehicles  also  had  a 

Themain  use  of  the  DUKW  was  as  a logistical  stores  carrier  loading  supplies 
from  ships  standing  offshore.  They  could  also  carry  overland  to  supply 
dumps.  This  DUKW  is  seen  during  a training  operation  in  the  pre  D-Day 


self-recovery  winch.  Twin  bilge 
pumps  were  fitted  as  standard. 

Many  Ducks  were  sent  to  the  USSR, 
and  the  type  so  impressed  the  Soviet 
army  that  tne  USSR  produced  its  own 
copy,  known  as  the  BAV-485.  This  dif- 
fered from  the  original  by  having  a 
small  loading  ramp  at  the  rear  of  the 
cargo  area.  Many  of  these  BAV-485s 
are  still  in  use  by  the  Warsaw  Pact 
nations,  and  the  DUKW  still  serves  on 
with  a few  Western  armed  forces.  The 
British  army  did  not  pension  off  its 
Ducks  until  the  late  1970s. 

The  Duck  has  been  described  as 
one  of  the  war-winners  for  the  Allies 
and  certainly  gave  good  service 
wherever  it  was  used.  It  had  some 
limitations  in  that  the  load-carrying 

capacity  was  rather  light  and  perform- 
ance in  rough  water  left  something  to 
be  desired,  but  the  Duck  was  a good 
sturdy  vehicle  that  was  well-liked  by 
all  who  used  it. 

^ecification:  DUKW 
Crew:  1-h1 

loaded9097  kg  (20,055  lb) ; payload 
2347  kg  (5,175  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  CMC  Model  270 
engine  developing  68 .2  kW  (9 1 .5  bhp) 
Dimensions : length  9 , 75  m (32  ft  0 in) ; 
(8  ft  10  in) 

This  DUKW  has  its  canvas  tilt  raised 
over  the  load-carrying  area  and  the 
driver's  screen  raised. 

Performance:  maximum  land  speed 
80km/h  (50  mph) ; maximum  water 
speed  9.7  km/h  (6  mph) 

Armament:  see  text 


LVT  2 and  LVT  4 

Developed  from  a civil  design  in- 
tended for  use  in  the  Florida  swamps, 
the  LVT-1  was  not  really  suited  for 
combat,  being  intended  solely  as  a 
supply  vehicle.  The  Pacific  war  was  to 
prove  the  need  for  a more  capable 
amphibious  assault  vehicle.  This 
emerged  as  the  LVT  2,  which  used  a 
better  all-round  shape  to  improve  wa- 
ter performance,  though  it  was  still  a 
high  and  bulky  vehicle.  Another  im- 
provement was  a new  suspension  and 
the  track  grousers  were  made  better 
by  the  use  of  aluminium  W- shaped 
shoes  that  were  bolted  onto  the  track 
and  could  thus  be  easily  changed 
when  worn  or  damaged.  A definite 
logistic  improvement  was  introduced 
by  use  of  the  engine,  final  drive  and 
transmission  from  the  M3  light  tank.  At 
the  time  the  LVT  2 was  being  de- 
veloped these  components  were 
readily  available  and  made  spare-part 
supply  that  much  easier. 

The  steering  system  of  the  LVT  2 
gave  considerable  trouble  at  first,  for 
the  brake  drums  operated  in  oil  and 
prolonged  use  of  the  steering  bars 
could  result  in  the  brakes  seizing  up  on 
one  side.  Training  and  experience 
solved  that  problem. 

On  the  LVT  2 the  engine  was 
mounted  at  the  rear,  which  restricted 
the  size  of  the  cargo  compartment. 
This  was  relatively  easily  designed  out 
of  the  overall  layout  by  moving  the  en- 
gine forward  and  mounting  a ramp  at 
the  rear  to  ease  loading  and  unloading. 
Thus  the  LVT  2 became  the  LVT  4, 
which  was  otherwise  generally  simi- 
lar. Of  all  the  LVT  series  the  LVT  4 was 
produced  in  the  largest  numbers: 
8,348  produced  on  five  production 
lines;  in  contrast  2,963  LVT  2s  were 
produced  on  six  lines.  There  were 
some  design  differences  between  the 
LVT  2 and  LVT  4:  for  instance,  the 
driver's  controls  were  rearranged  on 
the  LVT  4,  but  the  main  improvement 
was  that  all  manner  of  loads  could  be 
carried  on  the  LVT  4,  ranging  from  a 
Jeep  to  a 105-mm  (4. 13-in)  field  ho  wit- 

Most  LVT  2s  and  LVT  4s  were 
armed  with  12.7-  or  7.62-mm  (0.5-  or 
0.3 -in)  machine-guns  on  rails  or  pin- 
tles, but  there  were  two  versions  of  the 
LVT  2 that  had  heavier  weapons.  The 
LVT(A)  1 was  an  LVT  with  an  M3  light 
tank  turret  mounting  a 37-mm  gun;  this 
was  intended  to  supply  fire  support 
during  the  early  phases  of  an  amphi- 
bious landing  during  the  interval  im- 
mediately after  reaching  the  beaches. 

The  gun  proved  to  be  too  light  for  this 
role,  so  it  was  later  supplanted  by  the 
short  75-mm  (2.95-in)  howitzer 
mounted  in  the  turret  of  the  M8  Howit- 
zer Motor  Carriage  to  produce  the 
LVT(A)  4.  On  both  of  these  gun  vehi- 
cles the  turrets  were  mounted  towards 
the  rear  of  the  cargo  area,  which  was 
covered  in  by  armoured  plate. 

The  ordinary  LVT  2s  and  LVT  4s 
became  the  main  load  carriers  of  the 
early  Pacific  operations.  The  first  LVTs 
were  used  in  action  at  Guadalcanal, 

and  thereafter  every  island-hopping 
operation  involved  them.  Some  were 
used  in  Europe  during  the  Scheldt  and 
Rhine  operations  of  1944-5  and  there 
were  numerous  odd  'one-off  attempts 
to  mount  various  types  of  weapon  in 
them,  ranging  from  rocket  batteries  to 
light  cannon.  Flamethrowers  were 
fitted  in  some  numbers,  but  all  these 
types  of  armament  should  not  disguise 
the  fact  that  the  LVT  2 and  LVT  4 were 
most  often  used  to  carry  ashore  the  first 
waves  of  US  Marines. 

LVTs  lumber  ashore  during  a 
training  exercise,  with  others 
following  in  a non-tactical  line;  in  an 
assault  the  LVTs  would  land  in  waves 
side-by-side.  The  LVT  on  the  right 
has  shielded  weapons  that  could  be 
either  machine -guns  or 

The  LVT  4 differed  from  theLVTlin 
having  a loading  ramp  at  the  rear, 
which  enabled  it  to  carry  large  loads 
such  as  Jeeps  and  some  light 
weapons.  It  carried  machine-guns 
on  pintles  at  the  front  and  sides. 


Crew:  2+7 

Powerplant:  one  Continental  W970-9 A 
petrol  engine  developing  186.4  KW 
(250  hp) 

Weights:  unloaded  1 1000  kg 
(24,250  lb);  loaded  13721  kg  (30,250  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  7,975  m (21  ft  6 in); 
(8  ft  2.5  in) 

Performance:  maximum  land  speed 
speed  12  km/h  (7.5  mph);  road  radius 
241  km  (150  miles);  maximum  water 
radius  161  km(lOOmiles) 

Armament:  one  12.7-mm(0.5-in)and 
one  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-guns 

Right.  TheLVT(A)  1 was  armed  with 
the  turret  and  37 -mm  (1. 45-in)  gun  of 
theM3  light  tank  to  provide  some 
measure  of  local  fire  support  in  the 
initial  stages  of  an  amphibious 

The  British  Army  received  a number  ofLVTs,  and  knew  them  as  the  Buffalo. 
Here  a number  are  being  prepared  for  the  crossing  of  the  River  Elbe  during 
the  latter  stages  of  the  war  in  north  west  Europe;  it  was  in  these  final  river 
crossings  that  the  Buffalo  saw  most  use. 



Compared  with  the  earlier  LVT  1 and 
LVT  2,  the  LVT  3 (or  Bushmaster)  was 
an  entirely  new  design.  For  a start  it 
had  two  engines  (Cadillac  units),  each 
mounted  in  a side  sponson.  This 
allowed  an  increase  in  size  of  the  car- 
go-carrying area  and  enabled  a load- 
ing ramp  to  be  installed  at  the  rear. 
The  overall  outline  remained  the  same 
as  on  the  earlier  vehicles,  but  there 
were  numerous  changes.  The  track 
was  entirely  new,  being  rubber- 
bushed,  and  the  width  was  reduced 
with  no  detriment  to  water  propulsion 
which  continued  to  be  carried  out  us- 
ing the  tracks  only. 

The  first  LVT  3 appeared  during 
1945  and  by  the  time  production  en- 
ded 2,692  had  been  produced.  It  went 
on  to  be  the  'standard^  post-war  vehi- 
cle of  its  type  but  by  1945  the  LVTs 
were  used  not  only  by  the  US  Marines 
but  by  the  US  Army.  This  service  had 
the  usual  doubts  regarding  the 
efficiency  of  LVTs,  but  after  its  initial 
misgivings  came  to  value  the  type's 

attributes  just  as  much  as  did  the  US 
Marines  (although  the  US  Army  used 
the  LVT  4 mainly  as  a supply  carrier). 
For  a short  while  the  LVT  3 was  used 
by  both  the  US  Marines  and  the  US 

On  the  LVT  3 the  driver  and  co- 
driver were  located  in  a cab  forward  of 
the  cargo  area.  Behind  them  was  the 
gunner's  firing  step  and  by  the  time  the 
LVT  3 arrived  on  the  scene  the  arma- 
ment of  the  LVTs  had  been  increased 
from  the  initial  single  machine-gun  to 
three;  one  12.7-mm  (0.5-m)  heavy  and 
two  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  medium  machine- 
guns.  Along  each  side  of  the  cargo 
area  were  the  sponsons  containing  not 
only  the  engines  but  the  hydramatic 
transmissions,  bilge  pumps  and  blow- 
ers to  remove  fumes.  Some  American 
references  refer  to  these  sponsons  as 
pontoons,  for  they  certainly  added  to 
the  vehicle  buoyancy.  The  rear  ramp 
was  raised  and  lowered  by  a hand- 
operated  winch  and  had  heavy  rubber 
seals  along  the  sides  to  keep  out  water. 

TheLVT(E),  commonly  known  as  theSea  Serpent,  was  an  LVT4  converted  by 
the  British  Army  to  mount  two  Wasp  flamethrowers  forward  and  a machine- 
gun  aft.  Despite  the  potential  of  this  flame  weapon  the  Sea  Serpent  was  little 
used  by  the  British. 

Any  water  that  did  get  in  was  drained 
through  gratings  m the  cargo  area 
deck  to  be  dealt  with  by  the  bilge 

The  LVT  3 was  armoured  like  the 
LVT  2 and  LVT  4,  but  extra  protection 
could  be  added  by  means  of  an 
armoured  cab  for  the  driver  and  co- 
driver and  by  the  use  of  add-on  panels 
of  armour.  (These  armoured  panels 
could  also  be  added  to  the  LVT  2). 
Extra  shields  were  also  available  to 
protect  the  machine-guns  and  their 
gunners.  Perhaps  the  most  reassuring 
item  of  equipment  carried  was  a 
wooden  box  in  the  driver's  cab.  This 
contained  a quantity  of  rags,  waste 
material  and  tapered  wooden  plugs  of 
various  sizes  to  stop  any  leaks  caused 
by  enemy  action  or  otherwise  in- 
duced. Other  special-to-type  equip- 
ment carried  included  signal  lamps,  a 
water  tank  and  even  some  spare  parts 
for  on-the-spot  repairs. 

The  LVT  3 represented  the  final 
wartime  point  in  the  line  that  could  be 

traced  back  to  the  Roebling  tractors, 
but  it  was  not  the  end  of  the  line.  Dur- 
ing the  post-war  years  the  concept  was 
developed  still  further  and  many  of  the 
present  vehicles  now  in  use  can  trace 
their  origins  to  the  LVTs. 

Crew:  3 

Weights:  unloaded  12065  kg 
(26,600  lb);  loaded  17509  kg  (38,600  lb) 
Powerplant:  two  Cadillac  petrol 
engines  developing  a total  of  164. 1 kW 
(220  hp) 

Dimensions : 7 ,95  m(26ft  1 in) ; width 
3 .25  m ( 1 0 ft  8 in) ; height  3 .023  m (9  ft 
11  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
27.3  km/h  ( 1 7 mph) ; maximum  water 
speed  9.7  km/h  (6  mph);  road  radius 
24 1 km(  1 50miles) ; waterradius 

Armament:  one  12.7-mm(0.5-in)and 
two  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-guns 



M29C  Weasel 

In  1943  plans  were  made  to  invade 
German-held  Norway,  and  it  was 
appreciated  that  some  form  of  snow- 
crossing cargo  carrier  would  be  re- 
quired. After  a series  of  trials  a tracked 
vehicle  known  as  the  T15  Weasel  was 
selected  for  service  and  this  was  later 
developed  into  the  T24,  still  named 
Weasel  and  developed  for  use  not  only 
over  snow  but  over  mud,  rough  terrain 
and  swamps.  In  time  the  T24  was  stan- 
dardized as  the  M29  Cargo  Carrier 
and  from  this  evolved  the  M29C 
amphibious  light  cargo  carrier.  The 
name  Weasel  was  once  more  carried 
over,  even  though  the  official  name 
Ark  was  promulgated. 

The  Mz9C  was  a simple  conversion 
of  the  land-use  M29.  Changes  were 
made  to  the  flexible  rubber  tracks  to 
enable  them  to  provide  propulsion  in 
water,  flotation  chambers  were  pro- 
vided at  front  and  rear,  and  twin  rud- 
ders were  added  for  steering  in  water. 
The  land  M29  had  already  demons- 
trated its  abilities  to  cross  just  about 
any  type  of  terrain,  including  snow  and 
rough  stony  ground,  and  the  M29C  re- 
tained all  these  qualities.  In  water  it 
was  somewhat  slow  and  it  could  not 
operate  in  other  than  inland  waterway 
conditions,  so  its  use  in  surf  or  rough 
water  was  very  limited.  But  when  used 
correctly  the  M29C  soon  proved  to  be 
a valuable  vehicle.  Its  uses  were  le- 
gion, especially  during  the  many  is- 
land-hopping campaigns  in  the  Pacific 
theatre.  Once  ashore  they  were  used 
to  cross  terrain  that  no  other  vehicle 
could  attempt,  and  they  carried  men, 
supplies  ana  even  towed  artillery  us- 
ing their  rear-mounted  towing  pintle. 
Rice  fields  were  no  obstacle  and  the 
M29C  was  equally  at  home  crossing 
sand  dunes. 

The  M29C  and  the  land-based  M29 
Weasels  were  used  as  ambulances  on 
many  occasions.  Another  use  was  for 
crossing  minefields  as  the  Weasel's 
ground  pressure  was  very  low,  often 
too  low  to  set  off  anti-tank  mines,  A 
technique  was  even  evolved  whereby 


* , Type  2 Ka-Mi 

The  Japanese  army  produced  an 
amphibious  halftrack  as  early  as  1930, 
and  tested  it  extensively  before  decid- 
ing that  it  was  too  unde^owered  for 
full  cross-country  mobility  and  thus 
turning  to  other  projects.  However,  the 
idea  of  an  amphibious  armoured  vehi- 
cle of  some  kind  was  not  entirely  lost 
and  some  low-priority  experimenta- 
tion went  on  throughout  the  1930s  in  an 
attempt  to  produce  an  amphibious 
vehicle  for  the  Japanese  navy.  One  of 
these  projects  was  to  add  kapok- filled 
floats  to  a Type  95  Kyu-Go  light  tank, 
the  tank/float  combination  being  prop- 
elled by  two  outboard  motors.  The 
idea  was  to  produce  a tank-landing  or 
river-crossing  system  only,  out 
although  the  floats  worked  the  com- 
bination was  very  difficult  to  steer  and 
the  project  was  abandoned  at  the  trials 

But  the  idea  of  making  the  Type  95 
Kyu-Go  into  an  anmhibious  light  tank 
did  not  disappear.  Instead  of  the  float 
devices  it  was  decided  to  redesign  the 
hull  of  the  Type  95  and  use  steel  pon- 
toons fore  and  aft  to  provide  buoyancy . 
The  wheels,  track,  suspension  and  en- 
gine (along  with  many  other  compo- 
nents of  the  Type  95)  were  retained. 

Amtricm  personnel  undergo  a rather  bumpy  ride  in  an  M29C  Weasel  over 
swampy  terrain.  The  rear-mounted  rudders  can  be  clearly  seen,  and  these 
were  lowered  once  the  vehicle  actually  entered  the  water. 

TheM29CStudebaker  Weasel  was  used  as  an  amphibious  cargo  carrier,  but 
could  be  used  to  carry  personnel.  Although  smalt,  it  could  carry  useful  loads 
over  almost  any  type  of  terrain,  and  once  in  the  water  used  its  tracks  to 
provide  prop  ulsion  at  slow  but  steady  speed. 

the  Weasels  could  be  controlled  re- 
motely using  hand-operated  cords,  but 
this  technique  had  its  limitations.  The 
Weasels  were  also  very  reliable:  they 
rarely  broke  down  and  their  track  life 
was  later  found  to  be  far  in  excess  of 

The  M29C  was  also  used  by  signal 
units,  for  its  ability  to  cross  water  and 
land  impassable  to  other  vehicles 
made  it  a very  valuable  wirelaying 
vehicle.  But  it  was  as  a supply  or  per- 
sonnel carrier  that  it  was  most  useful. 
Although  unarmoured,  M29Cs  were 
often  used  to  carry  armed  troops 
across  water  obstacles  and  land  them 
in  front  of  an  enemy  position,  other 
M29Cs  then  following  up  with  ammuni- 
tion and  supplies. 

By  the  time  the  war  ended  about 
8,000  M29C  Weasels  had  been  pro- 
duced, and  orders  for  a further  10,000 
were  then  cancelled.  But  the  M29C 
concept  had  been  well  established  by 
then  and  since  1945  many  follow-on 
designs  have  been  produced. 

M29Cs  were  used  by  several  of  the 
Allied  armies.  The  British  army  made 
use  of  a number  during  1944  and  1945 
and  for  a few  years  after  that.  Some 
European  armies  used  them  for  years 
after  the  war,  and  numbers  can  still  be 
found  in  civilian  hands,  hard  at  work 
over  swampy  terrain. 

Crew:  1-1-3 

Weights : unloaded2 1 95  kg  (4, 840 lb) ; 
loaded 2740  kg  (6,040  lb) ; payload 
390  kg  (860  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  Studebaker  Model  6- 
170  petrol  engine  developing  55.9  kW 

Dimensions : length  overall 4.794m 
(15  ft8.75in)  ;lengthoverhull4.4m 
( 1 4ft5 .5  in) ; width  1 ,7  m(5  ft7  in) ; 
height  1 .797  m(5  ft  10,75  in) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
58.58  km/h  (36.4  mph);  maximum 
water  speed  about  6.4  km/h  (4  mph) 
Armament:  none 

but  the  hull  became  a larger  and  bul- 
kier shape.  Large  slabs  of  armour  plate 
were  used  on  the  hull,  which  had  in- 
built buoyancy  chambers,  and  a rede- 
signed turret  carried  a 37-mm  anti- 
tank gun  with  a co-axial  7 . 7 -mm  (0.303- 
in)  machine-gun.  Special-to-role  ex- 
tras included  a bilge  pump,  and  drain 
holes  were  inserted  into  the  road 
wheels.  In  the  water  the  two  steel  pon- 
toons were  held  in  place  by  securing 
clamps,  and  once  ashore  the  pontoons 
were  discarded.  Steering  was 

effected  by  rudders  on  the  rear  pon- 
toon, controlled  by  cables  from  a 
steering  wheel  in  the  turret.  As  there 
was  very  little  freeboard  when  floating 
a trunking  arrangement  was  usually 
erected  around  the  engine  intake 
grills  on  the  hull  top. 

The  amphibious  light  tank  was  de- 
signated the  Amphibious  Tank  Type  2 
Ka-Mi  and  it  went  into  production  dur- 
ing 1942.  Compared  with  the  land- 
based  light  tanks  it  had  several  innova- 
tions, not  the  least  of  which  was  radio 

The  Type  2 Ka-Mi  amphibious  Ugh  t 
tank  was  the  most  commonly-used  of 
the  Japanese  swimming  tanks.  11  had 
pontoon  floats  fore  and  aft  to  give 
most  of  the  swimming  buoyancy,  and 
the  bulky  hull  also  had  large 
buoyancy  chambers  to  provide  even 
more  notation  once  in  the  water. 


and  a telephone  intercom  system  for 
all  crew  members.  Compared  with 
land-based  tanks,  the  Type  2 also  had 
an  increase  in  crew  numbers:  the 
Type  95  Kyu-Go  had  a crew  of  only 
three,  but  the  Type  2 could  house  five, 
mainly  as  a result  of  the  increased  in- 
ternal volume  of  the  hull.  One  of  this 
increased  crew  was  a mechanic  who 
looked  after  the  engine  and  the  power 
transfer  from  the  road  wheels  to  the 
two  propellers  that  drove  the  vehicle 
in  water. 

For  its  period  the  Type  2 Ka-Mi  was 
a successful  little  amphibian,  and  was 
used  operationally  on  several  occa- 
sions by  the  Japanese  navy.  However, 
it  suffered  the  fate  of  most  Japanese 
armour,  being  used  in  dribs  and  drabs 
to  provide  purely  local  infantry  sup- 
port. By  1944  they  were  more  often 
than  not  used  simply  as  land-based 
pillboxes  in  attempts  to  defend  islands 
against  invasion,  which  was  a waste  of 
their  amphibious  potential.  Their  other 
problem  was  that  there  were  never 
enough  of  them.  Japanese  industry 
could  never  produce  enough  to  meet 
demands,  and  as  every  vehicle  was 
virtually  hand-built  production  was  al- 
ways slow.  But  for  all  that  the  Type  2 
Ka-Mi  was  one  of  the  best  designs  of  its 

Type  2 Ka-Mi 
Crew:  5 

Weights:  with  pontoons  11301  kg 

(24,914  lb);  without  pontoons  9571  kg 
(21,100  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  6-cylinder  air-cooled 
diesel  developing  82kW  (1  lOhp) 
Dimensions:  length  with  pontoons 
7.417m  (24  ft  4 in) ; length  without 
pontoons 4. 826  m ( 1 5 ft  1 0 in) ; width 

Performance:  maximum  land  speed 
37  km/h  (23  mph);  maximum  water 
speed  9.65  km/h  (6  mph);  land  radius 

199.5  km  (125  miles) ; water  radius 

149.6  km  (93  miles) 

Armament:  one  37-mm  gun  and  two 
7.7-mm  (0.303-in)  machine-guns 

This  Type  2 Ka-Mi  Ugh  t amphibious 
tank  has  its  forward  pontoon  float 
detached  and  resting  on  the  ground, 
clearly  showing  the  large  size  of  this 
component.  The  truck  is  a 2 -ton 
Nissan  180  cargo  vehicle  produced 
during  the  la  tter  stages  of  the  war  in 
the  Pacific. 



In  1936  the  German  army  general  staff 
called  upon  Rheinmetall  Borsig  AG  to 
develop  a special  tractor  that  could  be 
used  in  amphibious  operations.  The 
idea  was  that  the  tractor  could  tow  be- 
hind it  a special  trailer  that  could  also 
float,  capable  of  carrying  vehicles  or 
other  cargo  up  to  a weight  of  about 
18000  kg  (39,683  lb).  Afloat  the  tractor 
would  act  as  a tug  for  the  floating  trail- 
er, but  once  ashore  the  tractor  would 
have  to  pull  the  trailer  to  a point  where 
it  could  be  safely  unloaded. 

Rheinmetall  undertook  the  project 
and  produced  the  Land-Wasser- 
Schlepper  (land-water  tractor)  or 
LWS.  The  LWS  was  very  basically  a 
motor  tug  fitted  with  tracks  and  was  a 
large  and  awkward-looking  machine 
that  nevertheless  turned  out  to  be  a 
remarkably  workmanlike  vehicle.  The 
LWS  had  a flat  bottom  on  each  side  of 
which  were  two  long  sets  of  tracks.  On 
each  side  four  sets  of  road  wheels 
were  suspended  in  pairs  from  leaf- 
spring suspensions.  The  LWS  had  a 
pronounced  bow  and  on  top  was  a 
cabin  for  the  crew  of  three  men  and 
space  for  a further  20.  What  appeared 
to  be  a small  funnel  was  in  fact  an  air 
intake  for  the  engine.  At  the  rear,  or 
stern,  two  large  propellers  were 
placed  for  water  propulsion.  To  round 
off  the  nautical  flavour  of  the  LWS  the 
sides  of  the  crew  cabin  had  portholes. 

In  contrast  the  floating  trailer  was  a 
large  slab-sided  affair  that,  on  land, 
moved  on  wheels  located  on  one  axle 
forward  and  two  at  the  rear.  At  the  rear 
a ramp  could  be  folded  down  for  load- 
ing, a typical  load  being  an  SdKfz  9 
18-tonne  halftrack  whose  crew  trans- 
ferred to  the  LWS  for  the  water  iour- 

The  LWS  and  trailer  concept  was 

conducted  through  a series  of  trials 
with  no  great  sense  of  urgency  until  the 
aftermath  of  May  and  June  1940 
brought  the  prospect  of  'Seelowe'  (Op- 
eration 'Sea  Lion',  the  invasion  of  the 
UK)  to  the  forefront.  The  LWS  and  trail- 
er could  no  doubt  have  been  used  for 
such  an  operation  but  it  was  really  in- 
tended for  the  calmer  waters  of  inland 
water  obstacles.  Even  so  the  LWS  was 
pushed  with  a greater  sense  of  urgen- 
cy for  a while,  but  the  project  never 
really  got  off  the  ground  and  by  1941  it 
had  been  abandoned. 

One  point  that  counted  against  the 

LW S was  that  it  was  unarmoured,  and  it 
was  felt  that  armour  would  be  needed 
for  any  operations  likely  to  be  under- 
taken. It  was  also  felt  that  the  floating 
trailer  was  a bit  cumbersome  so  a new 
idea  was  taken  up.  The  overall  layout 
of  the  LWS  was  retained,  but  this  time 
the  trackwork  and  suspension  of  a 
PzKpfw  IV  tank  was  used  to  carry  a 
lightly  armoured  floating  chassis.  Two 
or  these  vehicles,  known  as  Panzer- 
fahre  or  PzF,  were  supposed  to  carry  a 
large  pontoon  between  them  with  the 
tank  or  other  load  on  it.  Thus  the  PzF 
would  have  been  a ferry  rather  than  a 
tractor,  but  the  whole  project  was 
abandoned  during  1942  after  two  pro- 
totypes had  been  built  and  tested. 

After  1945  the  LWS  was  captured  in 

Germany  and  brought  to  the  UK  for  a 
thorough  technical  evaluation  by  the 



Crew:  3-h20 

Weight:  13000  kg  (28,660  lb) 
Poweralant:  one  Maybach  HL  120 
TRM  V-12  engine  developing 

Dimensions : length  8 ,60  m (28  ft  2 . 6 in) ; 
widths.  16  m(10  ft4.4in);  height3.13  m 
(10  ft  L3  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40km/h  (24. 85  mph);  maximum  water 
speed  unloaded  12,5  km/h  (7.8  mph); 
road  range  240  km  (149  miles) 
Armament:  none 

The  German  LWS  was  built  to  carry  up  to  20  men  and  a crew  of  3,  and  it  could 
also  tow  a floating  trailer  carrying  a vehicle  or  some  form  of  weapon. 




The  term  Schwimmwagen  that  is 
usually  applied  to  the  amphibious  ver- 
sion of  the  military  Volkswagen  was 
not  strictly  correct,  for  the  term  merely 
means  amphibious  vehicle.  The  cor- 
rect designation  was  Schwimmfahiger 
Gelandeng  Typ  166,  though  the  vehi- 
cle was  usually  just  called  the 
Schwimmwagen.  It  was  originally  de- 
veloped during  1940  for  use  by  air- 
borne troops,  and  was  supposed  to 
have  a good  cross-country  perform- 
ance coupled  with  an  amphibious 
capability.  It  was  designed  to  make  as 
much  use  of  existing  Kiibelwagen  (the 
military  version  of  the  Volkswagen) 
components  as  possible.  In  the  end 
most  of  those  built  were  used  mainly 
on  the  Eastern  Front,  and  the  produc- 
tion reached  a total  of  14,625. 

The  Schwimmwagen  was  used  to 
supplement  the  various  types  of 
motorcycle/sidecar  combinations 
used  by  reconnaissance  and  other  un- 
its. It  was  a small,  sturdy  little  vehicle 
with  a rather  bulky  body  to  provide 
flotation,  and  with  a propeller  at  the 
rear  for  water  propulsion.  It  could  seat 
four  men  at  a squeeze,  especially  if 
they  carried  all  their  equipment,  for 
internal  space  was  rather  limited.  The 
production  line  was  at  the  Volkswagen 
plant  at  Wolfsburg,  and  it  was  often 
disrupted  by  Allied  bombing  raids  be- 
fore the  line  was  closed  during  1944, 
mainly  as  a result  of  raw  material  shor- 

But  the  German  army  demanded 
more  and  more  of  these  vehicles  dur- 
ing the  early  war  years,  for  the 
Scnwimmwagen  was  a handy  little 
machine.  Apart  from  its  reconnaiss- 
ance role,  many  were  used  by  com- 
manders of  all  types  of  unit  who  found 
them  very  useful  for  visiting  scattered 
units,  especially  over  the  wide  ex- 
panses of  the  Eastern  Front.  The  vehi- 
cle was  powered  by  a 1.3-litre  petrol 
engine  that  was  slightly  more  powerful 
than  that  of  the  Kiibelwagen  and  which 
gave  the  Schwimmwagen  a better  all- 

round performance.  To  make  sure  that 
none  of  the  cross-country  power  was 
lost  special  all-terrain  tyres  were 

The  propeller  used  to  drive  the 
vehicle  in  water  was'  located  on  a 
swinging  arm  at  the  rear.  Before  the 
vehicle  entered  the  water  this  arm  had 
to  be  lowered  to  align  the  screw  with 
the  drive  chain,  and  once  propeller 
drive  had  been  selected  the  rest  of  the 

transmission  was  isolated.  Water 
steering  was  effected  via  the  front 
wheels.  Despite  its  handiness  in  water 
the  Schwimmwagen  proved  to  be 
equally  at  home  in  the  cfesert  wastes  of 
North  Africa,  some  ending  in  that 
theatre  with  the  Deutsches  Afrika 
Korps.  Rommel  made  requests  for 
more,  but  instead  the  bulk  of  the  pro- 
duction went  to  the  Eastern  Front 
where  the  air-cooled  engine  and  the 

British  troops  maintain  a captured 
German  Scnwimmwagen  that  has 
been  pressed  in  to  Allied  use  as  a 
runabout.  They  are  working  on  the 
propeller  unit  that  was  lowered  as 
the  vehicle  moved  into  the  water. 
Note  the  overall  chubby  appearance 
of  the  design,  producedby  the  use  of 
notation  chambers. 

presence  of  more  water  obstacles 
meant  it  could  be  used  to  better  effect; 
Rommel  instead  got  Klibelwagens. 
Many  of  the  Eastern  Front  models 
were  fitted  with  a special  tank  contain- 
ing a very  volatile  fuel  for  starting 
under  winter  conditions. 

The  Schwimmwagen  was  an  attrac- 
tive little  vehicle  and  many  were  used 
by  the  Allies,  often  as  trophies  but 
more  usually  for  run-abouts  by  Allied 
commanders.  Many  still  exist  as  col- 
lector's items. 


Schwimmfahiger  Gelandeng  Typ  166 
Crew:  1-h3 

Weights:  unloaded  903.5  kg  (1,992  lb); 

Powerplant:  one  VW  1.13  litre  petrol 
engine  developing  18.64  kW  (25  hp) 
Dimensions : length  3 . 825  m ( 1 2 ft 
6.6in) ; width  1 .48  m(4ft  10.3  in) ; height 
1.615  m (5  ft  3.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
80km/h(50mph);  maximum  water 
speed  1 1 km/h  (7  mph);  range 400- 
450  km  (250-280  miles) 

Armament:  none 

Waffen  SS  soldiers  from  one  of  the  SS 
Balkan  units  are  about  to  board  their 
Schwimmwagen  during  operations 
against  partisans.  During  such 
operations  the  amphibious  qualities 
of  this  vehicle  could  often  be  used  to 
good  advantage,  as  water  obstacles 
were  n o problem. 


Allied  and  Axis 

The  need  for  the  supporting  arms  to  keep  pace  with  the  tanks  was  obvious  to 
serious  students  of  armoured  warfare  in  the  1930s,  but  wheeied  vehicies  were 
roadbound  and  tracked  support  vehicies  seemed  an  extravagance.  Haiftracks 
appeared  to  be  the  answer,  and  Germany  and  the  USA  buiit  them  by  the  thousand. 

Between  1939  and  1945  the 
mobility  of  the  halftrack 
imparted  to  all  arms  the  ability 
to  move  at  a pace  that  had  not 
been  even  contemplated  in  1918. 

Halftracks  of  all  kinds  moved 
infantry,  combat  engineers,  sig- 
nallers and  artillery  around  the 
battlefields  of  World  War  II  at 
speeds  not  even  the  prophets 
of  armoured  warfare  had  envis- 
aged. Instead  of  the  long  lines  of 
marching  infantry  that  advanced 
across  the  battlefields  of  1918, 
the  front-line  soldier  of  1945 
moved  in  formations  of  halftracks 
carrying  not  only  the  vanguard 
of  the  infantry  but  also  all  the 
support  arms. 

The  impact  of  the  internal 
combustion  engine  on  the  battle- 
field is  frequently  quoted  with  ref- 
erence to  the  tank,  but  it  was 
soon  learned  that  the  tank  by 
itself  could  not  operate  without 
support,  of  which  the  most  impor- 
tant was  that  furnished  by  the 
infantry,  followed  by  that  of  the 
engineers  and  artillery.  With  the 
latter  two  went  all  the  other  sup- 
ply, command  and  communication 
functions,  which  had  to  have  the 
mobility  and  speed  of  the  tank. 

The  halftrack  was  the  best  way  of 
satisfying  this  operational  require- 
ment, and  of  all  the  nations 
involved  in  World  War  II  the  Soviet 
Union  was  alone  in  not  producing 

An  American  halftrack  - the  classic  Half-Track  Car  M2  - loaded  with  jerry  cans  of  fuel  comes 
ashore  to  reinforce  the  Allied  bridgehead. 

such  vehicles.  Even  the  British, 
with  their  penchant  for  the 
tracked  Bren  Gun  and  Universal 
Carriers,  were  pleased  to  receive 
American  halftracks,  and  the 
Soviet  Union  also  used  many 
when  it  suited  them  to  accept 
such  machines.  The  French  devel- 
oped many  models  of  halftracks 
but  had  little  chance  to  use  the 
type  in  combat  in  1940,  mainly  as 
a result  of  the  rapid  acceptance  of 
armoured  warfare  principles  by 
their  German  opponents.  It  was 
the  Germans  who  made  the  best 

use  of  the  halftrack's  capabilities, 
and  not  even  the  massive  output 
of  the  American  arsenals  can  over- 
shadow the  impact  that  the 
German  halftracks  made  at  the 
time:  even  after  a period  of  more 
than  40  years  that  impact  still 
remains  in  the  popular  imagina- 
tion. Thus,  although  the  Americans 
produced  more  of  their  halftracks 
than  can  be  easily  appreciated,  the 
main  emphasis  in  this  study  is  on 
the  German  halftracks,  from  the 
tiny  Kettenrad  to  the  mighty 
SclKfz  9. 

But  one  factor  must  be  borne 
in  mind  when  reading  this  sec- 
tion; in  cost  terms,  weight  for 
weight  the  halftrack  was,  and  still 
is,  more  expensive  than  the  tank. 
The  high  degree  of  technology 
required  to  make  the  halftrack 
reliable  is  such  that  each  example 
was  an  engineering  achievement 
purchased  at  high  cost  in  time 
and  facilities.  If  only  a small  sector 
of  that  effort  had  been  diverted  to 
other  weapons  or  equipment 
things  might  have  been  different 
for  the  German  armed  forces. 



SdKfz  2 kleines  Kettenrad 

The  SdKfz  2 kleines  Kettenrad  (SdKfz 
standing  for  Sonderkraftwagen  or  spe- 
cial vehicle,  and  kleines  Kettenrad 
(meaning  small  wheel-track  or  half- 
track) was  developed  initially  for  use 
by  the  new  German  army  and  Luftwaf- 
fe airborne  and  paratroop  units,  and 
was  supposed  to  be  a very  light  type  of 
artillery  tractor.  It  was  originally  in- 
tended as  a towing  vehicle  for  the  spe- 
cialized 3 .7-cm  35/36  anti-tank  gun 

developed  for  the  airborne  role,  and 
also  for  the  range  of  light  recoilless 
guns  that  had  also  been  developed  for 
use  by  these  specialized  troops. 

The  first  of  these  small  tractors  en- 
tered service  in  1941.  The  initial  ser- 
vice model  was  the  NSU-101,  a small 
but  complex  vehicle  that  could  carry 
three  men,  including  the  driver  who 
sat  behind  his  steering  bar  close  to  the 
centre  of  the  vehicle.  The  relatively 
long  tracks  took  up  much  of  the  length 
of  the  vehicle  on  each  side,  and  the 
engine  was  located  under  and  behind 
the  driver.  Two  men  could  sit  at  the 
rear,  facing  backwards,  and  the  equip- 
ment to  be  towed  was  connected  by  a 
hitch  at  the  rear.  Apart  from  light  artil- 
lery pieces  the  vehicle  could  also  tow 
a specially-designed  light  trailer  that 
could  carry  ammunition  or  fuel,  and 
very  often  the  seating  for  the  two  extra 
men  was  removed  to  make  more  room 
for  cargo  and  supplies. 

By  the  time  the  Kettenrad  entered 
service  its  main  intended  use  had  pas- 
sed with  the  mauling  of  the  Luftwaffe 
airborne  forces  on  Crete.  Thereafter 
the  German  airborne  formations 
fought  as  ground  troops,  and  the  need 
for  their  light  artillery  tractors  was  no 
longer  pressing.  Accordingly  the  Ket- 
tenrad was  used  mainly  as  a supply 
vehicle  for  troops  operating  in  areas 
where  other  supply  vehicles  could  not 
move  without  difficulty.  While  the  little 
Kettenrads  could  carry  out  supply  mis- 
sions over  seemingly  impassable 
tracts  of  mud  or  sand  they  could  not 
carry  very  much,  and  their  towing 
capacity  was  limited  to  450  kg  (992  lb). 
This  was  often  a drawback  compound- 
ed by  the  fact  that  relatively  few  Ket- 
tenrads were  built,  so  the  few  that 
were  available  were  usually  reserved 
for  really  difficult  missions.  At  one 

Above:  The  little  SdKfz  2 kleines 
Kettenrad  was  originally  intended 
for  use  as  a Ugh  t artillery  tractor  by 
airborne  units,  but  after  Crete  these 
vehicles  were  more  often  used  as 
light  forward  area  supply  vehicles 
for  use  over  difficult  terrain.  Three 
men  could  be  carried. 

point  it  was  proposed  that  a larger  ver- 
sion to  be  known  as  the  HK102  would 
be  produced.  This  would  have  a larger 
2-litre  (122-cu  in)  engine  (the  original 
version  had  a 1.5-litre/91.55-cu  in  en- 
gine) that  could  power  a larger  vehicle 
capable  of  carrying  five  men  or  a cor- 
respondingly larger  payload  of  sup- 
plies. It  reached  the  design  stage  but 
got  no  further,  since  by  1944  it  was 
finally  appreciated  that  the  Kettenrads 
were  an  expensive  luxury  that  the  Ger- 
man armed  forces  could  no  longer 
afford  and  the  type  went  out  of  produc- 

Those  Kettenrads  in  use  in  1944 
served  up  to  the  end,  and  there  was 
even  a speciahzed  type  for  high  speed 
cable-laying  to  linkup  command  posts 
and  forward  positions.  There  were 
actually  two  variants  of  this  cable- 
laying version,  one  for  laying  normal 
telephone  cable  (SdKfz  2/1)  and  the 
other  for  laying  heavy-duty  cable  for 
large  switchboards  (SdKfz  2/2).  Both 
mounted  the  cable  drums  above  the 
centre  of  the  vehicle  on  a steel 

framework  and  a signaller  guided  the 
cable  off  the  drums  and  onto  the 
ground  using  a cable  guide. 

SdKfz  2 
Crew:  3 

Weights:  1200  kg  (2,646  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  Opel  Olyrnpia  38 
petrol  engine  developing  2o.8  kW 
(36  hp) 

Dimensions : length  2.74m(8ftll.9in); 

British  soldiers  try  out  a captured 
SdKfz  2 kleines  Kettenrad.  The  driver 
satin  a well  between  the  two  tracks, 
with  the  engine  just  behind  him. 

width  1 .0m(3  ft3.4in)  ;height  1.01m 
(3  ft  18  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
80  km/h  (49.7  mph) 

Armament:  none 


SdKfz  10  leichter  Zugkraftwagen  It 

From  the  mass  and  weight  of  the  18- 
tonne  SdKfz  9 the  numerical  sequence 
changed  back  to  the  lightest  of  the 
artillery  tractors,  the  SdKfz  10  leichter 
Zugkraftwagen  It.  This  light  tractor 
had  its  origins  in  a 1932  army  require- 
ment, and  the  development  work  was 
carried  out  by  Demag  of  Wetter- Ruhr. 
The  first  prototype  was  completed 
during  1934  and  in  1937  the  production 
model  (the  D 7)  emerged.  This  re- 
mained in  production  until  1944  with  its 
basic  form  virtually  unchanged,  and 
later  attempts  to  replace  this  model 
never  did  get  very  far  since  the  origin- 
al was  deemed  more  than  adequate  for 
its  role. 

The  task  was  to  tow  light  infantry  and 
other  weapons,  and  to  carry  the 
weapon  detachment  of  up  to  eight 
men.  These  weapons  included  the  3.7- 
cm  (1.456-in)  Pax  35/36  anti-tank  gun, 
the  7.5-cm  (2.95-in)  leIG  18  infantry 
support  gun,  and  the  larger  15-cm  (5.9- 
in)  sIG3j  infantry  gun.  Other  weapons 
towed  included  light  anti-aircraft  guns 

and  later  in  the  war  the  5-cm  (1.97-in) 
Pak  38  and  7, 5-cm  Pak  40  anti-tank 
guns.  The  basic  vehicle  was  also  used 
as  the  basis  for  the  armoured  SdKfz  250 
series.  All  in  all  the  SdKfz  10  was  a very 
popular  little  vehicle  that  remained  in 
demand  by  all  arms  throughout  the 
war.  Production  was  carried  out  at  two 
main  centres,  one  of  which  was  the 
Sauerwerke  in  Vienna,  but  by  1943 
production  concentrated  at  the  other 
main  centre  (the  Mechanische  Werke 
at  Cottbus)  when  the  Vienna  plant 
switched  to  other  things.  By  German 
terms  the  production  totals  were  large, 
more  than  17,000  being  completed. 

By  far  the  most  numerous  of this  pro- 
duction total  was  the  basic  tractor  but 
as  usual  this  vehicle  was  used  for  other 
things.  The  first  variants  were  pro- 
duced as  a reflection  on  the  expected 
nature  of  the  coming  war  for  three 
variants,  the  SdKfz  10/1,  SdKfz  10/2  and 
SdKfz  10/3  were  all  produced  as  che- 
mical warfare  vehicles:  the  first  was  a 
specially-equipped  chemical  recon- 

SdKfz  10  leichter  Zugkraftwagen  It 
tractors  are  being  used  here  in  their 
intmd&drol&  to  to\v5-cm  (1.97-in) 
Pak38  anti-tank  guns.  The  vehicles 

have  their  canvas  covers  stowed, 
and  the  gun  crews  'kit  and 
equipment  is  stowed  at  the  vehicle 


ThisSdKfZlO/4,  a vdivimt  of  the  bdisic 
I -tonne  tractor,  is  fitted  with  a 2-cm 
(0.79-in) Flak 30  complete  with  its 
curved  shield  und  with  the  sides 
folded  down  for  action.  Some  of 
these  vehicles  were  fitted  with 
armoured  cabs  to  protect  the  driver. 
Extra  ammunition  was  usually 
carried  in  a towed  trailer. 

naissance  vehicle,  while  the  second 
and  third  were  decontamination  vehi- 
cles carrying  equipment-cleansing 
solutions  in  drums  or  a tank.  Very  few 
of  these  special  vehicles  appear  to 
have  been  produced,  and  no  records 
survive  of  any  ever  being  encoun- 



The  first  winter  of  the  war  in  the  USSR 
(1941-2)  demonstrated  to  the  German 
army  that  most  of  its  wheeled  transport 
was  completely  unable  to  deal  with  the 
dreadful  muddy  conditions  produced 
during  the  freeze-thaw  weather  that 
marked  the  beginning  and  end  of  the 
Russian  winter.  During  these  condi- 
tions it  was  only  the  halftracks  that 
could  make  any  headway,  but  to  divert 
the  precious  halftracks  from  their 
operational  purposes  to  carry  out  the 
mundane  day-to-day  supply  functions 
was  obviously  uneconomic,  so  it  was 
decided  to  produce  low-cost  halftrack 
tmcks.  This  was  done  quite  simply  by 
taking  Opel  and  Daimler-Benz  trucks 
from  the  production  lines  and  remov- 
ing their  rear  axles.  In  their  place  went 
new  dnveshafts  connected  to  tracked 
assemblies  made  from  PzKpfw  II  run- 
ning wheels  and  tracks.  In  itself  this 
was  a considerable  economic  advan- 
tage since  the  PzKpfw  II  was  then 
going  out  of  production  and  existing 
capacity  could  be  retained,  making 
the  truck  conversion  an  even  more 
cost-effective  venture. 

The  new  halftrack  trucks  were  pro- 
vided with  the  name  Maultier  (mule). 
In  the  end  the  conversions  used  mainly 
Opel  Typ  S/SSM  trucks,  and  in  service 
they  were  generally  a success 
although  they  tended  to  lack  the  over- 
all mobility  of  the  'proper'  halftracks. 
Not  surprisingly,  their  use  was  con- 
fined to  the  Eastern  Front,  and  the 
vehicles  were  used  mainly  for  routine 
supply  purposes. 

Not  content  with  a good  thing,  the 
Germans  as  ever  were  forced  to  em- 
ploy the  Maultiers  for  yet  another  pur- 
pose, The  German  Nebelwerfer  (rock- 
et) batteries  had  become  an  estab- 
hshed  part  of  the  army  artillery  system 

tered.  It  was  different  with  SdKfz  10/4 
and  SdKfz  10/5,  for  these  two  vehicles 
were  produced  to  mount  single-barrel 
2-cm  light  anti-aircraft  guns:  the  SdKfz 
10/4  carried  the  Flak  30  and  the  SdKfz 
10/5  the  faster-firing  Flak  38  from  1939 
onwards.  These  two  vehicles  were  so 
arranged  that  their  sides  and  rear 
could  fold  down  to  form  a working  plat- 
form for  the  gun  crew,  and  many  exam- 
ples that  operated  in  direct  support  of 
ground  formations  (as  opposed  to  the 
vehicles  used  by  the  Luftwaffe)  were 
fitted  with  extra  armour  over  the  driv- 
er's position. 

As  was  usual  at  the  time,  there  were 
unofficial  modifications  to  the  SdKfz  10 

series  to  carry  local  'field  fit'  weapons. 
A not  uncommon  weapon  so  fitted  was 
the  3.7-em  Pak  35/36  anti-tank  gun, 
which  was  usually  mounted  to  fire  for- 
ward while  still  fitted  with  its  gun 
shield.  A less  common  weapon  was  the 
later  5-cm  Pak  38  carried  m a similar 
manner,  but  these  were  less  frequent- 
ly encountered. 

SdKfz  10 
Crew:  8 

Weight:  4900  kg  (10,803  lb) 

Powe^lant:  one  Maybach  HL  38  or  42 
6-cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

The  light  SdKfz  10  could  mount  either 
the  2-cm  ( 0. 79-in)  Flak 30  or  the  Flak 
38.  These  guns  could  be  used  against 
round  targets  if  required,  as  seen 
ere.  This  is  an  SdKfz  10/4  with  a Flak 
30  and  with  the  sides  folded  down  to 
provide  a firing  platform. 

Dimensions : length  4 . 74  m ( 1 5 ft  6 . 6 in) ; 
width  1 .83  m(6ft)  ;height  1 .62m(5  ft 
3.8  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
65  km/h  (40.4  mph) ; range  150  xm  (93 

Armament:  see  text 



by  late  1942,  and  it  was  decided  that 
the  Panzer  formations  should  have 
their  own  dedicated  rocket  units.  At 
that  time  most  Nebelwerfer  units  used 
towed  launchers,  so  in  order  to  keep 
up  with  the  Panzers  a self-propelled 
version  was  required.  The  halftrack 
was  the  obvious  choice  as  a starting 
point,  but  as  none  could  be  allocated 
the  Maultier  was  pressed  into  use. 

The  basic  truck  was  provided  with  a 
fully  armoured  eab,  engine  cover  and 
hull.  On  the  hull  roof  a 10-barrel  laun- 
cher known  as  the  15-cm  Panzerwer- 
fer  42  was  placed.  This  launcher  had 
270°  of  traverse  and  80°  of  elevation, 
and  it  fired  the  10  rockets  in  a ripple. 
The  army  ordered  3,000  of  these  con- 
versions with  the  understanding  that 
production  would  eventually  switch  to 
the  sWS  when  production  totals  of  the 

latter  allowed,  which  they  never  did 
(apart  from  a small  batch  of  pro- 
totypes). The  first  of  these  Maultiers 
was  used  during  1943,  and  had  a crew 
of  three.  The  rockets  were  carried  in 
the  launcher,  with  reloads  in  compart- 
ments along  each  side  of  the  lower 
hull,  A machine-gun  was  usually  car- 
ried. Some  of  these  armoured  Maul- 
tiers were  produced  without  the  laun- 
cher and  were  used  to  carry  extra 
rockets  for  the  launcher  vehicles,  and 
some  of  these  were  used  by  units  other 
than  the  Nebelwerfer  batteries  as 
front-line  ammunition  supply  vehicles, 
although  their  armour  was  proof  only 
against  small  arms  projectiles  and 
shell  splinters. 

Maultier  (rocket  launcher) 

The  Maultier  was  a makeshift 
conversion  of  an  Opel  truck  into  a 
half-tracked  truck  for  use  as  a supply 
vehicle  in  forward  areas.  The 
schwerer  Wehrmachtschlepper  was 
meant  for  this  role,  but  could  not  be 
produced  in  sufficient  numbers  so 
the  Maultier  was  produced. 

Crew:  3 

Weights:  7100  kg  (15,653  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  3.6-htre  6-eylinder 
petrol  engine 

Dimensions : length  6.0m(19ft8.2in); 
width2 . 2 m (7  ft  2 . 6 in) ; height  2 , 5 m 
(8  ft  6 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed  38 
km/h  (30  mph) 

Armament:  see  text 



SdKfz  250  leichter  Schiitzenpanzerwagen 

The  vehicle  that  was  to  become  the 
SdKfz  250  leichter  Schiitzenpanzer- 
wagen  series  had  its  origins  in  the 
same  operational  requirement  pro- 
duced during  the  mid-l930s  that  led  to 
the  SdKfz  251  series.  It  was  intended 
that  there  would  be  both  1 -tonne  and 
3 -tonne  halftracks  to  provide  mobility 
for  the  infantry  and  other  units  operat- 
ing with  the  Panzer  divisions,  and  the 
1 -tonne  model  became  the  SdKfz  250. 

The  SdKfz  250  was  first  produced  by 
Demag  AG  of  Wetter  in  the  Ruhr, 
although  later  other  concerns  were 
also  involved  in  manufacture.  The 
vehicle  was  based  on  the  chassis  of  the 
SdKfz  10  leichter  Zugkraftwagen  1- 
tonne  vehicle,  but  featured  an 
armoured  hull  with  an  open  top  to 
accommodate  the  crew  or  five  men 
plus  the  driver.  The  first  examples 
were  produced  during  1939,  and  the 
SdKfz  250  first  went  into  action  during 
the  May  1940  campaign  in  France. 
Compared  with  its  larger  counterpart, 
the  SdKfz  251,  the  SdKfz  250  halftrack 
was  built  and  used  on  a much  smaller 
scale  but  the  type's  production  total 
was  impressive  enough  (5,930  were 
made  between  1942  and  1944)  and  by 
the  time  the  war  ended  no  less  than  14 
official  variants  had  been  produced 
(plus  the  usual  crop  of  unofficial 
variants),  and  from  1943  onwards  pro- 
to  the  hull  shape  to  assist  manufacture 
while  at  the  same  time  cutting  down 
the  amount  of  raw  materials  required. 
Armour  thickness  ranged  from  6 to 
14.5mm  (0,24  to  0.57  in). 

The  main  run  of  SdKfz  250  vehicles 
commenced  with  the  SdKfz  250/1, 
which  had  a crew  of  six  men  and  car- 
ried two  machine-guns.  There  fol- 
lowed a number  of  models  equipped 
for  either  radio  (SdKfz  250/3)  or  tele- 
phone (SdKfz  250/2)  communications, 
and  a variety  of  weapon-carrying 
variants.  These  were  armed  with  all 

manner  of  weapons  from  an  8.1 -cm 
(3.189-m)  mortar  (SdKfz  250/7)  to  a 2- 
cm  anti-aircraft  cannon  (SdKfz  250/9). 
Perhaps  the  oddest  of  these  weapon 
carriers  was  the  SdKfz  250/8,  which 
appeared  to  be  rather  overloaded 
with  a short  7.5-cm  (2.95-in)  tank  gun 
(from  the  early  versions  of  the  PzKpfw 
IV  tank)  allied  with  a co-axial/ranging 
7.92-mm  (0.312-m)  MG34  or  MG42 
machine-gun.  There  were  two  variants 
that  were  allocated  their  own  special 
designation  numbers.  One  was  the 
SdKfz  252  which  was  supposed  to  be  a 
special  ammunition  carrier  towing  a 
trailer;  the  reshaped  and  fully- 
enclosed  interior  was  meant  to  carry 
gun)  batteries,  but  only  a few  were 
made  before  it  was  realized  that  the 
ordinary  SdKfz  250  could  carry  out  the 
role  just  as  well  and  the  SdKfz  252  was 
thus  replaced  by  the  SdKfz  250/6  which 
could  carry  70  7, 5 -cm  rounds.  The 

other  special  version  was  the  SdKfz 
253  which  acted  as  an  observation  post 
for  the  SturmgeschUtz  batteries  and 
was  given  a special  radio  'fit'. 

Other  SdKfz  250  variants  included 
the  SdKfz  250/9,  a special  turreted  ver- 
sion for  the  reconnaissance  role;  the 
SdKfz  250/12  range-finding  and  artil- 
lery survey  model;  light  anti -tank  mod- 
els armed  with  either  a 37-mm  (1.456- 
in)  anti-tank  gun  (SdKfz  250/10)  or  a 
special  'taper-bore'  2.8-cm  (1.1 -in) 
heavy  anti-tank  rifle  (SdKfz  250/11); 
and  various  types  of  command  and 
communication  models.  Unofficial  ver- 
sions mounted  a 2-cm  anti-  aircraft  can- 
non, and  there  was  at  least  one  attempt 
to  mount  a 5 -cm  (1.97 -in)  anti-tank  gun. 

The  SdKfz  250  series  were  popular 
little  halftracks,  and  they  remained  in 
production  right  up  till  the  end  of  the 
war.  They  were  expensive  to  produce, 
but  they  were  usea  on  every  front  and 
in  service  proved  reliable  and  sturdy. 

The  SdKfz  250/1 0 was  armed  with  a 
3. 7-cm( 1. 456-in)  Pak 3 5/36  anti-tank 
gun,  and  was  just  one  of  a long  string 
ofvarian  ts  of  this  Ugh  t arm  our  ed 
carrier.  Other  versions  carried 
machine-guns  and  even  7.5-cm 
(2.95-in)  assault  howitzers 
(the  SdKfz  250/8). 

SdKfz  250 
Crew:  6 

Weight:  5380  kg  (11,86  lib) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybachHL426- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions:  length4.56m(  14ft 

1 1 .5  in) ; width  1 .945  m (6  ft  4, 6 in) ; 
height  1 .98  m (6  ft  6 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 

59.5  km/h  (37  mph);roadrange299km 
(186  miles) ; gradient  24° ; fording 
0.75  m (29,5  in) 

Armament:  see  text 


SdKfz  1 1 leichter  Zugkraftwagen  3t 

The  SdKfz  1 1 leichter  Zugkraftwagen 
3t  series  had  a somewhat  difficult  early 
development  life,  for  the  first  versions 
that  appeared  in  early  1934  were  pro- 
duced by  two  firms,  Hansa-Lloyd  and 
Goliath  who  later  combined  to  form 
Borgward  AG.  For  various  reasons  de- 
velopment of  these  early  vehicles  pas- 
sed to  Hanomag  of  Hanover,  which  be- 
came responsible  for  the  series  from 
then  onwards,  and  by  1939  the  SdKfz  11 
leichter  Zugkraftwagen  3t  was  in  full 

The  basic  SdKfz  1 1 was  intended  for 
use  primarily  as  an  artillery  tractor, 
and  once  in  service  it  became  a stan- 
dard traetor  with  10.5-cm  (4.13-m) 
leFH  18  field  howitzer  batteries,  and 
was  later  used  to  tow  7.5-cm  (2.95-in) 
Pak  40  anti-tank  guns.  In  fact  the  SdKfz 
11  was  so  successful  with  the  leFH  18 
batteries  that  the  larger  SdKfz  6 which 
was  also  meant  to  tow  these  howitzers 
was  phased  out  of  production  in  favour 
of  the  lighter  (ana  less  expensive)  trac- 
tor, The  SdKfz  1 1 tractors  were  also 
used  by  the  Luftwaffe  to  tow  light  flak 
weapons  such  as  the  3.7-cm  (1.456-in) 
Flak  36  and  37,  and  it  was  by  the  army's 
Nebelwerfer  (literally  smoke-thrower) 
batteries  that  the  SdKfz  1 1 was  mainly 

Despite  their  name  the  Nebelwerfer 
units  were  primarily  rocket  troops 

firing  their  missiles  to  bolster  artillery 
barrages.  The  Sd'Kfz  11s  used  with 
these  batteries  not  only  towed  various 
multi-barrel  launchers  but  also  carried 
spare  rockets,  launcher  frames  for  the 
statically-emplaced  launchers  and  the 
crews  to  earry  out  the  fire  missions. 
Since  the  Nebelwerfer  units  were  sup- 
posed to  retain  their  smoke-produeing 
skills  for  laying  down  smoke  screens  at 
times,  some  SdKfz  11s  (the  SdKfz  11/1 
and  SdKfz  11/4  models)  were  fitted 
with  smoke-generating  equipment  but 
this  could  usually  be  removed  for  the 
more  usual  rocket-firing  duties.  These 
smoke-generating  models  had  a crew 
of  only  two,  eompared  with  the  nine 
that  eould  be  carried  when  the  vehicle 
was  used  as  a tractor. 

Two  variants,  the  SdKfz  11/2  and 
SdKfz  11/3,  were  produced  specifical- 
ly for  the  chemical  warfare  decon- 
tamination role.  These  two  vehicles 
could  carry  more  equipment  and  de- 
contaminants than  the  smaller  SdkKfz 
10  equivalents,  and  were  intended  for 
use  with  larger  equipments  such  as 
tanks;  but  as  with  the  smaller  vehicles 
few  appear  to  have  been  produced 
and  no  records  have  survived  of  any 
being  encountered.  No  doubt  they 
were  converted  to  become  normal 

At  one  point  several  produetion  cen- 

tres were  busy  churning  out  SdKfz  1 Is 
and  it  was  one  halftrack  that  remained 
in  production  until  the  end  although  by 
then  only  one  factory,  Auto-Union  at 
Chemnitz,  was  in  full  spate.  The  Borg- 
ward plant  at  Bremen  was  supposed  to 
remain  in  production,  but  was  dam- 
aged by  bomber  raids  and  could  turn 
out  components  only.  By  then  some 
changes  had  been  made  to  simplify 
manufacture.  The  metal  superstruc- 
tures of  the  early  models  was  replaced 
by  wooden  units,  and  to  increase  the 
operational  radius  of  the  new  vehicles 
increased  fuel  capacity  was  intro- 
duced (the  normal  tankage  being  110 
litres/24.2  Imp  gal).  The  need  for  these 

An  SdKfz  11  leichter  Zugkraftwagen 
3t  oftheAfrika  Korps  tows  a 10.5-cm 
(4. 13 -in)  leFH  18  field  howitzer  soon 
after  the  arrival  of  the  Korps  in  North 
Africa  in  1941  - hence  the  pith 
helmets  (soon  discarded).  This 
tractor  was  developed  by  Hanomag 
and  remained  in  production  until 

tractor  vehicles  by  1945  was  such  that 
many  were  in  use  towing  far  heavier 
artillery  pieces  (and  other  loads)  than 
those  for  which  they  were  intended, 
one  example  of  which  was  the  large 
8.8-cm  (3.46-m)  Pak  43  and  Pak  43/41 
anti-tank  guns. 




Crew:  9 

Weight:  7100  kg(15, 653  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  NL  3 8 6- 

Dimensions:  lengths  ,48  m ( 1 7 ft 
11.7  in);  width  1.82m(5  ft  1 1 .7in); 
height  1.62  m (5  ft  3.8  in) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
53  km/h  (33  mph);  range  122  km  (76 

Armament:  see  text 

T/ie  SdKfz  11  leichter  Zugkraftwagen 
3t  was  primarily  used  as  a tractor  for 
medium  field  artillery  such  as  the 
10.5-cm(4.13-in)  howitzer  and  7. 5 - 
cm  ( 2. 95 -in)  Pak40  anti-tank  gun. 

The  SdKfz  11  was  so  successful 
that  it  largely  superseded 
the  bigger  SdKfz  6. 


SdKfz  251  mittlerer  Schiitzenpanzerwagen 

The  SdKfz  251  mittlerer  Schiitzenpan- 
zerwagen  series  of  halftracks  had  its 
origins  in  the  same  staff  requirement 
as  the  SdKfz  250,  but  whereas  the 
SdKfz  250  was  a light  1 -tonne  vehicle 
the  SdKfz  251  was  classed  as  a medium 
(mittleref)  3-tonne  vehicle.  The  SdKfz 
251  was  aproduct  of  the  Hanomag  con- 
cern, based  at  Hanover,  but  the  hull 
and  superstructure  were  produced  by 
Bussing-NAG.  The  basis  of  the  SdKfz 
251  was  the  SdKfz  11  leichter  Zugkraft- 
wagen 3 -tonne  artillery  tractor  half- 
track, and  the  first  production  exam- 
ples were  issued  to  the  1st  Panzer  Divi- 
sion early  in  1939. 

The  S^dKfz  251  was  primarily  an 
armoured  personnel  carrier  capable 
of  carrying  up  to  12  men  (a  conmlete 
infantry  section),  and  it  was  this  SdKfz 
25 1/1  version  that  was  produced  in  the 
greatest  numbers.  Armed  with  at  least 
two  machine-guns  plus  the  carried 
crew  we^ons,  the  SdKfz  251/1  was  a 
very  useful  fighting  platform  capable 
of  keeping  up  with  the  fast-moving 
Panzer  formations.  No  fewer  than  four 
differing  hull  versions  were  intro- 
duced, mainly  as  a result  of  the  need  to 
churn  out  more  and  more  vehicles  to 
meet  the  ever-expanding  demand  of 
front-line  troops,  but  that  was  nothing 
compared  to  the  number  of  variants 
produced  for  other  roles.  Armour 
varied  in  thickness  from  6 to  14.5  mm 
(0.24  to  0.57  in). 

There  were  no  fewer  than  22  of 
these  special-purpose  variants,  plus 
the  usum  local  and  unofficial  modifica- 
tions, They  ranged  from  weapon  car- 
riers ofall  kinds  to  ambulances,  and  in 
between  came  observation  vehicles 
for  various  forms  of  artillery,  command 
and  communications  versions  (both 
radio  and  telephone),  versions  car- 
rying infra-red  searchlights  or  anti- 
aircraft  weapons  and  even  tank-killers 
mounting  long  7.5-cm  (2.95-in)  anti- 
tank guns.  The  full  listing  is  given  else- 
where in  this  study,  but  perhaps  the 
most  powerful  of  the  weapon  carriers 
was  a version  of  the  basic  SdKfz  251/1 
known  as  the  'Stuka  zum  Fuss'  (di- 
vebomber  on  foot,  or  infantry  Stuka). 
This  was  the  personnel  carrier  with  a 
tubular  steel  frame  over  the  hull  that 
carried  three  rocket-launcher  frames 
on  each  side  of  the  vehicle;  28 -cm  (11- 
in)  or  32-cm  (12,6-m)  rockets  were 

The  SdKfz  251/20  was  known  as  'Uhu'  \ 
( owl ) and  carried  an  infra-red 
searchlight  to  illuminate  targets  for 
small  groups  of  Pan  ther  tanks  a t 
night.  These  variants  were  produced 
late  in  the  war  and  were  used  mainly 
on  the  Eastern  Front. 

mounted  on  these  side  frames  while 
still  in  their  carrying  crates  and  fired  at 
short  ranges  against  fixed  or  area 
targets.  They  werepowerful  weapons, 
especially  for  street  fighting,  but  other 
SdKfz  251  versions,  such  as  the  SdKfz 
251/9  armed  with  a short  7.5-cm  tank 
gun,  were  far  more  accurate.  There 
was  even  a flamethrower  version  (the 
SdKfz  251/16)  and  one  model  was  a 
late-war  low-level  anti-aircraft  de- 
fence expedient,  the  SdKfz  251/21 
mounting  three  1 .5-cm  or  2-cm  aircraft 
guns  (the  MG151)  on  a single  mount- 

The  SdKfz  251  in  all  its  forms  was 
produced  in  thousands  and  became  a 
virtual  'trademark'  of  the  Panzer  forma- 
tions. It  was  used  on  all  fronts,  usually  in 
close  co-operation  with  tanks,  and 
although  the  early  versions  displayed 
some  unfortunate  reliability  problems 
the  type  settled  down  to  become  a 
rugged  and  dependable  vehicle  in 
whatever  role  it  was  used. 

SdKfz  251 
Crew:  12 

Weight:  7810  kg  (17,218  lb) 

Powerplant:  oneMaybachHL426- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 


Dimensions : length  5 . 80  m ( 1 9 ft  0. 3 in) ; 
width2 . 1 0 m (6  n 1 0.7  in) ; height  1,75m 
(5  ft  8.9  in) 

Performance:  maximumroad  speed 
52.5  km/h  (32.5  mph);  road  range 
300 km ( 186 miles);  gradient 24  , 
fording  0.6  m (24  in);  2.0  m (6  ft  6.7  in) 
Armament:  see  text 

T/ie  bdidgo  on  tht  front  of  this  SdKfz 
251/9  denotes  that  it  is  part  of  the 
schwere  Kanonenzug  of  the 
reconnaissance  battalion  of  the  2nd 
Panzer  Division.  This  is  an  early 
example  of  the  mountingfor  the  7.5- 
cm  (2.95 -in)  short  assault  gun  used  to 
provide  local  fire  support;  this 
vehicle  is  one  of  six  in  the  company. 



SdKfz  6 mittlerer  Zugkraftwagen  5t 

The  SdKfz  numbers  allotted  to  the  artil- 
lery halftracks  used  by  the  new  Ger- 
man army  during  the  early  1930s  did 
not  follow  a logical  sequence,  and  the 
SdKfz  6 mittlerer  Zugkraftwagen  5t 
was  a medium  tractor.  Development  of 
this  vehicle  commenced  during  1934, 
the  early  work  being  carried  out  by 
Bussing-NAG  in  Berlin.  There  were 
two  main  purposes:  one  was  for  the 
SdKfz  6 to  act  as  the  main  tractor  vehi- 
cle for  the  10.5-cm  (4.13-in)  leFH  18 
batteries,  and  the  other  was  for  the 
engineer  units,  where  the  tractor 
would  be  able  to  tow  the  heavy  combat 
engineer  equipment  on  trailers.  In 
both  cases  the  vehicle  could  carry  up 
to  1 1 men,  and  more  at  a squeeze. 

Production  of  the  SdKfz  o vehicles 
was  carried  out  by  Bussing-NAG  and 
Daimler-Benz,  but  the  numbers  in- 
volved came  to  no  more  than  about 
737.  The  main  reason  for  this  was  that 
the  SdKfz  6 was  rather  an  interim  vehi- 
cle that  fell  between  two  stools:  lighter 
vehicles  could  be  used  to  tow  the  artil- 
lery pieces,  and  it  was  really  too  light 
for  some  of  the  heavier  engineer 
equipment.  It  was  also  rather  costly  to 
produce,  so  by  1941  a decision  was 
made  to  phase  the  vehicle  from  pro- 

duction and  replace  it  with  the  far  less 
expensive  sWS.  Even  so,  it  was  late 
1942  before  production  finally  finished 
and  the  vemcles  already  produced 
continued  in  use  right  until  the  war 
ended,  sometimes  pulling  artillery 
pieces  far  heavier  than  those  for  which 
the  type  had  been  designed. 

Two  versions  of  engine  were  pro- 
duced for  the  SdKfz  6,  the  first  de- 
veloping 67. 1 kW  (90  hp)  and  the  later 
version74.6kW  (lOOhp),  Surprisingly 
enough,  the  SdKfz  6 was  modified  only 
slightly  during  its  service  career.  Most 
were  produced  as  standard  tractors 
with  seating  for  the  artillery  detach- 
ment that  could  be  covered  by  a can- 
vas tilt,  but  there  were  also  three 
weapon-carrier  variants.  The  first  was 
the  7.5-cm  Slf  L/40.8  and  never  really 
got  past  the  prototype  stage;  it  was  an 
attempt  to  produce  a mobile  7.5-cm 
(2.95-m)  gun  for  use  with  cavalry  units, 
and  at  least  three  prototypes  were  pro- 
duced between  1934  and  1935,  The 
type  was  never  placed  in  production, 
but  at  least  one  was  captured  during 
the  fighting  in  N orth  Afric  a . Then  there 
was  the  model  known  as  the  'Diana'  or 
7.62-cm  Pak  36(r)  auf  Panzerjager  Slf 
Zugkraftwagen  5t,  an  attempt  to  mount 

The  Czech-built  Praga  SdKfz  6s 
featured  longer  traA  bogies  than  the 
Bussing-NAG  models,  andhad 
differen  t wings.  Th  ey  were  powered 

by  a Maybach  HL54  TUKRM  six- 
cylinder  engine  developing  86  kW 
(115  hp),  giving  a maximum  road 
speed  of  50  km/h  (31  mph ). 

captured  Soviet  76,2-mm  (3-in)  guns  in 
a Mgh  armoured  superstructure  built 
onto  the  rear  of  an  SdKfz  6.  This  super- 
structure was  open  and  rather  high 
and  the  gun  was  placed  on  the  vehicle 
complete  with  its  wheels  and  attenu- 
ated trails.  The  gun  was  the  Soviet 
Model  1936  which  was  used  as  a dual 
anti-tank/field  gun.  Only  nine  were 
produced  and  again  one  was  captured 
m North  Africa  by  the  Allies,  The  third 
SdKfz  6 weapon  earner  was  the  SdKfz 
6/2,  which  mounted  a 3.7-cm  (1.456-in) 
Flak  36  anti-aircraft  gun  on  an  open 
platform  behind  the  driver's  position; 
the  sides  folded  down  to  act  as  a work- 
ing platform  for  the  guncrew.  The  first 
of  these  variants  was  produced  during 
1937  and  most  of  them  went  to  the  Luft- 
waffe. They  had  a crew  of  seven  and 
were  widely  used. 

SdKfz  6 
Crew:  11 

Weights:  8700  kg  ( 19,180  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybachNL386- 
cylmder  petrol  engine  developing 

First  produced  in  1937,  the  SdKfz  6 
AA  variant  mounted  a 3.7-cm  (1.456- 
in  ) Flak  36  on  an  open pia  tform.  Th  e 
presence  of  a crew  member  with 
rangefinder  da  tes  the  picture  as 
early  in  the  war;  later  they  were 
withdrawn  to  save  manpower. 

Dimensions : length  6 . 0 1 m ( 1 9 ft  8 .6  in) ; 
width  2 . 20  m (7  ft  2 . 6 in) ; height  2.48m 
(8  ft  1.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
50  km/h  (31  mph) 

Armament:  see  text 

The  SdKfz  6 was  originally  planned  to 
tow  the  10- 5 -cm  (4. 13 -in)  leFhlS 
howitzer,  but  was  phased  out  of 
production  in  1942  as  lighter  tractors 

like  the  sWS  were  equally  capable 
and  the  SdKfz  6 was  too  Ugh  t for 
heavier  loads.  Three  weapons- 
carrier  versions  were  also  produced. 


SdKfz  7 mittlerer  Zugkraftwagen  8t 

The  SdKfz  7 mittlerer  Zugkraftwagen 
8t  had  its  origins  in  a series  of  Kraus- 
Maffei  design  projects  that  dated  back 
as  far  as  1928,  but  it  was  not  until  an 
army  staff  requirement  for  an  8-tonne 
halftrack  tractor  was  made  in  1934  that 
development  really  got  under  way. 
Between  1934  and  1938  a number  of 
trial  versions  were  produced  until  the 
final  version  appeared  in  1938  as  the 
SdKfz  7 mittlerer  Zugkraftwagen.  This 
vehicle  earned  its  primary  fame  as  the 
main  tractor  for  the  well-known  8. 8-cm 
(3.46-in)  Flak  18,  36  and  37  guns,  but  it 
was  also  used  as  a tractor  for  many 
other  artillery  weapons  including  the 
15-cm  (5.9-in)  sFH  18  and  the  10.5-cm 
(4,13-in)  K 18. 

In  its  tractor  form  the  SdKfz  7 could 
carry  up  to  12  men  and  their  kit,  and 
there  was  still  space  left  for  ammuni- 
tion and/or  other  supplies.  The  gun  de- 
tachment sat  on  open  bench  seats  be- 
hind the  driver,  and  could  be  covered 
by  a canvas  tilt  to  keep  out  some  of  the 
weather.  The  vehicle  could  tow 

Fdmous  as  themain  tractor  for  the  88-mm  Flak  18,36  and  37  guns,  the  SdKfz  7 also  towed  a wide  variety  offield  artillery. 
Over  3,000  of  these  halftracks  were  in  service  by  the  end  of 1942,  and  it  was  still  in  widespread  use  at  the  end  of  the  war. 


weights  up  to  8000  kg  (17,637  lb),  and 
most  vehicles  were  fitted  with  a winch 
that  could  pull  up  to  3450  kg  (7,606  lb). 
The  SdKfz  7 proved  to  be  a most  useful 
vehicle  and  was  widely  admired,  A 
captured  example  was  copied  in  the 
United  Kingdom  by  Bedford  Motors 
with  a view  to  manufacture  for  Allied 
use,  and  the  Italian  produced  a near- 
copy known  as  the  Breda  61.  But  the 
Germans  carried  on  churning  out  as 
many  as  they  could.  By  the  end  of  1942 
there  were  3,262  in  service.  Not  all  of 
these  were  tractors,  for  the  load- 
carrying capacity  of  the  SdKfz  7 was 
such  that  it  also  made  an  ideal  weapon 

The  first  of  these  weapon  carriers 
was  the  SdKfz  7/1,  which  mounted  a 
2-cm  Flakvierling  38  four-gun  anti- 
aircraft mounting  on  the  open  rear.  On 
many  of  these  vehicles  the  driver's 
position  and  the  engine  cover  were 
provided  with  armoured  protection. 
The  SdKfz  7/1  was  used  extensively  for 
the  protection  of  columns  in  the  field 
and  the  four  cannon  proved  deadly  to 
many  Allied  low-level  fliers.  This  was 
not  tne  only  anti-aircraft  version,  for  the 
SdKfz  7/2  mounted  a single  3. 7 -cm 
(1.456-in)  Rak  36  anti-aircraft  gun.  An 
attempt  was  made  to  mount  a 5 -cm 
(1.97-m)Rak41  on  a Sd^z  7,  but  since 

neither  the  gun  nor  the  conversion  was 
very  successful  no  further  work  was 
carried  out  once  trials  had  been  com- 
pleted. Some  SdKfz  7s  were  also  con- 
verted to  mount  single-barrel  2-cm 
cannon  for  anti-aircran  use. 

Perhaps  the  oddest  use  for  the  SdKfz 
7 was  when  existing  vehicles  were 
converted  to  accommodate  armoured 
superstructures  for  observation 
and  command  posts  for  V-2  rocket  bat- 
teries during  1944.  The  V-2  rockets 
were  prone  to  explode  on  their  launch 
stands  as  they  were  being  fired  so  the 
armour  protected  the  launch  crews. 
How  many  of  these  Fuerleitpanzer  auf 
Zugkraftwagen  8t  conversions  were 
made  is  uncertain. 

Production  of  the  SdKfz  7 series 
ceased  during  1944,  but  by  then  num- 
bers had  been  built  by  Krauss-Maffei 
in  Munich,  the  Sauserwerke  in  Vienna 
and  the  Borgward  works  at  Bremen,  In 
the  post-war  years  many  were 
^propriated  for  Alhed  use,  and  the 
Czech  army  used  numbers  for  some 



Crew:  12 

Weights:  11550  kg  (25,463  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HL  62  6- 

cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 
104.4kW  (140  hp) 

Dimensions:  length6. 85  m(20ft3  in) ; 
width2.40m(7  ft  10.5  in);  height  2. 62  m 
(8  ft  7.1  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
50  km/h  (31  mph) 

Armaments:  see  text 

An  SdKfz  7 mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 
8t  was  captured  in  WorthAfrica  and 
was  extensively  tested  back  in  the 
United  Kingdom.  It  made  such  an 
impression  that  Bedford  Motors  built 
a direct  copy,  but  this  was  not  taken 
into  British  service.  The  Italians  also 
built  a copy  known  as  the  Breda  61. 


ES  schwerer  Wehrmachtsschlepper 

By  the  end  of  1941  experience  in  the 
field  had  demonstrated  that  the  Ger- 
man halftrack  fleet  was  in  some  need 
of  revision.  At  the  bottom  end  of  the 
range  the  1 -tonne  and  3 -tonne  cargo 
ana  supply/artillery  tractors  were  well 
capable  of  carrying  on  as  they  were, 
but  the  medium  to  heavy  range  was 
proving  more  complex.  It  was  decided 
that  the  5 -tonne  range  would  be  dis- 
continued since  the  8-tonne  range 
would  be  required  for  heavy  artillery 
and  other  purposes.  Thus  an  interim 
between  the  3 -tonne  and  8 -tonne  vehi- 
cles was  sought,  but  it  had  to  be  a 
relatively  low-cost  solution  for  by  1 94 1 
the  German  war  machine  was  being 
stretched,  not  in  capacity  alone  but  in 
the  range  of  types  of  equipment  re- 
quired: a low  cost  halftrack  was  thus 

The  design  accepted  was  a Bussing- 
NAG  offering,  and  eventually  became 
known  as  the  schwerer  Wehrmachts- 
schlepper (sWS,  or  army  heavy  trac- 
tor) . It  was  intended  not  so  much  for  the 
Panzer  or  artillery  formations  but  for 
infantry  units,  for  which  it  would  act  as 
a general  personnel  carrier  and  supp- 
ly vehicle.  Accordingly  it  was  virtually 
a half-tracked  truck  with  virtually  no 
armour  in  its  cargo-carrying  form  and 
an  open  cab  with  a soft  top  for  the 
driver  and  one  passenger.  In  order  to 
keep  costs  as  low  as  possible  the 
tracks  did  not  use  the  time-consuming 
and  expensive  rubber  capped  tracks 
of  front-line  vehicles,  but  instead  used 
single  d^-pin  all-steel  tracks. 

The  sWS  went  into  production  at  the 
Bussing-N  AG  plant  in  Berlin  and  also  at 
the  Ringhofer-Tatra  plant  in  Czecho- 
slovakia, but  production  was  very 
slow.  The  sWS  did  not  have  a very  high 
production  priority  and  from  time  to 
time  Bomber  Command  weighed  in  to 
disrupt  things  to  an  extent  that  in  place 
of  the  expected  150  vehicles  per 
month,  from  December  1943  (when 
production  commenced)  to  Septem- 

ber 1944  only  381  had  been  delivered. 
These  serious  shortcomings  in  produc- 
tion led  to  the  hasty  Maultier'  impro- 
visation, but  sWS  production  limped 
on  almost  until  the  end  of  the  war  and 
some  survived  to  serve  the  new  Czech 
army  for  a number  of  years  after  the  war. 

The  small  numbers  produced  did 
not  prevent  the  s,WS  from  being  sub- 
jected to  the  usual  special-purpose 
variants.  The  basic  truck  model  could 
be  converted  to  act  as  a rudimentary 
front-line  ambulance  c arrying  stretch- 
ers under  a canvas  awning  mounted  on 
a frame.  A special  front-line  supply 
version  was  fitted  with  an  armoured 
cab  and  engine  cover,  and  a similar 
arrangement  was  used  for  a projected 
version  that  would  have  carried  a 3.7- 
cm  Flak  43  anti-aircraft  gun  on  a flat- 
bed area  at  the  rear;  only  a few  of  these 
3.7-cm  Rak  43  auf  sWS  versions  were 
produced.  Another  variant  proposed 
but  built  in  small  numbers  only  was  an 
armoured  version  with  a hull  over  the 
rear.  On  the  roof  of  this  hull  was  placed 
a 10-barrel  launcher  for  15-cm  (5.9-in) 
artillery  rockets;  10  rockets  were  car- 
ried in  the  launcher  tubes  and  more 
inside  the  hull.  This  15-cm  Panzerwer- 
fer  42  (Zehuling)  auf  sWS  version  was 

to  have  had  a crew  of  five,  but  it  is 
doubtful  if  many  actually  reached  the 
service  stage. 

Although  few  were  actually  pro- 
duced when  compared  to  the  totals  of 
other  German  halftracks,  the  sWS 
proved  efficient  enough  in  service, 
and  was  proportionately  far  more  cost- 
effective  than  some  other  models. 

Crew:  2 

Weights:  about  13500  kg  (29,762  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybachHL426- 
cylmder  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions : length  6.68  m(2 1 ft  1 1 in) ; 
width  2.50  m (8  ft  2,4  in);  height  2,83  m 
(9  ft  3,4  in) 

During  1 944  a n umber  ofMa  ultier 
trucks  were  fitted  with  armoured 
bodies  onto  which  the  10-barrelled 
Panzerwerfer  42  was  placed.  Some 
300  of  these  conversions  were  made, 
and  were  used  to  provide  rocket 
artillery  support  for  armoured 
formations.  They  had  a crew  of  three 
and  most  of  the  conversions  were 
made  by  Opel. 

The  schwerer  Wehrmachtsschlepper 
was  intended  to  be  a low-cost 
general-purpose  tractor  to  fulfil  a 
number  of  roles.  Production  started 
during  1943  but  always  lagged 
behind  demand,  leading  to  the 
development  of  the  Maultier.  This 
version  was  fitted  with  an  armoured 
cab  as  a forward  supply  vehicle. 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
27  km/h  (16. 8 mph) 

Armament:  none 



SdKfz  8 schwerer  Zugkraftwagen  12t 

As  has  already  been  mentioned,  the 
SdKfz  designation  followed  no  logical 
sequence  and  the  SdKfz  8 schwerer 
Zugkraftwagen  12t  was  actually  the 
first  of  the  German  halftracks  to  be  de- 
veloped and  produced.  It  consequent- 
ly established  many  of  the  features  and 
design  details  that  were  later  to  be 
used  on  other  German  halftrack  de- 
signs. The  line  of  development  that  led 
to  the  SdKfz  8 can  be  traced  back  to 
World  War  I,  when  Daimler-Benz  was 
involved  in  some  early  halftrack  de- 
sign work,  one  result  of  which  was  an 
advanced  vehicle  known  as  the 
Marienwagen,  After  1919  Daimler- 
Benz  continued  its  development  work, 
bringing  out  a series  of  vehicles,  one  of 
which  attracted  the  attention  of  the 
Red  Army  (in  1931  there  was  even  talk 
of  a Soviet  production  order).  This 
appears  never  to  have  come  about,  for 
instead  the  German  army  ordered  a 
model  known  as  the  Daimler-Benz  DB 
S 7.  Later  versions  followed  the  gener- 
al layout  of  this  1931  vehicle,  but  gra- 
dually more  powerful  engines  were 
fitted  until  the  series  reached  the 
Daimler-Benz  DB  10. 

The  SdKfz  8 was  designed  as  an 
artillery  tractor,  and  an  artillery  tractor 
it  remained  throughout  its  service  life. 
There  was  only  one  variation,  a 1940 
conversion  of  what  was  probably  only 
one  vehicle  to  mount  an  8.8-cm  (3.46- 
in)  Flak  18.  This  was  used  in  action  in 
France  in  May  1940,  and  thereafter  no 

mention  of  this  offshoot  can  be  found. 
The  SdKfz  8 remained  in  production 
until  1944  as  an  artillery  tractor.  Origi- 
nally it  was  produced  to  tow  two  mod- 
ernized ex-World  War  I artillery 
pieces,  the  15-cm  (5.9-in)  K 16  and  the 
21-cm  (8.27-in)  langeMorser,astubby 
howitzer.  As  more  modern  equipment 
came  into  use  the  SdKfz  8 switcned  to 
towing  weapons  such  as  the  heavy  8,8- 
cm  Flak  41  and  the  even  larger  17-cm 
(6.7-in)  K 18  long-range  gun.  The  SdKfz 
8 was  also  used  by  the  Luftwaffe  to  tow 
the  ponderous  10.5-cm  (4.13-in)  Flak 
38  and  39  anti-aircraft  guns.  At  times 
these  tractors  were  called  upon  to  tow 
tank-carrying  semi-trailers  or  other 
forms  of  heavy  trailer,  but  usually  the 
artillery  batteries  retained  their  vehi- 
cles jealously. 

By  late  1942  there  were  1,615  SdKfz 
8s  in  service.  Production  was  concen- 
trated at  two  main  centres,  the  Daim- 
ler-Benz works  at  Berlin-Manenfelde 
and  the  Kruppwerke  at  Mulhausen.  At 
one  time  some  production  work  was 
also  carried  out  the  Skodawerke  at 
Pilsen,  and  in  the  years  after  the  war 
the  new  Czech  army  used  a large  num- 
ber of  SdKfz  8s,  some  of  them  lasting 
until  well  into  the  1960s. 

One  variation  of  the  SdKfz  8 was  a 
vehicle  known  as  the  HK  1601.  This 
differed  from  the  normal  Sdkfz  8 in 
many  ways  and  was  an  attempt  to  com- 
bine the  features  of  the  large  18t  half- 
tracks and  the  SdKfz  8.  The  prototype 

appeared  in  late  1941  and  after  three 
more  had  been  built  it  was  decided  to 
produce  a batch  of  another  30.  These 
were  apparently  built  and  used  on  the 
Eastern  Front.  They  had  a cargo-type 
body  to  carry  the  crew  of  13,  Produc- 
tion of  the  SdKfz  8 ceased  during  1944. 

Crew:  13 

Weight:  15000  kg  (33,069  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybachHL85 12- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 
138.0kW(185  hp) 

A group  of  assorted  British  soldiers 
take  advantage  of  a ride  on  a 
captured  SdKfz  8 schwerer 
Zugkraftwagen  12t,  somewhere  in 
North  Africa.  The  normal  capacity  of 
this  vehicle  was  13  men,  but  it  has 
been  exceeded  here.  This  is  the 
basic  artillery  tractor  version  of  the 
SdKfz  8. 

Dimensions:  length  7. 35  m (24  ft  1 ,4in) ; 
width2 . 5 0 m ( 8 ft  2 . 4 in) ; height  2.81m 
(9  ft  2.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
51  km/h  (31.7  mph) 


SdKfz  9 schwerer  Zugkraftwagen  18t 

By  far  the  largest  of  all  the  World  War 
II  halftracks  was  the  mighty  SdKfz  9 
schwerer  Zugkraftwagen  18t,  a vehi- 
cle that  had  its  origins  m a requirement 
made  during  1936  for  a heavy  recovery 
vehicle  to  support  the  Panzer  forma- 
tions and  tow  disabled  tanks.  The  de- 
velopment contract  was  awarded  to 
the  Famo  Fahrzeugwerke  und  Motor- 
werke  AG  at  Breslau,  which  became 
the  sole  producer.  The  first  example 
appeared  in  1936:  this  was  the  FM  gr  1, 
and  later  came  two  other  models,  the 
FM  gr  2 and  FM  gr  3 which  used  larger 
and  more  powerful  engines. 

In  the  end  both  tractor  and  recovery 
versions  of  the  SdKfz  9 were  produced. 
The  tractor  version  was  the  basie 
SdKfz  9,  which  was  used  to  tow  the 
German  army's  really  heavy  artillery 
weapons  and  some  heavy  engineer 
equipment  including  bridging  (for 
which  there  was  a tractor  unit  towing 
bridge  units  on  special  trailers  and 
carrying  15  men).  Among  the  heavy 
artillery  towed  by  the  SdKfz  9 was  the 
24-cm  (9,45  -in)  K 3 (so  large  it  had  to  be 
towed  in  five  loads),  the  Krupp  21-cm 
(8.27-in)  K 38,  and  the  various  Skoda 
heavy  howitzers  and  guns.  The  Luft- 
waffe used  a small  number  of  tractors 
to  tow  the  mobile  versions  of  the  super- 
heavy 12.8-cm  (5.04-in)  Flak  40.  An 
anti-aircraft  gun  was  used  on  the  only 
weapon-carrier  version  of  the  SdKfz  9 
which  appeared  in  1943.  This  variant 
carried  a 8.8-cm  (3.46-m)  Flak  37,  and 
the  vehicle  had  an  armoured  cab.  The 
sides  of  the  rear  firing  platform  could 
be  folded  down  to  act  as  a working 
platform  for  the  gun  crew,  and  there 
were  small  outrigger  arms  to  stabilize 
the  vehicle  in  action.  Only  one  conver- 
sion was  made. 

The  recovery  versions  appeared  in 
two  forms,  the  SdKfz  9/1  andSdKfz  9/2. 

The  sdKfz  9/1  had  a crane  (Drehkran) 
with  a 6000-kg  (13,228-lb)  lifting  capac- 
ity, but  this  was  insufficient  for  some 
lifting  tasks  and  the  SdKfz  9/2  was  pro- 
duced with  a 10000-kg  (22,046-lb) 
crane.  Outrigger  legs  were  fitted  on 
the  latter,  and  an  extra  jib  was  pro- 
vided to  suspend  a counter-weight 
when  really  heavy  loads  were  to  be 
lifted.  These  vehicles  were  massive 
equipments,  and  although  they  were 
capaole  of  dealing  with  tanks  up  to  the 
size  of  the  PzKpfw  IV  they  could  not 
handle  the  heavier  Panthers  and  Ti- 
gers. Since  the  SdKfz  9 was  the  only 
recovery  vehicle  in  use  when  these 
'heavies'  entered  service,  a way  had  to 
be  found  and  the  type  was  used  in 
sections  of  three  vehicles,  at  least  two 
being  needed  to  recover  Tigers  from 
some  situations.  In  order  to  provide 
them  with  more  traction  some  were 
fitted  with  a large  earth  spade  at  the 

rear,  but  even  so  two  vehicles  still  had 
to  be  used  to  drag  a Tiger  out  of  a ditch, 
and  sometimes  three  to  tow  one  in  a 
disabled  state.  The  only  answer  to  that 
was  to  develop  a heavy  tracked  recov- 
ery vehicle,  which  duly  appeared  as 
the  Bergep anther. 

Production  of  the  SdKfz  9 ceased 
during  1944,  by  which  time  the  last 
versions  were  powered  by  the  same 
Maybach  engines  as  those  fitted  to 
PzKpfw  IV  tanks.  They  were  massive 
vehicles  that  were  certainly  impress- 
ive to  look  at,  but  one  has  to  bear  in 
mind  that  the  basic  tractor  version  cost 
60,000  Reichsmarks:  a Panther  cost 

SdKfz  9 
Crew:  9 

Weight:  18000  kg  (39,683  lb) 

T/ie  SdKfz  9 schwere  Zugkraftwagen 
18t  was  the  largest  of  the  German 
halftracks  and  was  used  to  tow  heavy 
guns  and  similar  equipment,  mainly 
as  a recovery  vehicle,  some  being 
fitted  with  cranes  andjibs  for  this 
role.  This  example  is  a heavy  artillery 
tractor  and  could  carry  nine  men. 

Powerplant:  one  Maybach  HLV- 12 
petrol  engine  developing  186.4kW 
(250  hp) 

Dimensions:  length8. 25  m(27ft0. 8 in): 
width  1.60m(8ft6in);height2.76m 
(9  ft  0.7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
50  km/h  (31  mph) 

Armament:  none 


American  halftracks 

An  early  shot  of  the  M2  halftrack, 
taken  when  the  US  Army  was  still 
using  the  World  War  I helmets  and 
equipment.  This  vehicle  still  has  the 
original  centre -mounted  machine- 

gun  mount  for  a 0.30-inch  (7.62-mm) 
Browning  machine-gun,  and  lacks 
the  side  racks  for  anti-tankmines 
that  were  often  fitted  to  operational 

It  is  difficult  to  condense  the  entire 
story  of  the  American  halftrack  into  a 
few  hundred  words,  for  to  even  hst  the 
number  of  types  would  probably  fill 
this  study.  The  American  halftrack  de- 
velopment history  started  during  the 
1920s,  when  some  Citroen-Kegresse 
halftracks  were  purchased,  and  subse- 
quent trials  led  to  a long  series  of  de- 
velopment models  before  the  hull  of 
the  White  Scout  Car  M2  was  allied  with 
a Kegresse  halftrack  suspension  and 
the  'classic^  American  halftrack 
emerged  as  the  Half-Track  Car  M2 
that  went  into  production  in  early  1941, 
the  first  examples  reaching  the  troops 
in  May  of  that  year. 

Thereafter  the  halftracks  rolled  off 
the  assembly  lines  in  their  thousands.  It 
would  be  easy  to  say  that  most  of  them 
were  personnel  carriers,  but  also  in- 
cluded in  the  totals  were  mortar  car- 
riers, multiple  gun  motor  carriages, 
gun  motor  carriages,  trucks  and  a vast 
array  of  experimental  types  of  all 
kinds.  All  manner  of  weapons  were 
hung  upon  the  basic  halftrack  chassis 
at  one  time  or  another  but  among  those 
that  were  used  in  action  were  57-mm 
(2.244-m)  anti-tank  guns,  75-mm  (2,95- 
in)  field  guns  and  even  105 -mm  (4.13- 
m)  howitzers.  Anti-aircraft  versions 
carried  varying  multiples  of  12.7-mm 
(0.5-in)  machine-guns,  20-mm  cannon 
and  40-mm  Bofors  guns.  Combat  en- 
gineer equipment  was  another  widely 
carried  load  (each  model  had  racks 
along  the  sides  to  carry  anti-tank 

It  was  the  personnel  carriers  that 
were  the  most  widely  used,  and  in 
several  versions.  The  early  M2  was 
supplemented  by  the  later  Half-Track 
Personnel  Carrier  M3  which  could  also 
be  used  as  a communications  vehicle, 
an  artillery  tow  vehicle,  and  as  an 
armoured  ambulance.  The  even  later 
Half-Track  Personnel  Carrier  MS  dif- 
fered in  production  methods  and  there 
was  also  a Half-Track  Car  M9.  Seating 
varied  between  models  from  10  to  13, 
and  there  were  various  dispositions  of 
machine-gun  mountings.  The  usual 
arrangementwasa  12.7-mmBrowning 
at  the  front  on  a large  ring  mounting 
and  a 7.62-mm  (0.3-m)  Browning  on  a 
pintle  at  the  rear.  To  this  could  be 
added  the  weapons  of  the  carried 
troops,  and  the  picture  of  halftracks 
firing  away  as  they  went  into  action  is 
complete.  It  now  seems  impossible  to 
visualize  tro^s  operating  in  Europe  in 
1944  and  1945withouthalftracks  some- 
where in  the  picture,  for  the  Amer- 
icans issued  halftracks  of  all  kinds  to 
their  Allies,  including  the  British  who 
started  to  use  American  halftracks 
even  before  the  fighting  in  North  Afri- 
ca ended.  Production  of  halftracks  was 
some  41,170  units. 

Above:  The  American  M3  halftrack 
was  such  a widely  used  vehicle  that  it 
became  a virtual  trademark  of  the  US 
Army  and  other  Allied  forces, 
including  the  Red  Army.  This  M3  is 
complete  with  the  canvas  tilt,  a 
forward-mounted  winch  and  the 
'pulpit'machine-gun  mounting,  here 
with  a 0.50-in  ( 12.7 -mm)Br owning. 

After  the  war  the  halftrack  story  did 
not  end,  and  even  now  is  still  not  over 
for  the  halftrack  in  several  forms  is  still 
a front-line  vehicle  for  the  Israel  De- 
fence Forces.  Re-engined  and  refur- 
bished for  the  umpteenth  time,  half- 
tracks continue  to  be  used  by  the 
mechanized  formations  of  the  Israeli 
army  although  most  have  now  been 
relegated  to  the  Reserve  forces.  Other 
armed  forces  still  use  halftracks,  but 
now  the  most  common  use  is  as  a re- 
covery vehicle,  a role  that  commenced 
during  World  War  II  with  the  Allied 
forces.  It  should  not  be  forgotten  that 
during  World  War  II  one  of  the  half- 
track user  nations  was  the  Soviet  Un- 
ion, for  large  numbers  were  shipped 
there  from  1942  onwards.  Rumour  nas 
it  that  some  still  survive  with  some  of 
the  smaller  Warsaw  Pact  nations. 



Crew:  13 

Weight:  9299  kg  (20,500  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  White  160AX6- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

Dimensions:  length  6. 18  m (20  ft  3.5  in); 
(7  ft  5 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
64.4  km/h  (40  mph) ; range  282  km  ( 1 75 
miles)  ;'gradient  31°;  foraing0.81  m 
(32  in) 

Armament:  one  12.7-mm(0.5-in) 
machine-gun  and  one  7.62-mm  (0.3-in) 


I I Unie  Kegresse  P 107 

Some  confusion  still  remains  as  to  the 
actual  manufacturer  of  the  French  half- 
track known  as  the  P 107.  Some  refer- 
ences state  it  was  produced  by  the 
Unie  concern  while  others  refer  to  this 
vehicle  as  the  Citroen-Kegresse  P 107. 
The  truth  is  that  both  companies  pro- 
duced the  P 107,  Citroen  having  what 
may  now  be  described  as  the  design 
parentage.  Citroen  employed  Regres- 
se  for  some  years  after  the  engineer's 
return  from  Russia  to  France,  and 
accordingly  Citroen  produced  a long 

string  of  half-track  designs  using  the 
Kegresse  rubber-based  track  under 
the  Citroen-Kegresse  label.  The  P 107 
was  but  one  of  these  designs,  and  the 
first  of  this  type  appeared  during  the 
late  1930s.  Tne  P 107  went  on  to  be 
among  the  more  numerous  of  the  many 
French  halftracks. 

The  P 107  was  produced  in  two 
forms.  One  was  an  artillery  tractor  for 
light  field  pieces  and  anti-tank  guns. 
This  version  had  a soft  top  covering  the 
space  for  the  crew  of  from  five  to  seven 

men,  and  lockers  at  the  rear  for 
ammunition  and  other  supplies.  The 
second  version,  produced  m smaller 
numbers,  was  an  engineer  tractor. 
This  had  an  open  cargo  body  behind 
the  cab  and  was  used  to  tow  trailers 
carrying  combat  engineer  equipment 
such  as  bridging  pontoons.  By  1939 
both  types  were  in  French  army  ser- 
vice in  some  numbers.  Both  were 
sound  and  reliable  vehicles  and  the 
demand  for  them  was  such  that  both 
Unie  and  Citroen  had  production  lines 

devoted  to  them,  hence  the  confusion 
in  name. 

The  events  of  May  1940  caused  a 
change  of  ownership  for  the  P 107s. 
Farge  numbers  of  both  types  of  vehicle 
fell  into  German  hands  and  they  had 
another  change  of  name,  this  time  to 
leichter  Zuglo-aftwagen  U 304(f).  Al- 
ways short  of  halftracks,  the  German 
army  took  the  type  into  immediate  ser- 
vice and  the  French  halftracks  that  had 
c 16  towed  French  anti-tank  guns  were 
used  to  tow  German  weapons  such  as 


the  3,7-cm  (1.456-in)  Pak  35/36  anti- 
tank gun  and  later  the  hybrid  7.5-cm 
(2. 95 -in)  Pak  97/38,  But  not  content  with 
this  use  the  Germans  decided  to  go 
one  better,  Deciding  that  the  P 107  fell 
into  the  same  category  as  the  SdKfz  250 
series,  the  Germans  converted  the 
French  vehicles  to  become  substitute 
leichter  Schiitzenpanzerwagen.  The 
French  vehicles  were  stripped  of  their 
superstructures  and  fitted  with 
armoured  hulls  almost  exactly  like 
those  of  the  SdKfz  250  series  and  when 
completed  they  were  used  in  exactly 
the  same  way  as  their  German  coun- 
terparts (apart  from  the  fact  that  some 
were  used  as  armoured  ambulances). 
The  one  'French'  feature  the  Germans 
did  not  change  was  the  forward- 
mounted  roller  under  the  nose  of  the 
vehicle.  This  was  used  to  assist  the 
vehicle  in  and  out  of  ditches  and  simi- 
lar obstacles  and  proved  so  useful  it 
was  not  removed.  Most  of  these  con- 
versions were  retained  for  use  in 
France  by  the  units  based  there,  and 
many  were  used  during  the  fighting  in 
Normandy  in  June  1944.  Some  of  the 
original  tractors  were  also  encoun- 
tered, so  not  all  the  P 107s  underwent 

the  armoured  conversion. 

Crew:  5-7 

Weights:  empty  2350  kg  (5,181  lb); 
loaded  4050  kg  (8,929  lb) 
Powerplant:  one4-cylinderpetrol 

engine  developing  41.0  kW  (55  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  4.85  m ( 15  ft 
10,9  in);  width  1.80  m (5  ft  10.9  in); 
height  1 .95  m (6  ft4 . 8 in) 

Performance:  max  road  speed  45  km/h 
(28  mph) ; range 400 km  (24 8 . 5 miles) 
Armament:  none 

Above:  this  little  Citroen-.Regresse 
five-seater  was  one  of  many  French 
light  halftracks  that  were  used 
during  the  1 920^  to  develop  the 
Regresse  rubber-based  track.  Many 
of  these  Ugh  t halftracks  were  still  in 
use  in  1939,  mainly  as  staff  cars. 


Soviet  halftracks 

For  various  reasons  the  Soviet  Union 
did  not  make  great  use  of  halftracks 
during  World  War  II  other  than  em- 
ploying American  halftracks  supplied 
to  them  under  Lend-Lease.  One  of  the 
main  reasons  for  this  was  the  relative 
cost  in  expense  and  production  facili- 
ties that  the  halftrack  demanded,  and 
as  the  Soviet  Union  already  had  a large 
and  productive  full-tracked  tractor  in- 
dustry geared  to  the  requirements  of 
the  various  agricultural  Five-Year 
Plans,  tracked  tractors  were  frequent- 
ly used  for  artillery  when  halftracks 
might  otherwise  have  been  consi- 

This  suggests  that  the  Soviets  were 
not  interested  in  the  halftrack  concept; 
but  they  were.  They  recognized  tne 
strength  of  their  mobility  and  handling 
advantages,  and  in  1931  considered 
the  purchase  of  12-tonne  halftracks 
from  Germany.  At  that  time  their  in- 
terest was  such  that  two  indigenous 
designs  were  placed  into  limited  pro- 
duction. These  were  the  YaSP  and  the 
Zis-33  trucks  converted  to  the  half- 
track configuration,  and  later  also  used 
as  artillery  tractors.  The  YaSP  was  pro- 
duced at  Yaroslavl  and  was  a Ya  G-5 
Komits  truck  fitted  at  the  rear  with  a 
halftrack  suspension  (derived  from  the 
track  system  of  the  T-26  light  tank) 
allied  to  a new  drive  shaft  from  the 
main  engine  at  the  front.  The  Zis-33 
was  a somewhat  simpler  vehicle  that 
retained  the  main  rear  drive  wheel 
allied  to  a halftrack  suspension,  and 
was  built  using  the  Zis-5  truck. 

The  relative  success  of  these  two 
design  ventures  engendered  more 
during  1936.  Most  of  these  did  not  get 
very  far.  One  was  the  VM  Pikap,  a 
version  of  the  Zis-6  light  truck.  In  1937 
more  models  appeared,  most  of  them 
intended  for  the  artillery  tractor  role. 
They  included  a l'/4-ton  model  (the 
VezdekhodsModelB),  a 1 '/2-ton  mod- 
el (the  BM)  and  a 2-ton  model  (the  VZ). 
As  far  as  can  be  determined  only  the 
latter  two  models  actually  got  to  the 
production  stage,  and  again  they  were 
halftrack  conversions  of  existing 

Ldt;  The  Soviets  made  extensive  use 
ofUSM3  halftracks  supplied  under 
Lend-Lease,  modifying  them  for  their 
own  use.  Here  twoM3s  of  the  Red 
Army  are  seen  fitted  with  76. 2 -mm 
(3 -in)  guns  as  improvised  tank 
destroyers,  an  arrangement  the  US 
army  also  experimented  with. 

Below:  One  of  the  most  successful 
Soviet  pre-war  halftracks,  the  Zis-33 
was  built  on  a truck  chassis.  This 
vehicle  is  soon  with  a propaganda 
unit  broadcasting  news  Red  Army 
victories  in  the  south  to  German 
positions  in  the  north. 


By  the  time  1941  came  around  the 
Soviet  armed  forces  had  few  halftracks 
in  service  compared  with  the  number 
of  wheeled  or  fully- tracked  vehicles. 
Many  of  what  they  did  have  were  soon 
lost  during  the  German  advances  of 
1941,  and  all  captured  German  half- 
tracks were  pressed  into  Soviet  use. 
The  Red  Army  soldiers  soon  learned 
how  useful  these  were,  and  from  1942 
onwards  there  was  a deliberate  prog- 
ramme to  make  use  of  even  damaged 
German  halftracks.  Hulks  were  sal- 
vaged from  battlefields  and  stripped  of 
all  useful  items,  especially  the  running 
wheel,  tracks  ancf  drive  components. 
These  were  taken  to  the  GAZ  plant  in 
the  Urals  where  they  were  allied  with 
GAZ-63  trucks  to  form  GAZ-60  troop 
carriers.  The  GAZ-60  used  all  manner 
of  German  components,  the  most 
favoured  being  those  from  the  SdKfz 
251  series  of  vehicles.  Few  of  these 
wartime  expedient  vehicles  survived 
the  war  years. 

One  other  known  Soviet  halftrack 
produced  during  1942  was  known  as 
the  Zis-42.  It  was  a 27»-ton  semi- 
tracked  weapons  carrier,  but  no  other 
details  have  survived  so  it  does  not 
appear  to  have  been  produced  in 




Battles  are  often  won  as  a result  of  a commander  having  more  accurate  Information 
than  his  opponent.  For  a long  time,  such  battlefield  information  was  provided  by 
the  cavalry,  but  In  the  fast-moving  mechanized  war  of  1939-45  It  was  the  armoured 
car  that  operated  on  many  fronts,  ranging  far  ahead  of  its  parent  formations. 

A German  Panzerspahwagen  or  armoured  car  belonging  to  the  'Das  Reich'  Division  of  the 
Waffen-SS  on  the  Eastern  Front  in  the  summer  of  1941. 

The  armoured  car  today  retains 
a niche  in  modern  armoured 
warfare  largely  unchanged  since 
the  early  days  of  World  War  II:  its 
primary  function  was  one  of 
scouting  and  reconnaissance. 

The  armoured  car  has  this  role 
because  it  is  generally  much 
faster  and  handier  to  employ  than 
the  more  ponderous  tank,  though 
the  armoured  car  does  pay  for 
these  attributes  by  being  relative- 
ly thinly  armoured  and  lightly^ 
armed,  if,  indeed,  it  possesses  any 
armament  at  all.  In  short,  the 
armoured  car  has  to  rely  on 
speed  and  manoeuvrability  to 
survive.  However,  its  reconnais- 
sance role  is  a vital  one  as 
modern  armoured  and  infantry 
formations  cannot  operate  with- 
out knowing  what  is  happening 
'on  the  other  side  of  the  hill'. 

By  1939  the  armoured  car  had 
settled  into  an  established  form. 

It  usually  had  a 4 x 4 drive 
configuration  (although  many 
larger  designs  had  as  many  as 
eight  wheels  on  four  axles)  and 
it  was  usually  purpose-built.  This 
did  not  prevent  extemporized 
designs,  such  as  the  early  South 
African  Marmon  Herringtons, 
from  providing  excellent  service, 
but  generally  speaking  most 
armoured  cars  were  designed 
specifically  for  their  job  and  were 
not  the  hurried  conversions  from 

commercial  chassis  that  were  the 
general  rule  in  World  War  I.  The 
role  of  the  armoured  car  had  also 
been  formalized,  and  by  1939  this 
car  and  the  little  scout  cars  were 
an  integral  part  of  the  reconnais- 
sance structure  of  virtually  every 
type  of  operational  structure  from 
the  German  Panzer  division  to  the 
ordinary  infantry  division. 

It  would  be  safe  to  say  that  the 
armoured  car  units  had  a relative- 
ly free  and  easy  war.  Their  casual- 
ties were  often  heavy,  but  in  gen- 
eral they  enjoyed  the  benefits  of 

operating  well  away  from  the 
formal  methods  and  organization- 
al structure  of  the  rest  of  their 
army,  and  they  were  thus  able  to 
employ  their  own  initiative  and 
tactics  in  a way  that  was  impossi- 
ble in  most  other  units.  They 
ranged  far  and  wide,  sometimes 
took  part  in  spectacular  raids  and 
generally  took  the  battle  to  the 
enemy,  but  in  aU  armies  their  pri- 
mary function  was  one  of  recon- 
naissance. The  success  of  the 
armoured  cars  was  not  measured 
in  casualties  and  combat  but  in 

the  quality  and  accuracy  of  the 
information  and  intelligence 
they  were  able  to  pass  back  to 
the  rear.  Their  armament  was 
primarily  defensive,  and  although 
superlative  fighting  vehicles,  such 
as  the  Puma  and  M8  Greyhound, 
were  put  in  service,  it  should  be 
borne  in  mind  that  perhaps  the 
most  successful  of  the  vehicles 
described  here  was  the  little 
Daimler  scout  car,  a vehicle 
type  that  survives  to  this  day  in 
the  British  Ferret  reconnaissance 



I I Automitrailleuse  Panhard  et  Levassor  Type  178 

The  Automitrailleuse  Panhard  et 
Levassor  Type  178  armoured  car  was 
first  produced  in  1935,  and  was  de- 
veloped from  a design  known  as  the 
TOE-M-32,  which  was  intendedforuse 
in  the  French  North  African  colonies 
and  mounted  a short  37-mm  turret  gun. 
Panhard  used  this  design  as  a basis  for 
a new  French  army  requirement  but 
gave  the  new  vehicle  a 4 x 4 drive  con- 
figuration and  moved  the  engine  to  the 
rear  of  the  vehicle.  The  result  was  the 
Panhard  178  and  the  armament  varied 
from  a single  25 -mm  cannon  on  some 
vehicles  to  two  7.5-mm  (0.295-m) 
machine-guns  on  others,  while  some 
command  vehicles  had  extra  radios 
but  no  armament.  The  Panhard  178 
was  known  also  as  the  Panhard  Mod- 
Me  1935. 

The  Panhard  178  was  put  into  pro- 
duction for  the  French  infantry  and 
cavalry  formation  reconnaissance 
groups.  Production  was  slow,  but  by 
1940  there  were  appreciable  numbers 
available  for  the  righting  which  fol- 
lowed the  German  invasion  in  May. 
Many  of  the  Panhard  178s  were  in 
widely  scattered  units  and  were  un- 
able to  take  much  part  in  the  fighting 
that  ensued,  so  many  were  seized  in- 
tact by  the  victorious  Germans.  The 
Germans  liked  the  sound  design  of  the 
Panhard  178  and  decided  to  take  it  into 
their  own  service  as  the  Panzer- 
spahwagen  P 204(f),  some  of  them 
being  rearmed  with  37-mm  anti-tank 
guns  and/or  German  machine-guns. 
Some  of  these  were  retained  for  garri- 
son use  in  France,  but  others  were  la- 
ter sent  to  the  USSR,  where  the  type 
was  used  for  behind-the-lines  patrol 
duties  against  Soviet  partisans.  Some 
were  even  converted  for  railway  use, 
having  their  conventional  wheels 
changed  to  railway  wheels,  and  many 
of  these  'railway'  conversions  were 
fitted  with  extra  radios  and  prominent 
frame  aerials. 

Perhaps  the  most  unusual  use  of  the 
Panhara  178s  took  place  in  1941  and 
1942,  when  45  vehicles,  hidden  from 
the  Germans  by  French  cavalry  units 
following  the  defeat  of  1940,  were  pre- 

pared by  Resistance  personnel  for 
possible  use  against  the  Germans. 
These  vehicles  had  no  turrets,  but 
these  were  manufactured  under  the 
nose  of  the  Germans  and  fitted  with 
25-mm  or  47-mm  guns  and/or 
machine-guns.  The  armoured  cars 
were  then  secretly  distributed 
throughout  centres  of  resistance  main- 
ly in  unoccupied  France,  where  many 
were  subsequently  taken  over  by  the 
German  forces  when  they  took  over 
the  unoccupied  areas  oi  France  in 
November  1942. 

After  the  Liberation  the  Panhard  178 
was  once  more  put  into  production 
during  August  1944  at  the  Renault  fac- 

tory outside  Paris.  These  new  vehicles 
had  a larger  turret  with  a 47-mm  gun, 
and  were  later  known  as  the  Panhard 
178B,  The  new  vehicles  were  issued  to 
the  new  French  cavalry  units  and  were 
used  for  many  years  after  1945.  Some 
saw  action  in  Indo-China,  and  it  was 
not  until  1960  that  the  last  of  them  was 
taken  out  of  service. 

Panhard  178 
Crew:  4 

W eight:  (in  action)  8 . 5 tonnes 
Dimensions : lengtho  verall  4 . 7 9 m ( 1 5 ft 
8 V2in) ; width2 . 0 1 m(6ft  a Ain) ; height 
2.31m  (7  ft  7 in) 

Two  Automitrailleuse  Panhard  et 
Levassor  Type  1 78s  are  seen  here  in 
German  service  following  the  fall  of 
Francein  1940.  The  Germans  found 
these  vehicles  good  enough  for  them 
to  take  into  their  own  service,  and 
many  were  used  for  an  ti-partisan 
operations  in  the  USSR. 

Powerplant:  one6.33-litrewater- 
cooled  petrol  engine  developing 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
7 2 km/h  (45  mph) ; road  range  300 km 
( 1 86  miles) ; fording  0 , 6 m ( 1 ft  1 1 Lz  in) ; 
gradient  40°;  vertical  obstacleO.3  m 
(11%  in) ; trench  0.6  m ( 11  % in) 


schwerer  Panzerspahwagen  SdKfz  231 

The  schwerer  Panzerspahwagen 
SdKfz  231  6x4  heavy  armoured  car 
had  its  origins  at  the  Kazan  test  centre 
established  in  the  Soviet  Union  during 
the  1920s.  There  the  German  auto- 
mobile industry  developed  an  8x8 
armoured  car  chassis  that  proved  to  be 
too  expensive  for  further  develop- 
ment, so  a 6x4  chassis  was  tried  in- 
stead. This  model  used  a truck  chassis 
as  its  basis,  and  originally  this  was  a 
Daimler-Benz  product  but  later  Bus- 
sing-NAG  and  Magirus  chassis  and  en- 
gines were  einployed.  These  chassis 
were  fitted  with  suitable  armoured 
hulls  and  turrets,  and  modifications 
were  made  to  allow  steering  from 
either  end  of  the  hull.  Early  trials  de- 
monstrated the  need  for  stronger  front 
axles  and  revised  radiators,  and  the 
resulting  vehicle  was  issued  to  Ger- 
man army  units  during  1932.  Produc- 
tion continued  until  1935,  by  which 
time  about  1,000  had  been  produced. 

The  6x4  armoured  cars  were  not  a 
great  success  but  they  were  produced 
at  a time  when  the  German  army  lack- 
ed experience  in  the  use  of  armoured 
vehicles,  and  were  thus  invaluable  as 

training  and  preparation  equipments. 
Using  lorry  cnassis  carrying  armoured 
hulls  that  were  really  too  heavy  for 
their  supporting  structures,  the  six- 
wheeled armoured  cars  were  under- 
powered and  had  only  limited  cross- 

country capabilities.  But  when  used  on 
roads  they  were  as  good  as  anything 
else  available,  and  they  were  used  to 
good  effect  during  the  occupations  of 
Austria  and  Czechoslovakia  during 
1938  and  1939,  and  were  also  used  in 

combat  in  Poland  and  France.  Their 
very  appearance  had  great  propagan- 
da impact,  and  they  were  accordingly 
given  great  media  coverage  at  the 
time.  After  1940  they  gradually  faded 
from  front-line  use  and  were  relegated 

Schwerer  Panzerspahwagen  SdKfz 
231  armed  with  a 20-mm( 0.787-in) 
cannon.  This  pre-war  design  used  a 
truck  chassis  as  its  basis,  but  the 
overall  weigh  t made  the  vehicle 
unsuitable  for  prolonged  cross- 
country use. 


mainly  to  training  roles. 

Early  examples  of  the  six-wheeled 
armoured  cars  had  provision  for  only 
one  7.92-mm  (0.3 1-m)  MG  34  machine- 
gun  in  the  turret,  but  the  version  used 
mainly  by  the  heavy  platoons  of  the 
German  ariw  motorized  units  was  the 
SdKfz  231.  Tnis  had  a turret  mounting  a 
20-mm  cannon,  originally  the  KwK  30 
but  later  the  KwK  J8  with  a higher  rate 
of  fire.  Mounted  co-axially  with  this 
cannon  wasa7.92-mm(0.31 -in)MG34, 
and  there  was  provision  for  an  anti- 
aircraft machine-gun  on  the  turret  roof. 
The  SdKfz  231  was  used  as  a tactical 
vehicle  (undertaking  a combat  role  in 
direct  fire  support  of  motorized  infan- 
try units  mounted  on  trucks  or  later  on 
halftracks),  but  at  times  it  was  also  used 
in  support  of  hght  reconnaissance  units 
for  Panzer  formations.  Another  vehicle 
that  was  very  similar  to  the  SdKfz  231 
was  the  SdKfz  232,  which  was  basically 
a Sdkfz  231  fitted  with  a long-range 
radio  set  that  required  the  fitting  of  a 
large  and  prominent  frame  aerial 
above  the  turret  and  over  the  hull  rear, 
the  turret  acting  as  a support  for  the 
forward  part  of  the  aerial.  Another 
similar  vehicle  was  the  SdKfz  263, 
which  also  had  a large  frame  aerial, 
though  on  this  vehicle  the  turret  was 
fixed  and  had  provision  for  a single 
machine-gun  only.  The  SdKfz  263  was 
used  as  a command  vehicle. 

SdKfz  231 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  (in  action)  5.7  tonnes 
Dimensions:  length  overall  5. 57  m(  18  ft 
6%in);widthl.82m(5ftll  !/2in); 
height  2.25  m (7  ft  4 Yi  in) 

Powerplant:  one  Daimler-Benz, 

Bussing-NAG  or  Magirus  water- 
cooled  petrol  engine  developing 
between  60  and  80  bhp  (45  and  60  kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
65  km/h  (40  mph);  maximum  road 
range 250km(150miles);maximum 
cross-country  range  200  km  ( 1 25 
miles);  gradient  20°;  fordingO.6  m(24  in) 

Schwerer  Panzerspdhwagen  SdKfz 
232s  seen  during  a pre-war  parade 
in  Berlin.  These  vehicles  were 
equipped  with  a large  and 
cumbersome  radio  antenna 
mounted  over  the  turret  which 
remained  static  while  the  turret 


schwerer  Panzerspahwagen  SdKfz  23 1(8-Rad) 

Almost  as  soon  as  the  first  six-wheeled 
armoured  cars  were  issued  to  the  ex- 
panding German  army  during  the  mid- 
19303  the  German  staff  planners  real- 
ized that  they  were  not  the  vehicles 
that  would  be  required  in  the  long 
term  as  they  were  underpowered  and 
lacked  cross-country  mobility,  They 
requested  an  eight- wheeled 
armoured  car  with  an  engine  to  match, 
and  decided  to  develop  a Bussing- 
NAG  8x8  lorry  chassis  for  use  as  an 
armoured  car.  Development  began  in 
full  during  1935  and  the  first  production 
examples  were  issued  to  the  Army  in 

This  8x8  heavy  armoured  car  was 
known  as  the  schwerer  Panzer- 
sp^wagen  SdKfz  231,  and  to  avoid 
confusion  with  the  six-wheeled 
armoured  cars  with  the  same  designa- 
tion the  new  series  was  always  suffixed 
(8-Rad),  and  the  troops  knew  the  type 
as  the  Achtrad.  When  the  new  eight- 
wheelers  appeared  in  service  they 
were  among  the  most  advanced  cross- 
country vehicles  yet  produced,  but  the 
high  road- speed  and  mobility  had 
been  purchased  only  at  a high  price  in 
chassis  complexity,  for  the  layout  was 
highly  complicated,  expensive  and 
slow  to  produce.  The  chassis  had  all- 
wheel drive  and  steering,  and  fully  in- 
dependent suspension,  and  the  vehi- 
cle was  even  able  to  travel  across  the 
thick  mud  of  the  Eastern  Eront.  If  the 
vehicle  had  one  major  fault  other  than 
its  complexity  it  was  that  it  was  rather 
high  and  showed  up  prominently  in 

The  SdKfz  231  series  remained  in 
production  until  1942,  when  it  was 
phased  out  in  favour  of  the  SdKfz  234 
series.  By  then  1,235  had  been  pro- 
duced, and  the  type  remained  in  wide- 
spread use  throughout  the  war  on  all 
fronts.  The  type  was  particularly  prom- 
inent in  the  North  African  campaigns. 

The  SdKfz  231  (8-Rad)  had  a turret 
with  a 20-mm  KwK  30  or  KwK  38  can- 
non with  a co-axial  7.92-mm  (0.31 -in) 
MG  34  machine  gun.  The  SdKfz  232(8- 
Rad)  was  the  radio  version  with  a 
rominent  frame  aerial,  and  the  SdKfz 
63(8-Rad)  was  a command  version 
with  a fixed  superstructure  in  place  of 
the  rotating  turret,  and  featuring  a 
large  frame  aerial  for  the  long-range 
radio  equipments  carried.  The  SdKfz 
233  had  no  direct  six-wheeler  equiva- 
lent, foritmounted  a short  75-mm  (2.95- 
m)  tank  gun  (Stummelkanone)  as  used 
on  early  PzKpfw  IV  tanks.  This  gun  was 
mounted  in  an  open  compartment 
formed  by  the  removal  of  the  normal 
turret  and  there  was  only  a limited 
traverse  for  the  gun.  This  vehicle  had  a 
crew  of  only  three  men,  and  was  used 
to  provide  armoured  reconnaissance 
units  with  improved  offensive  power. 

The  first  SdKfz  233  was  issued  during 
late  1942  and  proved  to  be  highly 
effective,  but  there  were  times  when 
the  gun's  limited  traverse  and  lack  of 
armour-piercing  performance  proved 
to  be  a liability.  However,  when  pitted 
against  the  usual  run-of-the-mill  recon- 
naissance vehicles  it  was  likely  to  en- 
counter, the  SdKfz  233  was  very  effec- 
tive and  often  provided  covering  fire 
for  other  Achtrads. 



Crew:  4 

Weight:  (inaction)  8,3  tonnes 
Dimensions : length  overall  5.85m(19ft 
2,34  m (7  ft  8 in) 

Powerplant:  one  Bussing-NAG  L8V-Gs 
water-cooled  petrol  engine 

This  ear/y  example  of  a schwerer 
Panzerspdhwagen  231  (8-Rad)  is 
armed  with  a 20-mm  ( 0. 787-in) 
cannon  and  shows  the  distinctive 
spaced  armoured  stowage  bin 
monnttdon  the  front  hull.  Thtsizt 
md  bulkofthis  vehicle  in  relation  to 
the  armament  carried  can  be  seen  in 
this  view;  the  complexity  cannot. 

developing  150hp(112kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
85  km/h  (53  mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country speed  30  km/h  (19  mph);  road 
radius  of  action270km(  170miles); 
cross-country  radius  of  action  150  km 
(95  miles);  fording  1.0  m (3  ft  3'/a  in); 
gradient  30°;  vertical  obstacle  0.5  m 
( 1 ft 774  in);  trench  1.25  m (4  ft  1 V«  in) 



EJ  leichterPanzerspahwagen SdKfz 222 

When  the  Nazis  came  to  power  in  Ger- 
many, the  army  was  given  a virtually 
free  hand  in  selecting  new  equipment 
for  the  expanding  German  armed 
forces,  and  among  the  equipment  re- 
quested was  a new  series  of  light 
armoured  cars  to  be  built  on  a stan- 
dard chassis.  The  requirements  laid 
down  by  the  army  were  so  demanding 
that  commercial  models  could  not  be 
adapted  to  meet  them,  so  an  entirely 
new  design  was  produced  and  in  1935 
this  was  used  as  the  basis  for  the  leich- 
ter  Panzerspahwagen  SdKfz  221  4x4,  a 
light  three-man  vehicle  with  a small 
turret  mounting  a single  7.92-mm  (0,3 1- 
in)  machine-gun.  From  this  evolved 
the  SdKfz  222  armoured  car  with  a 
slightly  larger  armoured  turret  with  an 
open  top  and  the  potential  to  mount  a 
slightly  heavier  armament.  The  first 
SdKfz  222  appeared  in  1938  and  there- 
after was  adopted  as  the  standard  Ger- 
man army  armoured  car  for  use  by  the 
new  divisional  reconnaissance  units. 

The  SdKfz  222  was  initially  referred 
cle,  as  it  mounted  a 20-mm  KwK  30 
cannon,  aversion  of  the  standard  anti- 
aircraft cannon  adapted  for  use  in 
armoured  vehicles.  Later  the  20-mm 
Kw  K 3 8 was  also  used.  Mounted  along- 
side this  cannon  was  a 7.92-mm  (0.31- 
m)  MG  34  machine-gun,  and  this  com- 
bination left  little  room  inside  the  turret 
for  the  commander/gunner  and  the 
radio  operator,  who  were  further  res- 
tricted m action  by  the  use  of  a wire 
screen  over  the  top  of  the  open  turret 
to  prevent  hand  grenades  from  being 
lobbed  into  the  vehicle.  The  driver 
was  situated  centrally  in  the  front  of  the 
hull,  and  the  superstructure  was  made 
up  from  well-sloped  armoured  plates 
to  pro  vide  extraprotection.  During  the 
war  the  thickness  of  the  front  hull 
plates  was  increased  from  14.5mm 
(0.57  in)  to  30  mm  (1 . 1 8 in)  and  the  20- 
mm  cannon  mounting  was  adapted  to 
provide  more  elevation  for  use  against 
aircraft  targets. 

Once  in  widespread  service  the 
SdKfz  222  proved  to  be  a reliable  and 
popular  little  vehicle.  It  served  well  in 
France  during  1940,  often  racing  far 
ahead  of  the  following  Panzer  columns, 
and  in  North  Africa  the  type  proved 
itself  to  be  a very  useful  reconnaiss- 
ance vehicle,  although  somewhat  res- 

tricted in  its  operational  range  by  the 
amount  of  fuel  that  could  be  carried  in 
the  internal  tanks.  This  restriction 
proved  to  be  a problem  during  the 
invasion  of  the  Soviet  Union  after  1941, 
to  the  extent  that  the  SdKfz  222  was 
replaced  by  the  SdKfz  250/9  halftrack 
mounting  the  same  turret  and  used  for 
the  same  role.  In  the  west  the  SdKfz  222 
continued  in  service  until  the  end  of 
the  war,  and  in  the  Soviet  Union  the 
type  was  used  for  patrol  duties  in  rear 

The  SdKfz  221  and  SdKfz  222  were 
There  was  also  the  SdKfz  223,  which 
could  be  recognized  by  a large  frame 
aerial  over  the  rear  of  the  vehicle  hull 
as  the  vehicle  was  used  as  a command 
and  communications  centre  and  car- 
ried only  a single  machine-gun.  The 
SdKfz  260  was  a long-range  radio  vehi- 
cle, used  at  higher  command  levels 
only,  and  the  SdKfz  261  was  similar. 
The  SdKfz  247  was  a personnel  and 
stores  carrier. 

The  SdKfz  222  was  exported  in  some 
numbers  to  China  before  1939,  and 
once  there  was  adapted  to  take  a wide 
range  of  armament  that  ranged  from 
heavy  machine-guns  to  light  anti-tank 
guns.  Numbers  of  SdKfz  22  Is  were  also 
sent  to  China. 

SdKfz  222 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  (in  action)  4.8  tonnes 
Dimensions:  lengthoverall  4,80  m (14  ft 
5Vzin);  width  1.95  m (6  ft  4%  in);  height 
2.00  m (6  ft  6%  in)  with  grenade  screen 
Powerplant:  one  Horch/ Auto-Union 
V8-108  water-cooled  petrol  engine 
developing  8 1 hp  (60kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
80km/h  (50  mph) ; maximum  cross 
country  speed40km/h(25  mph) ; road 
radius  of  action  300  km  ( 187  miles); 
cross-country  radius  of  action  180  km 
(1  lOmiles);  gradient  20°;  fordingO.6  m 
(24  in) 

The  leichte  Panzerspahwagen  SdKfz 
222  is  seen  here  in  its  usual  form, 
armedwith  a 20-mm  ( 0. 7 87 -in ) 
cannon  andMC 34  machine-gun.  The 
wire  mesh  anti-grenade  screen  roof 
is  in  position.  Note  the  tool  and  fuel- 
can  stowage  and  the  number  of 
stowage  boxes  on  the  exterior,  as  the 
interior  was  rather  cramped. 

On  the  left  is  a SdKfz  223  Ugh  t 
communications  vehicle  with  its 
large  and  distinctive  frame  aerial;  on 
the  right  is  a SdKfz  2j0/3  halftrack,  a 
type  of  vehicle  that  proved  more 
suited  to  service  in  the  USSR. 


Light  Armored  Car  M8 

Armoured  cars  have  long  been  a fea- 
ture of  the  American  armoured 
fighting  vehicle  scene,  andin  1940  and 
1941  the  US  Army  was  able  to  observe 
operational  trends  in  Europe  and  so 
develop  a new  armoured  car  with  a 
good  performance,  a 37-mm  (1.45-in) 
gun,  0x6  drive,  a low  silhouette  and 
light  weight.  In  typical  American 
fashion  design  subrmssions  were  re- 
quested from  four  manufacturers.  One 
of  the  manufacturers.  Ford,  produced 
a design  known  as  the  T22,  and  this 
was  later  judged  to  be  the  best  of  all 

The  American  Light  Armored  Car  MS 
was  considered  too  Ugh  t in  armour 
by  theBritish,  but  was  otherwise 
widely  used.  The  main  gun  was  a 
37-mm(  1. 46-in)  gunwitha7.62-mm 
(0.30-in)  machine-gun  mounted  co- 
axially. A common  addition  was  a 
on  the  turret. 


submissions  and  was  ordered  into  pro- 
duction as  the  Light  Armored  Car  Mo. 

The  M8  subsequently  became  the 
most  important  of  all  the  American 
armoured  cars  and  by  the  time  pro- 
duction was  terminated  in  April  1945 
no  fewer  than  11,667  had  been  pro- 
duced. It  was  a superb  fighting  vehicle 
with  an  excellent  cross-country  per- 
formance, and  an  indication  of  its 
sound  design  can  be  seen  in  the  fact 
that  many  were  still  in  use  with  several 
armies  until  the  mid-1970s.  It  was  a low 
vehicle  with  a full  6x6  drive  configura- 
tion, with  the  axles  arranged  as  one 
forward  and  two  to  the  rear.  The 
wheels  were  normally  well  covered 
by  mudguards,  but  these  were  some- 
times removed  in  action.  The  crew  of 
four  had  ample  room  inside  the  vehi- 
cle, and  the  main  37-mm  (1.46-in)  gun 
was  mounted  in  a circular  open  turret. 
A 7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  Browning  machine- 
gun  was  mounted  co-axiaUy,  and  there 
was  a pintle  for  a 12,7mm  (0.5-in) 
Browning  heavy  machine-gun  (for 
anti-aircraft  use)  on  the  turret  rear, 

A close  cousin  of  the  M8  was  the 
Armored  Utility  Car  M20,  in  which  the 
turret  was  removed  and  the  fighting 
compartment  cut  away  to  allow  the  in- 
tenor to  be  used  as  a personnel  or 
supplies  carrier.  A machine-gun  could 

be  mounted  on  a ring  mount  over  the 
open  area.  In  many  way  the  M20  be- 
came as  important  as  the  M8  for  it 
proved  to  be  an  invaluable  run-about 
for  any  number  of  purposes,  ranging 
from  an  observation  or  command  post 
to  an  ammunition  carrier  for  tank  units. 
The  US  Army  employed  the  M8  and 
M20  widely  from  the  time  the  first  pro- 
duction examples  left  the  production 
lines  in  March  1943.  By  November  of 
that  year  over  1,000  had  been  deli- 
vered., and  during  1943  the  type  was 
issued  to  British  and  Commonwealth 
formations.  The  British  knew  the  M8  as 
the  Greyhound  but  it  proved  to  be  too 
thinly  armoured  to  suit  British  thinking, 
the  thin  belly  armour  proving  too 
vulnerable  to  anti-tank  mines.  Oper- 
ationally this  shortcoming  was  over- 
come by  lining  the  interior  floor  areas 
with  sandbags.  But  these  drawbacks 
were  more  than  overcome  by  the  fact 
that  the  M8  was  available  in  large  num- 
bers and  that  it  was  able  to  cross 
almost  any  terrain.  The  37-mm  (1.46-in) 
main  gun  was  well  able  to  tackle 
almost  any  enemy  reconnaissance 
vehicle  the  M8  was  likely  to  encounter, 
and  the  vehicle's  crew  could  defend 
the  M8  against  infantry  with  the  two 
machine-guns.  The  M8  could  be  kept 
going  under  aU  circumstanes,  but  its 

main  attribute  was  that  it  nearly  always 
seemed  to  be  available  when  it  was 

Light  Armored  Car  M8 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  (inaction)7.94tonnes 
Dimensions : length  5 . 00  m ( 1 6 ft  5 in) ; 
width  2.54  m (8  ft  4 in);  height  2.248  m 

(7  ft4Va  in) 

Powerplant:  one  Hercules  JXD  6- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 

AnMSin  a typical  reconnaissance 
situation  during  the  Normandy 
fighting  of 1944.  The  crew  have 
stopped  to  observe  some  enemy 
movement  orpositions,  and  two  men 
are  observing  through  binoculars  to 
obtain  as  comprehensive  an 
assessment  as  possible. 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
89  km/h  (55  mph) ; maximumrange 
563  km  (350  miles);  fording  0.61m 
(24  in);  gradient  60%;  vertical  obstacle 
0.3  m(12  in) 


Light  Armored  Car  T17E1  Staghound 

Although  the  Staghound  armoured  car 
was  an  American  product,  it  was  not 
used  by  the  American  forces,  all  the 
output  going  to  the  British  army  and 
other  Allied  and  Commonwealth 
forces.  The  design  had  its  origins  in  a 
US  Army  requirement  for  a heavy 
armoured  car  which  was  not  produced 
despite  the  building  of  prototypes 
since  the  requirement  was  changed  to 
a call  for  a medium  armoured  car.  Fol- 
lowing the  drawing  up  of  a specifica- 
tion, which  was  much  influenced  by 
input  from  British  experience  in  com- 
bat, two  vehicles  emerged.  One  was 
the  Light  Armoured  Car  T17,  a 6x6 
vehicle  by  Ford,  and  the  other  the 
Light  Armored  Car  T17E1  from  Chev- 

Only  relatively  few  of  the  6x6  T17 
armoured  cars  were  produced,  as  by 
the  time  the  type  was  ready  for  pro- 
duction the  requirement  for  a large 
6x6  vehicle  appeared  to  have  passed. 
However,  the  4x4  T17E1  went  into 
large-scale  production  even  though 
the  US  Army  no  longer  had  any  re- 
quirement for  the  design.  The  British 
Tank  Mission  asked  for  an  initial  batch 
of  300,  but  more  orders  followed  and 
by  the  end  of  1942  the  first  examples 
were  coming  off  the  production  lines. 
After  the  perilous  journey  across  the 
Atlantic  the  T 1 7E1  s were  issued  to  Brit- 
ish and  Commonwealth  units  as  the 
Staghound  Mk  I. 

The  Staghound  emerged  as  a large 
and  well-armoured  vehicle  with  a tur- 
ret mounting  a 37-mm  ( 1.46-in)  gun  and 
a co-axial  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  Browning 
machine-gun.  The  vehicle  looked 
good  and  in  service  proved  to  be  easy 
to  drive  and  maintain,  and  in  addition 
was  fast  and  had  a good  operational 
range.  The  type  first  went  into  action  in 
Italy  in  1943,  where  it  proved  well  able 
to  deal  with  the  difficult  conditions  that 
prevailed.  Thereafter  the  Staghound 
was  issued  to  Canadian,  New  Zealand, 
Indian  and  Belgian  units.  The 

A StaghoundAA  dLrmourtd  car  with 
twin  12.7mm  (0.50  in)  machine-guns 
intended  specifically  for  the  defence 
of  armoured  units  against  low-flying 

Staghound  had  several  unusual  fea- 
tures for  the  day,  not  the  least  of  which 
was  the  fully  automatic  hydraulic  trans- 
mission. The  vehicle  had  two  engines 
mounted  side-by-side  at  the  rear,  and 
the  crew  were  well  provided  with 
periscopes.  The  turret  was  hydrauli- 
cally traversed,  and  additional  arma- 
ment was  provided  by  two  more  7.62- 
mm  (0.3-in)  Browning  machine-guns, 
one  pintle-mounted  for  A A use  and  the 
other  in  the  hull  front. 

Once  the  Staghound  was  in  service 
several  variations  appeared.  One  was 
the  fitting  of  a 76.2-mm  (3-m)  tank 
howitzer  in  place  of  the  37-mm  ( 1 .46-in) 
gun  for  use  as  a close-support  weapon. 
The  Americans  had  produced  the 
T17E3  version  with  a short  75-mm 
(2.95-in)  howitzer  in  the  turret,  but  with 
the  introduction  of  the  British  version, 
known  as  the  Staghound  Mk  II,  this  was 
not  further  developed.  Another  British 
innovation  was  the  Staghound  Mk  III,  a 
rather  drastic  conversion  of  the  vehi- 
cle to  accommodate  a Crusader  tank 
turret  mounting  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun. 

SmaU  numbers  of  these  were  issued  to 
the  heavy  troops  of  armoured  car  reg- 
iments during  1944,  A production 
variant  developed  in  the  USA  was  the 
Staghound  AA  (T17E2)  which  had  the 
usual  turret  replaced  by  a new  power- 
operatedturretmountingtwo  12.7-mm 
(0.5-in)  Browning  machine  guns  for 
anti-aircraft  use.  An  order  for  1,000  of 
these  was  placed,  but  production 
ceased  in  April  1944  after  789  had 
been  built:  by  then  the  decline  of  the 
seemed  to  be  any  real  need  for  the 

here  were  numerous  other  conver- 
sions and  local  variations  of  the 
Staghound,  ranging  from  mine- 
clearing  experimental  models  pushing 
heavy  rollers  to  the  Staghound  Com- 
mand, a version  with  the  turret  re- 
moved and  increased  internal  stow- 
age for  radios,  plus  a folding  canvas  tilt. 
Local  modifications  such  as  the  provi- 
sion of  extra  external  stowage  Boxes 
were  common,  and  extras  such  as 
smoke  dischargers  and  machine-guns 

were  added  for  additional  protection. 

After  1945  the  Staghound  served  on 
in  the  British  army  for  several  years, 
and  the  type  was  also  passed  to  such 
nations  as  India,  South  Africa  and  Den- 
mark (which  used  the  Staghound  Mk 
III  for  some  years).  The  Staghound  was 
a sturdy  and  well-liked  armoured  car 
that  gave  excellent  service. 

Staghound  Mk  I 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  (in  action)  13.92  tonnes 
Dimensions:  Iength5.486m(18ft0in); 
(7  ft  9 in) 

Powerplant:  two  CMC  270  6-cylinder 
petrol  engines  each  developing  97  hp 
(72  kW) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
89  km/h  (55  mph) ; maximumrange 
724  km  (450  miles);  fording  0,8  m (2  ft 
8 in) ; gradient57  % ; vertical  obstacle 
0.533  m(lft9  in) 



^3  Marmon  Herrington  Armoured  Cars 

Despite  the  faet  that  the  vehiele  eon- 
struction  industry  in  South  Africa  had 
never  before  produeed  any  armoured 
vehieles,  in  1938  the  government  of  the 
day  ordered  the  development  of  two 
types  of  armoured  ear,  Work  on  these 
was  slow  until  the  outbreak  of  war  in 
1939  when,  after  a quiek  survey  of 
possible  alternatives,  the  ex- 
perimental vehieles  were  ordered  into 
produetion.  Orders  soon  swelled  to 
1,000  and,  despite  the  fact  that  no  facili- 
ties existed  for  the  large-seale  produe- 
tion of  sueh  vehieles,  within  only  a few 
months  the  first  examples  were 

The  South  Afrieans  produeed  then- 
armoured  ears  by  importing  Ford 
truekehassis  from  Canada,  four-wheel 
drive  transmissions  from  Marmon  Her- 
rington in  the  USA  and  the  armament 
from  the  United  Kingdom.  Local 
assembly  and  produetion  was  under- 
taken in  loeal  vehiele  assembly  plants 
and  railway  workshops,  and  the 
armour  plate  was  produeed  at  loeal 
steel  mills.  The  first  vehieles  were 
known  under  the  designation  South 
Afriean  Reeonnaissanee  Vehiele  Mk  I, 
and  these  had  a long  wheelbase  and  a 
4x2  drive  eonfiguration.  The  South 
Afriean  Reeonnaissanee  Vehiele  Mk  II 
had  a shorter  wheelbase  and  a full  4x4 
drive.  After  early  experienee  with  the 
Mk  Is  against  the  Italians  in  East  Africa, 
the  South  Afrieans  thereafter  eonfined 
the  vehieles  mainly  to  training  pur- 
poses, but  the  Mk  Us  went  on  to  better 

The  Mk  II,  known  to  the  British  as  the 
Armoured  Car,  Marmon  Herrington, 
Mk  II,  was  a fairly  simple  but  effective 
eon  version  of  the  original  tmek  ehassis 
to  take  the  new  4x4  transmission  and  a 
well- shaped  armoured  hull.  The  early 
versions  had  a turret  on  the  roof  mount- 
ing a Viekers  7,7-mm  (0.303-in) 
maehine-gun,  another  light  maehine- 
gun  being  located  in  the  hull  front,  but 
onee  this  eombination  had  been  tried 
in  aetion  it  was  ehanged  to  a Boys 
13.97-mm  (0.55-in)  anti-tank  rifle 
mounted  alongside  a 7 . 7 -mm  (0 . 3 03 -in) 
maehine-gun  m the  turret.  The  vehiele 
had  a erew  of  four  housed  in  the  roomy 
hull,  and  the  engine  was  a Ford  V-8. 

When  they  were  first  produeed  and 
issued  to  South  Afriean  and  British  units 
in  North  Africa,  the  Marmon  Herring- 
tons were  the  only  armoured  ears 
available  in  any  numbers  and  they 
formed  the  main  equipments  used  by 
the  reeonnaissanee  units  during  the 
early  Western  Desert  eampaigns. 
They  proved  to  be  surprisingly  efiee- 
tive  vehieles,  but  their  12-mm(0.47-in) 
armour  was  often  too  thin  to  be  of  much 
use,  and  the  armament  was  really  too 
hght.  The  troops  in  the  field  made  their 
own  ehanges  to  the  armament  and  all 
manner  or  weapons  sprouted  from  the 

A typical  Marmon  Herrington  Mkll 
armoured  car  in  desert  guise  and 
armed  in  typicalfashion  with  a 
Vickers  water-cooled  machine-gun, 
a Bren  gun  anda  Boys  1 3. 97 -mm 
( 0.55-in)  anti-tankrifle.  The  extra 
spare  wheel  and  sand  channel 
stowage  were  other  'local' extras. 

turrets  or  from  the  open  hulls  onee  the 
turrets  had  been  removed.  One  of  the 
more  eommon  weapon  fits  was  a eap- 
tured  Italian  20-mm  Breda  eannon,  but 
Italian  and  German  37-mm  (1.45-in) 
and  45-mm  (1.77-in)  tank  or  anti-tank 
guns  were  also  used.  One  vehicle 
mounted  a British  2-pdr  (40-mm)  tank 
gun,  and  this  became  the  preferred 
armament  for  later  marks.  The 
Armoured  Car,  Marmon  Herrington 
Mk  III  was  basically  similar  to  the  Mk  II 
though  based  on  slightly  shorter  chas- 
sis, and  lacked  the  double  rear  doors 
of  the  Mk  II. 

The  Mk  Us  had  a hard  time  during 
the  desert  campaigns,  but  they  kept 
going  and  were  well-liked  and  sturdy 
vehicles.  Local  modifications  were 
many  and  varied,  and  ranged  from 
command  and  repair  vehicles  to  ver- 
sions with  as  many  as  four  Bren  guns  in 
a turret.  Gradually  they  were  sup- 
lemented  and  eventually  replaced 
y more  formal  armoured  car  designs 
such  as  the  Humber.  Later  marks  of 
Marmon  Herrington  served  in  other 
theatres,  some  even  falling  into 
Japanese  hands  in  the  Far  East,  and  the 
number  of  formal  versions  was  later 
extended  to  eight,  including  the  Mk  IV 
inspired  by  the  German  eight- wheeler 
armoured  cars,  but  after  the  Mk  IV 
most  remained  as  prototype  vehicles 
only.  The  Armoured  Car,  Marmon 
Herrington  Mk  IV  was  a markedly 
different  vehicle,  being  a monocoque 
design  with  rear  engine.  Weighing  6.4 
tons,  the  Mk  IV  was  armed  with  a 2-pdr 

(40-mm)  gun  and  co-axial  7,62-mm 
(0.3-m)  Browning  machine-gun.  A 
variant  was  the  Mk  FVF  with  Canadian 
Ford  rather  than  Marmon  Herrington 
automotive  components. 

For  a nation  with  limited  production 
and  development  potential  the  Mar- 
mon Herrington  armoured  cars  were 
an  outstanding  South  African  achieve- 


Armoured  Car,  Marmon  Herrington 


Crew:  4 

Weight:  (in  action)  about  6 tonnes 

This  official  photograph  shows  a 
Marmon  Herrington  Mkll  armoured 
car  in  its  original  form  with  a Vickers 
7. 7 -mm  ( 0.303 -in ) machine-gun  in  the 
turret  and  another  in  a side-mounted 
mantlet.  This  latter  weapon  position 
was  soon  discarded  and  extra 
weapon  positions  were  provided 
around  the  open  turret. 

Dimensions:  not  known 
Powerplant:  oneFord  V-8  petrol 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
80.5  km/h;  maximumrange  322  km 
(200  miles) 

Humber  Armoured  Cars 

The  Humber  armoured  cars  were 
numerically  the  most  iniportant  types 
produced  in  the  United  Kingdom,  for 
production  eventually  reached  a total 
of  5,400,  The  type  had  its  origins  in  a 
pre-war  Guy  armoured  car  known  as 
the  Tank,  Light,  Wheeled  Mk  I,  of 
which  Guy  produced  101  examples  by 
October  1940.  In  that  month  it  was  real- 
ized that  Guy's  production  facilities 
would  be  fully  occupied  producing 
light  tanks,  so  production  was  switch- 

ed to  the  Rootes  Group  and  Karner 
Motors  Limited  of  Luton  in  particular. 
There  the  Guy  design  was  rejigged  for 
installation  on  a Karrier  KT  4 artillery 
tractor  chassis,  Guy  continuing  to 
supply  the  armoured  hulls  and  turrets. 
Although  the  new  model  was  virtually 
identical  to  the  original  Guy  design  it 
was  subsequently  re-named  the 
Armoured  Car,  Humber  Mk  I. 

The  Humber  Mk  I had  a relatively 
short  wheelbase,  but  it  was  never  man- 

oeuvrable and  used  a welded  hull.  The 
turret  mounted  two  Besa  machine- 
guns,  a heavy  15-mm  (0.59-in)  and  a 
lighter  7.92-mm  (0.31 -in)  weapon.  The 
type  had  a crew  of  three:  a comman- 
der who  acted  as  his  own  wireless 
operator,  a gunner  and  the  driver  in 
the  front  hull.  The  first  production 
batch  ran  to  500  vehicles  before  the 
Armoured  Car,  Humber  Mk  II  intro- 
duced some  improvements,  mainly  to 
the  front  hull  which  had  a pronounced 

slope.  The  Armoured  Car,  Humber  Mk 
ni  had  a larger  turret  that  allowed  a 
crew  of  four  to  be  carried,  while  the 
Armoured  Car,  Humber  Mk  IV  re- 
verted to  a crew  of  three  as  the  turret 
housed  an  American  37-mm  (1.45-in) 
gun.  An  odd  feature  of  this  vehicle  was 
that  the  driver  was  provided  with  a 
lever  which  raised  a hatch  covering  an 
aperture  in  the  rear  bulkhead  for  use 
as  rear  vision  in  an  emergency. 

The  first  Humber  armoured  cars 

were  used  operationally  in  the  North 
African  desert  from  late  1941  onwards, 
while  the  Humber  Mk  IV  did  not  see 
service  until  the  early  stages  of  the 
Italian  campaign,  but  thereaiter  all  four 
marks  were  used  wherever  British  and 
Alhed  troops  fought  in  Europe.  A ver- 
sion was  produced  in  Canada  with 
some  changes  made  to  suit  Canadian 
production  methods.  This  was  known 
as  the  Armoured  Car,  General  Motors 
Mk  I,  Fox  I,  and  the  main  change  so  far 
as  the  troops  in  the  field  were  con- 
cerned was  that  the  main  armament 
machine-gun  plus  a 7.62  mm  (0,3-in) 
Browning  medium  machine-gun. 
There  was  also  an  extensive  conver- 
sion of  the  Humber  Mk  III  as  a special 
radio  carrier  known  as  a Rear  Link 
vehicle.  This  had  a fixed  turret  with  a 
dummy  gun.  Another  radio-carrying 
version  was  used  as  a mobile  artillery 
observation  post,  and  numbers  of 
Canadian  Foxes  were  converted  for 
this  role.  A later  addition  to  many  Hum- 
ber armoured  cars  was  a special  anti- 
aircraft mounting  using  Vickers  'K' 
machine-guns  that  could  be  fired  from 
within  the  turret;  this  mounting  could 
also  be  used  with  Bren  Guns.  Smoke 
dischargers  were  another  operational 
addition.  A more  extreme  conversion 
was  made  with  the  Armoured  Car, 
Humber,  AA,  Mk  I,  which  had  four 
7 .92-mm  (0 . 3 1 -in)  Besa  machine-guns 

in  a special  turret.  These  were  intro- 
ducea  during  1943  at  the  rate  of  one 
troop  of  four  cars  for  every  armoured 
car  regiment,  but  they  were  with- 
drawn during  1944  as  there  was  no 
longer  any  need  for  them. 

After  1945  many  Humber  armoured 
cars  were  sold  or  otherwise  passed  to 
other  armies.  Some  were  still  giving 
good  service  to  armies  in  the  Far  East 
as  late  as  the  early  1960s. 


Aimoured  Car,  Humber  Mks  I to  IV 
Crew:  3 (4  in  Mk  III) 

Weight:  (inaction)  6.85  tonnes  (Mkl)  or 
7.1  tonnes  (Mks  II  to  IV) 

Dimensions:  length4.572m(15  ftOin); 
(7  ft  10  in) 

Powerplant:  one  Rootes  6-cyhnder 
water-cooled  petrol  engine 
developing  90  bhp  (67  kW) 

A Humber  Armoured  Car  Mkll,  one 
of  the  few  armoured  vehicles  to  use 
the  15-mm  (0.59-in)Besa  heavy 
machine-gun  as  its  main  armament. 
Originally  known  as  a wheeled  tank, 
these  vehicles  gave  sterling  service 
in  many  theatres  through  the  war. 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
7 2 km/h  (45  mph) ; maximumrange 

Daimler  Armoured  Cars 

When  the  BSA  Scout  Car  was  under- 
going its  initial  trials,  it  was  decided  to 
use  the  basic  design  as  the  foundation 
for  a new  vehicle  to  be  known  as  the 
Tank,  Light,  Wheeled.  As  with  the 
Scout  Car,  Daimler  took  over  the  de- 
velopment of  the  project,  and  the  re- 
sult was  a vehicle  that  outwardly  re- 
sembled the  little  Scout  Car  but  was 
nearly  twice  as  heavy  and  had  a two- 
man  turret.  Work  started  on  the  project 
in  August  1939  and  the  first  prototypes 
were  running  by  the  end  of  the  year, 
although  troubles  soon  arose  as  the  ex- 
tra weight  of  the  turret  and  armour 
overloaded  the  transmission.  It  took 
some  time  before  these  problems 
were  overcome,  and  it  was  not  until 
April  1941  that  the  first  production  ex- 
amples appeared.  By  then  the  vehicle 
was  known  as  the  Armoured  Car, 
Daimler  Mk  I. 

The  Daimler  Armoured  Car  was 
basically  a Scout  Car  enlarged  to 
accommodate  a turret  mounting  a 2- 
pdr  (40-mm)  gun.  The  turret  was  the 
same  as  that  designed  for  the  Tetrarch 
light  tank  intended  for  use  by  airborne 
forces,  but  when  this  was  placed  on  the 
Daimler  it  was  the  first  such  installation 
on  a British  armoured  car.  The  turret 
also  mounted  a co-axial  7.92-mm  (0.31- 
in)  Besa  machine-gun,  and  many  vehi- 
cles also  had  smoke  dischargers 
mounted  on  the  sides  of  the  turret.  The 
four-wheel  drive  used  double-eoil 
springs  on  each  wheel  station  although 
the  early  idea  of  using  four-wheel 
steering  was  discarded  as  being  too 
complex  an  idea  without  real  oper- 
ational benefit.  One  advanced  feature 
was  the  use  of  Girling  hydraulic  disc 
brakes,  well  in  advanee  of  general  use 
elsewhere.  A fluid  flywheel  was  used 
in  place  of  the  more  usual  clutch 
arrangement.  A duplicate  steering 
wheel  and  simple  controls  were  pro- 

AbovQ:  The  Daimler  armoured  car 
was  one  of  the  best  of  all  the  British 
armoured  cars,  and  the  one  that 
became  the  standard  equipment  for 
many  reconnaissance  regiments. 
Armed  with  a 40-mm  (1.57-in)  2-pdr 
gun,  it  had  limited  combat  capability 
but  proved  to  be  an  excellent  and 
reliable  reconnaissance  vehicle  in  all 

Right:  A Daimler  armoured  car  in 
North  Africa  during  November  1942 
carries  an  unusual  load  of  German 
prisoners-of-war.  Note  the  North 
African  additions  of  the  front- 
mounted  sand  channel  and  the  rack 
for  extra  fuel  cans  on  the  side,  plus 
the  kit  stowage  all  over  the  vehicle. 


vided  for  use  by  the  commander  in  an 
emergency  to  drive  to  the  rear.  The 
commander  also  had  to  double  as 
loader  for  the  main  gun. 

The  Daimler  underwent  suiprising- 
ly  few  changes  once  in  service.  An 
Armoured  Car,  Daimler  Mk  II  version 
was  later  introduced  with  a new  gun 
mounting,  a slightly  revised  radiator 
arrangement  and  a new  escape  hatch 
through  the  engine  compartment  for 
the  driver.  There  was  also  an  ex- 
perimental Armoured  Car,  Daimler 
Mk  I CS  which  had  a 76.2-mm  (3-in) 
howitzer  in  place  of  the  2-pdr  (40-mm) 
gun  to  provide  close  support  fire  with 
high  explosive  and  smoke  projectiles 
(the  2-pdr/40-mm  gun  could  fire  only 
armour-piercing  projectiles),  but  only 
a few  were  produced.  Another  arma- 
ment alteration  was  to  a small  number 
ofoperationalMkls,  which  were  fitted 
with  the  Littlej  ohn  Adaptor,  a squeeze- 
bore  muzzle  attachment  that  enabled 
the  2-pdr  (40-mm)  gun  to  fire  small 
projectiles  that  could  penetrate  thick- 
er armour  than  the  normal-calibre  pro- 

When  the  first  Daimler  Armoured 
Cars  arrived  in  North  Africa  during 
1941  and  1942  they  were  able  to 
assume  many  of  the  operational  roles 
of  the  Marmon-Hernngton  vehicles 
currently  deployed  in  that  theatre. 
They  soon  gained  for  themselves  an 

enviable  reputation  for  good  all-round 
performance  and  reliability  which  was 
to  remain  for  many  years.  By  the  end  of 
the  war  not  all  were  still  in  use  as 
armoured  cars,  some  being  employed 
as  scout  or  command  vehicles  with 
their  turrets  removed,  but  this  was  only 
a temporary  measure  and  turreted 
vehicles  served  for  many  years  after 
1945.  Total  production  was  2,694. 


Aimoured  Car,  Daimler  Mk  I 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  (inaction)7.5tonnes 
Dimensions : Iengtli3 , 96  m(  1 3 f 1 0 in) ; 
width  2.44  m (8  tt  0 in);  height  2.235  m 
(7  ft  4 in) 

Powerplant:  one  Daimler  6-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  95  bhp 
(71  kW) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
80.5  km/h  (50  mph) ; maximumrange 

A British  reconnaissance  unit  moves 
through  the  village  ofGacein 
Northern  France  during  August 
1944.  The  turreted  armoured  cars 
are  Daimlers  and  also  visible  are 
Daimler  Scout  Cars;  the  vehicle  just 
visible  on  the  left  is  a Humber  Scout 
Car.  The  white  star  was  the  Allied 
recognition  symbol  of  the  period. 

Daimler  Scout 

During  the  late  1930s  the  British  Army 
was  converting  to  mechanized  traction 
and  forming  its  first  armoured  divi- 
sions. One  of  the  requirements  to 
equip  the  new  formations  was  a small 
4x4  scout  car  for  general  liaison  and 
reconnaissance  duties,  and  three  com- 
panies produced  prototypes  for  com- 
parative trials,  Tne  three  companies 
were  BSA  CNcles  Ltd,  Morris  Com- 
mercial Cars  Ltd  and  Alvis  Limited.  Of 
the  three  designs  entered,  the  BSA 
submission  emerged  as  the  clear  win- 
ner and  a production  contract  was 
placed  by  the  War  Office  in  May  1939. 
A total  of  172  examples  was  ordered  as 
the  Car,  Scout,  Mk  I,  and  more  orders 
followed  later. 

By  the  time  the  order  was  placed  the 
BSA  project  had  been  taken  over  by 
Daimler,  and  the  designation  Car, 
Scout,  Daimler  Mk  I was  applied  to  the 
vehicle.  But  by  the  time  the  original 
order  was  placed  the  War  Office  had 
the  Scout  Car,  as  in  its  original  form  it 
provided  the  two-man  crew  with  fron- 
tal armour  only.  The  resultant  changes 
needed  to  provide  the  extra  armour 
and  a folding  roof  over  the  main  crew 
compartment  added  enough  weight  to 
require  an  improved  suspension  and  a 
more  powerful  engine,  but  once  these 
changes  had  been  incorporated  in  the 
Daiimer  Mk  lA,  the  Daimler  Scout  Car 
remained  virtually  unaltered  through- 
out its  long  service  life,  It  was  a simple 
enough  design  with  a full  4x4  drive 
configuration  and  front- axle  steering 
from  the  Daimler  Mk  II  onwards.  The 
engine  was  at  the  rear  and  the  crew 
was  seated  side-by-side  in  an  open 
compartment  with  only  the  folding  roof 
for  overhead  cover.  This  roof  was  re- 
moved on  the  Daimler  Mk  III  as  ex- 
perience showed  that  it  was  rarely 
used  operationally.  The  only  arma- 
ment carried  was  a single  7. 7 -mm 

Above:  The  little  Daimler  Scout  Car 
was  in  production  as  World  War  II 
began  and  was  still  in  production 
when  it  ended.  Although  only  lightly 
armed  it  was  quiet  and  nippy,  and 
proved  to  be  one  of  the  best  of  all 
reconnaissance  vehicles  in  use  by 
any  side  throughout  the  war. 

Righ  t:  These  Daimler  Scout  cars  are 
ready  for  the  Tunis  Victory  Parade  of 
May  1943.  Behind  them  is  a Daimler 
armoured  car  and  a Humber  Mk  II; 
the  aircraft  is  a French  Caudron 
Goeland  captured  from  the 
Luftwaffe.  These  vehicles  were  used 
on  the  occasion  as  escorts  for  some  of 
the  VIPs  arriving  for  the  parade. 


(0,303-m)  Bren  Gun  firing  through  a 
hatch  in  the  front  superstructure, 
although  other  arrangements  such  as 
anti-aircraft  mountings  were  some- 
times provided, 

The  Daimler  Scout  Car  proved  itself 
to  be  a very  tough  and  reliable  little 
vehicle.  It  had  the  unusual  distinction 
of  being  one  of  the  few  World  War  II 
vehicles  in  service  when  the  war 
started  and  still  remaining  in  produc- 
tion as  the  war  ended.  It  was  used  by 
all  manner  of  units  other  than  the  re- 

connaissance units  for  which  it  was  ori- 
ginally intended,  for  it  was  also  used 
by  artillery  units  as  a mobile  observa- 
tion post  and  by  Royal  Engineer  units 
for  locating  mine  fields  and  bridging 
positions.  Many  staff  officers  used 
them  as  run-arounds  and  liaison  vehi- 
cles, and  they  were  often  added  to 
motorized  infantry  units  for  reconnaiss- 
ance and  liaison  purposes.  In  all  these 
roles  the  Daimlers  ran  for  enormous 
distances  without  benefit  of  mainte- 
nance or  care  and  still  kept  going 

AEC  Armoured  Cars 

when  needed.  They  were  used  by 
many  Commonwealth  armies  other 
than  the  British  army,  and  many  served 
on  with  several  armed  forces  for  many 
years  after  the  war.  Most  of  them  left 
British  army  service  in  the  mid-1950s, 
but  a few  served  on  for  years  after- 
wards. Many  are  now  prized  collec- 
tor's pieces  and  it  would  not  be  su^ris- 
ing  if  a few  were  still  kept  operational 
by  some  of  the  smaller  armies  around 
tne  world. 


Car,  Scout,  Daimler  Mk  I 

Crew:  2 

Weight:  (in  action)  3 tonnes 
Dimensions:  length  3.226  m (10  ft  5 in); 
width  1 . 7 1 5m  (5  ft  7\1.  in) ; height 

Powerplant:  oneDaimlerb-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  55  bhp 
(41  kW) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
88.5  km/h  (55  mph) ; maximumrange 
322km  (200 miles) 

The  first  AEC  (Associated  Engineer- 
ing Company  Ltd  of  Southall,  London,  a 
company  that  normally  made  London 
buses)  armoured  car  was  produced  as 
aprivate  venture  based  on  information 
filtering  back  from  the  North  African 
battlefields.  What  AEC  had  produced 
was  virtually  a wheeled  tank,  for  the 
resultant  vehicle  was  fairly  large  by 
contemporary  standards  and  was 
equipped  with  armour  nearly  as  thick 
as  that  used  on  the  current  'cruiser' 
tanks.  The  basic  chassis  used  for  the 
AEC  armoured  cars  was  based  on  that 
used  for  the  Matador  artillery  tractor, 
but  by  the  time  this  had  been  revised 
for  the  armoured  car  role  manv 
changes  had  been  introduced,  includ- 
ing an  engine  set  at  a shght  front-to- 
rear  angle  to  enable  the  overall  height 
of  the  vehicle  to  be  lowered. 

The  first  example  was  demonstrated 
in  early  1941,  and  an  order  was  placed 
in  June  ofthat  year.  The  Armoured  Car, 
AEC  Mk  I mounted  a 2-pdr  (40-mm) 
gun  and  co-axial  7.92-mm  (0.31-in) 
Besa  machine-gun  in  the  same  turret 
as  that  used  on  the  Valentine  infantry 
tank,  but  only  120  vehicles  had  been 
produced  before  calls  came  for  some- 
thing more  powerful  for  use  in  North 
Africa.  The  result  was  a revision  that 
introduced  a new  three-man  turret 
mounting  a 6-pdr  gun  with  a calibre  of 
57  mm  (2.244  m),  but  even  this  was  not 
powerful  enough  for  the  troops  in  the 
field  and  the  Armoured  Car,  AEC  Mk 
II  was  replaced  in  production  by  the 
Armoured  Car,  AEC  MK  III  with  the 
same  turret  mounting  the  British- 
developed  version  of  the  American 
M3  75-mm  (2.95-m)  tank  gun.  This 
made  the  AEC  Mk  III  a very  powerful 
armoured  car,  and  it  was  used  as  a 
fire- support  vehicle  for  armoured  car 
regiments  until  the  end  of  the  war, 
mainly  in  Italy. 

The  AEC  vehicles  had  a convention- 
al layout  with  the  engine  at  the  rear. 
Although  the  vehicle  had  a full  4x4 
drive  configuration,  it  was  possible  to 
alter  this  to  a 4x2  form  with  the  drive 
and  steering  on  the  front  wheels, 
though  this  configuration  was  used 
only  for  road  travel.  The  degree  of  pro- 
tection for  the  crew  was  taken  to  the 
point  where  the  driver  had  no  direct 
vision  devices  when  closed  down;  he 
had  to  rely  on  periscopes  alone.  With 
the  hatch  open  the  driver's  seat  could 
be  raised  to  allow  him  to  raise  his  head 
out  of  the  hatch.  The  vehicle  had  a 
rather  slab-sided  appearance,  largely 
as  a result  of  the  provision  of  large 
lockers  between  the  front  and  rear 
mudguards,  and  on  the  Mk  II  revisions 
had  to  be  made  to  the  bluff  front  hull 
shape  to  improve  obstacle  crossing 
ancito  improve  armour  protection.  The 
heavy  turret  of  the  Mks  II  and  III  was 

One  ofthe  first  AEC  armoured  cars  to 
arrive  in  North  Africa,  this  Mkl  is 
recognizable  by  the  ex-Valentine 
infantry  tank  turret  and  the  2-pdr 
gun.  The  bulk  and  height  ofthe  se 
vehicles  can  be  easily  seen,  but  the 
vehicle  appears  to  have  few  ofthe 
many  extras  which  were  fitted  in  the 
field  to  combat  examples. 

provided  with  electric  power  for 

Production  of  all  the  AEC  armoured 
car  marks  ceased  after  629  had  been 
produced.  The  vehicles  were  used  in 
North  Africa  and  Tunisia  and  thereaf- 
ter in  Italy.  Some  Mk  Ills  were  used  in 
north  west  Europe  until  the  end  of  the 
war,  most  of  them  in  the  heavy  troops  of 
armoured  car  regiments.  A few  were 
used  for  odd  experiments  such  as 
pushing  mine-clearing  rollers,  and  at 
least  one  example  was  fitted  with  a 
special  anti-aircraft  turret  mounting 
two  20-mm  cannon 

In  1944  a batch  of  AEC  armoured 
cars  was  sent  into  Yugoslavia  for  use 
by  the  partisans,  but  the  activities  of 
these  vehicles  have  still  to  be  fully  un- 
covered, After  1945  numbers  were 
issued  to  the  newly  re-formed  Belgian 
reconnaissance  regiments,  and  these 
vehicles  served  until  at  least  1950. 

Armoured  Car,  AEC  Mk  I 
Crew:  3 

Weight:  (inaction)  1 1 tonnes 
Dimensions:  lengthoverqll5. 18  m(  1 7 ft 
0 in) ; width  2 . 70  m ( 8 ft  1 01/2  in) ; height 
2.55  m (8  ft  4 Vain) 

Powerplant:  one  AEC  6-cylinder 

diesel  engine  developing  105  bhp 
(78  kW) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
5 8 km/h  (36  mph) ; maximumrange 


Armoured  Car,  AEC  Mk  II  and  Mk  III 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  (inaction)  12.7tonnes 
Dimensions:  length  overall  (Mk  II) 
5.182  m (17  ft  10  in)  or  (Mklll)  5.613  m 
(18  ft  5 in);  width  2.70  m (8  ft  lOVfe  in); 
height2.69m(8ft  lOin) 

Powerplant:  one  AEC  6-cylinder 

diesel  engine  developing  155  bhp 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
66km/h(41  mph) ; maximumrange 
402  km  (250 miles) 

An  AEC  Mkl  armoured  car 
proceeding  through  Aleppo,  Syria 
during  April  1943.  This  vehicle  has 
an  anti-aircraft  Bren  gun  mounting 
on  the  turret  and  the  driver's  hatch  is 
fully  open.  Behind  are  Marmon 
Herrington  armoured  cars,  which 
were  by  then  being  phased  out  of 

*1'  ^ m 

i^/  ^ . A 


1 wiJH 

■HHHk  17 


The  Autoblinda  41, one  ofthemost 
numerous  oftheltalian  armoured 
cars,  is  shown  armed  with  a turret- 
mounted  20-mm  cannon  anda 
machine-gun  at  the  hull  rear. 

Weight:  (in  action)  7.5  tonnes 
Dimensions:  lengthoverall5.20m(  17  ft 
1 Vz  in) ; width  1 .92  m (6  fi4^A  in) ; height 
2,48  m(7  ft  UV2  in) 

Performance:  one  SAP  Abm  1 
6-cylinder  water-cooled  inline  petrol 
engine  developing  80  bhp  (60  kW) 
Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
7 8 km/h  (49  mph) ; maximum  cross- 
country speed  38  km/h  (24  mph) ; 
maximum  road  range  400  km  (248 
miles) ; fordingO.7  m(28  in) ; gradient 
40%  ;verticalobstacle0.3m(l2in) 

The  Autoblinda  40  and  Autoblinda 
41  were  extensively  used  by  Italian 
reconnaissance  units  in  the  Western 
Desert  and  Tunisia.  At  the  end  of 
September  1942  there  were  298  Auto- 
blinda 41s  in  use,  and  more  were  em- 
ployed by  the  colonial  police.  Some 
development  work  was  carried  out  on 
the  basic  design,  which  later  led  to  the 
mounting  of  a 47-mm  (1.85 -in)  gun  in 
the  turret  (AB  43),  while  an  open- 
hulled variant  had  a German  50-mm 
(1 .97-in)  tank  gun  but  neither  of  these 
vehicles  was  placed  in  production. 
There  was  also  an  open-hulled  variant 
that  was  produced  in  small  numbers  as 
a command  vehicle  or  mobile 
observation  post  for  artillery  units. 

Autoblinda  41 
Crew:  4 

The  Autoblinda  40  and  Autoblinda  41 
armoured  cars  had  their  origins  in  a 
requirement  for  a high-performance 
car  for  use  by  the  Italian  colonial  police 
in  the  new  Italian  colonies  in  Africa, 
The  Italian  cavalry  branch  had  a re- 
quirement for  a new  armoured  car  at 
about  the  same  time,  so  the  two  pro- 
jects were  merged  to  produce  a new 
vehicle  design  that  appeared  in  1939. 
This  new  design  had  the  engine  at  the 
rear  and  a turret  (mounting  a machine- 
gun)  towards  the  front.  There  was 
another  machine-gun  in  the  hull  rear 
and  the  vehicle  could  be  driven  from 
either  the  normal  front  position  or 
another  position  in  the  hull  rear.  From 
this  design  evolved  the  Autoblinda  40, 
of  which  production  began  by  the  mid- 
dle of  1940. 

When  the  original  production  order 
was  placed  it  was  specified  that  a small 
numoer  of  Autoblinda  40s  would  be 
produced  with  a 20-mm  cannon  in 
place  of  the  two  8-mm  (0.315-in)  turret 
machine-guns,  This  was  achieved  by 
using  the  turret  of  the  L 6/40  light  tank 
in  place  of  the  original  turret,  and  with 
the  appearance  of  this  version  known 
as  the  Autoblinda  41,  it  was  realized 
that  this  vehicle/weapon  combination 
was  far  more  effective  than  the 
machine-gun  version,  and  thereafter 
production  centred  on  the  Autoblinda 
produced,  and  many  of  these  were  la- 
ter converted  to  the  Autoblinda  4 1 con- 

For  its  time  the  Autoblinda  4 1 was  an 
advanced  design  and  possessed  good 
performance  marred  only  by  recur- 

rent steering  troubles  that  were  never 
entirely  eliminated.  The  main  arma- 
ment was  a converted  20-mm  Breda 
modello  35  anti-aircraft  cannon,  and 
this  weapon  was  mounted  co-axially 
with  an  8-mm  (0.3 1 5 -in)  Breda  modello 
38  air-cooled  machine-gun  specially 
designed  for  use  in  armoured  vehi- 
cles. Another  of  these  machine-guns 
was  mounted  at  the  hull  rear.  One  vehi- 
cle in  four  had  provision  for  an  anti- 
aircraft machine-gun  mounting  on  top 
of  the  turret.  Special  sand  or  normal 
road  tyres  could  be  fitted,  and  there 
was  a kit  available  to  convert  the  vehi- 
cle for  use  on  railway  tracks.  This  kit 
included  railway  wheels  and  extra 
lighting  and  signalling  devices,  along 
with  a searchlight  to  be  mounted  on 
the  turret.  Autoblinda  41s  fitted  with 
these  kits  were  used  extensively  for 
anti-partisan  patrols  in  the  Balkans. 

Autoblinda  40  and  41 


BA- 10 

The  first  BA- 10  six- wheeled  armoured 
car  appeared  in  1932,  It  was  produced 
at  the  Gorki  automobile  plant,  and  was 
the  logical  outcome  of  a series  of  six- 
wheeled armoured  cars  that  could  be 
traced  back  to  World  War  I,  even 
though  the  configuration  had  been  in 
abeyance  for  some  years.  The  BA- 10 
was  built  on  the  chassis  of  the  GAZ- 
AAA  six-wheeled  commercial  truck, 
though  the  suspension  was  modified  to 
assume  the  loads  involved  and  some 
reinforcements  were  made  to  the 
chassis  members.  The  layout  of  the 
BA- 10  was  orthodox,  with  the  engine 
under  an  armoured  cover  at  the  front 
and  the  turret  mounted  at  the  rear  over 
the  twin  rear  axles.  There  were  sever- 
al variations  in  the  armament  carried, 
but  the  main  armament  was  either  a 
37-mm  (1.46-in)  tank  gun  or  a 12.7-mm 
(0.5-in)  DShK  heavy  machine-gun.  La- 
ter versions  used  a 45 -mm  (1.7 7 -in) 
main  gun. 

Like  other  Soviet  armoured  fighting 
vehicles  the  BA- 10  was  a functional 
and  hefty  item  of  equipment.  It  had 
several  typically  Soviet  design  sub- 
features such  as  the  ability  to  wear 
tracks  or  chains  on  the  rear  axles  to 
assist  traction  in  mud  and  snow,  and 
the  spare  wheels  were  located  so  that 
they  could  turn  when  obstacles  under 
the  chassis  were  encountered,  and 
thus  take  some  of  the  load.  There  was  a 
crew  of  four,  one  of  whom  attended  to 
the  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-gun 
fitted  into  a mounting  on  the  front 
supertructure  to  the  right  of  the  driver. 

Later  versions  of  the  BA- 10  are 
sometime  known  as  the  BA-32,  and  to 
confuse  matters  further  one  of  these 

The  Soviet  BA-10  armoured  car 
looked  as  though  it  belonged  to  a 
previous  era,  but  despite  its  weight 
and  bulkit  proved  tobe  wellsuited 
to  the  distances  and  terrain  of  the 
Soviet  Union.  The  large  turret 
mounted  a 37-mm  (1.46-in)  or45-mm 
(1.77-in)  main  gun. 

latter  variants  is  sometimes  known  as 
and  used  the  turret  of  the  T-26B  light 
tank  with  its  45-mm  (1. 77-in)  gun.  This 
was  not  the  only  tank  turret  so  used,  for 
others  known  to  have  been  fitted  were 
the  turret  of  the  experimental  T-30 
light  tank  and  that  of  the  BT-3  tank.  One 
odd  variation  of  the  BA- 10  that 
appeared  in  1932  was  the  B AZ  amphi- 
bious vehicle,  which  used  the  basic 
BA- 10  hull  allied  to  a flotation  body 
derived  from  contemporary  German 
experimental  vehicles.  Only  a few 
were  produced.  . 

When  the  Germans  invaded  the 
Soviet  Union  in  1941  the  BA- 10  and  its 
later  derivatives  were  in  service  in 

some  numbers  with  the  Red  Army,  the 
number  1,200  often  being  quoted. 
However,  the  events  of  1941  and  1942 
decimated  the  numbers  of  BA-  10s,  and 
large  numbers  fell  into  German  hands. 
The  Germans  found  them  to  be  ser- 
viceable vehicles,  although  they  consi- 
dered them  not  really  modern  or 
mobile  enough  for  use  with  their  Pan- 
zer units,  and  kept  them  for  use  with 
anti-partisan  units  both  in  the  Soviet 
Union  and  in  the  Balkans,  The  Ger- 
mans knew  the  BA- 10  as  the  Panzer- 
spahwagen  BAF  203(r);  some  of  their 
reports  mention  the  vehicle  as  a Ford. 

After  1942  the  Soviets  started  to 
phase  out  the  use  of  heavy  armoured 
cars  such  as  the  BA- 10.  Those  that  re- 

mained were  often  relegated  to  the 
armoured  personnel  carrier  role,  hav- 
ing their  turrets  removed  and  the  in- 
teriors stripped  of  all  equipment  other 
than  the  driver's  seat  and  controls. 

Crew:  4 

Dimensions : length  4 . 7 0 m ( 1 5 ft  5 in) ; 
width  2,09  m (6  n 10'/2  in);  height 
2.42m(7ftll /jin) 

Powerplant:  one  GAZ-M-1  4-cylmder 
water-cooled  petrol  engine 
developing  85  hp  (63  kW) 
Performance:  maximum  speed 
87  km/h  (54  mph) ; maximumrange 


Allied  and 
Axis  Trucks 

The  sweeping  strategic  manoeuvres  of  armoured  forces  In  World  War  II 
were  made  possible  by  large-scale  mechanization  of  transport;  without  massive 
fleets  of  lorries,  Blitzkrieg  would  not  have  been  possible  and  the  tempo  of  the 

conflict  could  not  have  been  sustained. 

Trucks  were  a logistical  essential  - overlooked  as  such  by 
many  - when  the  world's  most  mobile  and  mechanized  war  to 
date  broke  out  in  1939.  By  D-Day  the  Allies  had  designed  and 
built  many  new  types  of  four-wheel-drive  vehicles. 

Never  had  there  previously 
been  - and  in  all  possibility 
will  there  ever  be  again  - so 
mobile  a war  as  was  seen  during 
World  War  II. 

From  the  very  outset,  with  the 
German  Blitzkrieg  on  Poland, 
such  warfare  relied  on  mobility 
to  push  home  the  attack.  During 
these  early  years  much  reliance 
was  placed  on  the  speed  and 
efficiency  of  armoured  thrvists 
backed  by  a mobile  supply  line. 
Unfortunately  for  the  Germans, 
much  of  their  supply  line  'was 
still  horsedrawn  and  the  number 
of  available  motor  transport 
vehicles  was  totally  inadequate 
for  the  task.  To  compensate  for 
this  inadequacy,  many  civil  trucks 
were  conscripted  into  service 
along  with  the  few  surviving 
vehicles  of  the  Polish  army.  In 
contrast  with  this,  the  British 
Expeditionary  Force  that  landed 
in  France  in  1939  was  a fully 
mechanized  formation. 

During  the  evacuation  of 
Dunkirk  very  few  vehicles  could 
be  rescued.  They  were  thus  cap- 
tured (along  with  many  different 
types  of  French  trucks)  by  the 
Germans  and  pressed  into  ser- 
vice, leading  to  yet  more  spare 
parts  problems.  After  this  the 
German  logistics  department 
tried  to  rationalize  matters  in  a 
standardization  programme 

involving  the  Schell  system,  but 
even  this  never  reached  its  target 
before  the  end  of  the  war. 

Perhaps  the  loss  of  about 
90,000  vehicles  in  France  was  a 
blessing  to  the  British  military 
transport  organization  as  it 
cleared  all  the  'dead  wood',  and 
thus  paved  the  way  for  fresh 
ideas.  The  chronic  shortage  of 
transport  forced  a further  tempo- 
rary introduction  of  impressment 
until  specific  types  of  vehicles 
could  be  produced  in  greater 
numbers.  The  Commonwealth 
with  its  many  assets  was  given 

the  orders  to  produce  many  of 
these  urgently  needed  types. 
Canada  made  a contribution  out 
of  all  proportion  to  the  size  of  its 
small  automotive  industry  with  its 
series  of  all- wheel-drive  tactical 
trucks  ranging  from  15-cwt  4x4 
to  3-ton  6x6,  produced  with 
various  types  of  cabs  from  1940 
to  1943.  During  the  early  period 
the  Canadian  chassis  and  cabs 
were  built  to  Canadian  designs 
but  to  British  specifications. 

The  early  wooden  bodies  were 
later  replaced  by  pressed  steel 

The  invasion  of  Europe  was 
soon  in  the  minds  of  the  Allied 
planners,  and  considerable 
thought  was  being  given  to  sup- 
plying the  vast  armies  that  would 
make  the  attack  across  Europe 
into  Germany.  It  would  require  a 
supply  system  of  a magnitude 
never  before  envisaged,  and  the 
production  of  trucks  would  be  at 
a premium  for  the  next  two  to 
three  years.  The  British  truck 
industry  thus  began  to  produce 
its  own  four-wheel-drive  vehicles, 
with  such  established  names  as 
Bedford,  Ford,  Karrier, Thorny  croft 
and  Albion  being  to  the  fore. 

Once  the  Allied  assault  had 
gained  momentum  the  supply 
lines  would  soon  be  over- 
stretched, and  to  help  overcome 
this  problem  heavier  10-ton 
trucks  were  also  put  into  produc- 
tion. The  biggest  supplier  of  all 
military  trucks  during  World  War 
II  was  the  USA,  although  it  was 
slow  at  first  to  respond  to  the 
ever-growing  transport  need  of  its 
own  army  and  the  now  famous 
Lend-Lease  system  to  the  UK. 

As  the  whole  might  of  American 
industry  turned  on  to  a war 
footing,  however,  trucks  were 
produced  in  countless  thousands, 
ranging  from  the  iH-ton  Dodge 
4 X 4 to  the  massive  Mack  prime 
movers  and  Diamond  T trans- 



Canadian  and  Australian  trucks 

To  meet  her  urgent  need  for  motor 
transport  the  UK  turned  to  the  Com- 
monwealth for  a degree  of  support,  the 
major  supplier  to  the  UK  from  the  Com- 
monwealth being  Canada.  Canada 
herself,  once  on  a war  footing,  had  ur- 
gent need  to  supply  her  own  armies 
with  equipment  as  every  transport 
vehicle  then  in  service  was  of  civil  ori- 
gin. During  early  1937  Ford  of  Canada 
had  been  approached  to  produce  15- 
cwt  trucks  based  on  similar  lines  to 
of  Canada  also  participated.  Ford's  ex- 
perimental vehicle  was  produced  in 
no  great  haste  at  the  Windsor  plant,  the 
pilot  model  being  built  up  around  a 
Ford  V-8  chassis  with  wheels  and  tyres 
imported  from  England.  When  com- 
pleted in  1937  the  vehicle  was  tested  at 
the  then  small  army  testing  ground  at 
Camp  Petawawa,  near  Ottawa.  On 
arrival  it  was  discovered  that  the  spe- 
cification had  changed  to  a four-wheel 
drive  application.  Nevertheless,  the 
type  gave  a good  account  of  itself,  and 
the  Canadian  Military  Pattern  Chassis 
formed  the  basis  of  many  15-cwt  and 
8-cwt  trucks.  During  early  1940  the 
standard  pattern  of  Canadian  truck  be- 
gan to  emerge  with  four-wheel  drive, 
and  in  July  of  1940,  after  Dunkirk,  the 
UK  placed  a preliminary  order  for 
7,000  vehicles.  By  1941  Canada  was  the 
Empire's  main  supplier  of  light  and 
medium  trucks.  Standardization  was 
again  of  the  utmost  importance  within  a 
range  of  trucks  including  8-cwt,  15- 
cwt,  30-cwt  and  3-ton  4x4,  3-ton  6x4 
and  3-ton  6x6  vehicles.  Various  Cana- 
dian cabs  were  produced  through  the 
different  stages  of  development:  the 
number  1 1 cab  was  identifiable  by  the 
radiator  externally  mounted  to  the 
bonnet;  the  number  12  cab  had  the 
radiator  mounted  inside  the  bonnet; 
the  number  13  cab  was  a complete 
revision  in  design  to  allow  more  cab 
interior  space  and  better  placing  of  the 
foot  pedals,  and  also  had  a forward 
sloping  windscreen;  and  the  number 
43  was  basically  a number  13  with  a 
soft  top. 

The  3-ton  4x4  became  the  mainstay 
of  Canadian  production,  and  was  areli- 
able  vehicle  produced  by  both  Ford 
and  Chevrolet.  The  body  variations 
were  enormous  and  can  only  be 
touched  briefly  within  this  text.  All 

Above:  A1 940  Chevrolet  WA  is  seen 
in  the  configuration  developed  by 
the  LRDCfor  their  opera  tions  in 
North  Africa.  The  vehicle  illustrated 
carries  a Lewis  gun  behind  the  cab 
and  a Browning  .30  calM1919  with 
AA  barrel  above  the  dashboard. 

models  were  produced  in  the  general- 
service  role,  some  with  timber  and 
some  with  all-pressed-steel  bodies, 
and  other  types  included  water  and 
petrol  tankers,  mobile  gun  carriages, 
wireless  house  bodies,  machinery 
vehicles  (various  types  from  15-cwt 
mounted  welding  units  to  6x6  fully - 
egmpped  workshops),  office  bodies, 
ambulances  and  other  medical  re- 
quirement vehicles,  and  breakdown 
and  recovery  vehicles.  Canada  also 
supplied  many  conventional  types 
from  all  the  large  manufacturers,  fitted 
with  military  tyres/wheels  and  bodies. 
Over  900,000  Canadian  vehicles  were 
produced  within  the  five-year  period. 

The  Australian  commitment  was  not 
on  so  grand  a scale,  the  majority  of 
production  trucks  being  in  the  light 
range.  Most  of  the  medium  to  heavy 
trucks  were  supplied  in  kit  or  chassis 
and  cab  form,  usually  from  Canada,  to 
which  locally-built  bodies  were 
added.  Some  of  the  conventional 
trucks  supplied  were  used  in  halftrack 
conversions,  but  this  never  progres- 
sed beyond  the  experimental  stage. 
All  Canadian  Fords  were  reassembled 

at  the  Ford  subsidiary  plant  at 
Geelong,  in  Victoria  state  some  48  km 
(30  miles)  west  of  Melbourne. 



Powerplant:  one  70.8-kW  (95-bhp) 
Ford  V -8  petrol  engine 
Dimensions : length  6 . 20  m (20  ft  4 in) ; 

Two  Chevrolet  trucks  pass  through  a 
rocky  area  of  the  desert  carrying  an 
in  teresting  assortm  en  t of  weapons, 
including  a Boys  An  ti-Tank  riflt. 

width2.29m(7  ft6in);  height  3.05  m 
(10  ft  0 in) 

Performance:  max  speed  80  km/h 
(50  mph) ; range  270  km  ( 168  miles) 

Above:  This  Canadian-built  Ford  3- 
ton  truck  is  carrying  a curious  cargo 
oflighting  equipment.  Canadian 
Fords  were  also  produced  in 
Australia,  the  Ford  subsidiary  plant 
in  Victoria  State  re-assembling 
vehicles  for  use  in  the  Pacific  thea  tre. 

Be/ovv:  The  Chevrolet  C60L  CS  truck 
became  the  mainstay  of  Canadian 
production  and  was  built  in  a 
bewildering  variety  of  different 
models  including  water  and  petrol 
tankers,  ambulances  and  recovery 



German  light  trucks 

German  light  trucks  before  the  out- 
break of  World  War  II  were  of  com- 
mercial 4x2  design  with  only  super- 
structure details  to  identify  them  as 
army  vehicles. 

The  Phaenomen  Granit  had  an  air- 
cooled engine  and  was  used  in  great 
numbers,  most  specifically  in  the 
ambulance  role.  Although  the  Granit 
was  ausefulvehicleforthe  transport  of 
goods  and  supplies  on  hard  roads,  the 
type's  cross  country  ability  left  much  to 
be  desired.  A specification  for  a 6x4 
truck  was  published  and  the  response 
from  the  industry  was  immediate. 
Daimler-Benz  had  already  built  its 
Daimler-Benz  G3  6x4  model  from 
1928,  many  for  service  with  the  Ger- 
man railways.  Bussing-NAG  of  Brauns- 
chweig was  also  involved  with  its  Bus- 
sing-NAG G31,  in  production  from  1933 
to  1935.  Whilst  all  vehicles  were  fitted 
as  standard  with  petrol  engines,  a few 
diesel  engines  were  also  fitted  ex- 
perimentally. Daimler-Benz,  Buessing- 
NAG  and  Krupp  produced  chassis 
which  were  also  used  as  the  basis  for 
armoured  car  bodies.  Although  a wide 
range  of  vehicle  types  were  still  in  ser- 
vice during  the  invasion  of  Poland  the 
Schell  programme  had  introduced  the 
idea  of  standard  truck  designs.  For  ex- 
ample the  Daimler-Benz  1500A  was 
built  as  the  planned  replacement  for 
all  current  2-ton  payload  types  in  ser- 
vice, many  of  which  served  m the  Ger- 
man army  for  general-service  use. 
Troop  carrier  versions  were  built  on 
the  lines  of  heavy  cars  with  fold-down 

Steyr  of  Austria  built  three  basic 
types:  a general- service  truck,  a heavy 
command  car  and  a troop  carrier,  all 
powered  by  an  air-cooled  V-8  engine. 
Steyr  also  provided  a 6x4  cargo  Steyr 
Model  640,  which  was  also  produced 
in  ambulance  and  command  car 
variants.  One  of  the  most  common 
types  used  during  the  early  days  of 
World  War  II  was  the  Krupp  Kfz  81 
6x4,  which  was  generally  employed 
as  an  artillery  tractor,  a role  in  which  it 
superseded  the  earlier  Kfz  69  pur- 
pose-built artillery  tractor.  The  Krupp 
Boxer,  as  it  became  known,  was  po- 
wered by  a 4-cylmder  horizontally 
opposed  engine  and  had  all-round  in- 
dependent suspension. 

Hungary  built  few  vehicles:  one  6x4 
personnel  carrier  for  14  men  was  the 
Botond.  In  Czechoslovakia  Tatra  pro- 
duced the  Tatra  T92  2-tonner  powered 


Opel  Blitz 

By  the  late  1930s  the  German  military 
inventory  presented  an  enormous 
logistic  problem,  with  over  100  diffe- 
rent vehicle  types  in  service. 

A desperate  programme  to  rational- 
ize this  situation  was  put  in  hand  under 
the  leadership  of  General  von  Schell, 
who  was  then  director  of  mechaniza- 
tion. His  aim  was  to  cut  down  the  vast 
number  of  types  and  bring  in  a degree 
of  standardization  which,  when  plans 
were  finalized,  allowed  just  30  vehicle 

In  the  3-ton  medium  category  Opel's 
design  was  the  most  successful.  The 
Opel  Blitz  4x2  was  of  a conventional 
layout  and  featured  a pressed  steel 
commercial  type  cab  with  wooden 
body.  Under  the  so  called  Schell  prog- 
ramme all  4x2  vehicles  were  desig- 
nated Typ  S.  The  4x2  was  produced  in 

by  a V-8  engine;  this  model  was  first 
used  by  the  Czech  army,  and  later  by 
the  Germans.  The  Praga  RV  models 
were  again  6x4  types,  and  were  built 
as  general-service  trucks,  wireless 
vehicles  and  command  cars.  The 
Schell  programme  was  designed  to 
make  these  6x4  vehicles  obsolete,  but 
as  production  of  Schell  types  could 
never  keep  up  with  demand,  the  older 
models  soldiered  on  to  the  end  of  the 
war,  some  still  being  used  immediate- 
ly after  the  war  in  civilian  hands. 

Krupp  Kfz  81 

Powerplant:  one  38.8-kW  (52-bhp) 
Krupp  M304  4-cylinder  engine 
Dimensions:  length4.95  m(16  ft2,9 
width  1 .95  m (6  ft4.8  in) ; height  2.30  m 
(7  ft  6.6  in) 

Weight:  2600  kg  (5,732  lb) 

Below:  The  Krupp  Kfz  81  (L2H43)had 
an  air-cooled  'Boxer'  engine  and  an 
all-independent  suspension;it  was 
used  in  a number  of  different  roles, 
including  prime  moverforthe  20- 
mm  (0.78-in)  anti-aircraft  2un. 

The  Germans  made  extensive  use  of 
captured  light  trucks  and  vehicles 
manufactured  in  Hungary, 
Czechoslovakia  and  France.  Their 
own  models,  like  the  Krupp  L2H43 
seen  here,  were  similar  to 
con  temporary  British  six-wheelers. 

many  different  variants,  for  example 
general  service,  fuel  tankers,  house 
body  etc.  As  the  need  for  better  cross- 
country performance  became  a pre- 
mium It  was  decided  by  C^el  to  pro- 
duce a four-wheel-drive  J-ton  truck 
with  the  designation  Typ  A and  based 
on  the  same  basic  vehicle  design  as 
the  Typ  S.  The  addition  of  a driven 
front  axle  gave  tremendous  advan- 
tages over  the  normal  4x2  truck,  and 
the  wheelbase  for  the  4x4  was  shor- 

Opd  Blitzes  of  the  Afrika  Korps  are 
seen  on  a busy  road  in  Libya,  1941. 
For  all  his  panache  as  a tank 
commander,  Rommel  consistently 
neglected  the  logistics  of  the  Afrika 
Korps  and  imposed  an  impossible 
burden  on  his  transport  columns. 


tened  by  15cm  (5.9m).  A two-speed 
transfer  box  gave  the  vehicle  a choice 
of  10  forward  gears.  During  the  pro- 
duction span  from  1937  to  1944  some 
70,000  Opel  Blitz  trucks  were  built,  as 
well  as  over  25 ,000  Allrad'  (four  wheel 
drive)  models.  By  late  1944,  however, 
manufacture  was  totally  disrupted  by 
Allied  bombing  and  the  Allied  adv- 
ance across  Europe,  making  plans  to 
produce  vehicles  in  1945  fruitless.  The 
variations  of  body  design  were  numer- 
ous, the  most  popular  model  being  the 
house  body.  The  Blitz's  possibilities 
were  endless,  and  the  vehicles  were 
used  as  field  ambulances,  mobile 
laboratories,  laundries,  mobile  com- 
mand posts,  field  caravans,  radio  vans, 
cipher  offices,  and  mobile  workshops 
to  name  just  a few.  The  body  was  made 
of  timber  and  compressed  card  to  save 
valuable  steel.  Later  during  the  war 
when  raw  materials  were  desperately 
short,  the  cabs  were  produced  from 
wood  and  pressed  card  and  termed 
Ersatz  cabs.  During  the  winter  cam- 
paigns on  the  Eastern  Eront  even  the 
four- wheel-drive  vehicles  were  almost 
brought  to  a standstill,  and  the  Waffen- 
SS  developed  a unique  three-quarter 
track  vehicle  from  an  Opel  Typ  A and 
obsolete  PzKpfw  I tank  track  assemb- 

lies: the  rear  shaft  was  shortened  and 
the  driven  axle  was  moved  forward  to 
line  up  with  the  sprockets,  and  be- 
cause of  its  performance  the  Maultier, 
as  the  vehicle  became  known,  was 
accepted  for  standard  production. 
Similar  conversions  to  Ford  and  Daim- 
ler-Benz vehicles  were  also  carried 
out,  but  were  not  so  numerous. 

Opel  Blitz 

Powerplant:  one  54.8-kW  (73,5-bhp) 
Opel  6-cylmder  petrol  engine 
Dimensions  :length6.02m(19ft9in); 
width  2.265  m (7  ft  5.2  in);  height 
2.175  m (7  ft  1.6  in) 

W eights : chassis  2 1 00  kg  (4 , 63 0 lb) ; 
payload  3290  kg  (7,253  lb) 

Above:  An  Opel  Blitz  Kfz  31 
ambulance  model.  The  Germans 
also  used  heavy  car  chassis 
ambulances  and  captured  some,  like 
the  Austin  K2.  It  was  also  used  to 
carry  mobile  operating  theatres. 

Performance:  maximum  speed  80  km/ 
h(50mph);range410km(255  miles) 


German  heavy  trucks 

Most  German  heavy  trucks  were  basi- 
cally civil-based  vehicles  or  Typ  S 
models  under  the  Schell  programme. 
The  majority  were  4x2  4Va  to  6 ton- 
ners,  such  as  the  MAN  ML4500  which 
was  also  built  in  Austria  by  OAF.  The 
Mercedes-Benz  L4500A  is  atypical  ex- 
ample of  the  type  of  German  vehicle 
used  by  the  Wehrmacht,  Powered  by 
a Daimler-Benz  OM67/4  6-cylmder 
diesel  engine,  it  formed  part  of  the 
backbone  of  German  army  transport, 
and  in  one  variant  mobile  anti-aircraft 
eguipment  was  built  on  the  Mercedes 
chassis  in  the  form  of  a 37-mm  Flak  41 

An  attempt  was  made  to  produce  a 
tank  transporter  unit  for  use  with 
PzKpfw  I tanks,  and  a 4x4  version  of 
the  Bussing-NAG  6.5-ton  lorry  was 
used.  Very  little  progress  was  made  in 
this  direction,  and  most  tank  haulage 
was  carried  out  by  the  6x4  Faun 
L900D567  with  a payload  capacity  of 
8800  kg  (19,400  lb).  The  German  truck 
industry  was  never  able  to  supply 
enough  types  to  transport  tanks,  half- 
tracks with  trailers  eventually  taking 
over  this  role. 

With  the  German  takeover  of 
Czechoslovakia  in  1938  many  useful  in- 
dustries fell  into  German  hands  and 
were  put  to  use  supplying  the  German 
armed  forces.  In  Kolin  the  excellent 
6x6  Tatra  6.5-ton  truck  was  produced 
with  some  outstanding  features:  they 
included  a tubular  frame  and  indepen- 
dent front  and  rear  suspension,  and 
power  was  supplied  by  a 12-cylinder 
air-cooled  157-kW  (210-hp)  engine. 
Skoda  also  supplied  heavy  trucks  to 
the  Germans,  the  Skoda  6 ST6  6x4 

A Bussing-Nag 454  6 Ve-  ton  4x4  truck 
carries  a PzKpfw  I command  tank  in 
Afrika  Korps  colours.  Only  a small 
number  of  these  vehicles  were 
produced,  the  most  widely  used  tank 
transporter  being  the  Faun6x  4, 
which  was  capable  of  carrying  the 

Right:  The  control  of  far -flung 
armoured  forces  depended  on  a 
reliable  network  of  radio 
communications,  based  on  mobile 
radio  stations  mounted  on  heavy 
trucks.  This  vehicle  is  part  of  a 
German  divisional  headquarters 
outside  Tobrukin  1941.  Heavy  trucks 
were  mainly  used  for  specialist  tasks, 
general  supplies  being  en  trusted  to 
ligh  ter  vehicles  and  the  railways. 

cargo  truck  generally  being  used  in 
conjunction  with  four-wheel  trailers. 
Skoda  also  produced  one  of  the  oddi- 
ties of  World  War  II,  the  4 x 4 Skoda  175 
built  as  an  artillery  tractor  for  use  in 
rough  conditions  on  the  Eastern  Front, 
It  featured  huge  steel  wheels 
(1500x300mm  front  and 
1500x400  mm  rear).  Some  of  these 
production  models  were  used  in  North 
West  Europe. 

Hanomag  tractors  were  used  to  haul 
one  or  two  laden  trailers  and  were  pur- 
pose-built for  this  role:  the  Model 
SS  100  was  employed  by  the  army  and 
the  Luftwaffe,  the  latter  using  the  type 
to  tow  fuel  bowsers.  It  was  strictly  a 
commercial  type  which  was  made 
available  to  the  civil  market.  A larger 
but  similar  type  was  produced  by  Faun 
with  a 13.54-litre  engine,  and  this  vehi- 
cle could  be  adapted  to  fit  railway 

Overall  the  German  transport  sys- 
tem relied  mainly  on  the  railways,  and 
on  the  road  greater  emphasis  was 
placed  on  medium  trucks. 



Powerplant:  one  111,8-kW  ( 150-bhp) 
Deutz  F6M5 1 

Dimensions:  length  10.40  m (34  ft 
2.60  m (8  ft  6.4  in) 

Weight:  9200  kg  (20,282  lb) 


AEC  Matador 

An  AEC  Ma  ta  dor  com  es  ash  ore  from 
an  American  tank  Ian  ding  ship 
during  the  Allied  amphibious 
operation  at  Salerno.  Introduced  as 
an  artillery  tractor  in  1939,  some  of 
the  9,000 produced  served  for  many 
years  post-war,  an  indication  of  the 
soundness  of  the  basic  design. 

low-powered  radio  transmitting  and 
receiving  equipment,  and  an  external 
penthouse  could  be  erected.  As  these 
vehicles  were  considered  prime 
targets  they  were  carefully  disguised 
to  look  like  general-service  trucks. 

Approximately  175  Matadors  were 
built  m 1942  as  self-propelled  gun  car- 
riages and  comprised  a o-pdr  anti-tank 
gun  mounted  in  an  armoured  box.  The 
cab  and  body  were  also  armoured. 
Other  variants  included  power  equip- 
ment 20kVA,  power  equipment 
50  kVA,  air-traffic  control,  and  an  ex- 
perimental 25-pdr  portee.  The  last  did 
not  progress  beyond  the  prototype 

The  last  of  the  Matadors  were  au- 
ctioned off  in  the  mid-1970s,  this  late 
disposal  date  proving  the  sound 
strength  and  reliability  of  these  trucks. 

AEC  Matador 

Powemlant:  one  70.8-kW  (95-bhp) 
AEC  6-cylinder  diesel  engine 
Dimensions : length  6 . 3 2 m (20  ft  9 in) ; 
width2.40m(7ft  10.5  in);heights.  10m 
(10  ft  2 in) 

Weights : unladen7 1 89  kg(  1 5 , 848  lb) 
andladen  11024  kg(24,304  lb) 
Performance:  maximum  speed  58  km/ 
h (36  mph) ; radius  579  km  (360  miles) 

This  AEC  Matador  has  been  fitted 
with  the  'streamline' cab  roof. 
Developed  from  a Hardy  (AEC) 
design  of  the  1930s,  the  Matador  was 
a medium  artillery  tractor  used  to 
move  the  5. 5 -in  ( 140-mm)  medium 

interest  was  expressed,  but  as  no  im- 
mediate requirement  was  envisaged 
the  matter  proceeded  no  further.  Then 
Bedford  decided  to  undertake  private 
development  on  a low-priority  basis 
with  an  eye  to  future  military  orders. 
After  the  outbreak  of  war  the  War 

The  AEC  Matador  4x4  tractor  first 
appeared  in  1939,  and  was  built  to  a 
War  Office  specification  to  tow  4.5-in 
(114-mm),  5.5-m  (140-mm)  and  6-in 
(152-mm)  howitzers.  The  requirement 
was  for  a four-wheel  tractor  with  sea- 
ting for  the  crew  and  ammunition  stow- 
age. The  early  production  vehicles 
had  a cab  roof  of  different  shape  to  that 
of  later  production  trucks,  the  latter 
having  a circular  hatch  for  air  observa- 
tion; when  not  in  use  this  was  covered 
by  a small  canvas  sheet.  The  basic  de- 
sign of  the  cab  was  very  simple  and 
robust,  being  built  on  a wooden  frame 
with  steel  sheets.  The  body  was  of  con- 
ventional timber  construction  with  a 
drop  tailboard  and  a side  door  for  use 
by  the  gun  crew.  Special  runners  were 
fitted  to  the  floor  to  allow  shells  to  be 
moved  to  the  rear  tailgate  for  unload- 
ing. The  Matador  was  powered  by  a 
6-cylinder  7.58-litre  AEt  engine  pro- 
ducing 71  kW  (95  bhp),  allowing  atop 
speed  of  58  km/h  (36  mph).  For  pulling 
purposes  (for  example  extracting  guns 
from  mud)  a 7-ton  winch  was  fitted  with 
76  m (250  ft)  ofwire  rope.  The  Matador 
was  used  in  most  theatres  of  the  war.  In 
the  desert  it  proved  to  be  extremely 
popular  with  the  gun  crews  for  its  re- 
liability, and  photographic  evidence 
shows  that  some  had  the  tops  of  the 
cabs  cut  down  to  door  level.  Matadors 
were  also  pressed  into  service  in  the 
desert  to  tow  transporter  trailers  be- 
cause of  the  lack  of  proper  tractors  for 
this  purpose.  Totaljproduction  of  Mata- 
dors was  8,612.  Ine  RAF  was  also  a 
major  user  of  this  vehicle,  400  being 
supplied  in  various  offerings.  The 
General  Load  Carrier  had  a special 
all-steel  body  with  drop  down  sides 
and  tailgate  to  facilitate  easy  loading, 
and  the  support  posts  could  also  be 
removed.  Special  flat  platform  trucks 
were  also  supplied  to  transport  heavy 
equipment  such  as  dumpers  and  com- 
pressors. An  armoured  command  post 
was  also  built  on  this  chassis,  called  the 
Dorchester,  in  which  accommodation 
was  provided  internally  for  high-  or 

Bedford  QL 

Bedford's  involvement  in  four-wheel 
drive  vehicles  began  in  1938,  during 
the  development  stages  of  the  square- 
nosed 15-cwt  Bedford.  It  was  sug- 
gested that  the  War  Office  be 
approached  with  permission  to  pro- 
ceed with  this  design.  Some  degree  of 

Office  issued  orders  for  large  quanti- 
ties of  4 X 2 vehicles  and  also  told  Bed- 
ford to  proceed  with  a prototype  4x4 
3 -ton  general-service  truck.  In  Octo- 
ber 1939  a specification  was  approved, 
and  on  1 February  1940  the  first  pro- 
totype was  completed  and  was  out  on 

road  tests.  Within  a month  two  more 
had  joined  it  for  extensive  factory  and 
military  tests.  The  usual  army  tests 
were  completed  and  the  fitments  for 
special  tools  installed,  and  drivers  be- 
gan training  to  operate  this  new  truck. 
It  had  taken  one  year  exactly  from  the 
first  prototype  to  the  first  production 
vehicles,  a commendable  feat  in  a time 
of  great  stress  and  shortages.  The  Bed- 
ford QL  was  designed  to  use  its  four- 

Usedby  the  Army  fire  service,  the 
Bedford  QLfire  tender  was 
introducQdin  1943  and  saw  service 
in  north  west  Europe.  It  towed  a 
trailer  pump,  and  carried  an  integral 
water  tank,  hoses  andPTO  (power 
take-off)  pump  in  the  main  body. 


wheel  drive  on  rough  terrain,  but 
could  disengage  the  front  drive  for  use 
on  hard  roads  to  ease  the  wear  on  tyros 
and  gearbox,  the  change  being 
effected  by  moving  a lever  on  the 
secondary  gearbox.  Another  feather  in 
Bedford's  cap  (and  a surprise  one)  was 
the  lack  of  normal  teething  troubles 
during  the  QL's  early  use.  It  was  only 
after  about  one  year  in  service  that  the 
first  sign  of  trouble  occurred,  and  a 
rather  peculiar  one  at  that:  a tendency 
for  the  vehicle  to  shudder  when  the 
brakes  were  applied  slightly.  These 
reports  were  followed  up  immediate- 
ly, and  it  was  found  that  only  a small 
proportion  of  vehicles  were  showing 
this  fault.  After  some  time  spent  on  in- 
vestigation the  fault  was  found  to  be 
simple,  and  the  deep-treaded  cross- 
country tyres  were  replaced  by  nor- 
mal road  tyres,  whereupon  the  prob- 
lem ceased. 

The  first  production  vehicle  was  the 
steel-bodied  OLD  issued  to  units  of  the 
Army  Service  Corps  as  a general  car- 
rier. From  this  model  stemmed  many 
vari  ants , including  the  QLT  3 - ton  troop 
carrier  with  a modified  and  leng- 
thened chassis  to  accommodate  the 
extra  long  body  to  carry  29  troops  and 
kit.  The  QLT  was  popularly  known  as 
the  'Drooper'.  The  QLR  wireless  house 
type  was  used  by  all  arms  of  the  sig- 
nals. The  truck  featured  an  auxiliary 
enerator,  and  other  variants  on  this 
ouse  type  body  were  command, 
cipher  office  and  mobile  terminal  car- 
rier vehicles.  A special  requirement 
for  use  in  the  Western  Desert  was  a 

6-pdr  portee,  a vehicle  designed  to 
transport  and  fire  a 6-pdr  anti-tank  gun 
from  the  body.  It  was  necessary  to 
modify  the  cab  by  cutting  off  the  upper 
half  and  fitting  a canvas  top,  and  when 
this  type  became  redundant  the  sur- 
viving vehicles  were  converted  back 
to  general- service  types  after  being 
rebodied.  The  RAF  was  a major  oper- 
ator of, the  Bedford  QL,  many  being 
used  as  fuel  tankers  with  swinging 
booms  to  refuel  aircraft.  Two  ex- 
perimental vehicles  that  never  prog- 
ressed beyond  the  prototype  stage 
were  the  Giraffe  and  Bren.  The  Giraffe 
was  designed  for  amphibious  land- 
ings: all  the  major  components  were 

raised  (along  with  the  cab)  on  a special 
frame  for  deep  wading.  When  fully 
elevated  the  vehicle's  automotive 
parts  were  raised  2.13  m (7  ft)  and  the 
driver  3.05m  (10ft).  The  vehicle  was 
approved  for  production  in  the  event 
that  the  waterproofing  system  then  in 
use  failed.  The  Bren  was  developed  by 
the  Ministry  of  Supply  by  taking  a stan- 
dard Bedford  QLD  and  replacing  the 
rear  wheels  with  components  from  the 
Bren  Gun  Carrier,  thus  creating  a half- 
track. The  aim  of  this  scheme  was  to 
reduce  rubber  wear.  The  vehicle  was 
considered  adequate  during  tests,  but 
the  shortage  of  rubber  did  not  mater- 
ialize and  the  project  was  dropped. 

A Bedford  QLB  lightAA  (Bofors) 
tractor  comes  ashore  from  a 'Class  9' 
ferry  during  the  21st  Army  Group's 
Rhine  crossing  in  March  1945.  The 
QL  saw  service  for  many  years  after 
the  war,  finally  retiring  in  the  early 


Bedford  QLD 

Powerplant:  one  53.7-kW  (72-bhp) 
Bedford  6-cylinder  petrol  engine 
Dimensions : lengths  .99  m ( 1 9 ft  8 in) ; 
width2 . 26  m (7  ft5  in) ; height  3 .0  m (9  ft 
10  in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed  6 1 km/ 
h (38  mph) ; radius  370  km  (230 miles) 


Leyland  Hippo 

Designed  as  a heavy  load  carrier,  the 
Leyland  Hippo  6x4  10-ton  truck  en- 
tered military  service  in  1944  and 
eventually  proved  its  worth  hauling 
supplies  during  the  closing  stages  of 
the  Allied  advance  across  North  West 
Europe.  The  huge  bodies  on  these 
trucks  had  a well-type  floor  incorpor- 
ating the  wheel  arches,  this  giving  a 
lower  loading  height,  an  important  ele- 
ment in  the  war  days  as  fork-lift  trucks 
were  few  and  much  loading  was 
accomplished  by  hand.  Steel  hoops 
and  a canvas  tilt  gave  weather  protec- 
tion to  the  stores  carried.  The  Hippo 
Mk  1 initial  version  was  based  on  a 
pre-war  commercial  type  with  an 
open  cab  with  canvas  tilt  and  fixed 
windscreen,  while  the  Hippo  Mk  2 had 
an  all-steel  cab.  The  Hippo  Mk  2 had 
single  rear  wheels,  whilst  the  Hippo 
Mk  2A  had  dual  wheels  fitted  with  10- 
50-22  tyres.  The  difficulty  experienced 
with  the  Mk  2A  was  the  need  to  carry 
two  spare  wheels,  one  for  the  front  and 
one  for  the  rear.  It  is  perhaps  quite 
amazing  to  see  these  trucks  still  in  ser- 
vice in  the  1980s.  Besides  the  general- 
service  vehicle,  many  were  fitted  with 
large  van  type  bodies,  and  several  ex- 
pandable body  types  were  built,  albeit 
of  similar  design.  The  side  panels 
were  split  horizontally,  the  upper  half 
being  raised  to  form  extra  roof  area 
and  the  lower  half  forming  extra  floor 
space  to  provide  additional  freedom 
around  machinery.  The  vehicles  could 
also  be  linked  together  to  form  a con- 
solidated workshop  area.  Van  bodies 
included  an  auto-processing  type  for 
developing  photographs,  an  enlarging 
and  rectifying  type  for  exposing  ori- 
ginal film  onto  new  film,  aprinting  type 

with  a rotary  offset  printing  machine, 
and  a photo-mechanical  type  equip- 
ped with  a rotary  offset  printer,  work 
tables  and  plateracks.  Entrance  to  all 
these  bodies  was  through  a single  door 
in  the  rear.  Because  of  the  length  of  the 
body,  the  spare  wheel  had  to  be  trans- 
ferred from  behind  the  cab  and  placed 
under  the  rear  of  the  chassis. 

A post-war  fitting  was  the  adoption 
of  a 9092-litre  (2,000-Imp  gal)  AVTUR 
refueller  body  and,  with  the  rear  body 

removed,  of  a Coles  Mk  7 or  Neal  Type 
QMC  crane. 

Leyland  Hippo  Mk  2 GS 
Powerplant:  one74.6-kW  (100-bhp) 
Leyland  Type  L 6-cylinder  diesel 

Dimensions:  length8, 3 1 m(27ft3in); 
width2.46  m(8  ft  1 in) ; height3.33  m 
(10  ft  11  in) 

T/ze  lO-ton  6x4  format  became 
widely  used  in  the  British  army  after 
the  war.  Manufacturers  included 
Albion,  Foden  and  Leyland.  The 
Leyland  Hippo,  introduced  in  1943,  is 
seen  here  with  WDpattern  open  cab 
and  the  GS  body. 

Weights : unladen  894 1 kg  ( 1 9,7 1 2 lb) 
and  laden  19711  kg  (43,456  lb) 
Performance:  radius  837  km  (520 


Many  of  Italy's  trucks  were  of  old  de- 
sign, but  during  the  build-up  of  the 
Italian  armed  forces  before  the  out- 
break of  World  War  II  some  measure 
of  standardization  was  achieved,  The 
largest  supplier  of  trucks  to  the  Italian 
army  was  Fiat.  Fiat  vehicles  equipped 
most  of  the  transport  units,  vehicles 
like  the  Fiat  TL37  4x4  light  truck  hav- 
ing large  wheels  and  tyres  to  suit  the 
terrain  of  Ethiopia  and  the  Western 
Desert.  The  OM  Autocarretta  32  was  a 
unique  light  truck,  and  was  highly  re- 
garded by  its  crews,  and  even  by  Brit- 
ish troops  when  examples  were  cap- 
tured. Ine  type  was  intended  primari- 
ly for  mountain  operations,  and  fea- 
tured a 4-cylinder  air-cooled  diesel 
engine  and  independent  suspension 
front  and  rear.  The  gearbox  was  cen- 
trally mounted  and  drove  both  front 
and  rear  axles  direct.  The  medium- 
truck  range  was  dominated  by  the  Fiat 
38R  4x2  and  the  Lancia  3 RO  N 6 '/2-ton 
4x2.  The  latter  vehicle  also  formed  the 
basis  of  a mobile  anti-aircraft  mount. 
To  start  these  trucks  a hand-cranked 
inertia  start  unit  was  placed  forward  of 
the  crankshaft.  The  power  unit  was  a 
Junkers  two-stroke  engine.  The  Fiat 
633  BM  was  built  on  similar  lines  to  the 

Most  Italian  tanks  were  of  the  lighter 
types,  and  could  therefore  be  carried 
in  the  bodies  of  the  Lancia,  though  a 
tank- transporter  trailer  could  also  be 
used.  Two  other  widely  used  vehicles 
were  the  Fiat  626BL  powered  by  a 46- 

burettor,  which  had  a tendency  to  clog 
up  in  dusty  conditions. 

OM  Autocarretta 

Powerplant:  one  15.7-kW(21-hhp)OM 
Autocarretta  32  4-cylinder  engine 
(7  ft  0,6  in) 

Weight:  1615  kg  (3,560  lb) 

The  Fiat/Spa  Dovunque  was  built  by 
the  Spa  factory,  at  that  time  under 
Fiat  control  'Dovunque 'means 
cross-country  (literally  'go 

A Fia  t/S  pa  Model  38R  2 ¥2-ton  4x2 
truck  is  seen  in  use  as  an  artillery 
observa  lion  post  in  the  pa  use  after 
the  end  of  Operation  'Crusader'. 

kW  (62-bhp)  engine,  and  the  Fiat 
665NL.  The  latter  was  quite  advanced 
in  truck  body  and  cab  design. 

The  Germans  used  large  numbers  of 
Italian  vehicles,  these  seeing  service 
on  almost  every  German  front.  In  Libya 
the  British  discovered  that  Italian 
diesel-engined  trucks  were  of  great 
value  because  of  their  lack  of  a car- 

A Lancia  3RON6ys-ton4x4AUP 
(Autocarro  Unificate  Pesante,  or 
Standard  Heavy  Truck)  is  dug  out  of 
the  sand  in  North  Africa. 

Italian  trucks 


Dodge  WC62 

During  1941  the  US  logistic  organiza- 
tion decided  a vehicle  was  required  to 
complement  the  ^/4-ton  Dodge  T214 
WC52  weapons  carrier.  The  design 
was  to  include  a larger  payload  area 
for  stores  or  troops  and  the  require- 
ment called  for  a standardization  of 
vehicle  parts  to  be  easily  interchange- 
ble.  The  front  of  the  6x6  Dodge  WC62 
was  typical  Dodge,  but  the  rear  body 
was  lengthened  by  1 .24  m (49  in)  and  a 
third  axle  was  added. 

The  third  axle  allowed  the  doubling 
of  payload  compared  with  the  74-ton 
Dodge.  Other  considerations  besides 
interchangeability  were  envisaged 
during  production,  with  the  need  for 
new  military  trucks  increasing  as  the 
war  drew  on  and  it  was  decided  that 
rather  than  design  a specific  new  truck 
this  type  of  adapted  vehicle  would  en- 

able the  production  lines  to  complete 
vehicles  at  a much  faster  rate.  The  two 
types  used  the  same  engine,  clutch, 
transmission,  front  axle,  steering  gear, 
wheels,  brakes,  tyres,  radiator,  fan  and 
belt,  windshield,  seats  and  electrical 
system.  Basically  designed  as  infantry 
carriers,  these  vehicles  found  their 
way  into  all  arms  of  the  American 
forces,  including  the  Army  Air  Force, 
Duringstringentmilitaryteststhe  vehi- 
cle proved  to  have  excellent  stability 
as  a result  of  its  low  centre  of  gravity 
and  wide-tread  tyres.  Six- wheel  drive 
and  high  ground  clearance  enabled 

A WC62  towing  an  anti-tankgun  ( the 
Ml  57 -mm  adaptation  oftheBritish 
6-pdr)  halts  in  front  of  Munich  city 
hall  as  the  7th  Army  moves  through 
the  city  in  April  1945. 


The  %-ton  DodgQ  T214  was 
elongated  to  produce  the  WC62, 
both  shown  here  with  French  troops 
in  the  south  of  France  in  August  1944. 

the  vehicle  to  give  a good  account  of 
itself  over  really  rough  terrain.  Produc- 
tion of  the  personnel  carriers  con- 
tinued throughout  the  war,  many  being 
distributed  to  other  nations  including 
the  Free  French,  who  were  eguipped 
almost  entirely  with  American  mater- 
iel The  majority  of  these  vehicles 
were  supplied  with  a complete  canvas 
tilt,  though  a certain  percentage  was 
fitted  with  a pedestal  gun  mount  on  the 
passenger  side  of  the  cab  to  carry  a 

12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  machine-gun.  Appro- 
ximately 43,300  Dodge  6x6  trucks 
were  produced  between  1943  and 
1945.  Very  few  variants  were  de- 
veloped on  this  chassis:  one  such  was  a 
scout  car  with  an  armoured  shell  fitted 
around  the  Dodge  chassis  and  power- 
pknt ; another  was  the  mounting  of  twin 

12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  machine-guns  (on  a 
Gun  Mount  M33)  on  the  rear  body.  This 
model  was  developed  and  tested  in 
1943,  but  no  further  progress  was 

made.  The  6x6  saw  extensive  use 
post-war  until  "the  Korean  War,  after 
which  the  type  became  surplus  as  a 
result  of  wear  and  the  introduction  of 
new  equipment.  Today  the  WC62  is  a 
much  prized  vehicle  within  the  ranks 

of  vehicle  preservation  societies. 

Dodge  WC62 

Powerplant:  one68,6-kW  (92-bhp) 
Dodge  6-cylmder  petrol  engine 

Dimensions : length  5.71m(18ft 



Performance:  speed  80  km/h  (50  mph); 
radius  386  km  (240 miles) 


American  medium  trucks 

Diamond  T 968 

Powerplant:  one  79-kW  (106-bhp) 



Dimensions:  length6.82  m (22  ft4.5  in); 
10.5  in) 

Weights:  unladen  8357  kg  (18,424  lb) 
and  laden  11939  kg  (26,320  lb) 

When  one  thinks  of  US  military 
medium  trucks,  the  CMC  2V2-ton  6x6 
immediately  springs  to  mind.  Howev- 
er, this  type  is  discussed  overleaf  and 
other  types  are  treated  here. 

Semi-trailer  tractors  come  into  this 
category  with  designations  from  2Vz- 
ton  to  5 -ton.  These  special-purpose 
vehicles  were  used  to  haul  large  trail- 
ers of  all  descriptions.  The  general- 
service  bodies  were  used  in  great 
numbers  during  the  advance  across 
Europe,  proving  extremely  useful  in 
such  organized  deployments  as  the 
'Red  Ball  Express'  route.  Starting  with 
some  of  the  less  publicized  vehicles, 
the  AutocarModelU4144T  4x4  tractor 
was  basically  used  in  the  USA,  very 
few  crossing  the  Atlantic  and  the  US 
Arnw  Air  Eorce  being  a major  user  for 
the  niel  bowser- to  wing  role.  Another 
early  model,  the  CMC  AEKX-502-8E 
COE  tractor,  was  used  to  tow  early 
horse  box  trailers  for  the  cavalry.  The 
CMC  was  powered  by  a 6-cylmder 
91-kW  (122-bhp)  engine.  Perhaps  the 
two  most  popular  and  publicized  trac- 
tors were  the  Autocar  Model  U7144T 
and  the  Eederal  94x93,  which  were 
used  in  quite  large  numbers  for  haul- 
age. The  Autocar  was  used  by  artillery 
units  to  tow  van  bodies,  fitted  out  with 
radio  equipment  mostly  for  use  by  anti- 
aircraft units.  These  trailers  were  de- 
signed to  use  a front  dolly  wheel  for 
use  as  full  towing  trailer,  though  when 
the  trailer  was  coupled  to  the  tractor 
the  dolly  could  be  towed  behind  the 
whole  assembly.  Early  vehicles  had 
fixed  steel  cabs,  these  later  being 
changed  to  soft  tops  in  line  with  most 
other  American-produced  military 
transport  vehicles.  Many  soft-top  vehi- 
cles were  fitted  with  a ring  mount  for  a 

12.7-mm  (0.5-in)  machine-gun.  The 

Studebaker produced  almost 
200,0002  Vz-ton  trucks,  similar  to  the 
CMC  6x6,  but  more  than  half  of  that 
production  went  to  the  Soviet  Union 
under  Lend-lease.  Many  were 
produced  with  the  Studebaker 
commercial-type  closed  cab. 

Eederal  model  was  used  in  the  same 
basic  way,  the  power  unit  for  this  type 
being  the  Hercules  6-cylinder  RXC 

In  the  4-ton  cargo  range  the  EWD 
HARI  saw  extensive  service  with 
American,  British  and  Canadian 
forces.  It  was  powered  by  a Waukesha 
GB2  6-cylinder  engine.  Many  of  the 
trucks  were  instrumental  in  hauling 
supplies  along  the  Allied  supply  line 
from  Persia  to  the  USSR.  One  interest- 
ing deployment  of  the  EWD  in  British 
service  was  its  use  to  tow  mobile 
smoke  generators.  The  RAE  used  the 
truck  as  mobile  power  supply  vehicles 
and  as  snow  ploughs,  the  latter  being 
fitted  with  a Bros  rotary  plough,  for 
which  the  rear  body  was  replaced  by  a 
large  Climax  R6  petrol  engine  unit. 
Transmission  of  power  to  the  plough 
was  twofold,  first  by  V-belts  to  the  rot- 
ary parts  then  through  transmission 
shafts  to  the  rotor  assembly  with  a 
chain  drive  for  final  power  to  the  rake. 

Diamond  T supplied  a 6x6  medium 
truck,  the  Diamond  T 968,  this  being 
one  of  the  US  Army's  cargo  trucks  until 
the  end  of  the  war.  Variants  included 
tipper,  map  reproduetion,  wrecker 
and  bitumen  tank  vehicles.  A total  of 
10,551  was  built,  and  a further  2,197 
were  supplied  as  long-  and  short- 
wheelbase  vehicles  (cab  and  chassis) 
for  fitment  of  special  engineering 
bodies.  These  were  supplied  to  many 
other  countries  during  and  after  World 
War  II. 

The  attack  transport  William 
Tilghman  is  loaded  for  the  Allied 
armies  in  north  west  Europe.  Visible 
are  both  major  types  ofmedium 
truck,  including  the  cab-over-engine 
(COE)AFKWX6x6,  alsomadeby 

Performance:  maximum  speed  64  km/ 
h (40  mph) ; radiu  s 266 km  (165  miles) 




World  War  II  saw  much  in  the  way  of  innovation,  and  one  of  the  major 
changes  involved  the  vastly  increased  mobility  of  armies.  For  the  first  time, 
whoie  formations  were  motorized,  and  supporting  the  fighting  troops  were 

a host  of  vehicles  of  many  types. 

British  SAS  soldiers  in  an  unarmoured  but  well-armed  jeep  on  patrol  in  North  Africa  in  early 
1 943.  Jeeps  were  ideal  for  staging  hit-and-run  raids  and  reconnaissance  missions. 

In  recent  years  a wealth  of 
information  has  been  published 
about  armoured  fighting  vehicles, 
but  relatively  little  has  appeared 
on  the  ubiquitous  vehicle,  the 
unarmoured  vehicle  designed 
specifically  for  military  use, 
without  which  modern  armies 
would  be  unable  to  move.  On  the 
Allied  side,  there  was  almost  total 
reliance  upon  US  production: 
Britain  had  lost  a major 
proportion  of  its  'B'  vehicles 
with  the  retreat  from  Dunkirk; 
and  the  Soviet  Union,  in  evacuat- 
ing its  industry  to  the  east  before 
the  rapid  German  advance,  had 
concentrated  its  industrial  might 
uponAFV  production,  relying 
almost  entirely  upon  US  Lend- 
Lease  vehicles  for  logistical  and 
support  functions. 

All  nations  had  gone  to  great 
efforts  to  achieve  standardization 
and  to  reduce  the  variety  of 
vehicle  types  to  a minimum. 

In  the  Allies'  case  this  was  not 
difficult;  the  USA  managed  to 
restrict  its  unarmoured  vehicle 
programme  to  a very  limited 
number  of  types  (six  basic  class- 
es), and  the  fact  that  it  was  the 
principal  contributor  to  Allied 
production  facilitated  widespread 
standardization  with  major  advan- 
tages in  maintenance  and  resup- 
ply. The  Germans  also  had  begun 
the  war  with  a standardization 

programme,  introducing  the 
Einheit  (standard)  or  'E'  vehicles, 
each  class  of  which  had  several 
manufacturers  producing  models 
that  were  built  to  the  same  speci- 
fication. Unfortunately  for  them, 
these  vehicles  suffered  from 
severe  mechanical  reliability 
problems,  were  complex  to  ser- 
vice and  maintain,  and  could  not 
be  easily  mass-produced  in  the 

quantities  required;  so  civilian 
models  had  to  be  adopted.  As  the 
Germans  occupied  country  after 
country,  they  gathered  more  and 
more  vehicles,  and  by  the  time 
the  Soviet  campaign  was  well 
under  way  there  were  some 
1500  different  types  of  unar- 
moured vehicle  in  German 
service.  This  made  maintenance 
and  resupply  a nightmare,  and 

contributed  as  a significant  factor 
to  the  eventual  German  defeat. 
Towards  the  end  of  the  war  the 
Germans  completed  a new 
standardization  programme  (the 
Schell  Programme)  under  which 
the  famous  Volkswagen  Kubel 
and  Opel-Blitz  lorry  bore  most  of 
the  brunt  of  the  requirements. 

By  this  time,  however,  it  was  far 
too  late. 


1^  Kraftfahrzeug2(Slower40) 

During  1934  the  Germans  made  the 
first  attempts  to  create  standardized 
(Einheit)  vehicles  for  the  Wehrmacht. 
Until  this  time  vehicles  employed  for 
cross-country  work  had  been  based 
on  commercial  designs  or  were  con- 
versions of  them.  The  new  army  motor- 
ization  programme  placed  great 
emphasis  upon  the  design  of  vehicles 
from  not  only  technical  but  also  oper- 
ational considerations.  A new  system 
ofKfz  (Kraftfahrzeug,  or  motor  vehicle) 
numbers  was  introduced,  whereby 
numbers  were  allotted  to  vehicles 
(irrespective  of  make  or  model)  to  de- 
note their  tactical  or  military  function, 
With  few  exceptions,  for  the  vehicles 
covered  here  these  Kfz  numbers  were 
broken  down  into  the  following  clas- 
ses: 1 to  10  covered  I.Pkw  (leichter 
Personenkraftwagen,  or  light  person- 
nel carrier);  11  to  20  covered  m.Pkw 
(mittlerer  Personenkraftwagen,  or 
medium  personnel  carrier);  and  21  to 
30  covered  s.Pkw  (schwerer  Per- 
sonenkraftwagen, or  heavy  personnel 

The  I.Pkw  was  a standard  vehicle 
irrespective  of  its  models  or  manufac- 
turers, with  the  exception  of  the  en- 
gine, which  was  always  that  of  the 
manufacturer  and  commercially  avail- 
able, The  engine  was  made  by  Slower, 
BMW  and  Hanomag  from  1936  on- 
wards. The  Slower  model  (Kraftfahr- 
zeug 2)  used  AW2  and  R180W  water- 
cooled  4-cylinder  OHV  petrol  engines 
was  of  normal  type  with  a frame  of 
rectangular  section,  side-  and  cross- 
members, and  bracing  to  support  the 
engine,  transmission  and  body.  The 
hood  was  hinged  down  the  centre  and 
fastened  on  each  side  by  two  clips. 
The  chassis  was  used  for  the  4- sealer 
light  car  (Kfz  1)  and  for  a variety  of 
other  special-purpose  vehicles. 

Ma  Je/rom  1 936,  the  Kfz  2 was  a 
standard  body  design  based  on 
mechanical  components  of  several 
man  ufacturers.  The  S tower  40  was  a 
4x4  design,  and,  as  here,  was  often 
the  basis  for  radio  cars. 

Kfz  2 (Slower  40) 

Dimensions:  length  3.58  m ( 11  ft  9 in); 
width  1 .57  m (5  ft  2 in) ; height  1.78m 
(5  ft  10  in);  wheelbase  2.24  m (7  ft  4 in) 
Weight:  net  1815  kg  (4,001  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Slower  AW2  or 
R 1 SOW  4-cylinder  OHV  petrol  engine 
developing  5 0 bhp  (37.3  kW) 
Transmission:  five  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  5 .50x  1 8 (metric) 

A Luftwaffe  Kfz  2 in  the  desert.  The 
Junkers Ju  q7  'Stukas'arejust 
returning  from  a mission,  as  shown 
by  their  bombless  condition. 

Thh  ubiquitous  KUbel  (bucket) 
served  wherever  the  German  armies 
were.  Allied/German  production 
con  trusts  are  underlined  by  the  fact 
that  only  55,000  ofthesehandy 
vehicles  were  produced  from  1940, 
as  compared  with  600,000-plus  Jeeps 
produced  from  1941-5. 

absorbers  controlled  the  movement  of 
the  rear  springing.  The  steering  gear 
and  connectors  were  of  conventional 
type.  The  brakes  were  mechanical, 
cable-operated,  and  had  double  lever 
action  on  the  brake  shoes.  Transmis- 
sion was  through  a single-plate  clutch 


Volkswagen  Kubel 

One  of  the  most  famous  military  cars  of 
World  War  2 was  the  Volkswagen 
Kubel,  the  German  Jeep,  During  1933 
Hitler  had  instructed  two  car  desig- 
ners (Dr  Porsche  of  Auto-Union  and 
Werlin  of  Mercedes-Benz)  to  develop 
a 'people's  car'  (Volkswagen).  The 
basic  Volkswagen  took  shape  on  Por- 
sche's drawing  board  as  early  as  1934. 
In  1936  the  first  design  for  a Volks- 
wagen cross-country  appeared,  de- 
signated Volkswagen  Typ  62.  When 
the  decision  was  reached  that  the  only 
new  personnel  carrier  to  be  employed 
by  the  Wehrmacht  would  be  the 
Volkswagen,  serving  as  the  standard 
light  passenger  car  for  all  arms,  design 
changes  were  requested  resulting  m 
the  Typ  82.  During  1938  work  was 
undertaken  on  the  Volkswagen  plant 
at  W olf  sburg,  and  production  began  in 
March  1940. 

The  vehicle  was  designed  for  light- 
ness and  ease  of  manufacture.  Built  as 
cheaply  as  possible,  it  comprised 
components  of  simple  design.  Gener- 
ally, the  layout  was  very  similar  to  that 
of  the  Jeep.  The  method  of  suspension, 
together  with  the  use  of  a self-locking 
differential,  gave  it  remarkably  good 
cross-country  performance.  After  ini- 
tial problems,  the  998-cc  Volkswagen 
Typ  1 4-cylinder  HIAR  air-cooled  en- 
gine soon  became  one  of  the  most  reli- 
able powerplants  ever.  With  its  excel- 
lent automotive  qualities  and  simple 

maintenance  level,  the  vehicle  fully 
met  the  high  demands  of  military  use, 
especially  in  the  desert  and  USSR.  The 
military  version  had  a touring  body  of 
sheet  metal  with  a folding  top.  Four 
doors  were  provided,  and  weather 
protection  was  afforded  by  a folding 
canvas  hood  and  side  screens.  The 
body  panels  were  mostly  of  18-gauge 
stampings.  Tubular  struts  were  used  as 
the  basic  structural  members  of  the 
body.  The  engine  cylinders  were  of 'H' 
form  and  laid  flat  at  the  bottom  of  the 
car.  The  chassis  consisted  of  a central 
welded- steel  tube  bifurcating  at  the 
rear  to  support  the  engine  and  trans- 

mission, and  the  steel  floor  on  each 
side  of  the  central  member  supported 
the  body.  The  front  axle  consisted  of 
steel  tube  which  housed  the  two  tor- 
sion bars  of  the  suspension.  At  each 
side  of  the  differential  were  universal 
joints  providing  centres  about  which 
the  two  rear  driving  axles  could  articu- 
late, and  the  rear  wheels  were  stabil- 
ized laterally  from  the  differential 
housing.  The  auxiliary  gearboxes  in 
each  rear  wheel  brought  the  two  half- 
shafts higher  and  so  gave  a greater 
ground  clearance.  There  was  inde- 
pendent suspension  on  all  four  wheels, 
and  double-action  hydraulic  shock- 


gearbox.  An  overdrive  was  incorpo- 
rated in  fourth  gear.  The  fuel  tank  was 
located  below  the  instrument  panel, 
facing  the  front  right-hand  seat. 

This  vehicle  was  also  designed  with 
an  enclosed  body,  designated  Typ  92. 
All  models  built  from  March  1943  had  a 
larger  engine  (1131-cc  capacity).  By 
the  end  of  the  war  some  55,000  Typ  82s 
had  been  produced  (production 
ceased  in  mid- 1944).  To  accommodate 
the  various  bodies  required,  an  order 
was  issued  on  2 August  1940  deman- 
ding widening  of  the  chassis  by  be- 
tween 6 and  8 cm  (2.36  and  3.15  m)  in 
what  became  the  Typ  86,  The  normal 
Kubelwagen  was  not  very  successful 
in  the  desert  and  so  the  Tropenfest 
(tropical)  version  was  developed  with 
numerous  changes  including  tne  use  of 
larger  sand  tyres.  Volkswagen  Kiibels 
used  in  Africa  were  often  referred  to  as 
Deutsches  Kamel  (German  camel). 
There  were  numerous  special- 
purpose  models  of  the  Volkswagen 
Kubel,  many  of  them  adopted  by  the 

Volkswagen  Kiibel 
Dimensions : length  3 ,73  m ( 1 2 ft  3 in) ; 
width  1 ,60  m (5  ft  3 in) ; height  1,35m 
(4  ft  5 in);  wheelbase  2.39  m (7  ft  10  in) 
Weight:  net635  kg  (1,400  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Volkswagen  Typ  14- 
cylinder  HIAR  998-cc  petrol  engine 
developing  24  bhp  (17.9  kW),  or  from 
March  1943one  Volkswagen4- 
cylinder  1131-cc  petrol  engine 
developing  25  bhp  (18.6  kW) 
Transmission:  limited- slip  differential 
giving  four  forward  and  one  reverse 

fears,  with  overdrive  on  fourth  gear 
yres:  5.25x16 

Kiibels  were  not  at  first  successful  in 
the  desert,  so  a Tropenfest  (tropical) 
version  was  developed.  Changes 
were  numerous,  including  the  use  of 
sand  tyres,  and  the  altered  model 
came  to  be  known  as  the  'German 



Before  the  introduction  of  the  standard 
(Einheit)  vehicles,  the  German  army 
made  extensive  use  of  commercial 
cars  as  a means  of  motorizing  the  var- 
ious arms  and  services.  The  Auto- 
Union/Horch  Typ  830  was  one  of  the 
many  commercial  passenger  car  chas- 
sis fitted  with  various  military  bodies 
between  the  late  1920s  and  early 
1930s.  V-8powerplants  with  a capacity 
of  3,  3.2  and  3.5  litres  were  installed. 
Since  only  the  rear  wheels  were 
driven,  larger  tyres  and  different  rear- 
axle  ratios  helped  to  increase  the 
types'  cross-country  performance.  The 
vehicles  saw  action  in  most  theatres  of 
war,  the  majority  of  them  fitted  with 
open  superstructures  and  used  as 
prime  movers  for  light  infantry  guns,  as 
well  as  radio  communications  vehi- 
cles. The  signal  troops  also  used  a vari- 
ety of  enclosed  van- type  bodies.  The 
Kfz  11  was  a closed-bodied  com- 
munications or  radio  vehicle  based  on 
this  chassis  with  two  seats  and  a boot. 
The  closed  body  was  often  made  of 
wood.  Later  production  models  were 
fitted  with  sheet-metal  doors  and  re- 
movable side  windows.  Eventually 
production  was  discontinued  in  favour 
of  the  medium  standard  cross-country 
personnel  earner  built  from  1937  on- 
wards by  Horch  and,  after  1940,  by 


Kfz  1 1 (Auto-Union/HorehTyp  830) 
Dimensions : length  4.80m(15ft9in); 
width  1.80  m (5  ft  11  in);  height  1.85  m 
(6  ft  1 in);  wheelbase  3.20  m (10  ft  6 in) 
Weight:  net  990  kg  (2, 183  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Horch  V-8  2,98-litre 
petrol  engine  developing  70  bhp 
(52.2  kW) 

Transmission:  ZF  Aphon  withfour 
forward  and  one  reverse  gears 
Tyres:  6.0x18  (metric) 

The  Kfz  11  saw  action  in  Poland  as  a 
personnel  carrier.  Infantry  who  were 
not  lucky  enough  to  get  places  in  the 
cars  or  trucks  had  to  make  do  with 
bicycles  or  their  own  two  feet. 

1 1 (Auto-Union/Horch  Typ  830) 

The  Horch  Typ  830  was  one  of  many 
commercial  designs  fitted  with 
military  bodies  in  the  1930s. 
Originally  used  as  a troop  carrier 
and  radio  car,  the  vehicle  saw  action 
in  most  theatres. 



Kraftfahrzeug  15  (Mercedes-Benz  340) 

The  Kfz  15  mittlerer  gelandegangiger 
Personenkraftwagen  (m.  gi.Pkw,  or 
medium  cross-country  personnel  car- 
rier) was  used  as  a communications 
(Fernsprech)  or  radio  (Funk)  car.  It 
had  an  open  4-seater  body  and  a boot, 
and  it  was  fitted  with  a towing  hook. 
The  vehicle  was  powered  by  a V-8 
engine.  Commercial  chassis  used  for 
this  role  were:  in  1933-8  the  Horch  830 
and  830B1,  in  1937-9  the  Wanderer 
W23S,  and  in  1938-40  the  Mercedes- 
Benz  340. 

The  Mercedes-Benz  340,  a larger 
version  of  the  320,  was  powered  by  a 
3. 5 -litre  engine  and  had  a very  long 
wheelbase,  which  tended  to  impair  its 
cross-country  performance.  Like  the 
Kfz  1 1 described  above,  production  of 
this  vehicle  was  discontinued  in  favour 
of  the  medium  standard  (Einheit) 
cross-countiy  personnel  carrier.  This 
latter  vehicle  differed  basically  from 
the  light  model  (described  under  Kfz  2, 
or  Slower  40)  in  that  the  rear  wheels 
were  not  steerable.  As  before,  howev- 
er, all-wheel-drive  was  used.  The 
chassis  was  a conventional  type  used 
for  staff  cars,  radio  vehicles  and  other 
specialized  types.  Depending  upon 
the  manufacturer,  the  engine  had  a 
swept  volume  of  between  2.9  and  3,5 
hires.  Horch  engines  were  standard 
for  most  models,  the  few  exceptions 
being  equipped  with  an  Opel  type. 

Kfz  15  (Mercedes-Benz  340) 
Dimensions : length  4 . 44  m ( 1 4 ft  7 in) ; 
width  1 .68  m (5  ft  6 in) ; height  1.73m 
(5  ft  8 in) ; wheelbase  3 . 1 2 m(  1 0 ft  3 in) 
Weight:  net  2405  kg  (5,302  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Mercedes-Benz  6- 
cylinder  petrol  engine  developing 
90  bhp  (67. 1 kW) 

Above;  The  Mercedes-Benz  340  was 
not  the  ideal  vehicle  upon  which  to 
base  the  Kfz  15  body,  as  the  long 
wheelbase  impaired  cross-country 
ability  in  spite  offour-wheel  drive. 
Even  so,  many  were  used  as  radio 
cars,  staff  cars  and  other  special 

Right:  ThefallofFobrukinJune  1942 
was  a shock  to  the  British,  and  soon 
the  town  square  was  filled  with  a 
motley  collection  ofAfrika  Korps 
vehicles,  including  this  Mercedes 
340  ambulance. 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  6.5x20  (metric) 



During  1925-6  the  first  proposals  were 
considered  for  the  development  of 
specialized  vehicles  for  the  Reichs- 
wehr  (predecessor  of  the  Wehr- 
macht).  Among  others,  a requirement 
was  laid  down  for  a fully  cross-country 
personnel  carrier.  This  was  to  have  six 
seats  and  use  a six-wheeled  chassis 
with  more  than  one  driven  axle.  The 
development  of  such  a vehicle  was 
taken  up  by  the  firms  of  Horch- Werk 
AG  of  Zwickau,  Daimler-Benz  AG  of 
Stuttgart  and  Selve  Automobilwerk  AG 
of  Hamelin,  each  of  them  supplying 
several  models  for  trial  purposes.  The 
first  Daimler-Benz  model,  designated 
Daimler-Benz  G 1,  several  of  which 
were  produced  between  1926-8,  were 
powered  by  a 50-hp  M03  6-cylinder 
engine.  This  had  the  drive  taken  to  the 
four  rear  wheels.  The  unladen  weight 
was  1200  kg  (2,645  lb),  and  the  payload 
was  1000kg  (2,205  lb).  Daimler-Benz 
alone  continued  development  of  the 
three-axled  personnel  carrier.  Be- 
tween 1933  and  1934  it  produced  a 
smaU  number  of  its  G 4 model.  This  was 
a vehicle  widely  known  for  its  use  by 
Hitler,  although  it  was  never  suited  to 
military  usage.  It  had  a poor  cross- 
country performance  and  was  too 
large,  too  heavy  and  too  expensive. 
Between  1933  and  1934  57  were  built 
and  these  were  almost  exclusively  em- 
ployed by  high'officials  of  the  Nazi  par- 
ty and  the  general  staff;  one  was  mod- 
ified as  a communications  vehicle  for 

use  by  Hitler  during  his  field  trips. 
With  the  development  of  the  Einheit 
series  of  personnel  carriers,  Daimler- 
Benz,  which  appears  to  have  been 
neglected  in  the  share-out  of  produc- 
tion contracts  for  these  vehicles,  pre- 
pared a model  of  its  own  as  a private 
venture.  The  Daimler-Benz  G 5 was 
basically  orientated  to  the  production 
model  by  Auto-Union  AG.  Between 
1937  and  1941 378  were  built,  although 
only  a few  were  actually  adopted  by 
the  Wehrmacht.  The  vehicle  had  four- 

wheel  drive  and  steering.  A few  were 
fitted  with  elaborate  superstructures 
for  desert  travel. 

Daimler-Benz  G 5 

Dimensions:  length  4,52  m ( 14  ft  10  in); 
width  1 . 70  m (5  ft  7 in) ; height  1,80m 
(5  ft  11  in);  wheelbase  2.79  m (9  ft  2 in) 
Weight:  net  1630 kg  (3,593  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Mercedes-Benz  6- 
cylmder  petrol  engine  developing 
90  hp.(67  kW) 

A powerful  vehicle,  with  four-wheel 
drive  and  four-wheel  steering,  the 
Daimler-Benz  G5  was  designed  as  a 
private  venture  tomeet  the 
Wehrmacht  Einheit  specification. 
Eew  of  the  378  built  actually  saw 
army  service. 

Transmission:  five  forward  and  one 

reverse  gears 

Tyres:  5.50x18  (metric) 



Car,  Heavy  Utility,  4X2,  Ford  Cl  lADF 

The  Ford  C 1 1 ADF  Heavy  Utility  Car 
was  a commercial  Canadian  vehicle, 
based  on  the  1942  Ford  Fordor  Station 
Wagon,  adopted  for  military  use  with 
only  minimal  changes.  Canadian  Ford 
produced  the  vehicle  mainly  for  the 
British  army,  although  several  were 
used  by  the  Canadian  army.  The  type 
used  extensively  in  the  Western  De- 
sert and  Italy  by  HO  staffs.  The  military 
version  had  right-hand  drive  (for  the 
UK),  heavy-duty  tyres,  black-out 
eguipment,  simplified  and  streng- 
thened bumpers,  internal  rifle  racks,  a 
map-container,  first-aid  and  medical 
kit,  radio-interference  suppression, 
fire-extinguishers,  entrenching  tools 
and  other  standard  fittings,  including  a 
removable  roof  rack.  In  addition  to  the 
driver  the  all-steel  body  had  seating 
for  five  passengers,  two  in  front  and 
three  on  the  single  bench-type  rear 
seat.  Access  was  via  four  doors.  In 
addition  there  was  a full-width  rear 
door  split  horizontally  and  hinged  top 
and  bottom  so  that  the  lower  portion 
formed  a tailboard. 

A similar  yehicle,  seating  seyen  pas- 
sengers and  designated  Ford  C 1 1 A 5, 
was  also  used,  this  haying  lighter  tyres 
and  axles  and  making  use  of  the  lug- 
gage space  for  the  additional  two 

Another  Ford  Heayy  Utility  Car  was 
essentially  the  same  as  the  C 11  ADF 
but  based  on  the  1 94 1 production  chas- 
sis. Weighing  9 1 kg  (200  lb)  more  than 

its  predecessors,  this  yariant  had  a 
slightly  different  estate  car  body  and 
front  radiator  grill.  Some  of  these  yehi- 
cles  had  roof  hatches  added  and  jerry 
and  water  can  racks  fitted  externally. 


Car,HeayyUtility,4X2,FordC  11  ADF 
Dimensions:  Iength4,93m(16ft2in); 

width2.01  m(6  ft?in);height  1.83  m 
(6  ft  0 in);  wheelbase  2.90  m (9  ft  6 in) 
Weight:  net  1814  kg  (4,000  lb) 
Poweiplant:  one  Ford  mercury  V-8 
3,91  -litre  petrol  engine  dey eloping 

Transmission:  three  forward  and  one 
reyerse  gears 

Tyres:  9,00x  13forC  11  ADF,  and 

Heavy  utility  cars  were  of  two  major 
types,  those  ofmilitary  design  and 
those  converted  from  civilian 
models.  The  Cll  was  developed 
from  a commercial  station  wagon 
model,  and  was  used  extensively  in 
the  right-hand  drive  version  by  the 
British,  in  a variety  ofroles,  and 
equippedHQ  Staffs  in  Italy  and  the 


Truck,  Vfe-ton,  4X4,  Weapons  Carrier,  Dodge  T207-WC3 

US  Army  72- ton  trucks  were  proyided 
by  a number  of  manufacturers  includ- 
ing Dodge,  Cheyrolet,  Diamond  T, 
Ford,  Marmon-Herrington  and  CMC. 
The  72-ton  4x4  yehicle  was  originally 
dey  eloped  by  the  Marmon-Herrington' 
Company  of  Indianapolis  in  July  1936, 
During  the  early  stages  of  the  war  most 
of  the  '/2-ton  4x2  yehicles  were  slightly 
modified  ciyilian  models  and  were  re- 
tained for  the  home  front.  With  the  de- 
yelopment  of  the  war,  standard  tactical 
chassis  began  to  be  adopted  to  super- 

sede these  earlier  models.  As  regards 
the  Truck,  Va-ton  4X4,  Chrysler's 
Dodge  Diyision  began  mass- 
production  during  1939.  The  original 
T202  series  used  many  commercial 
components,  and  4,640  of  all  types 
were  manufactured  by  Dodge,  most  of 
them  as  command  reconnaissance 
cars  and  light  trucks.  The  Truck,  Vz- 
ton,  4x4,  Weapons  Carrier,  Dodge 
T207 - WC3  was  introducedin  1941,  and 
replaced  all  preyious  models  then  in 
use.  It  became  one  of  the  basic  trans- 

portation means  for  all  arms  and  ser- 
yices.  The  yehicle  was  open- topped 
with  dismountable  bows  and  a canyas 
tilt.  As  with  most  other  Dodge  trucks,  a 
spare  wheel  was  carried  on  the  off- 
side of  the  yehicle. 


Truck,  Vz-ton,  4X4,  Weapons  Carrier, 
Dodge  T207-WC3 

Dimensions:  length4.60m(15  ft  1 in); 
width  1. 93  m(6rt4in);height2, 24m 
(7  ft  4 in);  wheelbase  2,95  m (9  ft  8 in) 
Weight:  net  2014  kg  (4,440  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Dodge  6-cylinder 
^^e^tro^ra^gine  deyeloping  85  bhp 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reyerse  gears 
Tyres:  7.50x16 


Truck,  Va-ton,  Ambulance,  4X4,  Dodge  T215-WC27 

In  the  !/2-ton  range  Dodge  was  the  sole 
producer  to  US  Army  contracts.  The 
first  contract  for  14,000  Vfc-ton  4x4 
trucks  was  placed  with  Dodge  in  mid- 
1940.  The  oasic  chassis  was  a slight 
modification  of  the  normal  commercial 
yehicle  to  incorporate  a new  transfer 
gearbox  and  forward  transmission  to 
cater  for  the  four-wheel  driye  require- 
ment. The  basic  chassis  was  employed 
for  numerous  roles  including  com- 
mand, command  reconnaissance, 
radio,  weapons  carrier  and  Truck,  Vz- 
ton,  Ambulance,  4x4,  Dodge  T215- 
WC27.  Depending  upon  the  role,  they 
had  the  option  of  a fixed  bodywork  or 
open  cab.  The  ambulance  yersion  had 
the  former  and  the  command,  com- 
mand reconnaissance,  radio  and 
weapons  carrier  yersions,  the  latter. 
These  earlier  US  military  pattern  4x4 
trucks  were  superseded  in  1942  by  a 
range  of  wider  and  more  robust  body 
types  (%-ton)  with  a lower  silhouette 
and  shorter  wheelbase,  also  built  by 
Dodge.  By  this  time  82,000  Va-ton 
trucks  had  been  built.  These  left-hand 
driye  yehicles  were  built  by  the 

Dodge  trucks  were  adapted  to  serve 
as  ambulances,  with  sheet  steel 
bodies  accommodating  up  to  four 
stretcher  cases.  Early  versions  had 
enclosed  cabs  as  shown,  but  later 
reverted  to  the  open  cab  of  the 
weapon  carrier  version. 


Dodge  Brothers  Corporation  Division 
of  the  Chrysler  Corporation  of  Amer- 
ica and  also,  in  a modified  form,  in 
Canada.  The  International  M- 1-4  range 
was  similar  in  layout  but  produced 
solely  for  the  U S Marine  Corps  and  U S 
Navy.  A great  number  of  these  Dodge 
Va-ton  trucks  were  supplied  to  the  UK 

and  the  USSR  under  the  Lend-Lease 


Truck,  V2-ton,  Ambulance,  4X4, 


Dimensions : length  4.67m(15ft4in); 

width  1 .93  m (6  ft  4 in) ; height  2.13m 

(7  ft  0 in);  wheelbase  2.95  m (9  ft  8 in) 
Weight:  net  2046  kg  (4,5101b) 
Powerpiant:  one  Dodge  T215  6- 
cy  Under  petrol  engine  developing 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  7,5^0x16 

The  Dodge  T215  WC23  was  a V2~ton 
command  and  reconnaissance 
vehicle  of  the  same  family  as  the 
T207.  The  1941  pattern  vehicles  are 
identifiable  from  the  heavier  1942 
models  by  their  sloping  bonnet. 


Truck,  %-ton,  4X4,  Command  Reconnaissance,  Dodge  T214-WC56 

Introduced  during  1942,  the  Dodge  %- 
ton  4x4  range  of  light  trucks  super- 
seded the  original  \l2-\ox\  4x4  range. 
Both  Ford  and  Dodge,  previously  the 
main  suppliers  of  Va-ton  4x4  vehicles, 
each  produced  prototypes  for  US 
Army  evaluation:  these  were  slightly 
wider  and  lower  than  their  predeces- 
sors, had  larger  wheels  and  tyres,  and 
possessed  stronger  suspensions.  The 
Dodge  version  was  selected  and 
officially  introduced  during  June  1942 
when  production  started  into  full 
swing.  As  with  the  Vz-ton  vehicles 
there  were  several  special  body 
types.  The  Dodge  T214  series  com- 
prised the  WC51  weapons  carrier, 
WC52  weapons  carrier  with  winch, 
WC53  general-purpose  and  field  com- 
mand vehicle,  WC54  ambulance, 
WC55  37-mm  Gun  Motor  Carriage  M6, 
WC56commandreconnaissance  vehi- 
cle, WC57  command  reconnaissance 
with  winch,  WC58  radio  vehicle, 
WC59  light  maintenance  and  installa- 
tion vehicle,  WC60  emergency  repair 
vehicle,  WC61  telephone  mainten- 
ance and  installation  vehicle,  and 
WC64  ambulance.  Generally,  the  vehi- 
cles in  this  series  were  referred  to  as 
'Beeps'  (contraction  of  Big  Jeeps),  The 
WC5 1 weapons  carrier  was  used  prin- 
cipally  to  transport  personnel, 
weapons,  tools  andother  eguipment.  It 
had  an  open  body  with  a canvas  tilt  and 
canvas  side-screens.  The  WC53  was 
fitted  with  a 'safari'  type  body  with  rear 
side  doors,  a map  table,  special  seats 
and  internal  lighting.  The  WC56  com- 
mand reconnaissance  was  the  most 
common  variant,  and  was  used  for  re- 
connaissance and  liaison,  and  as  a staff 
car  for  high-ranking  officers.  It  was 
fitted  with  map-boards  and  had  a de- 
tachable canvas  top  and  side-screens. 


Truck,  74-ton,  4x4,  Command 
Reconnaissance,  Dodge  T214-WC56 
Dimensions : length4 . 24  m ( 1 3 ft  1 1 in) ; 
width  1 .99  m (6  ft  6.5  in) ; height  2.07  m 
(6  ft  9.5  in);  wheelbase  2.49  m (8  ft  2 in) 
Weight:  net  2449  kg  (5,400  lb) 

Powerpiant:  oneDodgeT2 1 46- 
cylmder  petrol  engine  developing 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  9.00x1 6 

Above: Superseding  the  T207-WC3, 
the  T214  range  of  trucks  were^A-ton 
vehicles.  Introduced  early  in  1942, 
they  were  in  full  production  by  June. 
Used  to  transport  personnel, 
weapons,  tools  and  equipment,  the 
T214  range  were  sometimes  known 
as  'Beeps'(BigJeeps). 

Below:  Dodge  T214s  can  stillbe 
found  in  use  in  many  parts  of  the 
world,  a tribute  to  the  vehicle 's 
sturdy  design.  The  command  and 
reconnaissance  version,  the  WC53, 
was  used  in  m uch  the  same  way  as 


The  early  production  version  of  the 
Humber  8-cwt  lorry  was  based  on  the 
chassis  of  the  pre-war  Humber  Snipe 
saloon,  and  could  be  identified  by 
the  louvres  in  the  bonnet  sides.  La  ter 
these  were  omitted,  as  shown  here. 

Lony , 8 cwt,  4X2 , FFW,  Humber 

Just  before  the  outbreak  of  war  in  1939 
the  British  army  was  in  the  process  of 
intensive  mechanization,  and  several 

3ad  capacity  f 
fined  for  'B'  vehicles.  The  second  class 
was  the  8-cwt  truck  which  fulfilled  such 
roles  as  the  OS  (General  Service)  and 
FFW  (Fitted  For  Wireless).  Such  8-cwt 
trucks  with  both  4x2  and  4x4  wheel 
arrangements  were  produced  in  con- 
siderable numbers  from  a period  just 
before  the  war,  but  were  eventually 
phased  out  of  production  in  order  to 
rationalize  output  and  reduce  the  num- 
ber of  types  in  service.  The  5-cwt  and 
15 -cwt  classes  could  carry  out  any 
duties  that  had  been  allocated  to  the 
8-cwt  class.  These  vehicles  were 
manufactured  by  Ford,  Morris  and 
Humber.  Similar  in  appearance,  these 
vehicles  had  detachable  well-type 
bodies  with  seating  for  three  men  (two 
facing  offside  and  one  nearside)  and 
canvas  tilts,  though  the  wireless  ver- 
sion had  seating  for  two  men  only. 
Folding  legs  were  fitted  which  en- 
abled the  body  to  be  placed  on  the 
ground  for  use  as  a mobile  command 
centre  or  wireless  station.  The  Humber 

width  1 ,96  m (6  ft  5 in) ; height  1 .89  m 
(6  ft  2,5  in);  wheelbase  2,84  m (9  ft4  in) 
Weight:  net  1769  kg  (3,900  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Humber  6-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  85  bhp 
(63.4  kW) 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  9.00x13 

Aigh  t:  The  Humber  FFW  ( Fitted  for 
Wireless)  was  an  8-cwt  4x2  truck 
with  sea  ting  for  two  wireless 
operators  in  the  body.  The  body  was 
detachable  for  use  on  the  ground  as 
a wireless  station  or  as  a command 

8-cwt  Lorry  early  production  vehicles 
employed  the  chassis  of  the  original 
1939  Humber  Snipe  saloon  with 

louvres  in  the  bonnet  sides.  The  Lorry, 
8-cwt,  4X4 , FFW  incorporatedtheNo. 
1 1 wireless  set,  a map  table  and  other 
fittings  necessary  for  command  opera- 
tions. The  wireless  batteries  could  be 
recharged  from  a generator  driven  off 
the  main  engine.  The  OS  model  had 
the  same  body  but  lacked  the  radio 


Lorry,  8 cwt,  4x2,  FFW,  Humber 
Dimensions : length  4 . 44  m ( 1 4 ft  7 in) ; 

Car,  Heavy  Utility,  4X4  (FWD),  Humber 

Together  with  the  Ford  4x2  Heavy 
Utility,  the  Humber  Heavy  Utility  Car 
was  the  basic  staff  and  command  car  of 
the  British  army  during  World  War  II  at 
all  levels  of  command.  Nicknamed  the 
Humber  'Box',  this  was  the  only  British- 
built  four-wheel  drive  utility  car,  and 
production  began  during  May  1941, 
continuing  for  the  duration  of  the  war. 
Employed  on  a very  wide  scale,  this 
staff  car  remained  in  service  until  the 
late  1950s.  The  cab  and  body  were 
integral  and  of  all-steel  construction, 
and  later  models  were  fitted  with  a 
sliding  roof.  The  body  was  a six-seater 
with  four  individual  seats  and,  at  the 
rear,  two  tip-up  occasional  seats  which 
could  be  folded  down  to  leave  the 
body  clear  for  stowage:  there  was  a 
folding  map  table  behind  the  front 
seats.  There  were  two  hinged  doors  on 
each  side  with  afull- width  double  door 
arrangement  at  the  rear.  The  front 
mudguards,  radiator  grill  and  bonnet 
were  identical  to  those  of  the  Humber 
8-cwt  4x4  chassis.  In  the  Western  De- 
sert this  vehicle  was  sometimes  mod- 
ified by  replacement  of  the  roof  by  a 
canvas  folding  tilt.  Some  vehicles. 

A four-wheel-drive  estate  car,  the 
Humber  Heavy  Utility  was  the  basic 
staff  and  command  car  in  British 
service,  and  remained  so  for  some 
years  after  1945.  It  was  the  only 
British  vehicle  of  its  type. 


especially  those  used  by  high-ranking 
officers,  were  also  fitted  with  a sliding 


Car,  Heavy  Utility,  4X4  (FWD), 


Dimensions:length4.29m(14ft  1 in); 
width  1.88  m (6  tt  2 in) ; height  1 .96  m 
(6  ft  5 in);  wheelbase  2.84  m (9  ft 
3.75  in) 

Weight:  net24 1 3 kg  (5 ,320  lb) 
Powerolant:  one  Humber  6-cylinder  1- 
L-W-F  4.08-litre  petrol  engine 
developing  85  bhp  (63.4  kW) 
Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gear  with  auxiliary  two- speed 
Tyres:  9.25x16 

Fitted  with  a folding  map  table,  the 
Humber  Heavy  Utility  was  used 
mainly  as  a staff  car.  Some  were 
given  folding  canvas  tops  for 
operations  in  North  Africa.  Staff 
officers  occasionally  had  forward 
sliding  roofs  fitted. 

Morris  was  one  of  the  many  suppliers 
ofGSpattern  trucks,  and  theCo4x2 
was  one  of  the  major  types  lost  in 
numbers  at  Dunkirk.  Some  were 
used  in  the  desert,  however.  The  C8 
was  eventually  upgraded  to  four- 
wheel  drive. 

Tractor,  Artillery,  4X4,  Morris  C8 

The  Morris  Company  produced  a 
whole  range  of  vehicles  for  the  British 
army,  one  of  the  most  successful  being 
the  Morris  C8  Artillery  Tractor  (popu- 
larly known  as  the  Quad).  Introduced 
in  1939,  this  vehicle  had  four-wheel 
drive  and  was  equipped  with  a 4-ton 
winch  driven  from  tne  transfer  case.  It 
had  a distinctive  beetle- shaped  body 
and  usually  a towed  limber  and  18-  or 
25-pdr  gun/howitzer.  As  far  as  the 
army  was  concerned  the  vehicles  built 
for  gun-towing  had  to  have  the  same 
characteristics  as  the  horse-drawn  gun 
carriage  team  which  they  replaced, 
such  as  good  cross-country  perform- 
ance, seating  for  the  gun  crew,  and 
adequate  stowage  space  for  equip- 
ment and  ammunition.  They  were  al- 
ways manned  by  artillerymen.  In  this 
vehicle  there  was  accommodation  for 
the  driver,  gun- crew  commander  and 
five  men.  The  final  model,  introduced 
in  1944,  was  automotively  identical  but 
had  a new  body  (no  longer  beetle- 
shaped) with  an  open  top  and  canvas 
tarpaulin  cover.  Inis  was  introduced 
as  a dual-purpose  vehicle  to  tow  the 
17-pdr  anti-tank  gun  or  the  25-pdr  gun/ 
howitzer,  and  could  now  seat  eight 
men  including  the  driver.  Two  doors 
were  provided  on  each  side.  At  the 
rear  of  the  body  ammunition  racks 
were  installed  to  take  all  types  of  stan- 
dard British  artillery  ammunition.  This 
vehicle  remained  m service  until  the 
1950s,  The  original  vehicle  was  pow- 
ered by  a Morris  4-cylinder  petrol  en- 
gine and  the  gearbox  had  five  forward 
and  one  reverse  gear  driving  all  four 
wheels.  When  the  C8  Mk  III  version 
was  introduced,  however,  four-wheel 
drive  could  be  disengaged  except  in 
first  gear  and  reverse. 


Tractor,  Artillery  4X4 , Morris  C8  Mk 

Dimensions  :length4.49m(14ft 
8.75  in) ; width  2 . 2 1 m (7  ft  3 in) ; height 
226  m (7  ft  5 in);  wheelbase  2.51  m(8  ft 
3 in) 

Weight:  net  3402  kg  (7,500  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Morris  4-cylinder  3.5- 
litre  petrol  engine  developing  70  bhp 

Transmission:  five  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  10,5x16 

AbovQ:  The  C8  Artillery  Tractors 
were  originally  four-wheel-drive 
versions  of  the  C8  trucks.  The  Mklll, 
introduced  in  1944-5,  hadacanvas 
top  and  square  contour  body. 


Truck,  15  cwt,  GS,  4X2,  Bedford  MWD 

During  1935  the  War  Office  carried  out 
trials  with  new  lorry  models,  and  the 
Bedford  Truck  Division  of  Vauxhall 
Motors  Ltd  submitted  various  pro- 

Se  vehicles.  One  of  these  was  a 
fication  of  the  commercial  2-ton 
lorry  with  rear- wheel  drive.  Following 
the  trials  the  vehicle  was  fitted  with  a 
new  radiator  and  lamer  tyres.  After 
further  trials  in  193o  the  chassis  was 
modified  to  increase  the  ground  clear- 
ance and  a new  engine  cooling  system 
was  incorporated.  In  1937aspecial-to- 
type  Bedford  WD  prototype  was  pro- 
d-uced  on  this  chassis,  rated  at  15-cwt 

necessitated  by  the  extra-large  air- 
filter  specified  by  the  War  Mechanisa- 
tion Board,  During  1938  a more  power- 
ful engine  was  used.  An  initial  order  for 
2,000  Bedford  15-cwt  Truck  vehicles 
was  placed  in  August  1939,  the  first  50 
being  constructed  as  special  portee 
vehicles  to  carry  the  2-pdr  anti-tank 
gun.  Originally,  the  vehicle  had  an 
open  cab  with  folding  windscreen  and 
collapsible  canvas  tilt,  but  from  1943  an 
enclosed  cab  with  side-doors,  canvas 
top  and  perspex  side  screens  was 
adopted.  By  theendofthewarBedford 
had  produced  a total  of  250,000  vehi- 
cles, a large  proportion  of  which  were 
this  model.  The  vehicle  remained  in 
service  with  the  British  army  until  the 
late  1950s.  Although  intended  mainly 

as  a workhorse  for  the  infantry,  the 
Bedford  15-cwt  GS  eventually  became 
used  by  all  arms  including  the  Royal 
Navy  and  the  RAF. 


Truck,  15cwt,GS,4X2,BedfordMWD 
Dimensions : length4 . 3 8 m ( 1 4 ft  4 , 5 in) ; 
width  1.99  m (6  ft  6. 5 in);  height  2. 29  m 

(7  ft  6 in)  with  GS  tilt  and  1.93  m (6  ft 
4 in)  with  GS  tilt;  wheelbase  2.51  m (8  ft 
3 in) 

Weight:  net  2132  kg  (4,700  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneBedfordb-cylinder 
OHV  3 .5 -litre  petrol  engine 
developing  72  bhp  (53.7  kW) 
Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 
Tyres:  9.00x1 6 

The  15-cwt  class  of  truck  was  most 
important  to  the  British  army, 
numbers  in  use  rising  from  15,000  in 
1939  to  230,000  in  1945.  The  Bedford 
MWD  with  CS  body  is  typical  of  a 
late-war  15-cwt  4x2  truck. 


GAZ-67B  light  car 

The  GAZ-67  (named  for  the  Gorkiy 
Avtomobil  Zavod,  or  Gorky  Car  Fac- 
tory) was  first  manufactured  in  the 
Soviet  Union  during  1943  as  a cross- 
country vehicle  for  the  transportation 
of  personnel  and  light  equipment.  It 
was  obviously  greatly  influenced  in 
design  and  construction  by  the  US 
Bantam  Jeep  (the  USSR  received  some 
20,000  Jeeps  during  World  War  II 
under  the  Lend-Lease  programme).  In 
particular  the  body  and  headlamp 
arrangement  were  very  similar  to 
those  of  the  Bantam,  The  vehicle  was 
powered  by  the  Soviet  Ford  (GAZ) 

Model  A 4-cylinder  side- valve  engine, 
and  the  wheels,  suspension  and  other 
automotive  components  were  similar 
to  those  used  on  other  GAZ  cars,  with 
the  exception  of  the  use  of  four-wheel 
drive.  Suspension  was  through  quar- 
ter-elliptic springs.  The  fuel  tank  was 
located  below  the  dashboard.  The 
vehicle  was  fitted  out  with  four  seats 
and  was  capable  of  speeds  up  to 
90  km/h  (56  mph) . Compared  with  the 
US  Jeep  it  had  very  poor  acceleration. 

The  GAZ-67B  differed  from  the  original 
GAZ-67  in  that  it  had  a longer  wheel- 
base (1.85m/6ft  0.75m  as  against 
1 .27  m/4  ft  2 in).  This  model  saw  exten- 
sive service  in  Indo-China  (where  the 
only  existing  specimen  in  the  West 
was  captured  by  the  French)  and 
Korea.  Production  ceased  in  1953,  the 
role  being  taken  over  by  the  GAZ-69  A, 

This  class  of  light  vehicle  has  always 
been  used  as  the  workhorse  of  the  air- 
borne divisions. 



Dimensions:  length  3.34  m (10  ft 
1 1.33  in);  width  1.68  m (5  ft  6 in);  height 
1.70  m (5  ft  7 in);  wheelbase  1.85  m (6  ft 
0.75  in) 

Above:  First  made  in  1943atCorky, 
the  GAZ-67  was  influQncQd  by  ear/y 
Jeeps  (20,000  having  been  sent 
under  Lend-Lease).  Simple  and 
rather  crude,  the  GAZ-67  was 
nonetheless  strong  anda  good  off- 
road perform  er. 

Right:  The  CAZ-67B  saw  extensive 
service  in  Korea,  where  this 
particular  vehicle  was  captured,  as 
well  as  being  used  in  numbers 
during  World  War  11.  It  was 
even  tually  replaced  by  the  CAZ-69. 

Weight:  net  1220  kg  (2,690  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  GAZ-A  4-cylinder 
3 . 2 8 -litre  p etrol  engine  developing 
54  bhp  (40.3  kW) 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 
reverse  gears 

Tyres:  6,5  Ox  16or7,00x  16  (metric) 



Auto  vettura  Fiat  508  C.M. 

Most  light  vehicles  used  by  the  Italian 
armed  forces  were  of  Fiat  manufac- 
ture. Where  the  Germans  had  de- 
signed and  produced  several  pseudo- 
military vehicles  before  the  war,  so 
had  the  Italians,  the  Autovettura  Fiat 
508  C.M.  being  one  of  them.  The  Ita- 
hans  referred  to  the  type  as  a colonial 
vehicle,  specially  designed  for  use  on 
rough  terrain  such  as  that  encountered 
in  Africa  and  Ethiopia.  Also  known  as 
the  Fiat  1 100  Torpedo  Militare,  the  Fiat 
508  C.M.  was  the  most  prolific  Italian 
military  vehicle  of  World  War  II.  Just 
before  the  war  the  Ispettorata  della 
Motorizzazione  (Inspectorate  of  Motor- 
ization) had  requested  development  of 
a light,  simple  and  robust  vehicle  cap- 
able of  achieving  high  speeds  on  roads 
and  reasonable  performance  cross 
country,  with  low  production  costs.  As 
the  result  the  Fiat  Company  de- 
veloped the  Toipedo  508,  derived 
from  a similar  civilian  model,  from 
which  it  differed  in  an  increase  in 
ground  clearance,  a reduction  in  the 

fearbox  ratios  and  a special  military 
ody.  The  vehicle  was  built  in  substan- 
tial numbers  and  in  various  versions 
between  1939  and  1945,  one  of  which 
was  a special  colonial  model  adapted 
to  avoid  ingress  of  sand  and  sinking  in 
soft  terrain  (Modello  1100  Col.^ 

Autovettura  Fiat  508  C.M. 

Dimensions:  length  3,35  m (1 1 ft  0 in); 
width  1 .37  m(4ft6  in) ; height  1 .57  m 
(5  ft  2 in);  wheelbase  2.26  m (7  ft  5 in) 
Weight:  net  1065  kg  (2,348  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Fiat  108C  4-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  32  bhp 
(23.9  kW) 

Transmission:  four  forward  and  one 

reverse  gears 

Tyres:  5.00x18  (metric) 

from  pre-war  colonial  designs,  and 
like  many  Italian  vehicles  little  was 
required  to  militarize  a car  designed 
for  rough  tracks  in  Libya  and  Eritrea. 

Right:  Based  on  the  'balilla' civilian 
model,  the  508  C.M.  was  in 
productionfrom  1939  to  1945.  It  was 
a simple  vehicle,  with  reasonable 
cross-country  performance  and  a 
high  roaJ  spttd. 

' J Type  95  Scout  Car  (Kurogane  Black  Medal) 

The  Type  95  was  a lightweight  recon- 
naissance vehicle  developed  after  the 
Manchunan  Incident,  whieh  had  indi- 
cated a real  need  for  such  a vehicle. 

Some  4,800  examples  were  built  by 
Kurogane  with  variations  in  bodywork. 

This  was  about  the  only  native  vehicle 
of  its  type  used  by  the  Imperial 
Japanese  Army.  Most  others  were  of 
American  origin  or  patterned  on 
American  designs.  The  air-cooled  en- 
gine was  ideal  for  operations  in  Man- 
churia and  northern  China,  where 
there  was  often  a lack  of  unpolluted 
water  and  frequently  very  low  temper- 
atures. Initial  difficulties  were  experi- 
enced with  the  four-wheel  drive  and 
front  universal  joints,  but  these  were 
eventually  overcome.  Special  tyres, 
with  heavy  rubber  treads,  were  pro- 
vided for  exceptionally  difficult  ter- 
rain. Power  was  supplied  by  a 4- 
stroke,  2-cylinder  V-1- A -F  1399-cc  air- 
cooled engine  operating  on  petrol  and 
developing  a maximum  of  33  bhp 
(24.6KW).  The  engine  had  a com- 
pression ratio  of  5:1  and  a removable 
cylinder  head.  Ignition  was  provided 
by  a high-tension  magneto  with  a 12- 
volt  generator  for  charging  the  battery; 
a 12-volt  electric  starter  motor  was 
used.  Oil  pressure  was  maintained  by 
a gear-pressure  feed  pump,  and  a con- 
ventional fuel  pump  was  used.  There 
was  a main  fuel  tank  for  35  litres  (7.7 
Imp  gal)  and  an  auxiliary  fuel  tank  of 
4-litre  (0.88-Imp  gal)  capacity.  Fuel 

consumption  was  stated  to  be  4 litres 
(0.88  Imp  gal)  per  hour.  A dry  single- 
plate clutch  was  used.  The  foot-brakes 
were  mechanical  contracting  with  an 
emergency  mechanical  expanding 

Type  95  Scout  Car 

Dimensions : length  3 . 3 8 m ( 1 1 ft  1 in) ; 

width  1 .52  m (5  f t O in) ; height  1 .68  m 
(5  ft  6 in);  wheelbase  3.84  m (12  ft  7 in) 
Weight:  net  1,100  kg  (2,425  lb) 
Powerolant:  one  2-cylinder  4-stroke  V- 
1 - A-Fpetrol  engine  developing 
33  bhp  (24.6  kW) 

Transmission:  selective  sliding  type 
giving  three  forward  and  one  reverse 

Tyres:  18x6 

Tht four-wheel-drive  Type  95  Scout 
car  was  one  of  the  few  unarmoured 
vehicles  used  by  the  Imperial 
Japanese  Army  that  was  not  based 
on  anAmerican  original.  The  'Black 
Medal' was  made  in  closed  cab  and 
truckversions  in  addition  to  the 
more  usual  convertible. 


Self-Propel  led 


Once  Germany  had  demonstrated  the  new  pace  of  armoured  warfare,  most  belligerent 
nations  began  to  develop  fully  mechanized  divisions.  Field  guns  were  mounted  on 
tank  chassis  and  a new  generation  of  armoured  fighting  vehicles  was  born.  Self- 
propelled  guns  became  more  important,  and  largely  replaced  towed  artillery. 

Cossacks  in  German  Waffen-SS  service  relax  alongside  a Sturmgeschutz  III  self-propelled  gun, 
arguably  the  most  famous  of  its  type.  The  early  versions  had  short-barrelled  guns. 

Self-propelled  artillery  was  very 
much  a product  of  the  type  of 
warfare  that  evolved  during  World 
War  II:  before  1939  self-propelled 
artillery  scarcely  existed  (apart 
from  a few  trial  weapons),  but 
by  1943  it  was  used  by  all  the 
combatant  nations.  The  sudden 
rise  of  this  new  form  of  weapon 
can  be  attributed  almost  entirely 
to  the  impact  of  the  battle  tank 
on  tactics,  for  warfare  no  longer 
took  place  at  the  speed  of  the 
marching  soldier  and  the  scouting 
horse,  but  at  the  speed  of  the 
tank.  These  swarmed  all  over 
Poland,  France  and  eventually 
the  Soviet  Union,  and  the  only 
way  that  the  supporting  arms, 
including  the  artillery,  could  keep 
up  with  them  was  to  become 
equally  mobile. 

Many  of  the  early  self-pro- 
pelled artillery  platforms  were 
simply  conversions  of  existing 
tanks  in  order  to  mount  artillery 
pieces,  but  the  measure  of  con- 
version varied  widely.  Some  were 
scarcely  more  than  lash-ups  to 
meet  a hasty  requirement  or  were 
built  locally  to  suit  a particular 
task.  Others,  however,  were  care- 
fully designed  from  the  outset 
and  may  be  regarded  as  virtually 
new  products.  But  two  distinct 
trends  can  be  discerned  in  the 
way  self-propelled  artillery  was 
used  in  action.  One  school 

regarded  mobile  artillery  as  a 
simple  adjunct  to  existing 
artillery  doctrines,  and  this 
school  designed  and  used  the 
self-propelled  platforms  to  deliver 
indirect  supporting  fire  in  the 
usual  way.  The  other  school 
regarded  the  mobile  gun  as  a 
form  of  close-range  direct-fire 
weapon  to  be  used  in  close 
support  of  armour,  and  this 

school  was  responsible  for  the 
assault  gun.  Today  both  types  of 
weapon  are  extant,  but  in  the 
West  the  modem  accent  is  on  the 
indirect-fire  weapon  and  in  the 
East  it  is  on  the  close-support 
assault  gun. 

Only  a selection  of  the  many 
types  of  self-propelled  artillery 
that  proliferated  between  1939 
and  1945  can  be  found  in  this 

section.  While  some  important 
types  have  been  omitted,  some 
'one-offs'  have  been  included  to 
demonstrate  the  variety  of  design 
concepts  that  were  attempted. 
The  number  and  approaches  of 
the  different  designs  were 
enormous  before  1945,  but  only 
relatively  few  models  actually 
found  their  way  into  action. 

Most  of  these  are  covered  here. 


Taken  from  a German  newsreel,  this 
shot  clearly  shows  how  high  and 
awkward  the  mounting  of  the  15 -cm 
howitzer  really  was  on  thePzKpfwI 
chassis.  The  crew  had  only  limited 

petrol  engine  developing  111.9  kW 

Dimensions:  length  4.835  m (15  ft 
2.4  m (7  ft  10.5  in) 

protection  and  stowage  was 
minimal,  but  it  provided  the 
Germans  with  an  indication  of  what 
would  be  required  in  future. 

Performanee:  maximum  road  speed 
35  km/h  (21,75  mph);  maximum  road 
range  185  km  (1  lo  rniles);  fording 
0.914  m (3  ft) 

Armament:  one  15-cm  (5.9-in)  howitzer 


sIG  33  auf  Geschiitzwagen 

The  German  infantry  battalions  each 
had  a small  artillery  complement  of 
four  7.5-cm  (2.95-m)  light  howitzers 
and  two  15-cm  (5. 9-in)  infantry  howit- 
zers for  their  own  local  fire  support. 
The  15-cm  howitzer  was  known  as  the 
schwere  Infantrie  Geschiitz  33  (sIG  33, 
or  heavy  infantry  gun)  and  was  a very 
useful  and  versatile  weapon,  but  it  was 
heavy  and  the  only  'equipment'  allo- 
catecl  to  most  infantry  formations  for 
the  movement  of  the  weapons  were 
horse  teams.  Thus  when  an  increasing 
degree  of  mechanization  began  to 
filter  through  the  German  army  the  sIG 
33  was  hi^  on  the  list  for  considera- 

The  first  form  of  mobile  sIG  33  was 
used  during  the  French  campaign  of 
May  1940.  It  was  one  of  the  simplest 
and  most  basic  of  all  the  German  self- 
propelled  equipments,  for  it  consisted 
of  nothing  more  than  a sIG  33  mounted 
complete  with  carriage  and  wheels  on 
to  a turretless  PzKpfw  I light  tank  as  the 
15-cm  sIG  33  auf  Geschiitzwagen  I 
Ausf  B.  Armoured  shields  were  pro- 
vided for  the  crew  of  four,  and  that  was 
that.  It  was  not  a very  satisfactory  con- 
version as  the  centre  of  gravity  was 
rather  high  and  the  chassis  was  over- 
loaded. Moreover,  the  armour  protec- 
tion was  not  good,  and  so  in  1942  the 
PzKpfw  II  was  the  subject  for  conver- 
sion. This  15-cm  sIG  33  auf  Geschiitz- 
wagen  II  ausf  C SdKfz  121  conversion 
had  the  howitzer  mounted  low  in  the 
chassis,  and  was  so  successful  that  dur- 
ing 1943  a version  with  a lengthened 
hull  was  produced  as  the  15-cm  sIG  33 
auf  Fgst  PzKpfw  II  (Sf)  Verlanget. 

The  ex-CzechPzKpfw  38(t)  was  also 
converted  to  act  as  a sIG  33  carrier.  In 
1942  the  first  of  a series  of  vehicles 
known  collectively  as  the  15-cm  sIG  33 
(Sf)  auf  PzKpfw  38(t)  Bison  SdKfz  138 
were  produced.  The  first  series  had 
the  sIG  33  mounted  forward  on  the  hull 
top  behind  an  open  armoured  super- 
structure, and  this  weapon/vehicle 
arrangement  proved  to  be  so  success- 
ful that  it  was  formalized  in  1943  by  the 
production  of  a new  version.  This  was  a 
factory -produced  model  rather  than  a 
conversion  of  existing  tanks  and  had 

One  of  the  first  German  self- 
propelled  conversions  was  the 
mounting  of  a 15-cmsIG  33  infantry 
howitzer  onto  the  hull  of  a PzKpfw  I 
light  tank. 

the  vehicle  engine  mounted  forward 
(instead  of  at  the  rear  as  originally  lo- 
cated) this  entailing  the  movement  of 
the  fighting  compartment  to  the  hull 
rear.  This  was  the  SdlSz  138/1  (SdKfz 
for  Sonder  Kraftfahrzeug,  or  special 
vehicle)  and  it  was  this  vehicle  that  was 
retained  as  the  German  army's  stan- 
dard sIG  33  carrier  until  the  end  of  the 
war.  The  SdKfz  138/1  had  a crew  of  four 
men  including  the  driver,  and  15  shells 
were  carried  on  the  vehicle.  There 
was  no  room  for  more  because  the 
fighting  compartment  was  rather  res- 
tricted for  space. 

There  was  one  other  sIG  33  self- 
propelled  version,  this  time  on  a 
PzKpfw  III  chassis.  This  15-cm  sIG  33 
auf  PzKpfw  III  appeared  in  1941  and 
used  a large  box  superstructure  on  a 
PzKpfw  III  to  house  the  sIG  33.  This 
proved  to  be  rather  too  much  of  a good 
thing,  for  the  chassis  was  really  too 
large  for  the  weapon  which  could  be 
easily  carried  by  lighter  vehicles.  Thus 
production  never  got  properly  under 
way,  being  terminated  after  only  12 
conversions  had  been  made.  These 
vehicles  were  used  in  action  on  the 
Eastern  Front. 

All  the  sIG  33  self-propelled  equip- 
ments were  used  for  their  original  role, 
i.e.  the  direct  fire-support  of  infantry 
units  in  the  field.  Perhaps  the  most  suc- 
cessful of  these  self-propelled  car- 
nages were  the  Bison  and  the  later 
SdKfz  138/1.  Over  370  of  the  vehicles 
were  produced,  and  they  were  still  in 
production  in  late  1944. 



SdKfz  138/1 



Crew:  4 

Weight:  11500 kg  (25, 353  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Praga  6-cylinder 



Even  as  early  as  1939  it  was  obvious 
that  the  days  of  the  little  PzKpfw  II  tank 
were  numbered,  for  it  lacked  both 
armament  and  armour.  However,  it 
was  in  production  and  quite  reliable, 
so  when  the  need  arose  for  self- 
propelled  artillery  the  PzKpfw  II  was 
selected  to  be  the  carrier  for  the  10.5- 
cm  (4, 13-in)  leEH  1 8 field  howitzer.  The 
conversion  of  the  tank  hull  to  carry  the 
ho  witzer  was  quite  straightforward,  for 
the  howitzer  was  mounted  behind  an 
open  topped  armoured  shield  towards 
the  rear  of  the  hull  and  the  area  where 
the  turret  had  been  was  armoured 
over  and  the  space  used  for  ammuni- 
tion stowage.  Maximum  armour  thick- 
ness was  18  mm  (0.7  in). 

The  result  was  the  self-propelled 
howitzer  known  as  the  Wespe  (wasp) 
though  its  full  official  designation  was 
rather  more  cumbersome:  leEH  18/2 
auf  Fgst  Kpfw  II  (Sf)  SdKfz  124  Wespe, 
but  to  everyone  it  was  just  the  Wespe, 
It  was  a very  popular  little  self- 
propelled  weapon  that  soon  gained  for 
itself  a reputation  for  reliability  and 
mobility.  The  first  of  them  were  based 

on  the  PzKpfw  II  Ausf  E chassis  and 
went  into  action  on  the  Eastern  Eront 
during  1943.  On  this  front  they  were 
used  by  the  divisional  artillery  batter- 
ies of  the  Panzer  and  Panzergrenadier 
divisions.  They  were  usually  orga- 
nized into  batteries  of  six  howitzers 
with  up  to  five  batteries  to  anAbteilung 

The  Wespe  was  so  successful  in  its 
artillery  support  role  that  Hitler  himself 
made  an  order  that  all  available 
PzKpfw  II  chassis  production  should 
be  allocated  to  the  Wespe  alone,  and 
the  many  other  improvised  weapons 
on  the  PzKpfw  II  chassis  were  drop- 
ped or  their  armament  diverted  to 
other  chassis.  The  main  Wespe  con- 
struction centre  was  the  Eamo  plant  in 
Poland,  and  there  production  was  so 
rapid  that  by  mid- 1944  682  examples 
had  been  built.  Some  time  around  that 

The  SdKfz  124  Wespe  was  a purpose- 
built  carrier  for  a 105 -mm  howitzer 
based  on  the  chassis  ofthePzKpfwll 
light  tank.  It  was  first  used  during 
1942 and  had  a crew  of  five. 


date  manufacture  of  the  Wespe 
ceased,  but  not  before  158  had  been 
completed  without  howitzers;  these 
vehicles  had  the  gap  in  the  armour 
plate  for  the  howitzer  sealed  off,  the 
^ace  behind  the  armour  being  used 
for  resupply  ammunition  needed  by 
batteries  in  the  front  line. 

A typical  Wespe  went  into  action 
carrying  its  crew  of  five,  including  the 
driver,  and  32  rounds  of  ammunition.  A 
Wespe  battery  was  completely 
mobile,  although  some  of  the  vehicles 
were  soft- skinned  trucks  for  carrying 
ammunition  and  other  supplies.  The 
forward  observers  were  usuallv  car- 
ried in  light  armoured  vehicles 
although  some  batteries  used  ex- 
Czech  or  captured  French  tanks  for 
this  purpose.  Fire  orders  were  relayed 
back  to  the  battery  by  radio,  and  from 
the  battery  fire  command  post  the 
orders  were  further  relayed  to  the  gun 
positions  by  land  lines.  The  howitzer 
carried  on  the  Wespe  was  the  stan- 
dard 10.5-cm  leFH  18  as  used  by 
towed  batteries  (although  most  were 

fitted  with  muzzle  brakes)  and  so  used 
the  same  ammunition.  They  also  had 
the  same  range  of  10675m  (11,675 



Type:  self-propelled  field  howitzer 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  11000  kg  (24,25  lib) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  6-cylinder 
petrol  engine  developing  104.4kW 

Dimensions:  length4. 81  m(  15  ft9, 4 in) - 
width2.28  m(7  rt5.75  in) ; height2.3  m 
(7  ft  6.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.85  mph);  road  range 
220 km  (137  miles);  fording  0.8  m (2  ft 
7,5  in) 

Armament:  one  105-mm  (4,13-in) 
howitzerandone7.92-mm(0.3 1 -in) 
MG34  machine-gun 

This  shot  o/a  W espe  on  tho  move 
shows  thdit  the  top  of  the  fighting 
compSLrtment  was  open  hut 
protection  was  provided  at  therear. 

Note  how  small  the  vehicle  actually 
was  compared  to  the  stature  of  the 
gun  crew  in  the  compartment. 

A battery  offour  Hummels  stand 
ready  for  action  on  a Russian  steppe 
in  1 942.  The  closeness  of  the  guns 
and  the  overall  lack  of  concealment 

room  for  the  crews  to  serve  the  gun, 
and  the  carriage  gave  the  howitzer  the 
desired  mobility  to  enable  them  to 
keep  up  with  the  Panzer  divisions. 



Type:  self-propelled  howitzer 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  24000  kg  (52,911  lb) 

demonstrates  that  the  Luftwaffe  had 
air  superiority  at  this  time,  otherwise 
the  guns  would  have  been  much 
more  dispersed  and  camouflaged. 

Powerplant:  oneMaybachV- 12  petrol 
engine  developing  197.6  kW(2o5  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  7. 1 7 m(23  ft6.3  in)' 
width  2.87  m (9  ft  5 in) ; height  2.81m 
(9  ft  2.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
42  km/h  (26. 1 mph) ; road  range  z 1 5 km 
(134  miles);  fording  0.99  m (3  ft  3 in) 
Armament:  one  15-cm  (5.9-m)  howitzer 
and  one  7.92-mm  (0.13-in)  machine- 


1^9  Hummel 

The  self-propelled  artillery  vehicle 
that  became  Known  as  the  Hummel 
(bumble  bee)  was  a hybrid  combinings^ 
components  of  the  PzKpfw  III  and 
PzKpfw  IV  tanks  into  a new  vehicle 
known  as  the  Geschiitzwagen  III/IV. 
The  first  of  these  hybrids  was  pro- 
duced during  1941  and  used  a leng- 
thened PzKpfw  IV  suspension  and  run- 
ning gear  combined  with  the  final 
drive  assemblies,  track  and  transmis- 
sion of  the  PzKpfw  III.  Onto  this  new 
hull  was  built  an  open  superstructure 
formed  with  light  armour  plates,  and 
two  types  of  weapon  were  mounted. 
Vehicles  intended  for  use  as  tank  des- 
troyers mounted  a version  of  the  88- 
mm  (3.46-in)  anti-tank  gun,  but  vehi- 
cles intended  for  use  as  self-propelled 
artillery  mounted  a special  version  of 
the  15-cm  (5,9-in)  FH  18  field  howitzer, 

The  FH  18  vehicle  was  the  15-cm 
Panzerfeldhaubitze  18M  auf  GW  IMV 
SdKfz  165  Hummel,  and  it  formed  the 
heavy  field  artillery  element  of  the 
Panzer  and  Panzergrenadier  divisions 
from  1942  onwards.  The  ordnance  was 
known  as  the  Panzerfeldhaubitz  18/1, 
and  could  fire  a 43.5-kg  (95.9-lb)  pro- 
jectile to  a range  of  13325m  (14,572 
yards).  The  first  howitzers  produced 
for  the  self-propelled  role  were  fitted 
with  large  muzzle  brakes,  but  experi- 
ence demonstrated  that  these  were 
not  really  necessary  and  were  accor- 
dingly left  off  later  production  ver- 
sions. Maximum  armour  thickness  was 
50mm  (1.97  in). 

The  Hummel  had  a crew  of  five,  in- 
cluding the  driver  who  sat  in  an 
armoured  position  forward.  The  provi- 
sion of  an  armoured  compartment  for 
the  driver  alone  was  considered  a lux- 
ury in  war-production  terms,  but  in- 
stead of  eliminating  this  feature  the  de- 
signers made  the  whole  thing  cheaper 
by  enlarging  the  armoured  position 
and  employing  more  flat  steel  plates. 
Thus  more  internal  space  was  pro- 
vided for  one  of  the  crew  members. 
The  Hummel  could  carry  only  18 
rounds  of  ammunition  so  more  had  to 
be  kept  nearby  and  brought  up  when 
necessary.  Trucks  were  often  of  little 
value  for  this  task,  so  by  late  1944  no 
less  than  150  Hummels  were  produced 

Above:  The  Hummel  (bumble  bee) 
was  a purpose-built  German  vehicle 
that  used  components  from  both  the 
PzKpfw  III  and  IV.  Used  on  all  fronts, 
it  was  a successful  weapon  tha  t 
remained  in  production  until  the  war 
ended.  It  had  a crew  of  five. 

without  the  howitzer  and  the  divided 
front  armour  plates  replaced  by  a sing- 
le plate.  These  vehicles  were  used  as 
ammunition  carriers  for  the  Hummel 
batteries.  By  late  1944  no  less  than  666 
Hummels  had  been  produced  and  the 
type  remained  in  moduction  until  the 
end  of  the  war.  They  proved  to  be 
useful  and  popular  weapons,  and  were 
used  on  all  fronts . Special  versions  with 
wider  tracks  known  as  Ostkette  were 
produced  for  use  during  the  winter 
months  on  the  Eastern  Front,  and  the 
open  superstructures  were  often  co- 
vered with  canvas  tarpaulins  to  keep 
out  the  worst  of  the  weather.  The  gun 
crew  generally  lived  with  the  vehicle, 
so  many  Hummels  were  festooned  not 
only  with  camouflage  of  all  kinds  but 
also  with  bed  rolls,  cooking  pots  and 
items  of  personal  kit. 

The  Hummel  was  one  of  the  Ger- 

self-propelled  artillery. 

best  examples  of  purpose-built 
ropelled  artillery.  It  had  plenty  of 



The  Waffentrager 

The  Waffentrager  (literally  weapons 
carrier)  was  a novel  concept  for  the 
Germans  when  it  was  first  mooted  dur- 
ing 1942.  The  idea  was  that  the  Waffen- 
trager was  to  be  not  so  much  a form  of 
self-propelled  artillery  but  a means  of 
carrying  an  artillery  piece  in  a turret 
into  action,  where  it  would  be  re- 
moved from  the  tank,  emplaced,  used 
in  action,  and  picked  up  again  when  no 
longer  required.  The  exact  tactical  re- 
quirement for  this  arrangement  is  still 
uncertain,  for  in  1942  the  Panzer  divi- 
sions were  still  dictating  mobile  war- 
fare to  all  opponents  and  the  need  for  a 
static  artillery  piece  seems  remote. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  a series  of  eight 
vehicles  known  generally  as  Heu- 
schrecke  IVB  (locust)  were  produced 
during  1942,  These  vehicles  were  con- 
verted PzKpfw  IV  tanks  with  a gantry 
at  the  rear  to  lift  off  the  turret  mounting 
a 10.5-cm  (4.13-in)  light  field  howitzer. 
The  turret  could  be  emplaced  on  the 
ground  for  action  or  it  could  be  towed 
behind  the  vehicle  on  wheels  carried 
on  the  rear  specifically  for  this  pur- 
pose;this  arrangement  allowed  the 
vehicle  to  be  used  as  an  ammunition 
carrier  for  the  turret. 

The  eight  vehicles  produced  were 
no  doubt  used  in  action,  for  one  of  them 
was  captured  and  is  now  to  be  seen  in 
the  Imperial  War  Museum  in  London, 
but  at  the  time  no  more  were  re- 
quested. But  by  1944  things  had 
changed  somewhat.  The  German 
army  was  everywhere  on  the  defen- 
sive and  anything  that  could  hold  up 
the  advancing  Allies  was  investigateci. 
The  Waffentrager  concept  came  with- 
in this  catego^,  and  more  designs 
were  initiated.  One  was  an  interim  de- 
sign in  which  a normal  fieldhowitzer,  a 
10.5-cm  leFH  18/40,  was  carried  in  an 
armoured  superstructure  on  top  of  a 
modified  Geschutzwagen  III/IV  (nor- 
mally used  for  the  Hummel),  The 
howitzer  could  be  fired  from  the  vehi- 
cle, but  it  was  also  designed  to  be  re- 
moved from  the  carrier  using  a block 
and  tackle  and  mounted  on  the  ground 
as  a normal  field  piece  once  the 
wheels  and  carriage  trails  had  been 
fitted.  This  design  did  not  get  far  for  it 
was  overtaken  by  a series  of  design 


Karl  series 

The  weapons  known  as  Karl  were  ori- 
ginally devised  as  anti-concrete 
weapons  for  the  demolition  of  the 
Magmot  Line  forts  and  other  such  for- 
tified locations.  They  were  produced 
during  the  1930s  following  a great  deal 
of  mathematical  and  other  theoretical 
studies  carried  out  during  the  1920s. 
Work  on  the  actual  hardware  began 
during  1937,  and  the  first  equipment 
was  ready  by  1939, 

The  Karl  series  must  be  regarded  as 
being  the  largest  self-propelled  artil- 
lery weapons  ever  produced.  There 
were  two  versions.  One  was  the  60-cm 
Morser  Gerat  040  which  mounted  a 60- 
cm  (23.62-m)  barrel  and  the  other  the 
54-cm  Morser  Gerat  041  which 
mounted  a 54-cm  (21.26-in)  barrel. 
Both  weapons  fired  fecial  concrete- 
piercing projectiles.  The  range  of  the 
Gerat  040  was  4500  m (4,921  yards)  and 
that  of  the  Gerat  041  6240m  (6,824 
yards).  Both  could  penetrate  between 
2.5  and  3,5  m (8.2  and  11.5  ft)  of  con- 
crete before  detonating  to  produce 
maximum  effect.  These  projectiles 

proj  ects  that  were  in  turn  overtaken  by 
the  end  of  the  war. 

These  late- 1944  and  early- 1945  Waf- 
fentrager all  adopted  the  removable 
turret  concept  used  in  the  1942  Heu- 
schrecke  IVB.  They  had  a variety  of 
chassis,  including  both  the  modified 
PzKpfw  IV  and  Geschutzwagen  III/IV. 
The  artillery  pieces  involved  ranged 
from  10.5-cm  to  15-cm  (5.9-m)  howit- 
zers. One  that  got  as  far  as  model  form 
was  to  have  carried  either  the  10.5-cm 
or  15-cm  howitzer  on  a cruciform  car- 
riage that  would  have  been  used  with 
the  '43'  series  of  weapons  had  they 
ever  advanced  further  than  the  pro- 
totype stage.  These  howitzers  were 
mounted  in  an  open-backed  turret, 
and  could  be  firea  from  the  carrier  or 
from  a ground  mounting.  They  could 
also  be  towed  behind  the  carrier  on 
their  field  carriages.  It  was  all  rather 
complicated  and  overengineered  as  it 
involved  the  use  of  ramps  and  win- 
ches, and  the  concept  was  typical  of 
many  that  never  got  to  the  hardware 
stage.  But  a few  such  equipments  were 
built  only  to  be  overtaken  by  the  end  of 
the  war,  being  broken  up  or  scrapped 
in  the  post-war  years. 

Heuschrecke  IVB 

Type:  self-propelled  howitzer  carrier 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  17000  kg  (37,479  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  petrol 
engine  developing  140.2kW  (188  hp) 
Dimensions : length  5 .90  m ( 1 9 ft  4 , 3 m) ; 
wiM  187  m (9  n 5 in);  height  2, 25  m 
(7  ft  4.6  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
45  km/h  (28  mph);  road  range  250  km 
(155  miles) 

Armament:  one  10.5-cm  (4.13-in) 

This  Heuschrecke  prototype  was  one 
in  which  a 105 -mm  field  howitzer  was 
carried  on  a chassis  produced  from 
PzKpfwIIl  and  IVcomponents  in 
order  for  it  to  be  lowered  to  the 
ground  when  at  the  firing  position. 
The  howitzer  could  be  fired  from  the 
vehicle  if  required. 

were  massive  items.  The  60-cm  shell 
weighed  no  less  than  2170kg  (4,784 
lb),  although  a lighter  version  was  also 
used.  The  54-cm  shell  weighed 
1250  kg  (2,756  lb). 

Both  Karl  weapons  were  massive, 
ponderous  brutes.  Although  technical- 
ly self-propelled,  their  mobility  was  li- 
mited by  their  sheer  weight  and  bulk 
and  the  tracked  carriages  were  meant 
for  only  the  most  local  of  moves.  For 
long-distance  travel  they  were  carried 
slung  between  special  railway  trucks. 
Shorter  moves  were  made  by  remov- 
ing the  barrel  from  the  carnage  and 
placing  both  the  barrel  and  the  car- 
riage on  separate  special  trailers 
towed  by  heavy  tractors.  Assembly 

The  Karl  howitzers  were  intended  to 
smash  the  Maginot  Line  forts,  but 
were  instead  used  against  the 
Sevastopol  defences  and  later 
against  Warsaw  in  1944.  They  fired 
special  anti-concrete  projectiles  that 
exploded  only  when  they  had 
penetrated  their  targets. 


The  Heuschrecke  was  one  of  a 
number  of  experimental  German 
vehicles  that  were  meant  to  carry  an 
artillery  piece  to  a firing  site  and  then 

lower  the  piece  to  the  ground  for 
firing.  The  Heuschrecke  was  the  only 
one  of  many  similar  designs  to  be 
produced  in  any  numbers. 


and  break-down  was  carried  out  using 
special  mobile  gantries.  The  whole 
process  was  difficult  to  an  extreme,  but 
the  Karl  weapons  were  not  intended 
for  mobile  warfare.  They  were  pro- 
duced to  reduce  fortresses  and  that 
meant  a long,  planned  approach  to  the 
firing  site,  a slow  rate  of  fire  (the  best 
was  one  round  every  10  minutes)  and  a 
steady  withdrawal  once  the  fortress 
had  been  reduced. 

The  Karls  were  too  late  for  the  Magi- 
not  Line,  which  fell  along  with  the  rest 
of  France  in  1940.  Their  first  real  en- 
gagement was  the  siege  of  Sevastopol 
in  exactly  their  designed  role.  Follow- 
ing the  successful  end  of  that  siege 
more  Karls  were  used  during  the  War- 
saw uprising  when  they  were  used  to 
demolish  the  centre  of  Warsaw  and 
crush  the  Polish  underground  fighters. 

By  then  it  was  1944.  Most  of  the  early 
60-cm  barrels  had  then  been  replaced 
by  54-cm  barrels,  but  Warsaw  was 
their  last  period  in  action.  The  increas- 
ing mobile  warfare  of  the  last  year  of 
the  war  gave  the  Karls  no  chance  to 
demonstrate  their  destructive  powers. 



Despite  their  overall  success,  the  StuG 
III  assault  guns  were  considered  by 
1943  as  being  too  lightly  armoured  for 
the  assault  role,  and  a new  heavy 
assault  vehicle  was  required.  The  ex- 
isting 15-cm  (5.9-in)  sIG  33  self- 
propelled  equipments  lacked  the 
armour  protection  required  for  the 
close-support  role  and  so,  with  the 
PzKpfw  IV  tank  gradually  being  re- 
placed by  the  Panther  and  Tiger  tanks, 
there  was  the  chance  to  produce  a 
purpose-built  vehicle  using  the  later 
versions  of  the  PzKpfw  I v as  a basis. 

The  first  examples  of  this  new  vehi- 
cle appeared  during  1943  under  the 
designation  Sturmpanzer  N Brumm- 
hdr  (grizzly  bear).  The  Brummbar 
used  a box  structure  formed  from  slop- 
ing armour  plates  set  over  the  front  or  a 
turretless  PzKpfw  IV,  and  mounted  a 
specially  developed  howitzer  in  a ball 
mounting  on  the  frontplate.  This  howit- 
zer was  known  as  the  Sturmhaubitze  43 
and  was  a shortened  version,  only  12 
calibres  long,  of  the  15-cm  sIG  33. 
Armour  was  provided  all  round  (the 
frontal  armour  being  100  mm/2.54  in 
thick),  so  the  crew  of  five  men  were 
well  protected.  Later  stand-off  side 
armour  was  added,  and  most  vehicles 
acquired  a coating  of  Zimmerit  plaster 
paste  to  prevent  magnetic  charges 
being  stuck  on  to  the  hull  by  close-in 
tank  killer  squads.  A machine-gun  was 
mounted  on  the  hull  front  plate  on  late 

g reduction  models,  earlier  versions 
aving  lacked  this  self-defence 

The  roomy  fighting  compartment  of 
the  Brummbar  coulaaccommodate  up 
to  38  rounds  of  15-cm  ammunition.  The 
commander  sat  to  the  rear  of  the  howit- 
zer using  a roof-mounted  periscope  to 
select  targets.  Two  men  served  the 
gun  and  handled  the  ammunition, 
while  another  acted  as  the  gun  layer. 
The  driver  normally  remained  in  his 
seat  at  the  left  front.  Most  targets  were 
engaged  with  direct  fire,  but  provision 
was  made  for  indirect  fire. 

About  313  Brummbar  vehicles  were 
produced  before  the  war  ended,  and 
most  appear  to  have  been  used  in 
direct  support  of  Panzergrenadier  and 

and  most  were  destroyed  by  their 
crews  in  the  last  stages  of  the  war.  Only 
a few  of  the  special  PzKpfw  IV 
ammunition  carriers  produced  to  car- 
ry projectiles  for  the  Karls  survived  for 
Allied  intelligence  staffs  to  examine.  It 
is  possible  that  one  example  of  the  Karl 
may  survive  as  a museum  piece  in  the 
Soviet  Union,  but  that  is  all. 

Gerat  041 

Type:  self-propelled  siege  howitzer 
Crew:  not  recorded 
Weight:  124000  kg  (273,373  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  V - 1 2 petrol  engine 
developing  894.8  kW  (1,200  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  ofbarrelb. 24m 
(20  ft  5 .7  in) ; length  of  carriage  11.15m 
(36ft7  in) ; track2.6  W(8  ft8.3  in) 
Performance:  notrecorded 
Armament:  one  54-cm  (21.26-in) 

infantry  units . The  vehicles  moved  for- 
ward with  the  first  waves  of  attacking 
troops  and  provided  fire  to  reduce 
strongpoints  and  smash  bunkers.  In- 
fantry had  to  remain  close  to  prevent 
enemy  tank-killer  squads  from  coming 
too  close  to  the  Brummbar  vehicles, 
which  were  always  vulnerable  to 
close-range  anti-tank  weapons,  espe- 
cially as  some  of  their  side  armour  was 
as  thin  as  30  mm  (1.18  in).  Brummbar 
vehicles  were  generally  used  in  ones 
and  twos  split  up  along  an  area  of 
attack.  As  defensive  weapons  they 
were  of  less  use,  for  the  short  howitzer 
had  only  a limited  performance 
against  armour  as  its  prime  mission 
was  the  delivery  of  blast  effect  HE  pro- 
mctiles.  One  factor  that  restricted  the 
Brummbar' s overall  mobility  was  its 
weight,  which  gave  the  vehicle  a 
rather  poor  ground-pressure  Toot- 
print':  it  was  nippy  enough  on  roads, 
but  across  country  it  could  get  bogged 
down  in  soft  ground. 

The  Brummbar  was  a well-liked 
vehicle  that  often  provided  exactly  the 
degree  of  fire  support  required  by  in- 
fantry formations.  On  the  debit  side  it 
was  heavy,  rather  ponderous  and  the 
early  examples  lacked  close-in  pro- 
tection. But  they  were  well  protected 
against  most  weapons  and  they  car- 
ried a powerful  howitzer. 



Type:  self-propelled  heavy  assault 


Crew:  5 

Weight:  28200  kg  (62,170  lb) 
Powerplant:  oneMaybach  V - 1 2petrol 
engine  developing  197.6kW(2o5  hp) 
Dimensions : length  5 . 93  m ( 1 9 ft  5 . 5 in) ; 
(8  ft  3.2  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24. 85  km/h) ; maximumroad 
range  210  km  (130  miles);  fording 
0.99  m (3  ft  3 in) 

Armament:  one  15-cm  (5.9-in)  howitzer 
and  one  or  two  7.92-mm  (0.31  -in) 

The  massive  60-cm  and  54-cm  Karl 
howitzers  were  really fortifica  tion  - 
smashing  equipments,  and  they  had 
only  limited  tactical  mobility.  They 

had  to  be  carried  to  the  firing 
positions  by  special  trailers  in  pieces 
and  assembled  on  site. 

Most  German  self-propelled 
equipments  carried  only  light 
armour,  so  when  a call  was  made  for 
a special  close-support  assault  gun 

the  result  was  the  heavily-armoured 
Brummbar.  The  Brummbar  was 
often  usedfor  street  fighting,  as  this 
captured  example  shows. 

The  Brummbar  was  normally  used 
when  infantry  tank-killer  squads 
were  likely  to  be  encoun  tered.  It  was 
therefore  liberally  covered  with  a 

plaster-like  substance  known  as 
'Zimmerit'that prevented  magnetic 
charges  from  sticking  to  the  h ull. 



EJ  Sturmtiger 

Stalingrad  taught  the  German  army 
many  lessons,  not  least  of  which  was 
that  the  Germans  were  ill-equipped 
for  the  art  of  close-quarter  street 
fighting.  In  typical  fashion  they  de- 
cided to  meet  any  future  urban  warfare 
requirements  by  a form  of  overkill  by 
using  a super-heavy  weapon  that 
would  do  away  with  the  need  for 
house-to-house  fighting  by  simply 
blowing  away  any  defended  houses  or 
structures.  This  they  decided  to  do 
with  a land  version  of  a naval  weapon, 
the  depth  charge. 

In  1943  the  Germans  produced  a 
version  of  the  Tiger  tank  known  by 
several  names  including  38-cm  Sturm- 
morser,  Sturmpanzer  VI  and  Sturmti- 
ger. Whatever  the  designation,  the 
weapon  was  a Tiger  tank  with  the  tur- 
ret replaced  by  a large  box-shaped 
superstructure  with  a short  barrel  pok- 
ing through  the  front  sloped  plate.  This 
barrel  was  not  a gun  but  a 38-cm 
(14.96-m)  Raketenwerfer  61  rocket 
projectorofan  unusual  type,  for  it  fired 
a rocket-propelled  depth  charge  that 
weighed  no  less  than  345  kg  (761  lb). 
As  this  projectile  was  based  upon  the 
design  of  a naval  depth  charge  nearly 
all  the  weight  was  high  explosive;  the 
effect  of  this  upon  even  the  stoutest 
structure  can  well  be  imagined.  The 
rockets  had  a maximum  range  of 
5650  m(6, 180  yards),  and  the  projector 
barrel  was  so  arranged  that  the  rocket 
efflux  gases  were  diverted  forward  to 
vent  from  venturi  around  the  muzzle 
ring.  The  Sturmtiger  was  exceptionally 
well  armoured,  with  150  mm  (5.9  in)  at 
its  front  and  between  80  and  85  mm 
(3.15  and  3,35  in)  at  the  side. 

The  Sturmtiger  had  a crew  of  seven 
including  the  commander,  a fire 
observer  and  the  driver.  The  other 
four  men  served  the  rocket  projector. 
Because  of  their  massive  size,  only  12 
projectiles  could  be  carried  inside  the 
superstructure,  with  the  possibihty  of 
one  more  inside  the  projector.  Load- 
ing the  rockets  into  the  vehicle  was 
helped  by  a small  crane  jib  mounted 
on  the  superstructure  rear,  and  a small 
hatch  nearby  allowed  access  to  the 

interior.  Once  inside  overhead  rails 
assisted  in  the  movement  of  the  rock- 
ets to  and  from  their  racks  along  each 
side,  and  loading  into  the  projector 
was  carried  out  using  a loading  tray. 

Although  the  Sturmtiger  prototype 
was  ready  by  late  1943,  it  was  not  until 
August  1944  that  production  of  this 
massive  vehicle  got  under  way.  Only 
about  10  were  ever  produced,  and 
these  were  used  in  ones  and  twos  on 
most  fronts  but  in  situations  where  their 
powerful  armament  was  oflittle  advan- 
tage. Consequently  most  were  soon 
either  knocked  out  in  action  or  simply 
abandoned  by  their  crews  once  their 
fuel  allocation  had  been  used. 

Used  as  they  were  in  isolation  and  in 
such  areas  as  the  North  Italian  cam- 
paign, the  hulks  fascinated  the  Allies 
who  encountered  them  and  many  de- 
tailed intelligence  reports  were  writ- 
ten on  them.  Most  realized  that  the 
Sturmtiger  was  a highly  specialized 
weapon  that  was  simply  pushed  into 
the  field  during  the  latter  stages  of  the 
war  in  the  German  effort  to  get  any 
weapon  into  action.  If  the  Sturmtigers 
had  been  used  as  intended  for  street 
fighting,  they  would  have  been  formid- 
able weapons.  Instead,  by  the  time 
they  were  ready  the  time  of  concen- 
trated urban  warfare  had  passed. 

Type:  assault  gun 
Crew:  7 

Weight:  65000  kg  (143,300  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  V- 12  petrol 
engine  developing  484,7  kW  (650  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  6.28  m (20  ft 
7,25  in);  width  3.57  m (11  ft  8,6  in); 
height  2 . 85  m (9  ft  4 . 2 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40  km/h  (24.86  mph) ; roadrange 
120  km  (75  miles) ; fording  1 ,22  m (4  ft) 
Armament:  one38-cm(  14.96-in)rocket 
projector  and  one  7,92-mm  (0.31 -in) 


Sturmgeschiitz  III 

Following  from  its  experiences  in 
World  War  I,  the  German  army  saw 
the  need  for  an  armoured  mobile  gun 
that  could  follow  infantry  attacks  and 
provide  fire  support  and  the  firepower 
to  knock  out  strongpoints  and  bunkers. 
During  the  late  1930s  such  a gun  was 
developed  using  the  chassis,  suspen- 
sion and  running  gear  of  the  PzKpfw  III 
tank.  This  armoured  gun  was  known  as 
the  Sturmgeschiitz  HI  though  its  formal 
designation  was  Gepanzerte  Selbst- 
fahrlafette  fur  Sturmgeschiitz  7.5-cm 
Kanone  SdKfz  142,  (assault  gun  model 
3)  and  it  had  the  usual  upper  hull  and 
turret  of  the  tank  replaced  by  a thick 
carapace  of  armour  with  a short  75 -mm 
(2.95-in)  gun  mounted  in  the  front.  This 
weapon  was  first  issued  for  service  in 

1940  (StuG  III  Ausf  A)  and  was  soon 
followed  by  a whole  series  of  vehicles 
that  gradually  incorporated  overall 
and  detail  improvements,  to  the  extent 
that  when  the  war  ended  in  1945  many 
were  still  in  service  on  all  fronts.  The 

1941  models  were  the  StuG  III  Ausf  B , C 
and  D,  while  the  slightly  improved 
StuG  III  Ausf  E appeared  in  1942. 

The  main  change  to  the  Sturmge- 

schiitz III  (or  StuG  III)  series  was  a 
gradual  programme  of  upgunning. 
The  original  short  75 -mm  gun  was  an 
y24  weapon  (i.e.  the  length  of  the  bar- 
rel was  24  times  the  calibre)  and  had 
limitations  against  many  targets  except 
at  short  ranges.  Thus  it  was  replaced 
by  longer  guns  with  improved  per- 
formance, first  an  y43  (StuG  HI  Ausf  F) 
and  then  an  L/48  gun  (StuG  III  Ausf  G). 
The  latter  gun  also  provided  the  StuG 
HI  series  with  an  anti-tank  capability, 
and  this  was  in  a way  to  the  detriment 
of  the  original  assault- support  concept, 
for  it  was  far  easier  to  produce  a StuG 
than  it  was  a tank,  so  many  StuG  Ills 
with  L/48  guns  were  diverted  to  the 
Panzer  divisions  in  place  of  battle 
tanks.  Used  as  a tank-killer  the  StuG  III 
had  its  moments,  but  it  lacked  traverse 
and  adequate  protection  for  the  task.  It 
had  to  be  retained  as  such,  however, 
for  German  industry  simply  could  not 
supply  enough  tanks  for  the  Panzer  di- 

As  an  assault  gun  the  StuG  III  series 
was  far  more  successful.  Eventually 
the  type  was  upgunned  to  the  stage 
late  in  the  war  when  many  StuG  Ills 

A/?ove;  This  side  shot  of  diSturmtiger 
shows  the  large  armoured 
superstructure,  mounting  the  38-cm 
( 14. 9 6-in ) rocke  t projector  with  the 
roof-mounted  crane  needed  to  load 
the  projectiles  in  to  the  in  terior 
through  a hatch  at  the  rear. 

Below:  Largest  of  all  the  German 
close-support  weapons  was  the 
Sturm  tiger,  carrying  a 38-cm  rocket 
projector  that  fired  a form  of  naval 
depth  charge  to  demolish  buildings. 
This  example  has  been  captured  by 
American  troops. 

were  armed  with  the  powerful  10.5-cm 
(4.13-in)  Sturmhaubitze,  a special 
assault  howitzer  produced  for  the  StuG 
III  fur  10.5-cm  StuH  42  The  first  of  these 
was  completed  in  1943,  but  manufac- 
ture of  tins  variant  was  initially  slow. 
Instead  the  version  with  the  75-mm  L/ 
48  gun  was  rushed  off  the  production 
lines  for  the  Panzer  divisions. 

The  StuG  III  had  a crew  of  four  and 
extra  machine-guns  were  often  car- 
ried behind  a shield  on  the  roof  The 
protective  mantlet  for  the  main  gun 
underwent  many  changes  before  it  en- 
ded up  as  a Saukopf  (literally  'pig's 
head')  mantlet  which  proved  very 
good  protection.  More  protection 
against  short-range  hollow-charge 
warheads  was  provided  with  the  addi- 
tion of  SchUtzen  (literally  'skirts')  along 
both  sides.  These  were  simply  sheets 
of  stand-off  armour  to  detonate  the 
warheads  before  they  hit  the  vehicle 
armour,  and  were  used  on  many  Ger- 
man tanks  after  1943. 

As  a close-range  assault  support 
weapon  the  StuG  III  series  was  an  ex- 
cellent vehicle/weapon  combination. 
It  was  also  relatively  cheap  and  easy  to 

produce,  and  in  war-time  Germany 
that  mattered  a lot.  Therefore  the 
series  was  built  in  some  numbers  and 
numerically  it  was  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant German  armoured  vehicles. 

StuG  III  Ausf  E 
Type:  assault  gun 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  23900  kg  (52,690  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Maybach  V-12petrol 
engine  developing  197.6  kW(265  hp) 
Dimensions:  Iength6.77m(22ft2.5  in); 
width  2.95  m (9  ft  8 in) ; height  2.16m 
(7  ft  1 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
40  km/h  (24.85  mph);  roadrange 
165  km  (102  miles);  fording  0,8  m (2  ft 
7.5  in) 

Armament:  one75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun 
and  two  7.92-mm  (0.31 -in)  machine- 


The  Type  97  had  its  150-mm  howitzer 
mounted  in  place  of  the  turret 
normally  carried.  The  howitzer  was 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 

meant  to  be  used  as  a form  ofmobile 
field  artillery  but  was  normally  used 
as  close  support  artillery. 

Armament:  one  150-mm  (5.9-in) 


• Type  4 HO-RO 

The  Japanese  were  behind  in 
armoured  warfare  development 
throughout  all  their  World  War  II  cam- 
paigns. Their  early  military  excursions 
into  China  and  Manchuria  misled  them 
into  disregarding  the  need  for  heavy 
armoured  vehicles,  and  instead  they 
concentrated  on  what  were  regarded 
elsewhere  as  light  tanks  and  tankettes. 
This  approach  was  supported  by  the 
state  of  Japanese  industry,  which  was 
still  in  a relatively  early  state  of  indust- 
rial development  and  lacked  large- 
scale  production  capability.  Thus  it 
was  that  the  Japanese  army  fell  way 
behind  in  the  development  of  self- 
propelled  artillery,  and  ultimately  only 
a small  number  of  equipments  were 

One  of  these  was  the  Type  4 HO-RO, 
a self-propelled  howitzer  that  allied 
the  Type  38  150-mm  (5.9-m)  howitzer 
with  tne  Type  97  medium  tank.  The 
conversion  to  the  self-propelled  role 
was  a straightforward  design  task  in 
which  the  howitzer  was  mounted  in  a 
shield  which  provided  forward  and 
side  armour  protection  while  leaving 
the  top  and  rear  open;  the  side  armour, 
it  is  worth  noting,  did  not  extend  even 
to  the  rear  of  the  fighting  conmartment . 
The  howitzer  dated  from  1905  and  was 
derived  from  a Krupp  design.  It  fired  a 
35.9-kg  (79. 15-lb)  projectile  to  a range 
of  5900m  (6,452  yards),  but  most  of 
these  weapons  were  so  old  and  worn 
that  they  had  been  withdrawn  from 
general  use  after  about  1942,  They  had 
a slow  rate  of  fire  as  a result  of  the  type 
of  breech  mechanism  employed,  but 
they  were  apparently  thought  good 
enough  for  the  self-propelled  role. 

The  chassis  used  for  the  Type  4 was 
the  Type  97  CHI-HA,  a medium  tank 
by  Japanese  standards  and  dating 
from  1937.  It  was  a mobile  enough 
vehicle,  but  showed  a relative  lack  of 
development  in  its  thin  armour,  which 
was  only  about  25  mm  (1  in)  thick  on 
the  gun  shield  frontal  armour,  and  in  its 
overall  riveted  construction.  The  use  of 
rivets  in  tank  construction  had  else- 
where long  disappeared,  but  the 
Japanese  had  no  option  but  to  retain 
the  method  as  they  lacked  any  other 
form  of  construction  capability. 

They  also  lacked  the  ability  to  pro- 
duce the  Type  4 HO-RO  in  anything 
but  small  numbers.  Even  those  were 
virtually  hand-built,  with  few  preten- 


|o|  Semovente  da 

The  Italian  army  was  not  far  behind  the 
Germans  in  realising  the  need  for 
assault  guns,  and  developed  a string  of 
vehicles  that  outwardly  resembled  the 
German  StuG  III.  These  Italian  assault 
guns  were  produced  in  appreciable 
numbers,  for  they  were  better 
armoured  and  in  relative  terms  quick- 
er to  produce  than  contemporary  Ita- 
lian tanks.  But  by  the  time  significant 
numbers  had  been  issued  Italy  was 
effectively  out  of  the  war,  and  most  of 
these  Italian  assault  guns  fell  into  Ger- 
man hands. 

The  majority  of  Italian  self-propelled 
weapons,  known  as  semovente, 
mounted  75-mm  (2.95-in)  or  105-mm 
(4. 13-in)  guns  andhowitzers  ofvarying 
lengths,  but  since  these  were  direct- 
fire  mounts  the  Italian  artillery  arm  still 
required  self-propelled  artillery 
weapons  to  support  the  armoured 
formations.  Accordingly  Ansaldo  di- 

Above:  The  Type  97mounted  a short 
Type  38  howitzer  with  limited  range, 
but  the  Japanese  were  never  able  to 
produce  the  numbers  required  and 
they  were  mainly  used  in  ones  and 
twos  as  local  fire -support  weapons. 

sions  to  mass  production.  Even  then 
the  Japanese  did  not  concentrate  on 
the  Type  4 HO-RO  alone,  for  they  also 
roduced  a version  known  as  the  Type 

mounting  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  gun  and 
designed  to  double  as  a self-propelled 
artillery  platform  and  a tank-killer. 
Again  only  small  numbers  were  pro- 

The  Type  4 HO-RO  vehicles  appear 
not  to  have  been  organized  into  any- 
thing larger  than  four-howitzer  batter- 
ies. No  records  survive  of  larger 
formations,  and  most  accounts  refer  to 
these  vehicles  being  captured  or 
knocked  out  in  ones  or  twos.  Very 
often  they  were  assigned  for  island  de- 
fence in  the  amphibious  campaign 
leading  to  the  Japanese  mainland,  and 
only  a few  were  captured  intact. 



Type:  self-propelled  howitzer 
Crew:  4 or  5 

Weight:  not  recorded,  but  about 
13600  kg  (29,982  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  V-12  diesel 
developing  126.8  kW(170hp) 
Dimensions:  length5.537  m(lS  ft2  in) ; 
width  2.286  m (7  ft  6 in);  height  to  top  of 
shield  1.549  m(5  ft  1 in) 


The  long,  lean  lines  of  the  Italian 
149/40  can  be  seen  at  the  Aberdeen 
Proving  Grounds  in  Maryland,  USA, 
still  looking  very  serviceable  as  a 
modern  artillery  weapon  despite  the 
lack  of  crew  protection  and  stowage 
on  the  vehicle  for  ammunition  ana 
other  items. 

verted  some  of  its  precious  develop- 
ment facilities  to  design  a powerful 
artillery  weapon  that  could  be  carried 
on  a trucked  chassis.  In  the  end  Ansal- 
do plumped  for  an  existing  weapon, 
the  long  Canone  da  149/40  modello  35, 
and  decided  to  place  it  on  a much- 
modified  Carro  Armato  M.  15/42  tank 
chassis.  The  selection  of  these  two 
items  of  equipment  was  made  in  order 
to  produce  as  good  a carriage/weapon 
combination  as  possible,  but  the  snag 
was  that  the  Italian  army  was  already 


crying  our  for  large  numbers  of  both 
the  gun  and  tank.  Italian  industry  quite 
simply  could  not  keep  up  with  the  ex- 
isting demands  and  so  the  new  self- 
propelled  weapon,  known  as  the 
Semovente  da  149/40,  got  off  to  a shaky 

The  Semovente  da  149/40  was  a 
completely  unprotected  weapon  as 
the  long  gun  barrel  was  placed  on  an 
open  mounting  carried  on  the  turret- 
less tank  chassis.  The  gun  crew  stood 
in  the  open  to  serve  the  gun,  which  had 
its  trunnions  mounted  right  to  the  rear 



During  the  desperate  days  of  1941  the 
Red  Army  lost  so  much  materiel,  that 
Soviet  planners  were  forced  to  list 
mass  production  as  their  top  priority, 
and  in  order  to  cut  down  the  numbers 
of  equipments  being  produced  only  a 
few  types  were  selected  for  future  use. 
One  of  these  types  was  the  superlative 
ZIS-3  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun,  which  was 
not  only  an  excellent  field  piece  but  at 
that  period  also  a good  anti-tank  gun. 
Thus  when  it  was  decided  to  adopt  the 
ZIS-3  in  quantity  the  Red  Army  had  a 
very  good  weapon  for  the  future,  espe- 
cially when  the  chance  arose  to  make 
the  weapon  a self-propelled  one. 

The  events  of  1941  had  shown  the 
Red  Army  that  its  light  tanks  were  vir- 
tually useless,  and  the  type  was  sche- 
duled for  withdrawal  from  production 
and  service.  A production  line  was  in 
existence  for  the  T-70  light  tank, 
however,  and  it  was  decided  to  con- 
vert the  T-70  to  take  the  ZIS-76  gun  as  a 
highly  mobile  anti-tank  weapon.  Thus 
was  born  the  SU-76  (SU  for  Samokhod- 
naya  Ustanovka,  or  self-propelled 
mounting).  The  conversion  to  take  the 
7 6 . 2 -mm  gun  and  62  rounds  of  ammuni- 
tion was  a simple  one,  but  the  T-70 
chassis  had  to  be  widened  somewhat 
and  an  extra  road  wheel  was  added  to 
take  the  extra  weight.  The  first  exam- 
ples had  the  gun  mounted  centrally, 
but  later  models  had  the  gun  offset  to 
the  left.  Maximum  armour  thickness 
was  25mm  (0,98  in). 

It  was  late  1942  before  the  first  SU- 
76s  were  produced,  and  it  was  mid- 
1943  before  they  were  in  Red  Army 
service  in  any  appreciable  numbers. 
By  that  time  the  ZIS-3  gun  had  lost 
much  of  its  edge  against  the  ever- 
thickening  German  tank  armour,  and 
thus  the  Su-76  was  gradually  phased 
over  to  the  direct  fire- support  of  Red 
Army  infantry  formations.  Some  anti- 
tank capability  was  retained  when 
new  anti-armour  ammunition  was  in- 
troduced, but  by  the  end  of  the  war  the 
SU-76  was  being  phased  out  in  favour 
of  vehicles  with  larger-calibre  guns. 
Many  SU-76s  were  pressed  into  other 
roles  by  1945.  The  usual  process  was  to 
remove  the  gun  and  then  use  the  vehi- 
cle as  a supply  and  ammunition  car- 
rier, as  an  artillery  tractor  and  as  a light 
armoured  recovery  vehicle.  Some 
were  fitted  with  anti-aircraft  cannon. 

After  1945  there  were  still  many  SU- 
76s  to  hand,  and  the  Soviets  handed 
them  on  to  many  friendly  nations  in- 
cluding China  and  North  Korea,  with 
whom  the  type  saw  another  bout  of 
action  during  the  Korean  War  that 
started  in  1950.  More  went  to  some  of 
the  Warsaw  Pact  armed  forces.  It  is 
doubtful  that  the  new  recipients  wel- 
comed the  SU-76,  for  it  was  very  much 

to  absorb  some  of  the  recoil  forces  pro- 
duced on  firing.  It  was  late  1942  before 
the  first  prototype  was  ready  for  pro- 
longed firing  trials,  but  even  before 
these  were  over  unsuccessful  attempts 
were  being  made  to  start  production. 
Before  the  lines  could  start  rolling  the 
Italians  surrendered  to  the  Allies,  and 
the  Germans  took  over  what  was  left  of 
the  Italian  economy.  Thus  the 
Semovente  da  149/40  prototype  re- 
mained the  sole  example  of  what 
seemed  to  be  a promising  design.  The 
gun  of  the  Semovente  da  149/40  was 

certainly  a useful  weapon:  it  could  fire 
a 46-kg  (101 .4-lb)  proj ectile  to  a range 
of  23700  m (25,919  yards),  at  which  dis- 
tance the  lack  of  protection  for  the  gun 
crew  would  have  been  of  relatively 
little  importance. 

The  prototype  survived  the  war,  and 
can  now  be  seen  at  the  Aberdeen  Pro- 
ving Grounds  in  the  USA.  It  still  looks  a 
thoroughly  modern  piece  of  equip- 
ment that  would  not  be  too  out  of  place 
in  many  modern  gun  parks. 


Semovente  da  149/40 

Type:  self-propelled  gun 

Crew:  (on  gun)  2 

Weight:  24000  kg  (52,911  lb) 

Powerplant:  one  SPA  petrol  engine 

developing  186.4  kW  (250  hp) 

Dimensions:  Iength6.60m(21ft7. 8 in); 

width  3 .00  m (9  ft  1 0 in) ; height  2.00m 

(6  ft  6,7  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
35  km/h  (21.75  mph) 

Armament:  one  149-mm  (5.87-in)  gun 

I ( 

The  Soviet  SU-76  was  a wartime  and  rather  rushed  conversion  of  the  T-70  light  tank  to  carry  a 76-mm  field  gun,  and 
although  it  was  produced  in  large  n umbers  it  was  little  liked  by  its  crews,  who  called  it  the  'Bitch 

a wartime  expedient  vehicle  with  no 
crew  comforts  whatsoever.  Apart  from 
a few  examples  that  had  an  armoured 
roof,  the  crew  compartment  of  the  SU 
76  was  open  to  the  elements  and  the 
driver  had  to  sit  next  to  the  twin  en- 
gines with  no  intervening  bulkhead. 
The  Red  Army  knew  the  SU-76  as  the 
Sukami  (bitch). 

Thus  the  SU-76  started  life  as  a 
mobile  anti-tank  weapon  and  ended 
up  as  an  artillery  support  weapon.  It 
was  no  doubt  a very  useful  weapon  in 
the  latter  role,  but  essentially  it  was  a 
hasty  expedient  rushed  into  produc- 
tion at  a time  of  desperate  need.  Sur- 
prisingly, the  type  may  still  be  encoun- 
tered in  odd  parts  of  the  world. 



Type:  self-propelled  gun 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  10800  kg  (23,810  kg) 
Powerplant:  two  GAZ  6-cylinderpetrol 
engines  each  developing  52.2  kW 
(70  hp) 

Dimensions:  Iength4.88m(16ft0.1  in); 
width2.73  m(8ft  11.5  in) ; height2 , 17m 
(7  ft  1.4  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
45  km/h  (28  mph) ; road  range  450  km 
(280  miles);  fording  0.89  m (2  ft  11  in) 
Armament:  one  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun  and 
one  7.62-mm  (0.3-in)  machine-gun 

Red  Army  soldiers  attack  under  the 
close  supporting  fire  of  SU-76  76-mm 
guns,  providing  a graphic  example 
of  what  close-range  artillery  support 

SU-76s  wait  to  take  part  in  one  of  the 
massive  artillery  actions  that  usually 
took  place  before  any  major  Red 
Army  action.  The  open  structure  of 
the  SU-76  must  have  made  life  very 
uncomfortable  for  their  crews  under 
such  conditions,  as  only  tarpaulin 
covers  were  carried. 

really  means.  By  1945  the  SU-76  was 
used  almost  exclusively  in  this  role 
after  being  used  a t onepoin  t as 
mobile  field  artillery. 



ISU-122  and  ISU-152 

The  first  of  the  heavy  Soviet  self- 
propelled  artillery  carriages  was  the 
SU-152,  which  first  appeared  in  1943, 
just  in  time  to  take  part  in  the  tank 
battles  at  Kursk.  It  was  built  onto  aKV-2 
heavy  tank  chassis  and  was  typical  of 
later  World  War  II  designs  in  that  the 
tank  chassis  was  taken  virtually  un- 
changed and  a large  armoured  box 
was  built  on  to  the  front  of  the  hull.  The 
weapon  was  a 152-mm  (6-in)  M-1937 
howitzer  mounted  in  a large  and  heavy 
mantlet  on  the  front  superstructure 
plate  and  there  were  roof  hatches,  one 
ofwhich  had  provision  for  mounting  an 

anti-aircraft  machine-gun.  This  first 
vehicle  was  intended  for  use  as  much 
as  an  anti-armour  weapon  as  a heavy 
assault  weapon,  for  the  Red  Army 
made  no  differentiation  between  anti- 
tank and  other  weapons  when  it  came 
to  tactics.  The  SU-152  relied  upon 
sheer  projectile  weight  and  power  to 
defeat  enemy  armour. 

When  the  KV  tank  series  was  re- 
placed in  production  by  the  IS  series, 
these  too  were  used  for  the  SU  self- 
propelled  role.  The  conversion  fol- 
lowed closely  that  of  the  original  SU- 
152,  and  the  IS -based  conversion  was 

ISU-152s  were  still  infron  t-line 
service  in  1956 when  the  Red  Army 
ruthlessly  crushed  the  Hungarian 
uprising.  In  the  streets  of  Budapest 

the  lack  of  traverse  proved  a serious 
disadvantage.  The  gun  mechanism 
was  never  m odernized;  eleva  tion 
and  loading  were  done  by  hand. 

originally  known  as  the  ISU-152.  To  the 
average  observer  the  SU-152  and  ISU- 
152  were  visually  identical,  but  the 
ISU-152  mounted  a more  modern 
howitzer  known  as  the  ML-20S  (with  20 
rounds),  technically  a gun-howitzer 
and  a very  powerful  weapon,  especial- 
ly at  the  assault  ranges  favoured  by 
Red  Army  tactics.  The  weapon  was 
protected  by  an  armoured  box  made 
up  from  sloping  plates  of  thick  armour, 
with  hand  rails  around  the  edge  of  the 
roof  for  use  by  'tank  descent'  infantry 
who  used  the  vehicles  to  carry  them 
into  action.  Maximum  armour  thick- 
ness was  75  mm  (2.95  in). 

The  ISU-152  was  joined  by  the  ISU- 
122,  a virtually  identical  vehicle  car- 
rying a powerful  122-mm  (4.8-in)  gun 
known  as  the  M-1931/4  or  A-19S  (with 
30  rounds),  the  ordnance  being  a mod- 
ification of  the  then- standard  122-mm 
M- 193 1/37,  though  there  was  also 
another  gun  known  as  the  D-25S  which 
was  balhstically  identical  to  the  A-19S 
but  differed  in  the  way  it  was  con- 
structed. Numerically  the  ISU-122  was 
less  important  than  the  ISU-152,  but  the 

122-mm  version  was  potentially  the 
more  powerful  weapon  as  it  fired  a 
higher- velocity  projectile  than  the 
heavier  152-mm  weapon,  which  relied 
more  upon  shell  weight  for  its  effects. 

During  1944  and  1945  the  ISU-152 
and  ISU-122  were  in  the  vanguard  of 
the  Red  Army  advances  through  Ger- 
many towards  Berlin.  Some  of  the  first 
Red  Army  units  entering  Berlin  were 
ISU-152  units,  which  used  their  howit- 
zers to  blast  away  strongpoints  at  close 
ranges  and  clear  the  way  to  the  re- 
mains of  the  city  centre. 

If  the  ISU  weapons  had  a fault  it  was 
that  they  lacked  internal  ammunition 
stowage  space.  Thus  they  had  to  have 
a virtual  constant  supply  of  ammunition 
brought  foward  by  armoured  carriers, 
which  was  often  a hazardous  undertak- 
ing. But  the  massive  weapon  carried 
by  the  ISU  vehicles  was  considered  to 
be  of  great  value  in  the  direct  support 
of  Red  Army  tank  and  motorized  infan- 
try divisions,  and  both  types  went  on  to 
be  used  for  some  years  after  the  war. 

TheSU-122  was  a conversion  of  the 
T-34  tank  to  accommodate  a front - 
mounted  122-mm  howitzer  in  a well- 
armoured  and  well-sloped 
superstructure.  It  was  produced  in 
large  numbers  for  the  close-support 
role,  but  could  be  used  for  'stand-off 
artillery  fire. 

ThQlSU-152  was  a straightforward 
conversion  of  an  IS-2  tank  to  carry  a 
152-mm  howitzer  as  a powerful 
close-support  artillery  weapon;  it 
was  also  a powerful  tank  killer.  The 
howitzer  was  housed  in  a thick 
superstructure  with  dense  frontal 
armour  that  made  it  a difficult  vehicle 
to  knock  out. 



Type:  self-propelled  assault  gun 
Crew:  5 

Weight:  46430kg(102,361  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  V-12  diesel 
developing  387.8  kW  (520  hp) 
Dimensions : length  overall  9 . 80  m (32  ft 
1.8  in)  and  hull  6.805  m (22  ft  T9  in); 
width3.56m(  1 1 ft8.2in);  height2.52m 
(8  ft  3.2  in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
37  km/h  (23  mph) ; road  range  180  km 
(1 12miles);  fording  1.3  m(4  ft3,2  in) 
Armament:  one  122-mm  (4.8-in)  gun 
and  one  12.7-mm  (0,5-in)  machine-gun 

An  ISU-152  crosses  a river  during  the 
latter  stages  of  World  War  II.  These 
vehicles  appear  to  be  carrying  their 
crewmembers  on  the  roof  butin 
action  they  would  be  carrying 
squads  of  'tank  descent'  assa  ult 
infantry  instead.  Note  the  size  of  the 
howitzer's  muzzle  brake. 




During  early  1941  the  British  Purchas- 
ing Commission  in  Washington  asked 
the  Americans  if  the  M7  Priest  could 
be  altered  to  allow  it  to  carry  the  British 
25-pdr  (87.6-mm/3.45-m)  gun- 
howitzer.  While  the  British  appreci- 
ated the  amenities  of  the  M7  Priest,  it 
had  the  major  disadvantage  of  mount- 
ing a 105-mm  (4.13-in)  howitzer  that 
was  not  a standard  British  weapon 
calibre  at  that  time.  The  Americans 
accordingly  produced  the  M7  with  the 
25-pdr  and  named  it  the  T51,  but  at  the 
same  time  announced  that  there  was 
no  way  that  they  could  produce  it  in 
quantity  as  they  had  their  production 
hands  full  already.  The  British  accor- 
dingly looked  around  and  noted  that 
the  Canadians  had  set  up  a production 
line  for  the  Ram  tank,  a type  that  was 
soon  to  be  rgilaced  by  the  American 
M3  and  M4.  The  Ram  was  accordingly 
altered  to  accommodate  the  25-pdr, 
and  thus  was  born  the  Sexton. 

The  Sexton  used  the  overall  layout  of 
the  M7  Priest,  but  many  changes  were 
introduced  to  suit  British  require- 
ments. These  included  the  movement 
of  the  driver's  position  to  the  right- 
hand  side.  The  Sexton  lacked  the  pro- 
nounced 'pulpit'  of  the  M7,  but  the 
fighting  compartment  was  left  open 
with  only  a canvas  cover  to  provide 
weather  protection  for  the  crew.  The 
Sexton  had  a crew  of  six,  and  much  of 
the  interior  was  taken  up  with  lockers 
for  ammunition  and  some  of  the  crew's 
personal  kit;  more  stowage  was  pro- 
vided in  boxes  at  the  rear.  Maximum 
armour  thickness  was  32  mm  (1.25  in). 

The  25-pdr  gun-howitzer  was  car- 
ried in  a special  cradle  produced  by 
the  Canadians  specifically  for  the  Sex- 
ton. This  allowed  a traverse  of  25°  left 
and  40°  right,  which  was  very  useful  for 
the  anti-tank  role  (18  AP  rounds)  but  in 
the  event  the  Sexton  had  little  need  of 
this  facility.  Instead  it  was  used  almost 
exclusively  as  a field  artillery  weapon 
(87HE  and  smoke  rounds)  supporting 
the  armoured  divisions  in  Norm  West 
Europe  from  1944  onwards.  There 
were  several  variations,  all  of  them  in- 
corporating the  production  changes 
progressively  introduced  on  the  lines 
of  the  Montreal  Locomotive  Works  at 
Sorel.  Production  continued  there  until 
late  1945,  by  which  time  2,150  Sextons 
had  been  manufactured. 

The  Sexton  was  a well-liked  and  re- 

This  Sexton  is  now  a preserved 
'runner'maintained  by  the  Royal 
School  of  Artillery  a t Larkhill, 

liable  gun  and  weapon  combination 
that  proved  so  successful  that  many 
are  still  in  use  in  odd  corners  of  the 
world  to  this  day.  The  British  army 
used  the  type  until  the  late  1950s,  and 
one  is  preserved  as  a museum  piece  at 
the  Royal  School  of  Artillery  at  Larkhill 
in  Wiltshire. 

Wiltshire.  It  originally  came  from 
Portugal,  where  it  was  sent  during 
the  years  after  1945. 

There  were  a few  in-service 
variants  of  the  Sexton,  some  being  con- 
verted to  'swim'  for  possible  use  on 
D-Day,  but  none  appear  to  have  been 
used  m this  role  on  the  day.  A more 
common  conversion  was  the  replace- 
ment of  the  gun-howitzer  by  extra  map 
tables  and  radios  in  the  Sexton  Gun 

Above:  The  Sexton  mounted  the 
British  25-pdr  gun  and  was  a well- 
liked  and  reliable  vehicle  that  served 
on  for  many  years  after  World  War  II 
with  many  armies.  It  is  still  used  by 

Position  Officer  command  vehicle; 
there  was  usually  one  of  these  to  a 
battery.  In  post-war  years  some  Sex- 
tons were  handed  over  to  nations  such 
as  Italy  who  preferred  the  105-mm 
(4.13-in)  howitzer;  in  this  instance  the 
25 -pounders  were  replaced  with  Ger- 
man 105-mm  howitzers. 



^pe:  self-propelled  gun-howitzer 
Crew:  6 

Weight:  25855kg(57,0001b) 
Poweiplant:  one  Continental  9- 
cylinaer  radial  piston  engine 
developing  298.3  kW  (400  hp) 
Dimensions : length  6 . 1 2 m (20  ft  1 in) ; 
width2.72m(8it  1 1 in);height2.44m 
(8  ft  0 in) 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
40.2  km/h  (25  mph) ; road  range  290  km 
(180  miles);  fording  1.01  m(3ft4in) 
Armament:  one  25-pdr  gun-howitzer, 
two  unmounted  7.7-mm  (0.303-in)  Bren 
Guns  and  (on  some  vehicles)  one 
pintle-mounted  12.7-mm(0.5-in) 
Browning  machine-gun 


M7  Priest 

Experience  gained  with  105-mm  (4.13- 
m)  howitzers  mounted  on  halftracks 
enabled  the  US  Army  to  decide  that  it 
would  be  better  if  the  howitzer  was 
mounted  in  a fully  tracked  car- 
riage, and  accordingly  an  M3  medium 
tank  chassis  was  modified  to  take  such 
a weapon.  The  M3  chassis  was  con- 
siderably reworked  to  provide  an 
open-topped  superstructure  with  the 
howitzer  mounted  in  its  front.  The  de- 
velopment vehicle  was  known  as  the 
T32,  and  following  trials  which  added  a 
machine-gun  mounting  to  the  right- 
hand  side  of  the  fighting  compartment, 
the  vehicle  was  adopted  for  service  as 
the  Carriage,  Motor,  105-mm  Howitzer, 
M7.  Maximum  armour  thickness  was 
25.4mm  (1  in). 

The  first  production  examples  were 
for  the  US  Army,  but  many  were  soon 
diverted  to  the  Lend-Lease  program- 
me for  the  Allies,  among  them  the  Brit- 

The  British ^nners  nicknamed  the 
American  M7  the  'Priest 'after  seeing 
the  'pulpit'that  housed  the  12.7 -mm 
machine-gun  forAA  defence. 


ish  Army.  The  British  soon  named  the 
M7  the  Priest,  legend  having  it  that  the 
prominent  macnine-gun  mounting 
gave  the  impression  of  a pulpit.  The 
British  gunners  adopted  the  M7  with 
alacrity,  and  the  type  first  went  into 
action  with  them  at  the  2nd  Battle  of  El 
Alamein  in  October  1942.  The  British 
asked  for  5,500  M7s  to  be  produced  for 
their  use  alone  by  the  end  of  1943,  but 
this  order  was  never  completed  in  full. 
The  figure  nonetheless  provides  an  in- 
dication of  the  success  of  the  M7  with 
the  British  gunners.  They  appreciated 
the  space  and  mobility  of  the  carriage 
and  also  the  extra  space  for  personal 
stowage.  The  one  snag  was  the  howit- 
zer, which  was  not  a standard  British 
Army  type:  thus  ammunition  (stowage 
was  provided  for  69  rounds  on  each 
vehicle)  had  to  be  supplied  separately 
for  the  M7  batteries,  which  made  for  a 
considerable  logistic  complication. 
This  was  not  resolved  until  the  first 
Sextons  with  the  25-pdr  weapons  be- 
gan to  be  issued  in  1944.  Until  that  time 
the  British  M7s  were  used  all  through 
the  Italian  campaign,  and  some  were 
landed  in  Normandy  in  June  1944 
though  they  were  soon  replaced  by 

The  M7  then  began  a new  service 

An  Ml  in  action  in  the  Ardennes, 

1945,  with  the  open  fighting 
compartmen  t covered  by  a tarpa  ulin 
to  keep  out  the  worst  of  the  bitter 
weather.  The  tank  obstacles  behind 
theM7  are  part  of  the  infamous 
Siegfried  Line  defences  that  in  the 
event  were  taken  without  too  much 

career  in  a revised  form:  the  howitzers 
were  removed  and  the  hulls  were 
used  as  armoured  personnel  carriers 
nicknamed  Kangaroos.  This  soon  be- 
came a normal  fate  for  unwanted  M7s, 
and  the  idea  soon  spread  to  Italy. 

The  US  Army  also  made  wide  use  of 
the  M7,  although  production  for  the  U S 
Army  was  not  a constant  process.  After 
1942  M7  production  proceeded  in  fits 
and  starts.  At  one  stage  the  original  M3 
chassis  was  replaced  by  the  later 
M4A3  Sherman  chassis,  and  these  M7s 
were  known  by  the  designation  M7B1. 

After  1945  large  numbers  of  M7s 
were  handed  over  to  other  countries, 
and  some  remain  in  use  to  this  day  in 
such  nations  as  Brazil  and  Turkey.  The 
105 -mm  howitzer  is  still  a standard 
weapon  all  over  the  world,  and  thus  the 
M7s  continue  to  fire  a 14.97-kg  (33-lb) 
shell  to  a range  of  11430m  (12,500 

yards).  Throughout  their  service  life 
the  M7s  have  alwavs  showed  outstand- 
ing reliability,  anci  have  demonstrated 
their  ability  to  cross  all  types  of  rough 



Type:  self-propelled  howitzer 
CJew:  5 

Weight:  22967  kg  (50,634  lb) 
Powerplant:  one  Continental  9- 

cy  Under  radial  piston  engine 
developing  279.6  kW(375  hp) 
Dimensions : length  6 . 02  m ( 19  ft  9 in) ; 
width  2,88  m (9  ft  5 .25  in)  height  2.54  m 
(8  ft  4 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
41.8  km/h  (26  mph) ; maximumroad 
range201km(  125  miles);  fording 
1.219  m (4  ft) 

Armament:  one  105-mm  (4.13-in) 
howitzerandone  12.7-mm(0.5-in) 


Carriage,  Motor, 

Although  the  M40  arrived  on  the 
scene  later  in  the  war,  itwas  one  of 
the  best  of  all  wartime  self-propelled 
equipments  and  went  on  to  a long 
post-war  career.  It  used  the  chassis 
oftheM4  tankas  a basis. 

155-mm  Gun,  M40 

The  first  155-mm  (6.1-in)  self- 
propelled  gun  produced  in  quantity  by 
the  Americans  during  World  War  II 
was  the  M12,  a design  originally 
known  as  the  T6  and  built  on  to  a con- 
verted M3  medium  tank  chassis.  In- 
itially this  weapon  was  not  considered 
for  service  as  it  used  an  obsolescent 
World  War  I ordnance  that  had  be- 
come available  once  the  type's  origin- 
al carriages  had  become  too  worn  for 
further  use.  However,  once  accepted 
for  service,  they  gave  good  perform- 
ance although  it  was  agreed  that  a new 
ordnance  was  required  if  a long-term 
weapon  was  to  be  procured. 

Starting  in  December  1943  a new 
weapon/carriage  combination  was  in- 
itiated. The  gun  was  the  155-mm  MIAI 
known  as  the  'Long  Tom'  (with  20 
rounds)  and  the  carnage  was  based  on 
the  chassis  of  the  M4A3  medium  tank, 
though  much  widened  and  fitted  with 
the  latest  high  volute  suspension 
springing.  The  engine  was  moved 
from  the  rear  to  a new  forward  posi- 
tion, and  to  absorb  some  of  the  recoil 
forces  a spade  was  added  to  the  rear; 
this  latter  could  be  raised  for  travell- 
ing, A working  platform  under  the 
breech  was  also  provided.  The  gun 
had  a range  of  23514  m (25,715  yards) 
and  fired  a projectile  weighing  43, 1 kg 
(95  lb),  which  made  it  a very  useful 
counterbattery  and  long-range  bom- 
bardment weapon.  Maximum  armour 
thickness  was  12.7  mm  (0.5  in) 

The  development  of  this  Carriage, 
Motor,  155-mm  Gun,  M40  took  rather 
longer  than  expected,  so  it  was  not 
until  January  1945  that  the  first  produc- 
tion examples  rolled  off  the  lines.  They 
were  rushed  across  the  Atlantic  in  time 
to  see  the  end  of  the  war  in  Germany. 

M40s  took  part  in  the  bombardment  of 
Koln  and  the  short  campaigning  after 

this.  Between  January  and  May  1945  no 
less  than  311  M40s  were  built,  and  pro- 
duction continued  after  the  war.  The 
M40  was  to  see  its  most  concerted  use 
during  the  Korean  conflict,  where  it 
proved  to  be  an  excellent  weapon/car- 
riage combination. 

On  the  M40  there  was  no  protection 
for  the  crew  as  the  type  was  designed 
for  use  so  far  behind  the  front  line  that 
none  would  be  necessary.  The  M40 
had  a crew  of  eight,  and  there  was 
provision  on  the  carnage  for  their 
weapons  and  kit.  The  same  carriage 
was  also  used  to  mount  a 203-mm  (8-in) 
howitzer,  but  this  version  (the  Car- 
riage, Motor,  8-in  Howitzer,  M43),  was 
not  used  in  great  numbers;  only  48 
were  built. 

After  1945  M40s  were  distributed  to 
many  other  armies.  The  British  Army 
accepted  a number  and  used  them  for 

some  years.  More  were  used  by  na- 
tions such  as  France,  with  whom  the 
type  saw  extensive  service  in  Indo- 

There  was  one  variant  of  the  M40, 
the  T30  Cargo  Carrier.  As  its  designa- 
tion implies,  it  could  be  used  as  a 
general  supply  carrier  though  its  nor- 
mal deployment  was  for  the  ammuni- 
tion supply  of  M40  batteries.  Not  many 
were  built  as  most  of  the  manufacturing 
potential  was  concentrated  on  produc- 
ing gun  carriers. 

One  of  the  main  claims  to  import- 
ance of  the  M40  was  that  it  paved  the 
way  for  the  current  generation  of  self- 
propelled  weapons.  It  was  produced 
at  a time  when  nuclear  warfare  was 
just  making  its  debut,  and  the  need  for 
rotection  against  this  new  battle 
azard  was  particularly  noticeable  on 
the  M40  with  its  openfightingplatform. 
The  type  was  therefore  used  exten- 
sively for  trials  and  experiments  de- 


signed  to  provide  protection  for  the 
crew.  The  M40  proved  beyond  doubt 
that  the  only  proper  protection  comes 
from  an  armoured  turret,  and  most 
modern  self-propelled  weapons  now 
use  such  an  arrangement. 



Type:  self-propelled  gun 
Crew:  8 

Poweiplant:  one  Continental  9- 
cylmcier  radial  piston  engine 
developing  294.6  kW  (395  hp) 
8 in)  and  hull  only  6.65  m (21  ft  10  in); 
(9  ft  4 in) 

Performance:  maximum  speed 
38.6  km/h  (24  mph);  range  161  km(100 
miles);  fording  1.067  m (3  ft  6 in) 
Armament:  one  155-mm  (6,1 -in)  gun 



Above: Ammunition  stocktaking 
takes  place  on  a Bishop  with  the 
projectiles  laid  out  on  the  engine 
covers  for  counting.  TheBishop 
could  carry  only  32  rounds  in  ternally, 

as  space  inside  the  fixed  turret  was 
cramped.  The  projectiles  are  25-pdr 
HE  shells,  the  normal  round  fired, 
although  smoke  could  also  be 



Type:  self-propelled  gun-howitzer 
Crew:  4 

Weight:  7911  kg  (17,4401b) 
Powerplant:  one  AEC  6-cylmder 
diesel  developing  9 7. 7 kW  (131  hp) 
Dimensions:  length  5.64m  (1 8ft  6 in) 
width  2,77m  (9ft  1 in);  height  3,05m 

Performance:  maximum  road  speed 
24  km/h  (15  mph);  road  range  177  km 
(110  miles);  fording  0.91  m (3  ft) 
Armament:  one  25-pdr(87.6-mm/3.45- 
in)  gun-howitzer 

The  vehicle  that  became  known  as  the 
Bishop  was  conceived  at  a time  when 
25-pdr  batteries  in  the  North  African 
desert  were  perforce  used  as  anti-tank 
weapons  and  were  taking  a terrible 
pounding  as  a result.  It  was  decided  to 
place  the  25-pdr  on  a mobile  carriage 
to  increase  protection  for  the  gun 
crews,  and  it  was  soon  clear  that  the 
Valentine  infantry  tank  would  make  a 
good  basis  for  such  a conversion.  Un- 
fortunately the  exact  role  of  this  gun/ 
tank  combination  was  uncertain  from 
the  start.  The  tank  exponents  saw  it  as 
a variant  of  the  heavy-gun  tank  theme, 
while  the  gunners  wanted  a self- 
propelled  carriage.  These  arguments 
were  never  really  solved,  and  the  re- 
sult was  something  of  a compromise 
even  though  the  gunners  won  in  the 

The  Valentine  25-pdr  emerged  as  a 
straightforward  conversion  (officially 
the  Mounting,  Valentine,  25-pdr  Gun 
Mk  I on  Carrier,  Valentine,  25-pdr 
Gun,  Mk  I)  the  usual  turret  being  re- 
placed by  a much  larger  turret  mount- 
ing the  25-pdr.  This  new  turret  was 
fixed,  and  was  a large  slab-sided  de- 
sign too  large  for  battlefield  conceal- 
ment and  too  small  to  allow  much  room 
inside  for  the  gun  crew.  The  turret  de- 
sign also  had  one  major  disadvantage 
for  the  gunners  in  that  it  restricted  the 
elevation  of  the  barrel  and  thus  cur- 
tailed range  to  only  5852  (6,400  yards) 
which  was  a considerable  reduction 
from  the  normal  12253m  (13,400 
yards).  The  only  way  to  increase  this 
performance  was  the  tedious  and  tacti- 
cally-hampering construction  of  earth 
ramps  up  which  the  vehicle  could  be 
driven  to  increase  the  elevation  angle. 
Traverse  was  also  severely  restricted, 
to  a maximum  of  4°  to  each  side.  Inter- 
nal ammunition  stowage  was  32  rounds 
but  more  could  be  carried  in  a limber 
towed  behind  the  vehicle.  Armour 
varied  in  thickness  from  8 mm 
(0.315  in)  to  60mm  (2.36  in). 

The  25-pdr  Valentine  went  into  ac- 
tion in  North  Africa  during  the  latter 

Below:  The  Bishop  was  an  early 
British  attempt  to  produce  self- 
propelled  artillery  by  placing  a 25- 
pdr  gun  onto  a Valentine  tank 
chassis.  The  gun  was  mounted  in  a 
fixed  turret  with  only  limited 
elevation  and  the  result  was  not  a 
success,  being  replaced  in  service 
by  the  Priest  as  soon  as  possible. 

The  Bishop  also  demonstrated 
things  to  avoid  in  future  designs.  The 
most  obvious  one  was  for  the  gun  to 
have  its  full  range  of  movement  if  it  was 
to  be  of  any  use;  additionally,  more 
room  was  needed  to  serve  the  gun,  for 
the  turret  of  the  Bishop  was  cramped 
and  ill-ventilated.  More  internal 
ammunition  stowage  was  needed  and 
the  carrier  had  to  be  fast  enough  to 
keep  up  with  tanks.  Being  an  infantry 
tank,  the  Valentine  chassis  was  too 

slow  to  keep  up  with  the  armoured 

All  these  things  were  put  right  when 
the  gunners  were  issued  numbers  of 
M7  Priests.  The  gunners  took  to  the 
Priest  with  a will,  and  before  long  the 
Bishops  had  been  discarded.  They 
may  have  been  less  than  perfect,  but 
they  taught  the  gunners  a lot  and  the 
Bishop  has  the  distinction  of  being  the 
British  Army's  first  self-propelled  artil- 
lery piece. 

Above:  This  Bishop  in  factory 'state 
clearly  shows  the  high  and  bulky 
outline  of  the  fixed  turret  mounting 
the  25-pdr  gun.  As  this  was  a 'first 

attempt' design  there  was  confusion 
as  to  whether  theBishop  was  a heavy 
gun  tank  or  a self-propelled  gun,  but 
in  the  end  the  gunner's  view  prevailed. 

stages  of  the  campaign  in  that  theatre, 
by  which  time  the  25-pdr  was  no  lon- 
ger in  use  as  an  anti-tank  gun,  so  the 
vehicles  were  used  as  self-propelled 
artillery  with  no  distraction  and  the 
Royal  Artillery  learned  a lot  from  their 
use.  The  type  was  eventually  named 
Bishop,  and  it  went  on  to  be  used  in 
Sicily  and  Italy  during  the  opening 
stages  of  that  campaign.  Throughout 
these  campaigns  the  Bishop  demons- 
trated all  its  several  drawbacks,  but 
also  provided  an  indication  of  the 
potential  of  self-propelled  artillery  for 
it  was  the  first  British  self-propelled 
weapon  to  see  active  service.  The 
need  for  supporting  logistics  was  more 
than  emphasized,  as  was  the  need  for 
improved  radio  links  with  forward 

Above:  A Bishop  on  the  ranges  with 
the  gun  detachment  commander 
outside  the  fixed  turret,  as  there  was 
room  for  only  two  gunners  inside. 
The  fixed  turret  restricted  the  barrel 
elevation  and  thus  range. 




The  dramatic  success  of  the  German  advance  in  1940  seemed  to  heraid  a return  to 
an  era  of  mobiie  warfare,  but  the  moment  their  advance  into  the  Soviet  Union  became 
bogged  down  heavy  artiiiery  reappeared  on  the  battiefieid.  The  batties  that  were  to 
decide  the  war,  from  North  Africa  to  Beriin,  were  dominated  by  these  monsters. 

Poles  of  the  2nd  Artillery  Group,  2nd  Polish  Corps,  man  a heavy  artillery  piece  bombarding 
German  positions.  No  one  was  keener  to  liberate  their  homeland  than  the  Poles. 

uring  World  War  II  heavy 
artillery  was  as  important  a 
weapon  as  it  had  been  in  the  past. 
Despite  the  overall  impression 
given  by  much  current  military 
literature,  the  tank  could  not 
operate  without  the  support  and 
covering  fire  provided  by  heavy- 
calibre  artillery  of  all  types,  and  for 
aU  its  many  advantages  the  tank  is 
of  limited  use  against  heavily  pro- 
tected strongpoints  and  defended 
localities.  It  is  only  heavy  artillery 
that  can  be  used  to  any  effect 
against  such  targets  and,  while  the 
same  might  be  said  of  the  bomber 
aircraft,  the  fact  remains  that  only 
artillery  can  carry  out  its  fire  mis- 
sions around  the  clock  and  under 
aU  weather  conditions. 

Thus  heavy  artillery  was 
highly  important  during  World 
War  II.  It  was  used  on  nearly  aU 
fronts  and  the  weapons  involved 
were  many  and  varied.  Not  all  of 
them  can  be  mentioned  here  but 
an  overall  impression  of  the  types 
of  artillery  involved  has  been 
provided.  This  section  also 
includes  some  of  the  oddities  of 
the  artillery  world,  such  as  'Little 
David'  - even  though  this  particu- 
lar weapon  did  not  see  active 
service  - and  the  massive  German 
35.5cm  (Min)  Haubitz  M.I.  Such 
items  did  exist  during  World  War 
II  and  some  were  even  used  in 
action  but,  while  their  effect  was 

no  doubt  devastating  to  the 
recipients,  in  the  overall  sense 
their  impact  was  slight.  Instead, 
attention  should  be  given  to 
weapons  which  were  in  the  range 
from  150mm  (5.9in)  to  210mm 
(8.26in)  in  calibre,  for  it  was 
with  these  weapons  that  the 
really  hard  heavy  artillery  work 
was  accomplished.  One  has  only 
to  look  at  the  power  of  the  mas- 

sive Red  Army  artillery  battering 
ram  to  realize  this  fact:  despite  all 
its  power  this  arm  used  nothing 
heavier  than  the  Model  1931 
203mm  (Sin)  howitzer. 

This  section  deals  with  the 
weapons  that  were  used  to  reduce 
fortified  areas,  to  lay  down  the 
counterbattery  fire  that  silenced 
the  enemy's  field  artillery  batteries 
and  to  carry  out  the  heavy  and 

long-range  fire  support  without 
which  the  infantry  and  armoured 
formations  of  all  combatants  could 
neither  move  nor  fight.  Included 
here  are  the  weapons  that  during 
World  War  II  were  the  modem 
equivalents  of  the  types  of  ord- 
nance that  were  once  'the  last 
argument  of  kings',  but  served 
instead  on  all  sides  of  the  most 
destmctive  war  in  historv. 



■■  Skoda  149-mm  vz  37  howitzer  (K4) 

By  the  early  1930s  the  Skoda  works  at 
Pilsen  in  Czechoslovakia  were  in  a 
position  to  design,  develop  and  pro- 
duce entirely  new  artillery  pieces  that 
owed  nothing  to  the  old  World  War  I 
weapons  that  had  hitherto  been  the 
company's  main  output.  By  1933  they 
had  produced,  among  other  things,  an 
entirely  new  149-mm  (5.87-in)  range  of 
howitzers  known  as  the  'K'  series.  The 
first  of  these,  the  Kl,  was  produced  in 
1933  and  the  entire  output  of  these  vz 
33  weapons  went  for  export  to  Turkey, 
Romania  and  Yugoslavia.  The  Kl  was  a 
thoroughly  modern  piece  with  a heavy 
split  trail,  and  was  designed  for  either 
horse  or  motorized  traction.  For  the 
latter  the  piece  could  be  towed  as  one 
load,  but  for  the  former  the  barrel 
could  be  removed  for  towing  as  a 
separate  load. 

Despite  the  success  of  the  Kl,  the 
Czech  army  decided  that  the  weapon 
did  not  meet  its  exact  requirements 
and  funded  further  development  to  the 
stage  where  a K4  model  met  the  spe- 
cification. The  K4  had  much  in  com- 
mon with  the  earher  Kl , but  had  a shor- 
ter barrel  and  (as  the  Czech  army  was 
making  considerable  strides  towards 
full  mechanization)  the  need  for  re- 
moving the  barrel  for  separate  horse 
traction  was  no  longer  required.  The 
K4  also  used  pneumatic  wheels  (the  Kl 
had  solid  rubber-rimmed  steel 
wheels)  and  some  other  modifications 
to  suit  it  for  the  mechanized  tractor- 
towing  role. 

With  these  changes  the  Czech  army 

decided  to  adopt  the  K4  as  its  standard 
heavy  field  howitzer  to  replace  the 
large  range  of  elderly  weapons  re- 
maining from  World  War  I.  The  K4  was 
given  the  army  designation  15-cm  hm- 
ba  houfnice  vz  37,  vz  37  (vz  for  vzor,  or 
model)  denoting  the  equipment's  year 
of  acceptance  for  service,  Skoda  drew 
up  production  plans,  but  as  always  this 
took  time  and  in  the  interim  the  Ger- 
mans occupied  the  Czech  Sudeten- 
land.  Plans  for  production  became 
even  more  frantic,  but  with  the  Su- 
detenland  line  of  defences  in  German 
hands  Czechoslovakia  was  wide  open 
to  further  German  aggression  and  in 
1939  they  duly  marched  in  to  take  over 
the  rest  of  the  country. 

The  Germans  also  secured  the  Sko- 
da works  at  Pilsen,  finding  on  the  pro- 
duction lines  the  first  of  the  full  produc- 
tion vz  37  weapons.  By  that  time  only  a 
few  models  had  been  produced,  and 
these  the  German  army  tested  on 
ranges  back  in  the  Reich,  discovering 
that  the  vz  37  was  a sound  and  service- 
able howitzer  with  a good  range  of 
15100m  (16,515  yards)  and  firing  a 
very  useful  42-kg  (92.6-lb)  projectile. 
The  Germans  decided  to  keep  the  vz 
37  in  production  at  Pilsen  for  their  own 
requirements,  and  thus  the  vz  37  be- 
came the  German  army's  15-cm 
schwere  Feldhaubitze  37(t),  or  15-cm 
heavy  field  howitzer  Model  1937 
(Czech),  the  (t)  denoting  tschechisch, 
or  Czech.  With  the  German  army  the 
sFH  37(t)  became  a standard  weapon 
of  many  divisions,  forming  part  of  the 


Skoda  220-mm  howitzer 

Whereas  the  Skoda  vz  37  howitzer  was 
a completely  new  design,  the  shghtly 
earlier  Skoda  220-mm  howitzer  was 
very  much  a product  that  had  its  ori- 
gins in  earlier  days.  In  the  period  up  to 
1918,  when  the  Skoda  works  were  the 
largest  armament  producers  for  the 
Austro-Hunganan  empire,  the  Pilsen 
works  had  been  only  slightly  behind 
the  German  Krupp  concern  in  the 
manufacture  of  really  heavy  artillery, 
and  the  heavy  Skoda  howitzers  were 
second  to  none  in  overall  efficiency. 
Thus  when  the  Skoda  works  started 
production  again  the  'classic'  howitzer 
was  one  of  its  main  products. 

However,  the  accent  was  no  longer 
on  heavy  calibres  alone.  Despite  their 
dreadful  efficiency  in  demolishing  for- 
tifications, such  equipments  were 
ponderous  beasts  to  move  and  their 
rate  of  fire  was  extremely  slow.  They 
were  also  fearfully  expensive,  so  when 
some  of  the  new  nations  formed  after 
the  Treaty  of  Versailles  started  to  arm 
themselves  against  a difficult  future 
they  still  wanted  heavy  artillery,  but 
not  too  heavy.  An  interim  calibre  of 
about  220  mm  (8.66  in)  was  still  about 
right  for  the  destruction  of  heavy  struc- 
tures, but  the  howitzer  itself  need  not 
be  too  ponderous.  Skoda  sensed  the 
market  and  produced  the  required 
220-mm  design  incorporating  much  of 
its  considerable  experience  in  such 
matters,  and  it  was  not  long  before  cus- 
tomers arrived. 

The  first  was  Yugoslavia,  formed 
from  several  of  the  pre- World  War  I 
Balkan  states.  The  new  nation  decided 
it  had  much  to  fear  from  its  neighbours, 
and  thus  was  involved  in  numerous 
purchases  of  weapons  of  all  kinds 
throughout  Europe.  Yugoslavia  was  a 

good  customer  of  Skoda,  and  in  1928 
took  delivety  of  a batch  of  12  220-mm 
Skoda  howitzers  under  the  designation 
M.28.  Another  customer  was  Poland, 
which  ordered  no  less  than  27,  These 
Polish  howitzers  featured  prominently 
in  many  pre-war  propaganda  photo- 
graphs of  the  Polish  army,  all  with  one 
feature  in  common:  in  all  of  these 
photographs  the  breech  mechanism 
was  obscured  in  some  way,  usually  by 
a soldier,  as  part  of  the  normal  Polish 
security  procedure  in  any  artillery 
illustration  intended  for  publication. 

It  did  the  Poles  no  good,  for  in  1939 
the  Germans  invaded  and  captured  or 
destroyed  the  entire  Polish  gun  park. 
The  unfortunate  Yugoslavs  followed 
just  over  a year  later.  Thus  the  Ger- 
mans found  themselves  with  a useful 
quantity  of  220-mm  howitzers,  which 
promptly  became  part  of  the  German 
army's  inventory.  There  was  not  much 
of  a role  for  such  a relatively  heavy 
piece  in  the  German  Blitzkrieg  con- 
cept, so  the  captured  howitzers  were 
distributed  mainly  to  garrison  and  sta- 
tic units  in  the  occupied  territories. 
Some  of  these  were  as  distant  as  Nor- 
way, but  in  late  1941  a number  of  these 
howitzers  were  gathered  together  and 
added  to  the  siege  train  that  was  sent 
to  invest  the  fortress  of  Sevastopol  in 
the  Crimea.  This  was  the  last  classic 

Skoda  produced  some  of  the  best 
heavy  artillery  pieces  of  World  War  I, 
and  continued  the  tradition  with  the 
220-mm  howitzer,  which  was 
exported  to  both  Poland  and 
Yugoslavia.  After  the  Germans 
invaded  Eastern  Europe  they  used 
the  captured  weapons  against  the 
fortress  of  Sevastopol. 

divisional  artillery  equipment  and 
even  being  used  by  some  corps  bat- 
teries. It  was  used  during  the  French 
campaign  of  May  and  June  1940,  and 
later  in  the  invasion  of  the  Soviet  Union 
during  1941.  Some  were  still  in  service 
in  the  Soviet  Union  as  late  as  1944,  but 
by  then  many  had  been  passed  to  the 
various  Balkan  forces  under  German 
control  and  operating  within  what  is 
now  Yugoslavia;  the  Slovak  army  was 
one  such  recipient. 



Cahbre:  149,1  mm  (5.87  in) 
Lengthofpiece:3.60m(ll  ft9.7in) 
Weight:  travelling  5730  kg  (12,632  lb) 

The  high  wa  ter  mark  of  German 
success  in  the  late  summer  of 1942: 
elements  of  Army  Croup  A 
penetrated  over  300  km  (200  miles) 
south-east  ofStalingrad.  Here  a 
Czech-built  vz  37 15-cm  howitzer 
pounds  Soviet  positions  in  the 
foothills  of  the  Caucasian  mountain 

and  in  action  5200  kg  ( 11,464  lb) 
Elevation:-5°  to-i-70° 

Traverse:  45° 

Muzzle  velocity:  580  m ( 1 ,903  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  15100m(16,515 

Shell  weight:  42  kg  (92.6  lb) 


investment  of  a fortress  by  the  age-old 
method  of  assembling  and  using  a 
siege  train,  and  the  fortress  fell  after 
the  Skoda  howitzers  had  played  a use- 
ful part,  Thereafter  they  were  once 
more  scattered  and  saw  little  use  dur- 


ing  the  remainder  of  the  conflict. 

SKoda  220-mm  howitzer 
Cahbre:  220  mm  (8.66  in) 

Length  of  piece:  4.34  m ( 14  ft  2.8  in) 

Obice  da  210/22  modello  35 

Weight:travelling22700kg(50,0451b)  Maximumrange:  14200m 
and  in  action  14700  kg  (32,408  lb)  (15,530  yards) 

Elevation:  +40°  to  +10°'  Shellweight:  128  kg  (282. 19  lb) 

Traverse:  350° 

Muzzle  velocity:  500  m ( 1 ,640  ft)  per 

During  the  late  1930s  the  Italian  army 
decided  to  attempt  to  replace  the  bulk 
of  its  heavy  artillery  park,  which  by 
that  time  resembleci  an  oversize  artil- 
lery museum.  It  selected  two  good  and 
thoroughly  modern  designs,  one  a gun 
with  a calibre  of  149  mm  (5.87  in)  and 
the  other  a howitzer  with  a calibre  of 
210  mm  (8.26  in).  The  howitzer  was  de- 
signed by  an  arrny  organization  known 
as  the  Servizio  Tecnici  Armi  e Muni- 
zioni  (STAM),  but  production  was  car- 
ried out  by  Ansaldo  at  Pozzuoli. 

The  howitzer  was  known  as  the 
Obice  da  210/22  modello  35.  Although 
shown  in  prototype  form  in  1935,  it  was 
not  accepted  for  service  until  1938 
when  a production  order  for  no  less 
than  346  was  placed.  The  modello  35 
was  a very  sound  and  modem  design. 
It  used  a split-trail  carriage  with  two 
road  wheels  on  each  side.  When  the 
howitzer  went  into  action  these  wheels 
were  raised  off  the  ground  and  the 
weight  was  assumed  by  a firing  plat- 
form under  the  main  axle.  The  entire 
weapon  could  then  be  traversed  easily 
through  360°  once  the  stakes  that 
anchored  the  trail  spades  to  the 
ground  had  been  raised. 

The  main  problem  for  the  Italians 
was  that  having  designed  a first-rate 
howitzer  they  could  not  produce  it 
quickly  enough.  Despite  the  good  in- 
tentions of  the  Italian  army,  it  had  to 
enter  the  war  with  its  antique  gun  park 
still  largely  undisturbed  by  modern 
equipments,  and  by  the  autumn  of  1942 
the  grand  total  of  modello  35s  was  still 
only  20,  five  of  them  in  Italy  and  the  rest 
in  action  in  the  Soviet  Union.  Part  of  this 
state  of  affairs  was  due  to  the  fact  that 
despite  the  requirements  of  the  Italian 
army,  modello  35s  were  sold  to  Hun- 
gary as  they  came  off  the  production 
hne,  no  doubt  in  exchange  for  raw 
materials  and  food  products.  The 
Hungarians  found  it  necessa^  to  make 
their  own  carriage  modifications  to  suit 
this  21 -cm  39.M  to  the  rigours  of  their 
service  and  eventually  set  up  their 
own  21 -cm  40. M anci  finally  21 -cm 
40a.M  production  line  in  1943. 

In  service  the  modello  35  was  suc- 
cessful enough.  It  could  be  transported 
in  two  loads,  but  for  prolonged  moves 
it  could  be  further  broken  down  into 

four  loads  with  an  extra  load  for  assem- 
bly equipment  and  accessories.  The 
modello  55  attracted  the  attentions  of 
the  Germans,  and  when  the  Italians 
surrendered  in  September  1943  the 
Ansaldo  concern  was  forced  to  con- 
tinue production  for  German  units 
based  in  Italy.  Thus  the  modello  35 
became  the  21 -cm  Haubitze  520(i)  and 
was  still  in  action  with  the  Germans 
when  the  war  ended. 

After  1945  attempts  were  made  by 
Ansaldo  to  sell  the  modello  35  on  the 
home  and  export  markets.  There  were 
no  takers  as  the  home  market  was 

sated  with  American  equipment  that 
was  freely  supplied  to  the  Italian  army 
and  war- surplus  equipment  was  wide- 
ly available  elsewnere. 


Obice  da  210/22 

Calibre:  210  mm  (8.26  in) 


Weight:  travelling  (two  loads)  24030  kg 

(52,977  lb)  and  in  action  15885  kg 

(35,020  lb) 

Elevation:  0°to-i-70° 

Traverse:  75° 


Italy  made  extensive  use  of  heavy 
artillery  in  World  War  I,  but  by  the 
1930s  her  big  guns  were  looking 
decidedly  obsolete  and  new 
weapons  were  ordered.  The  210-mm 
howitzerpicturedhere  was  an 
excellent  design,  but  Italian  industry 
could  not  produce  the  guns  with 
sufficien  t speed. 


Maximumrange:  15407m(16,850 

Shellweight:  101  or  133  kg  (222. 7 or 
293.2  lb) 

Most  of  Italy's  210-mm  howitzers 
found  their  way  in  to  Hungarian 
hands  for  service  on  the  Eastern 
Front.  Those  still  in  Italy  at  the  time  of 
the  Italian  surrender  were  promptly 
manned  by  Germans,  and  made 
their  contribution  to  the  tenacious 
defence  of  the  peninsula  un  til  1945. 



8-in  Howitzer  Ml 

After  the  United  States  entered  World 
War  I in  1917,  among  the  various  types 
of  heavy  artillery  its  army  received 
once  US  troops  arrived  in  France  was 
the  British  8-in  Howitzer  Mks  VII  and 
VIII,  which  were  incidentally  being 
produced  in  the  United  States  to  a Brit- 
ish order,  The  Americans  took  to  this 
howitzer  with  a will,  for  they  soon  dis- 
covered that  it  was  a very  accurate 
weapon  and  in  the  years  after  1918  set 
about  producing  their  own  version. 
This  was  under  the  aegis  of  an  advisory 
body  known  as  the  Westervelt  Board, 
which  also  recommended  the  intro- 
duction of  the  155 -mm  Gun  Ml.  The 
board  also  recommended  that  the  155- 
mm  (6.1-in)  gun  and  the  203-mm  (8-in) 
howitzer  should  share  the  .same  car- 
riage and  thus  the  new  howitzer  used 
the  same  Ml  carriage  as  the  155 -mm 
Gun  Ml. 

Despite  the  recommendations  of  the 
Westervelt  Board,  however,  the  de- 
velopment of  the  new  howitzer  was 
slow  and  erratic,  and  at  times  ceased 
altogether  for  years  on  end.  Thus  it  was 
not  until  1940  that  the  howitzer  was 
standardized  as  the  8-in  Howitzer  Ml. 
The  Ml  owed  much  to  its  British  ori- 
gins but  was  longer,  and  as  it  used  the 
Ml  carriage  it  was  even  more  accurate 
than  its  predecessor.  However,  it 
should  not  be  thought  that  because  the 
8-in  Howitzer  Ml  and  the  155-mm  Gun 
Ml  shared  the  same  carriage  the  two 
barrels  were  interchangeable.  They 
were  not,  for  to  exchange  the  two  bar- 
rels involved  a great  deal  of  workshop 
time  and  a great  deal  of  trouble. 

Once  the  Howitzer  Ml  had  been  in- 
troduced into  service  it  soon  became  a 
very  popular  and  powerful  weapon. 
Because  of  its  accuracy  it  could  be 
used  to  bring  down  heavy  fire  on  spot 
targets  quite  close  to  friendly  troops 
and  was  frequently  used  thus  in  the 

elimination  of  enemy  strongpoints  and 
bunkers.  The  shell  nred  by  the  Ml  was 
initially  a 90.7-kg  (200-lb)  high  explo- 
sive shell  also  used  by  203-mm  (8 -in) 
coast  guns,  but  this  was  later  replaced 
by  a special  high  explosive  shell 
known  as  the  Ml 06  which  had  the 
same  weight  as  the  earlier  shell  but 

which  could  be  fired  to  a range  of 
16596m  (18,150  yards).  The  Mf06  is 
still  in  service  with  the  8 -in  Howitzer 
Ml,  which  in  a post-war  designation 
reshuffle  was  redesignated  Ml  15, 
Like  the  155-mm  Gun  Ml  the  203- 
mmhowitzer  also  went  self-propelled, 
although  the  first  version  (fid  not 

AbovdA  good  view  of  the 
interrupted-screw  stepped-thread 
breech  mechanism  of  an  8-in 
howitzer  in  action.  Four  crew 
members  prepare  to  lift  the  91  -kg 
( 200-lb ) shelf,  the  size  of  which  gives 
some  clue  as  to  why  the  maximum 
rate  off  ire  was  one  round  per 

In  addition  to  receiving  the  French 
155-mm  gun,  the  US  Army  in  France 
received  during  1918  the  British  8-in 
howitzer,  which  was  subsequently 
used  as  the  basis  for  post-war  US 
heavy  gun  design.  TheMl  howitzer 
resulted  from  years  of  in  termitten  t, 
underfunded  research  and  was  not 
standardized  until  1940.  Once  in 
action,  however,  it  was  an 
impressive  piece;  accurate  and 
hard-hitting,  it  is  still  in  service 
worldwide  and  was  developed  in  to  a 
self-propelled  gun,  the  Ml  10. 


TVie  bldi^t  effect  ofm  8-in  howitzer 
hits  notjust  the  ears  but  the  whole 
body  as  the  shock  wave  passes 
outwards.  Thisisthefirsl8-in 
howitzer  in  action  in  Normandy, 

1944,  firing  during  the  barrage  the 
Americans  organized  to  celebrate 
the  Fourth  of  July. 

appear  until  1946.  This  was  the  M46 
which  used  a much-modified  M25  tank 
chassis  as  the  carrier.  Subsequent  de- 
velopment along  these  lines  has  now 
led  to  the  Ml  10  series  which  originally 
used  the  203-mm  howitzer  in  a form 
virtually  unchanged  from  its  towed 
version  but  which  has  now  been  de- 
veloped to  the  Ml  10A2  which  uses  a 
much  lengthened  203-mm  howitzer 

The  towed  8-in  Howitzer  Ml  15  is  still 
in  widespread  service  all  over  the 
world,  and  there  are  few  signs  that  it  is 
likely  to  be  replaced  in  the  near  future. 
Thus  the  203-mm  howitzer  can  lay 
claim  to  being  one  of  the  longest-lived 
of  aU  modern  heavy  artillery  pieces:  it 
can  trace  back  its  origins  to  World  War 
I and  is  stiU  in  service. 

8-m  Howitzer  Ml 
Calibre:  203  mm  (8  in) 

Length  of  piece:  5. 324  m (17  ft  5,59  in) 
Weight:  travelling  14515  kg  (32,000  lb) 
and  in  action  13471  kg  (29,698  lb) 
Elevation:-2°  to-i-65° 

Traverse:  60° 

Muzzle  velocity:  594  m ( 1 ,950  ft)  per 

Maximum  range:  16596  m ( 1 8, 1 50 

Shell  weight:  90.7kg(2001b) 

Right: Driving  through  the  bitter 
December  wea  ther  ofl 944,  these 
8-in  howitzers  are  travelling  through 
Belgium  tojoin  the  USFirstArmy. 
Artillery  was  particularly  effective  in 
areas  like  the  Ardennes,  where 
roads  were  few  and  choke  points 



7.2-in  Howitzers  Marks  I-V  and  6 

T/ze  12-in  howitzer  could  be  as 
terrifying  to  its  crew  as  to  the  target; 
seen  here  in  action  atRoutot,  France, 
in  September  1944  the  10-  ton  gun 

7.2-in  Howitzer  Mks  I-V 
Calibre:  183  mm  (7.2  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  4.343  m(14ft3  in) 
Weight:inaction  10387  kg(22,900  lb) 
Elevation:  0°  to -1-45° 

Traverse:  8° 

Muzzle  velocity:  518  m(  1,700  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  15453  m(  16,900 

Shell  weight:  9 1 . 6 kg  (202  lb) 

iQwps  in  to  tho  a/r  a/ter  firing  Sitjull 
charge.  Surprisingly  for  such  a 
makeshift  design,  the  7.2-in  proved 
fairly  efficient. 

Calibre:  183  mm  (7.2  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  6,30  m (20  ft  8 in) 
Weight:  in  action  13209  kg  (29,120  lb) 
Elevation: -2°  to-i-65° 

Traverse:  60° 

Muzzle  velocity:  497  m (1,630  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  17984  m (19,667 


Between  the  wars  the  British  army 
tended  to  neglect  artillery;  a number 
of  programmes  were  initiated 
came  to  naught,  so  when  heavy  artil- 
lery was  required  in  1940  all  that  there 
was  to  hand  was  a quantity  of  old 
World  War  I 203-mm  (8-in)  howitzers 
with  ranges  too  short  for  current  condi- 
tions. As  a stopgap  it  was  decided  to 
reline  the  existing  203-mm  barrels  to  a 
new  calibre  of  183  mm  (7.2  in)  and  to 
develop  a new  range  of  ammunition. 
The  original  203-mm  carriages  were  to 
be  retained,  but  the  old  traction  en- 
gine wheels  were  replaced  by  new 
pneumatic  balloon-tyred  wheels  on 
what  became  known  as  the  7.2-in 

The  new  ammunition  provided  the 
conversion  with  a useful  increase  in 
range,  but  when  the  weapon  fired  the 
full  charge  the  recoil  forces  were  too 
much  for  the  carriage  to  absorb.  Firing 
the  7.2-in  howitzer  on  full  charge  was  a 
risky  business,  for  the  whole  equip- 
ment tended  to  rear  up  and  jump  back- 
wards. Before  the  next  round  could  be 
fired  the  howitzer  had  to  be  man- 
handled back  into  position  and  re-laid. 
Some  of  this  unwanted  motion  could  be 
partly  overcome  by  placing  behind 
each  wheel  wedge-shaped  ramps  up 
which  the  howitzer  and  carriage  could 
climb,  only  to  roll  down  again  into 
roughly  the  original  position,  but  some- 
times even  these  ramps  were  insuf- 
ficient and  the  howitzer  would  jump 
over  them.  But  the  conversion  proved 
to  be  an  excellent  projectile-delivery 
system  capable  of  good  range  and  a 
high  degree  of  accuracy,  to  the  extent 
that  the  gunners  in  the  field  called  for 

In  order  to  provide  more,  the  num- 
ber of  8-in  howitzer  conversions  even- 
tually ran  to  six  marks  depending  on 
the  original  barrel  and  type  of  conver- 
sion; some  of  the  8-in  barrels  came 
from  the  United  States.  The  first  7.2-m 
howitzers  were  used  in  action  during 
the  latter  period  of  the  war  in  North 
Africa  (they  were  the  howitzers  men- 
tioned in  Spike  Milligan's  hilarious 
military  memoirs)  and  in  Tunisia,  went 

on  to  take  part  in  the  long  slog  north 
through  Sicily  and  Italy;  and  were  used 
following  the  Normandy  landings. 

But  by  1944  numbers  of  7.2-in  bar- 
rels were  being  placed  on  imported 
American  Ml  carriages.  These  excel- 
lent carriages  proved  to  be  just  as  suit- 
able for  the  7.2-in  howitzer  as  they 
were  for  the  American  155-mm(6.1-in) 
gun  and  203-mm  howitzers,  and  the 
first  combination  of  a 7.2-in  barrel  with 
the  Ml  carriage  was  the  7.2-in  Howit- 
zer Mk  V.  Few,  if  any  such  combina- 
tions were  made  as  it  was  obvious  that 
the  Ml  carriage  was  capable  of  car- 
rying more  than  the  original  conver- 
sion. Thus  a much  longer  7.2-in  barrel 
was  placed  on  the  Ml  carriage  and  this 
was  the  7.2-in  Howitzer  Mk  6,  The  lon- 
ger barrel  produced  a considerable 
range  increase  to  17985m  (19,667 
yards)  and  the  carriage  was  much 
more  stable  than  the  old  203-mm  car- 
riage. As  more  Ml  carriages  became 
available  they  were  used  to  mount  the 
new  Mk  6 barrels,  and  by  the  end  of 
1944  there  were  few  of  the  original  8-in 
carriages  left.  With  the  increased  sta- 
bility came  increased  accuracy,  and 
the  Mk  6 howitzer  gained  an  enviable 
reputation  for  good  shooting,  to  the  ex- 
tent that  they  were  retained  for  many 
years  after  the  end  of  the  war  in  1945. 

The  story  of  British  heavy  artillery 
after  1918  is  the  familiar  one  of 
inaction  and  neglect.  When  war 
broke  out  again,  heavy  guns  had  to 
be  improvised  by  re-lining  the  old 
8-in  howitzers  to  a calibre  of  7. 2-in  to 
give  them  a respectable  range. 

155-mm  Gun  Ml 

When  the  United  States  entered  World 
War  I in  1917  it  was  ill-equipped  with 
heavy  artillery,  and  consequently  was 
issued  with  various  Allied  artillery 
models,  including  the  French  155-mm 
(6.1 -in)  GPF  (Grand  Puissance  Filloux). 
This  gun  was  one  of  the  best  of  its  type 
at  that  time,  but  in  the  years  after  1918 
the  American  design  teams  sought  to 
improve  the  overall  efficiency  of  the 
gun  and  carriage  by  introducing  a 
series  of  prototypes  throughout  the 
1920s.  Sometimes  this  programme 
stood  in  abeyance  for  years,  but  by  the 
late  1930s  the  new  design  (very  basi- 
cally the  original  GPF  barrel  equipped 
to  accommodate  an  Asbury  breech 
mechanism)  was  standardized  as  the 
155-mm  Gun  Ml  on  Carriage  Ml,  and 
production  started  at  a steady  pace  at 
various  American  arsenals. 

The  Ml  gun  and  carriage  combina- 
tion was  very  much  an  overall  im- 
provement on  the  old  French  GPF  de- 
sign, but  introduced  some  new  fea- 
tures. The  barrel  was  45  calibres  long, 
and  the  carriage  was  of  a heavy  split- 
trail  type  carried  on  four  double-tyred 
road  wheels  forward.  This  carriage 

arrangement  was  such  that  in  action 
the  wheels  were  lifted  to  allow  the  car- 
riage to  rest  on  a forward  firing  plat- 
form that  in  use  proved  to  be  an  excel- 
lent arrangement  and  very  stable.  This 
stability  made  the  gun  very  accurate, 
and  eventually  the  carriage  was 
adopted  by  the  British  for  use  with 
their  7.2-in  (183-mm)  howitzer.  For 
towing  the  trail  legs  were  hitched  up 
on  to  a limber  device.  There  were  two 
of  these,  the  M2  and  the  M5,  the  latter 
having  a rapid  up-and-over  lift 
arrangement  that  permitted  quick  use 
in  action  but  which  could  also  be 
dangerous  to  an  untrained  crew.  For 
this  reason  the  M2  limber  was  often 

The  Ml  was  gradually  developed 
into  an  MIAI  form  and  then  into  the  M2 
in  late  1944.  These  changes  were 
mainly  limited  to  production  expe- 
dients and  did  not  affect  the  gun's  per- 
formance, which  proved  to  be  excel- 
lent: a 43,1 -kg  (95 -lb)  shell  could  be 
fired  to  a range  of  23221  m (25,395 
yards).  The  Ml  soon  became  one  of 
the  standard  heavy  guns  of  the  US 
Army  and  was  often  used  for  counter- 

battery work.  Numbers  were  issued  to 
various  allied  nations,  and  the  Ml  was 
soon  part  of  the  British  army  gun  park, 
which  used  the  type  in  action  in 
Europe  from  the  Normandy  landings 
onwards.  The  Ml  also  went  self- 
propelled.  This  was  carried  out  using  a 
much-modified  M4A3E8  Sherman  tank 
chassis  with  the  gun  mounted  in  an 
open  superstructure,  and  in  this  form 
the  vehicle/gun  combination  was 
known  as  the  M40.  It  was  1945  before 
the  M40  actually  got  into  production  so 
its  main  career  was  post-war  but  it  was 
widely  used  by  many  nations,  again 
including  the  UK. 

After  1945  the  US  Army  underwent  a 
period  of  internal  reorganization  and  in 
the  process  the  Ml  and  M2  guns  be- 
came the  M59.  The  post-war  period 
also  saw  the  end  of  the  limber  devices 
for  it  was  discovered  that  with  most  of 
the  heavy  tractors  used  to  pull  the  guns 
all  that  was  needed  was  to  join  the 
trails  and  connect  them  direct  to  the 
tractor  towing  eye,  usually  with  chains. 
In  this  form  the  155-mm  (6.1-in)  M59 
serves  on  to  this  day  with  many  armies 
around  the  world.  It  is  still  a good  gun. 

although  now  considered  to  be  rather 
lacking  in  range  and  range  flexibility 
as  a result  of  the  fixed  charges  used, 
and  it  is  gradually  being  replaced  by 
more  modern  designs.  But  it  will  still 
be  some  years  before  it  is  replaced  in 
the  armies  of  nations  such  as  Austria, 
South  Korea,  Taiwan  and  Turkey. 

155-mm  Gun  MIAI 
Cahbre:  155mm(6.1in) 

Length  ofpiece:  7.366  m (24  ft  2 in) 
Weight:  travelling  13880  kg  (30,600  lb) 
and  in  action  12600  kg  (27,778  lb) 
Elevation: -2°  to-^65° 


Muzzle  velocity:  853  m (2,800  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  23221  m (25,395 




240-mm  Howitzer  Ml 

The  Westervelt  Board  of  1919  made 
many  recommendations  as  to  the  fu- 
ture state  of  American  artillery,  too 
many  in  fact  for  the  military  funds  avail- 
able at  the  time.  Thus  some  parts  of  the 
re-equipment  programme  had  to  be 
postponed  following  some  preliminaiy 
design  investigations  that  lasted  until 
1921 . One  part  of  these  postponed  pro- 
jects concerned  a common  carnage 
that  could  mount  either  a 203 -mm  (Sin) 
gun  or  a 240-mm  (9.45-in)  howitzer.  At 
that  time  the  240-mm  howitzer  project 
could  be  dropped  because  the  US 
Army  was  still  trying  to  develop  a 240- 
mm  howitzer  based  on  a French 
Schneider  design,  but  that  project  was 
beset  with  problems  and  eventually 
came  to  nothing,  only  a few  equip- 
ments being  produced  for  training 

But  in  1939  things  looked  different, 
and  the  203 -mm  gun/240-mm  howitzer 
project  was  resurrected.  The  203-mm 
gun  took  far  longer  to  get  into  service 
than  was  at  first  envisaged,  and  it  was 
not  until  1944  that  the  first  equipments 
were  issued.  But  the  240-mm  no  witzer 
project  was  less  problematical  and 
was  ready  by  May  1943,  This  240-mm 
Howitzer  Ml  turned  out  to  be  a fairly 
massive  piece  of  artillery  using  what 
was  virtually  an  enlarged  Ml  carnage 
as  used  on  the  155-mm  (6. 1-in)  Gun  Ml. 
But  the  240-mm  howitzer  carnage  did 
not  travel  with  the  barrelfitted.  Instead 
it  travelled  on  a six- wheeled  carriage 
and  once  on  site  its  wheels  were  re- 
moved. The  barrel  was  towed  on  a 
form  of  semi-trailer.  At  the  chosen  site 
the  carriage  had  to  be  carefully  em- 
placed and  a pit  was  dug  to  permit 
barrel  recoil  at  full  65°  elevation.  The 
barrel  was  then  lifted  into  position, 
usually  by  a mobile  crane  that  was  also 
used  to  place  the  carriage  into  position 
and  spread  the  trails.  Emplacement  of 
the  240-mm  howitzer  was  thus  no  easy 
task,  and  sometimes  took  up  to  eight 
hours  of  arduous  labour. 

But  once  in  place  the  howitzer 
proved  to  be  a powerful  weapon.  It 
was  first  used  extensively  during  the 
Italian  campaign  and  afterwards  in 
North  West  Europe  whenever  the 

fighting  settled  down  behind  static 
lines  for  any  time.  There  was  little  caU 
for  the  type  to  be  employed  whenevei 
fighting  was  fluid  as  it  took  too  long  tc 
emplace  the  weapons  or  get  them  oui 
of  action,  but  when  they  were  used  the 
heavy  163,3-kg  (360-lb)  high  explosive 
shells  were  devastating  weapons.  The 
240-mm  howitzers  were  used  by  boti" 
the  US  and  British  armies,  and  they 
served  on  for  many  years  after  the  war 
A few  attempts  were  made  to  place  the 
240-mm  howitzer  onto  some  form  o: 
self-propelled  chassis  but  none  o: 
these  projects  got  very  far  despite  the 
advantages  that  self-propulsion  would 
have  given  this  heavy  weapon.  Insteac 
attempts  were  made  to  simplify  the 
assembly  procedure  or  even  allow  the 
piece  to  travel  in  one  load.  Nothing 
came  of  these  ideas  and  the  240-mm 
howitzer  was  gradually  withdrawn 
from  use  during  the  late  1950s. 

Today  the  only  240-mm  Howitzer 
Mis  still  in  use  are  those  emplaced  on 
the  Chinese  Nationalist-held  islandsoff 
the  coast  of  mainland  China.  There 
they  act  as  heavy  coast-defence 
weapons  and  are  kept  fully  service- 

Calibre:  240  mm  (9,45  in) 

Length  of  piece:  8.407  m(27  ft  7 in) 
Weight:  complete  29268  kg  (64,525  lb) 
Elevation:-H  15°to-H65° 

Traverse:  45° 

Muzzle  velocity:  701  m (2,300  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  23093  m (25,255 

Shellweight:  163.3kg(3601b) 

A 240-mm  howitzer  prepared  for 
action:  it  travelled  on  a six-wheel 
carriage,  which  was  emplaced  over  a 
pit  dug  to  absorb  the  recoil  The 

barrel  was  then  lifted  in  to  place  by  a 
crane  which  was  also  used  to  spread 
the  trails.  Setting  up  the  howitzer 
could  take  over  eigh  t hours. 

Weighing  over  30  tons,  the  US 
240-mm  howitzer  originated  from  a 
project  begun  after  World  War  I,  but 
little  progress  had  been  made  before 
1940,  and  America  had  been  at  war 
18  months  before  the  240-mm 
weapon  was  ready.  However,  once  in 
action  it  proved  very  useful  against 
German  emplacemen  ts  in  Italy  and 
north  west  Europe. 


'Little  David' 

Despite  the  fact  that  many  artilllery 
pieces  were  much  larger  than  the 
strange  device  known  as  Uittle  David', 
the  fact  remains  that  this  weapon  still 
holds  the  record  of  having  the  largest 
calibre  of  any  modem  artillery  piece  at 
no  less  than  914  mm  (36  in),  and  not 
even  the  largest  German  railway  gun, 
the  huge  80-cm  K(E),  got  anywhere 
near  that  with  its  calibre  of  8^00  mm 
(31.5  in). 

Little  David  was  one  of  the  oddities 
of  the  artillery  world.  It  had  its  origins 
in  a device  used  to  test  aircraft  bombs 
by  firing  them  from  converted  large- 
calibre  howitzers  at  chosen  targets. 
fire  the  heavier  bombs  so  a device 
known  as  the  Bomb  Testing  Device  T1 
was  designed  and  produced.  It  per- 
formed well  enough  and  gave  some- 
body the  idea  of  using  the  device  as  an 
artillery  weapon  proper.  With  the  in- 
vasion ofthemainlandof  Japaninpros- 
pect  such  a weapon  would  be  ideal  for 
demolishing  the  expeeted  Japanese 
bunkers  and  strongpoints,  so  the  pro- 
ject was  given  the  go-ahead  in  March 

1944  and  firing  tests  started  later  the 
same  year. 

Little  David  was  little  more  than  a 
large  muzzle-loaded  mortar  with  a 
rifled  barrel.  The  barrel  rested  in  a 
steel  box  buried  in  a deep  pit  which 
also  contained  the  elevating  gear  and 
the  six  hydraulic  jacks,  used  to  mount 
and  remove  the  barrel.  Some  traverse 
was  provided  in  the  box  mounting  and 
the  barrel  was  elevated  and  depress- 

ed using  a geared  quadrant  on  the 
breech  end  of  the  barrel.  There  was  no 
recuperator  mechanism,  the  barrel 
being  simply  pumped  back  into  posi- 
tion after  each  firing.  Loading  was  by  a 
special  crane  which  formed  part  of  Lit- 
tle David's  equipment  train. 

The  projectile  was  of  a unique  form 
with  a long  tapered  nose  and  a curved 
base.  It  weighed  no  less  than  1678  kg 
(3,700  1b),  of  which  726kg  (1,6001b) 

The  largest-calibre  artillery  piece  of 
modern  times,  'LittleDavid'was 
originally  a device  for  testing  aircraft 
bombs  by  firing  them  at  various 
targets.  Someone  suggested  tha  t it 
could  be  used  as  a gun  proper,  and 
with  the  invasion  of  Japan  in 
prospect  the  US  Army  welcomed  the 
idea  of  a monster  howitzer  to  smash 
Japanese  fortifica  tions. 


was  explosive.  Such  a projectile  would 
have  had  dreadful  effects  on  any 
target,  but  Little  David  was  never  used 
in  action.  During  its  firing  trials  it  was 
soon  demonstrated  that  accuracy  was 
poor,  and  the  US  Army  was  less  than 
enchanted  by  the  12-hour  emplace- 
ment time  required  every  time  the 
weapon  was  used.  The  war  ended  be- 
fore the  development  trials  were  com- 
plete and  the  US  Army  promptly  put 
the  whole  proj  ect  'on  ice'  before  finally 
cancelling  it  during  late  1946.  Thus  Lit- 
tle David  never  even  left  the  Aber- 
deen Proving  Grounds  in  Maryland 
where  all  its  development  and  firing 
trials  had  been  conducted,  and  the 
weapon  promptly  became  a museum 
piece  for  the  wonderment  of  all.  Today 
It  can  still  be  seen  there,  forming  part 
of  the  extensive  ordnance  museum 
that  occupies  much  of  the  site  open  to 
the  public.  The  weapon  is  still  relative- 
ly complete.  What  appears  to  be  a 
small  metal  shed  is  in  fact  the  main 
mounting  which  was  supposed  to  be 

dug  into  a pit.  The  barrel  rests  on  its 
transporter  wheels  ready  to  be  towed 
in  semi-trailer  fashion  by  a heavy  trac- 
tor, and  one  of  the  oddly- shaped  shells 
is  still  to  hand. 

Little  David 

Calibre:  914  mm  (36  in) 

Length  of  piece:  with  elevating  arc 
8.534  m (28  ft  0 in) 

Weight  complete:  82808  kg 
(182,560  lb) 

Elevation:  -i-45  ° to  -i-65  ° 

Traverse:  26° 

Muzzle  velocity:  not  recorded 
Maximumrange:  8687  m (9,500 yards) 
Shell  weight:  1678  kg  (3,700  lb) 

Once  the  atomic  bomb  had  saved  the 
Allies  from  mounting  a conventional 
invasion  of  Japan  the  fortress- 
crusher  'Little  David'  was  without  a 
role  and  the  project  cancelled. 

Soviet  152-mm  guns 

When  considering  Soviet  artillery  de- 
velopment it  is  as  well  to  remember 
that  the  Soviet  artillery  design  teams 
rarely  produced  anything  innovative. 
Instead  they  placed  great  emphasis 
upon  a steady  programme  of  develop- 
ment in  which  a new  piece  of  ord- 
nance was  placed  on  an  existing  car- 
riage, or  in  which  a new  carriage  was 
allied  to  an  existing  gun  or  howitzer. 
Their  continual  aim  was  to  produce  an 
artillery  piece  that  was  as  light  as 
possible  but  firing  as  heavy  a projec- 
tile as  possible  to  as  great  a range  as 

This  was  particularly  true  of  the 
Soviet  152-mm  (6-in)  heavy  guns. 
There  were  three  main  types  of  these, 
although  others  existed  and  the  ear- 
liest of  them  could  trace  its  origins 
back  to  1910,  Despite  its  age  this 
weapon,  designated  the  152-mm  Push- 
ka  obr.  1910g  was  updated  in  1930  to 
become  the  152-mm  Field  Gun  Model 
1910/30,  In  this  form  it  was  still  in  ser- 
vice when  the  Germans  invaded  in 
1941.  The  Model  1910/30  was  an  unre- 
markable piece  of  artillery,  so  heavy 
that  it  had  to  be  carried  in  two  loads. 
This  was  considered  to  be  too  much  of 
a disadvantage  for  modern  use,  and  by 
1941  the  Model  1910/30  was  being 
phased  out  of  use.  The  Germans  desig- 
nated captured  equipments  15.2-cm  K 

In  1937  the  Soviet  design  teams 
came  up  with  a replacement.  This  was 
the  15z-mm  Gaubitsa-Pushka  obr. 
1937g  (152-mm  Gun-Howitzer  Model 
1937)  which  emerged  as  a new  and 
rather  long  gun  barrel  mounted  on  the 
carriage  of  an  existing  piece,  the  122- 
mm  (4.8-in)  Field  Gun  Model  1931/37 
(A- 19).  This  combination  was  a gun- 
howitzer  rather  than  a gun,  and  turned 
out  to  be  a very  versatile  and  powerful 
weapon,  known  to  the  Germans  as  the 
15.2-cm  K 433/l(r)  in  captured  service. 

Scm  h&rQ  in  German  hands  as  a 
coastal  defence  piece,  the  Soviet 
152-mm  gun  was  a tough  and 
reliable  weapon  and  was  produced 
in  vast  numbers.  Massed  batteries  of 
heavy  artillery  played  a vital  role  in 
driving  the  Germans  back  from 
Moscow  to  Berlin. 

The  152-mm  gun-howitzer M 19 37 
has  a box  section  split  trail  carriage, 
and  its  double  tyres  were  filled  with 
sponge  rubber.  On  the  move,  a two- 
wheeled  limber  is  secured  under  the 

The  Soviets  wanted  vast  numbers,  but 
the  Artillery  Plant  Number  172  at  Perm 
could  not  produce  enough  so  another 
source  of  these  gun-howitzers  was 
sought.  This  turned  out  to  be  the  same 
barrel  as  the  Model  1937  but  mounted 
on  the  carriage  of  an  earlier  122-mm 
(4. 8 -in)  field  gun,  the  Model  1931.  Ibis 
combination  was  known  for  some 
reason  as  the  152-mm  Gun-Howitzer 
Model  1910/34,  to  the  Soviets  and  as 
the  15.2-cm  K 433/2(r)  to  the  Germans. 

There  was  also  one  other  Soviet  152- 
mm  (6-in)  field  gun  about  which  little  is 
now  known.  This  was  apparently  a 
long  152-mm  naval  barrel  placed  on 
the  carriage  of  the  203 -mm  (Sin)  howit- 
zers produced  as  a form  of  emergency 
design  in  1941-2.  Few  details  now  ex- 

These  two  major  field  guns  designs, 
the  Model  1937  and  the  Model  1910/34, 
formed  the  mainstay  of  the  heavy  field 
gun  batteries  of  the  Red  Army 
throughout  the  war.  Later  develop- 
ment tended  to  concentrate  on  howit- 
zers, but  the  field  guns  proved  to  be 
very  useful  weapons.  They  were  often 
able  to  outrange  their  German  coun- 
terparts and  so  impressed  the  German 
gunners  that  th^  used  as  many  cap- 
tured Soviet  l5^2-mm  guns  as  they 
could  lay  their  hands  on.  Many  of  these 
captured  weapons  were  used  against 
their  former  owners  and  as  many  again 
were  diverted  to  the  Atlantic  Wall  de- 

Perhaps  the  best  indication  of  how 
good  the  Model  1937  gun-howitzer 
was  at  the  time  it  was  introduced  can 

he  seen  hy  the  fact  that  it  is  still  in 
widespread  service  to  this  day.  Now 
known  as  the  ML-20,  it  remains  in  ser- 
vice with  many  Soviet-influenced 
armies  throughout  the  world,  from 
Cuba  to  China. 

Model  1937 

Calibre:  152.4  mm  (6  in) 

Length  of  piece:  4.925  m (16  ft  1,9  in) 
Weight:  travelling  7930  kg  (17,483  lb) 
andmaction7 1 28kg(  1 5 ,7 1 5 lb) 
Elevation:-2°  to-i-^° 

Traverse:  58° 

Muzzle  velocity:  655  m (2,149  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  17265  m(l  8,880 




Ethiopia  and  Mozambique.  There 
seems  to  be  no  sign  of  its  ever  passing 

Model  1943 

Cahbre:  152.5  mm  (6  in) 

Length  of  piece  :4.207m(13ft9.6in) 
Weight:  travelling  3640  kg  (8,025  lb) 
and  in  action  3600  kg  (7,937  lb) 

Traverse:  35° 

Muzzle  velocity:  508  m(  1,667  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  12400  m (13,560 

Shell  weight:  HE  5 1 . 1 kg  ( 1 12.6  lb) 

Soviet  152-mm  howitzers 

In  1941  the  Red  Army  still  had  substan- 
tial numbers  of  short  152-mm  (6-in) 
howitzers  such  as  the  Eield  Howitzer 
Model  1909/30  and  Eield  Howitzer 
Model  1910/30,  but  these  were  long  in 
the  tooth  and  despite  an  interim  updat- 
ing programme  carried  out  after  1930 
they  lacked  range.  It  was  realized  that 
these  howitzers  would  have  to  be  re- 
placed and  in  1938  the  replacement 
appeared.  Eor  once  this  weapon  was 
an  all-new  design  combining  a long 
152-mm  barrel  with  a sturdy  and 
steady  split-trail  carriage.  It  went  into 
production  at  two  artillery  factories. 
Artillery  Plant  Number  172  at  Perm 
and  Artillery  Plant  Number  235  at  Vol- 
kinsk.  The  Eield  Howitzer  Model  1938, 
later  known  as  the  M-10,  turned  out  to 
be  a great  success  and  was  widely 
used,  later  becoming  one  of  the  main 
types  in  Red  Army  service  throughout 
the  war. 

The  Red  Army  came  to  value  the 
flexibility  of  the  howitzer  over  the  long- 
range  capabilities  of  the  gun  to  a great 
extent,  and  found  during  the  early  days 
of  the  war  with  the  invading  German 
army  that  the  heavy  5 1.1 -kg  (1 12.6-lb) 
high  explosive  shell  was  also  a power- 
ful anti-tank  weapon.  This  derived 
from  the  Red  Army  practice  of  using 
every  available  field  piece  as  an  anti- 
tank weapon,  and  was  so  successful 
that  a special  solid- shot  projectile  was 
introduced  for  use  by  the  Model  1938, 
This  weighed  40  kg  (88.2  lb)  and  could 

The  Soviet  Union  not  only  produced 
some  of  the  best  artillery  designs  of 
World  War  II  but  also  manufactured 
big  guns  in  prodigious  quantities. 

The  152-mm  howitzer  series  was 
even  used  in  the  anti-tank  role,  for 
which  it fired  a 40-kg  ( 88-lb)  solid 
shot  projectile. 

knock  out  any  known  tank.  The  Ger- 
mans also  prized  the  Model  1938  high- 
ly, using  as  many  as  they  could  capture 
under  the  designation  15.2-cm  sFH 
443(r),  either  in  the  Soviet  Union  or  as 
part  of  the  Atlantic  Wall  defences. 
More  turned  up  in  Italy  and  Erance. 

In  their  constant  striving  to  make 
their  progeny  as  light  and  efficient  as 
possible,  the  Soviet  artillery  designers 
later  converted  the  Model  1938  to  be 
mounted  on  the  carriage  of  the  1 22-mm 
(4.8  in)  Model  1938  howitzer.  A larger 
muzzle  brake  was  fitted  to  reduce,  at 
least  in  part,  the  recoil  forces  of  the 
heavier  barrel,  and  the  new  combina- 
tion became  the  152-mm  Eield  Howit- 
zer Model  1943,  As  its  designation  im- 
lies  this  new  howitzer/carriage  com- 
ination  was  first  produced  in  1943  and 
soon  replaced  the  earlier  Model  1938 
in  production.  It  continued  to  fire  the 

same  range  of  ammunition  as  the  Mod- 
el 1938  and  the  range  capabilities  re- 
mained the  same.  By  1945  it  was  in 
service  with  the  Red  Army  in  huge 
numbers  and  was  later  designated  the 

Post-war  the  Model  1938  and  Model 
1943  went  on  to  serve  in  many  more 
conflicts.  Gradually  the  Model  1938 
faded  from  use  and  is  now  known  to  be 
used  only  by  Romania,  but  the  Model 
1943  is  still  very  much  in  evidence.  It  is 
still  in  Red  Army  service;  although  now 
mainly  with  reserve  units.  It  has  been 
bestowed  the  accord  of  being  thought 
fit  to  be  copied  by  the  Chinese  army, 
which  now  has  its  own  version,  known 
as  the  Type  54.  The  Model  43  is  used 
by  nearly  every  nation  that  has  come 
under  Soviet  influence,  ranging  from 
Czechoslovakia  to  Iraq  and  from  Cuba 
to  Vietnam.  It  has  even  turned  up  in 

203-mm  Howitzer  Model  1931 

The  heaviest  of  the  field-type  weapons 
used  by  the  Soviets  between  1941  and 
1945  was  the  203-mm  Howitzer  Model 
1931,  also  known  as  the  B-4.  This  was  a 
powerful  but  heavy  weapon  that  is  now 
generally  remembered  as  being  one 
of  the  few  artillery  weapons  to  use  a 
carriage  that  ran  on  caterpillar  tracks. 
This  was  an  outcome  of  the  huge  Soviet 
investment  in  tractor  factories  during 
the  1920s  and  1930s,  and  the  use  of 
these  tractor  tracks  was  thus  an  ob- 
vious and  economic  measure  for  the 
Soviet  carriage  designers  to  take.  The 
use  of  these  tracks  meant  that  the  Mod- 
el 1931  could  traverse  very  bad  or  soft 
terrain  where  other  weapons  of  similar 
weight  could  not  venture. 

This  was  an  important  point  for  the 
Model  1931,  which  was  a heavy  piece. 
It  was  so  heavy  that  although  most  ver- 
sions could  be  towed  for  short  dis- 
tances in  two  loads,  long  moves  in- 
volved the  breaking  down  of  the 
weapon  into  as  many  as  six  separate 

Above:  The  heaviest  Soviet  gun  in 
field  use  during  the  war,  the  203-mm 
Howitzer  Model  1931  was  mounted 
on  converted  agricultural  tractor 
tracks  widely  available  in  the  Soviet 
Union  as  a result  of  Stalin 's  lopsided 
industrialization  programme.  1 1 fired 
a 1 00-kg  ( 220-lb)  shell  to  a maxim  urn 
range  of  18  km  (11  miles). 

The  mighty  203-mm  howitzer  M 19 31 
is  still  in  service  with  some  heavy 
artillery  units  of  the  Soviet  army 
today,  although  it  no  longer  uses  its 
tracked  chassis.  The  Germans  were 
pleased  to  use  any  they  captured, 
and  fielded  them  not  only  in  tho 
Sovi&t  Union  but  against  the  Allies  in 
Italy  and  north  west  Europe. 


loads.  Some  versions  could  move  in 
five  loads  but  there  were  about  six 
different  variants  of  the  Model  1931.  All 
of  them  used  the  tracked  carriage  but 
varied  in  the  way  they  were  towed. 
Movement  of  the  Model  1931  involved 
the  use  of  a limber  onto  which  the  spht 
trails  were  lifted  to  be  towed,  usually 
by  some  form  of  heavy  tracked  tractor 
with  (again)  agricultural  origins,  Some 
of  these  limbers  used  tracks  again  but 
others  had  large  single  road  wheels. 
Others  had  twin  road  wheels  of  smaller 

To  the  soldier  at  the  front  all  these 
variations  made  little  difference  as  the 
howitzer  itself  remained  much  the 
same  throughout  its  service  life.  It  was 
rather  a ponderous  weapon  to  use  in 
action,  and  the  rate  of  fire  was  usually 
limited  to  one  found  every  four  mi- 
nutes, although  higher  rates  could  be 
attained.  It  made  a powerful  barrage 
weapon  but  was  also  used  for  the  de- 
molition of  heavy  strongpoints,  a heavy 
lOO-kg  (220.46-lb)  high  explosive  shell 
being  provided  for  the  role.  But  essen- 
tially it  was  a weapon  for  static  use  as  it 
was  a ponderous  beast,  being  limited 
on  the  move  to  a maximum  speed  of  no 
more  than  15  km/h  (9.3  mph).  Not  sur- 

prisingly, whenever  mobile  warfare 
was  possible  the  Model  1931  was  at  a 
disadvantage  and  consequently  many 
fell  into  German  hands  as  they  could 
not  be  moved  quickly  enough.  The 
Germans  were  so  short  of  heavy  artil- 
lery that  they  used  as  many  as  they 
could,  mainly  in  the  Soviet  Union  but 
also  in  Italy  and  in  North  West  Europe 
after  1944,  under  the  designation  20.3- 
cm  H 503(r), 

After  1945  the  Model  1931  appeared 
to  fade  from  service  but  in  recent  years 
it  has  once  more  emerged.  It  is  still 
part  of  the  equipment  of  the  current 
Red  Army  heavy  artillery  brigades 
and  is  still  used  for  the  destruction  of 
strongpoints  and  any  fortresses  that 
might  still  be  encountered.  It  has  now 
lost  the  tracked  travelling  arrange- 
ments and  has  in  their  place  a new 
wheeled  road-wheel  suspension  with 
two  wheels  in  tandem  on  each  side.  It 
is  now  very  likely  that  this  form  of  car- 
riage allows  the  Model  1931  to  be 
towed  in  one  load,  and  it  is  also  be- 
lieved that  this  veteran  will  be  re- 
placed in  the  near  future  by  a new 
203-mm  (8-in)  howitzer  on  a self- 
propelled  carriage. 

Model  1931 
Calibre:  203  mm  (8  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  5.087  m (16  ft  8.3  in) 
Weight:  inaction  17700  kg  (39,022  lb) 
Elevation:  0°to-i-60° 

Traverse:  8° 

Muzzlevelocity:  607 m(  1,991  ft)  per 

Maximum  range:  1 8025  m(  1 9 , 7 1 2 

Shellweight:  100kg(220,461b) 

Its  tracks  provided  the  203-mm 
howitzer  with  unusual  short-range 
mobility  for  such  a heavy  gun, 
although  for  long  journeys  it  had  to 
be  broken  down  in  to  several  loads. 
Here  the  203-mm  howitzer  ploughs 
its  ponderous  way  through  the  snow 
to  a new  position,  towed  by  a Stalin 
artillery  tractor. 

15-cm  schwere  Feldhaubitze  18 

Within  Germany  the  two  major  artil- 
lery manufacturing  concerns  had  been 
Krupp  and  Rheinmetall  since  the  turn 
of  the  century.  Both  firms  survived 
World  War  I intact,  but  with  their  usual 
markets  shattered  both  decided  to 
start  again  with  new  products.  Thus  for 
both  the  1920s  was  a period  of  re- 
trenchment and  research  so  that  by 
the  time  the  Nazi  party  came  to  power 
in  1933  both  were  ready  to  supply  their 
new  customer.  The  new  customer  was 
shrewd  enough  to  invite  both  parties  to 
submit  designs  for  every  new  artillery 
requirement  made  by  the  expanding 
German  forces,  and  thus  when  a call 
was  made  for  a new  heavy  field  howit- 
zer each  company  was  ready  with  a 
suitable  design. 

The  trouble  for  the  army  selectors 
was  that  the  submissions  were  as  good 
as  each  other.  Thus  the  eventual 
equipment  was  a compromise,  the 
Rheinmetall  ordnance  being  placed 
on  the  Krupp  carriage.  This  selection 
was  made  in  1933  and  given  the  de- 
signation of  15-cm  schwere  Feld- 
haubitze 18  (15-cm  sFH  18),  although 
the  actual  calibre  was  149  mm  (5.87  in). 
The  howitzer  quickly  became  the  stan- 
dard German  heavy  field  howitzer  and 
it  was  churned  out  from  numerous  pro- 
duction lines  all  over  Germany. 

The  first  version  of  the  sFH  18  was 
intended  for  horse  traction  and  was 
towed  in  two  loads,  namely  barrel  and 
carriage.  But  before  long  a version  in- 
tended to  be  towed  by  a halftrack  trac- 
tor was  produced,  and  this  soon  be- 
came the  more  common  version.  It 
proved  to  be  a sound  and  sturdy  howit- 
zer and  served  well  throughout  all  of 
Germany's  World  War  II  campaigns. 
Once  the  invasion  of  the  Soviet  Union 
was  under  way  in  1941,  however,  it 
soon  became  apparent  to  the  Germans 
that  the  piece  was  outranged  by  its 
Soviet  152-mm  (6-in)  equivalents.  Va- 
rious attempts  were  made  to  increase 
range,  including  two  more  powerful 
propellant  charges  to  be  added  to  the 
six  already  in  use.  These  extra  charges 

worked  to  a limited  extent  but  caused 
excessive  barrel  wear  in  the  process 
and  also  overstrained  the  carriage  re- 
coil mechanism.  To  overcome  the  lat- 
ter problem  some  howitzers  were 
fitted  with  a muzzle  brake  to  reduce 
recoil  forces,  but  this  modification  was 
no  great  success  and  the  idea  was 
dropped;  weapons  so  modified  were 
designated  15-cm  sFH  18(M). 

As  the  war  went  on  the  sFH  18  was 
placed  on  a self-propelled  carriage 
known  as  the  Hummel  (bumblebee), 
and  thus  formed  part  of  the  artillery 
component  of  a few  Panzer  divisions. 
Not  all  were  used  in  the  field  role.  Divi- 
sions that  found  themselves  installed 
along  the  Atlantic  Wall  defences  used 
their  sFH  18s  to  bolster  coastal  de- 
fences, usually  under  German  navy 
control.  Some  sFH  18s  were  handed 
out  to  some  of  Germany's  allies,  not- 
ably Italy  (obice  da  149/28)  and,  for  a 
while,  Finland  (m/40). 

The  sFH  18  was  still  in  use  in  very 

Shown  here  in  an  Eastern  Fron  t 
colour  scheme,  thel5-cmsFH18was 
a compromise  between  Krupp  and 
Rheinmetall  design  and  became  the 
standard  German  heavy  field 
ordnance  of  World  War  II. 

large  numbers  when  the  war  ended  in 
1945  and  for  a period  the  howitzers 
were  used  by  many  armies.  Czechos- 
lovakia used  an  updated  version  of  the 
sFH  18  until  quite  recently,  and  the 
type  was  also  used  by  the  Portuguese 
army  for  a considerable  period, 
still  survive  in  parts  of  Central  and 

South  America,  and  the  sFH  18  has 
surely  been  one  of  the  soundest  and 
sturdiest  of  all  German  artillery  pieces. 

15-cm  sFH  18 
Cahbre:  149  mm  (5.87  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  4,44  m ( 14  ft  6,8  in) 

Weight:  travelling  6304  kg  (13,898  lb) 
and  in  action  5512  kg  ( 12,152  lb) 
Elevation:-3°  to-i-45° 

Traverse:  60° 

Muzzlevelocity:  520  m (1,706  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  13325  m (14,570 

SheU  weight:  43.5  kg  (95.9  lb) 

This  15-cm  sFH  18  is  being  towed  into 
the  cavernous  mouth  of  an  Me  323 
transport  by  an  Sdkfz  7 halftrack. 

The  majority  of  German  artillery  was 
horse-drawn,  but  the  15-cm  howitzer 
was  modified  early  in  the  war  tobe 
towed  by  vehicles. 



15-cm  Kanone  18 

When  a German  army  requirement  for 
a heavy  gun  to  arm  the  new  divisional 
artillery  batteries  was  made  in  1933, 
Rheinmetall  was  able  to  land  the  con- 
tract. Using  the  same  carriage  as  that 
submitted  for  the  15-cm  sFH  18  com- 
petition, Rheinmetall  designed  a long 
and  good-looking  gun  with  a range  of 
no  less  than  24500m  (26,800  yards), 
which  was  well  in  excess  of  anything 
else  available  at  the  time.  Production 
did  not  begin  immediately  for  at  the 
time  priority  was  given  to  the  sFH  18, 
so  it  was  not  until  1938  that  the  army  got 
its  first  examples  as  the  15-cm  Kanone 
18  (15-cm  K 18). 

When  the  army  began  to  receive  the 
weapon  it  was  very  happy  with  the 
range  and  the  projectiles,  but  was  less 
than  enchanted  with  some  of  the  car- 
riage features.  One  of  these  was  the 
fact  that  as  the  gun  was  so  long  the  gun 
and  carriage  could  not  be  towed 
together  except  over  very  short  dis- 
tances. For  any  long  move  the  barrel 
had  to  be  withdrawn  from  the  carriage 
and  towed  on  its  own  special  transpor- 
ter carriage.  The  carriage  itself  was 
towed  on  its  own  wheels  and  a small 
limber  axle  carrying  another  two 
wheels.  All  this  took  time,  an  undesir- 
able feature  when  getting  the  gun  into 
and  out  of  action,  and  this  time  was 
increased  by  another  carriage  feature, 
the  use  of  a two-part  turntable  onto 
which  the  gun  was  lifted  to  provide 
360°  traverse.  This  too  had  to  be  got 
into  and  out  of  action,  and  the  carriage 
was  equipped  with  ramps  and  win- 
ches so  that  even  when  sectionalized 
for  towing  it  made  up  into  two  heavy 

As  if  the  time-consuming  installation 
and  removal  drawbacks  were  not 
enough,  the  rate  of  fire  of  the  K 18  was 
at  best  two  rounds  per  minute.  Not  sur- 

prisingly, the  gunners  asked  for  some- 
thing better  but  in  the  interim  the  gun 
was  in  production  and  the  gunners  had 
to  put  up  with  things  as  they  were.  As 
things  turned  out,  many  of  the  K 18s 
were  allocated  to  static  coastal- 
defence  batteries  or  garrison  divisions 
where  their  relative  lack  of  mobility 
was  of  small  account.  Not  surprisingly, 
the  coastal  batteries  soon  found  that 
the  K 18  made  a good  coastal  gun:  its 
long  range  and  the  easily-traversed 
carriage  made  it  ideal  for  the  role,  and 
it  was  not  long  before  special  marker 
projectiles  using  red  dyes  were  pro- 
duced specially  for  the  marking  and 
ranging  of  the  guns. 

Production  of  the  K 18  ended  well 
before  the  end  of  the  war  in  favour  of 
heavier  weapons.  But  for  the  guns 
already  in  the  field  a range  of  ammuni- 

tion in  addition  to  the  marker  shells 
was  made  available.  There  was  a spe- 
cial concrete-piercing  shell  with  a 
much  reduced  explosive  payload,  and 
another  was  just  the  opposite,  being  a 
thin-walled  shell  with  an  increased  ex- 
plosive content  for  enhanced  blast 

On  paper  the  K 18  should  have  been 
one  of  RheinmetaU's  better  designs.  It 
had  an  excellent  range  and  fired  a 
heavy  projectile,  but  for  the  gunners 
who  had  to  serve  the  thing  it  must  have 
rovided  the  source  of  a great  deal  of 
ard  work.  Gunners  are  always 
trained  to  get  in  and  out  of  action  as 
rapidly  as  possible,  whatever  weapon 
they  are  using,  but  the  K 18  seems  to 
have  provided  them  with  something 
that  only  hard  work  could  turn  into  an 
acceptable  battlefield  weapon. 

A 15-cm  K1 8 forms  the  centrepiece  of 
a Germm  artillery  park  captured  by 
the  British  in  Libya.  This  Rheinmetall 
design  had  an  impressive  range,  but 
was  dangerously  time-consuming  to 
deploy  or  withdraw. 



Cahbre:  149.1  mm  (5.87  in) 

Length  of  piece:  8.20  m (26  ft  10.8  in) 
Weight:  travelling  18700  kg  (41,226  lb) 
and  in  action  12460  kg  (27,470  lb) 
Elevation:-2°  to-E43° 

Traverse:  onplatform360°  and  on 
carriage  11° 

Muzzle  velocity:  865  m (2,838  ft)  per 


Maximum  range:  24500  m (26,800 



15-cm  Kanone  39 

The  gun  that  became  known  to  the 
Germans  as  the  15-cm  Kanone  39  (15- 
cm  K 39)  came  to  them  via  a round- 
about route.  The  gun  was  originally 
designed  and  produced  by  Krupp  of 
Essen  for  one  of  its  traditional  custom- 
ers, Turkey,  during  the  late  1930s,  The 
gun  was  intended  to  be  a dual  field/ 
coastal-defence  gun  and  so  used  a 
combination  of  split-trail  carriage 
allied  with  what  was  then  an  innova- 
tion, namely  a portable  turntable  onto 
which  the  gun  and  carriage  would  be 
hoisted  to  provide  360°  traverse,  a fea- 
ture very  useful  in  a coastal-defence 
weapon.  Two  of  the  ordered  batch  had 
been  delivered  in  1939  when  World 
War  II  broke  out,  and  there  was  then 
no  easy  way  of  delivering  any  more  to 
Turkey,  With  a war  on  its  hands  the 
German  army  decided  it  needed  as 
many  new  field  guns  as  possible  and 
the  design  was  taken  into  German  ser- 
vice without  modification  as  the  15  cm 
Kanone  39,  and  the  type  remained  on 
the  production  lines  at  Essen  for  the 
German  army  alone. 

Thus  the  German  army  found  itself 

The  15-cm  Kanone  39  was  a Krupp 
design  commissioned  by  Turkey. 
Only  two  examples  had  been 
supplied  when  war  broke  out  and 
the  German  army  adopted  it  instead, 
along  with  large  stocks  of 
ammunition  built  to  Turkish 


with  a large  and  useful  gun  that  had  to 
be  transported  in  three  loads:  barrel, 
carriage  and  turntable.  For  most  pur- 
poses the  turntable  was  not  really 
necessary  and  was  only  used  when  the 
gun  was  emplaced  for  coastal  de- 
fence; the  unit  consisted  of  a central 
turntable  onto  which  the  carriage  was 
placed,  a series  of  outrigger  struts  and 
an  outer  traversing  circle.  The  whole 
turntable  was  made  of  steel,  and  in  use 
was  anchored  in  place.  The  spread 
trails  were  secured  to  the  outer 
traverse  circle,  and  the  whole  gun  and 
carriage  could  then  be  moved  by  us- 
ing a hand  crank  arrangement.  This 
platform  attracted  a great  deal  of  atten- 
tion from  many  other  design  teams,  in- 
cluding the  Americans  who  used  it  as 
the  basis  for  the  'Kelly  Mount'  used 
with  155-mm  (6.1 -in)  Ml  guns. 

The  K 39  could  fire  conventional 
German  ammunition,  but  when  first  in- 
troduced into  service  it  came  with  siz- 
able stocks  of  ammunition  produced 
for  Turkish  use  and  to  Turkish  spe- 
cifications. This  involved  a three- 
charge  system  and  included  a high  ex- 

plosive shell  and  a semi-armour- 
piercing  projectile  originally  intended 
by  the  Turks  to  be  used  against 
warships.  All  this  non-standard 
ammunition  was  gradually  used  up  be- 
fore the  Germans  switched  to  their 
normal  ammunition  types. 

By  that  time  the  K 39  was  no  longer  in 
use  as  one  of  the  standard  weapons  of 
the  German  army.  The  full  production 
run  for  the  army  was  only  about  40,  and 
this  was  understandably  thought  to  be 
too  awkward  a number  for  logistical 
comfort.  Thus  the  K 39s  were  diverted 
to  the  training  role  and  then  to  the 
Atlantic  Wall  defences,  where  they  re- 
verted to  their  intended  purpose.  On 
the  static  Atlantic  Wall  sites  the  turn- 
tables could  be  carefully  emplaced  to 
best  effect  and  the  guns  could  use  their 
long  range  to  good  purpose. 



Calibre:  149,1mm  (5.87  in) 

Length  of  piece:  8.25  m (27  ft  0.8  in) 
Weight:  travelling  18282  kg  (40,305  lb) 
and  in  action  12200  kg  (26,896  lb) 


Traverse:  on  turntable  360°  and  on 
carriage  60° 

Muzzle  velocity:  865  m (2, 83  8 ft)  per 

Maximum  range:  24700  m (27,010 


A15-cm  K39  lies  abandoned  on  the 
frozen  steppes,  providing  a subject 
of  interest  for  the  columns  of  Soviet 
troops  marching  westwards.  The 
K 39  was  eventually  withdrawn  to  a 
training  role  for  logistic  reasons. 
Some  were  emplaced  in  the  Atlantic 
Wall  as  a coastal  defence  gun. 


17-cm  Kanone 

When  it  came  to  artillery  design  in  the 
years  during  both  world  wars,  Krupp 
of  Essen  can  be  regarded  as  the  virtual 
leaders.  The  company's  sound 
approach,  coupled  with  the  thorough 
development  of  innovations,  led  to 
some  of  the  most  remarkable  artillery 
pieces  in  use  anywhere  in  their  day, 
and  one  of  these  innovations  featured 
on  what  were  two  of  the  most  remark- 
able artillery  pieces  in  service  during 
World  War  II.  This  innovation  was  the 
'double  recoil'  carriage  on  which  the 
normal  recoil  forces  were  first  taken 
up  by  the  orthodox  recoil  mechanism 
close  to  the  barrel  and  then  by  the 
carriage  sliding  inside  rails  set  on  the 
bulk  of  the  travelling  carriage.  In  this 
way  all  the  recoil  forces  were 
absorbed  with  virtually  no  movement 
relative  to  the  ground,  and  firing 
accuracy  was  thus  enhanced.  Eurther 
improvements  also  ensured  that  the 
entire  barrel  and  carnage  could  rest 
on  a light  firing  platform  that  formed  a 
pivot  for  easy  and  rapid  traverse. 

This  double- action  carriage  was 
used  mainly  with  two  Krupp  weapons. 
The  smaller  was  the  17-cm  Kanone  18 
(actual  calibre  172.5  mm/6.79  in)  and 
the  larger  the  21 -cm  Morser  18  (the 
Germans  often  followed  the  continen- 
tal practice  of  calling  heavy  howitzers 
a mortar).  These  two  weapons  were 
first  introduced  in  17-cm  (6,8-in)  form 
in  1941  and  in  21-cm  (8.3-in)  form  in 
1939.  Both  proved  to  be  excellent 
weapons  and  demand  was  such  that 
Krupp  had  to  delegate  extra  produc- 
tion to  Hanomag  at  Hannover.  Of  the 
two  weapons  priority  was  at  first  given 
to  the  21-cm  Mrs  18,  and  a wide  range 
of  special  projectiles  was  developed 
for  this  weapon,  including  concrete- 
piercing shells.  But  with  the  advent  of 
the  17-cm  K 18  it  soon  became  appa- 
rent that  the  17-cm  shells  were  only 
marginally  less  effective  than  their  21- 
cm  equivalents,  and  that  the  17-cm  gun 
had  a much  greater  range  (29600  ml 
32,370  yards  as  opposed  to  16700  ml 
18,270yards),  Thusm  1942 priority  was 
given  to  the  17-cm  K 18,  production  of 
the  21-cm  Mrs  18  ceasing. 

But  the  21-cm  Mrs  18  remained  in 

18  and  21-cm  Morser  18 

use  until  the  end  of  the  war,  as  did  the 
17-cm  K 18  which  continued  to  impress 
all  who  encountered  it,  either  as  reci- 
pients of  the  68-kg  ( 149.9-lb)  shell  or  as 
gunners.  In  fact  the  Allies  sometimes 
acted  as  gunners,  for  in  1944  some 
Allied  batteries  used  captured  17-cm 
K 18s  when  ammunition  supplies  for 
their  normal  charges  were  ciisrupted 
by  the  long  logistical  train  from  Nor- 
mandy to  the  German  border.  Eor  all 
their  weight  and  bulk,  both  the  17-cm 
(6.8-in)  and  21-cm  pieces  were  fairly 
easy  to  handle.  A full  360°  traverse 
could  be  made  by  only  one  man,  and 
although  both  pieces  had  to  be  carried 
in  two  loads  the  carriage  was  well 
equipped  with  winches  and  ramps  to 
make  the  process  of  removing  the  bar- 
rel from  the  carriage  a fairly  light  and 
rapid  task.  Eor  short  distances  both 
weapons  could  be  towed  in  one  load 
by  a heavy  halftrack  tractor. 



Cahbre:  172.5  mm(6.79  in) 

Length  of  piece:  8,529  m (27  ft  1 1.8  in) 
Weight:  travelling  23375  kg  (51,533  lb) 
and  in  action  17520  kg  (38,625  lb) 
Elevation:  0°  to-E50° 

Traverse:  onplatform  360°  and  on 
carriage  16° 

Muzzle  velocity:  925  m (3,035  ft)  per 


Maximumrange:  29600  m (32,370 

SheU  weight:  HE  68  kg  (149,9  lb) 

21-cm  Mrs  18 
Calibre:  210.9  mm  (8,3  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  6,51  m(21  ft4,3in) 
Weight:  travelling  22700  kg  (50,045  lb) 
and  inaction  16700  kg  (36,817  lb) 
Elevation:  0°to-i-50° 

Traverse:  onplatform  360°  and  on 
carriage  16° 

Muzzle  velocity:  565  m (1,854  ft)  per 

Maximumrange:  16700  m (18,270 

Shell  weight:  HE  121  kg  (266, 81b) 

A 21  -cm  Morser  18,  so  called 
because  the  Germans  referred  to 
their  hea  vy  howitzers  as  mortars, 
used  the  same  carriage  as  the 

As  the  8th  Army  advanced  deeper 
into  Tunisia,  this  17-cm K1 8 was 
captured  in  tact  and  used  against  its 
Afrika  Korps  former  owners.  Longer 
ranged  than  the  21  -cm  Ml  8, 
production  facilities  were  devoted 
exclusively  totheKlS  after  1942. 



24-cm  Kanone  3 

During  1935  Rheinmetall  began  design 
work  on  a new  heavy  gun  to  meet  a 
German  army  requirement  for  a long- 
range  counterbattery  gun  firing  a 
heavy  projectile.  The  first  example 
was  produced  during  1938,  and  a small 
batch  was  ordered  soon  after  as  the 
24-cm  Kanone  3 (24-cm  K 3).  The  K 3 
was  a fairly  massive  piece  of  artillery 
that  used  the  'double  recoil'  carriage 
coupled  to  a firing  table  that  could  be 
easily  traversed  through  360°.  The  bar- 
rel could  be  elevated  to  56°  and  thus 
fired  in  the  upper  register  to  ensure 
that  plunging  fire  against  fortifications 
and  field  works  would  make  the  shells 
as  effective  as  possible. 

The  K 3 carriage  was  well  endowed 
with  all  manner  of  technical  novelties. 
In  order  to  make  the  gun  as  mobile  as 
possible  the  whole  gun  and  carriage 
were  broken  down  into  six  loads,  and 
assembly  on  site  was  made  as  easy 
and  rapid  as  possible  by  a number  of 
built-in  devices  such  as  ramps  and 
winches.  Various  safety  measures 
were  incorporated  in  case  assembly 
was  in  some  way  incorrect;  for  inst- 
ance, incorrect  breech  assembly  left 
the  gun  unable  to  fire.  Other  safety 
measures  ensured  that  if  a winch  cable 
broke  the  component  involved  could 
not  move  far  enough  to  cause  any  dam- 
age. For  all  these  measures  it  took 
some  25  men  90  minutes  to  get  the  gun 
into  action.  Once  the  gun  was  in  action 
a generator,  an  integral  part  of  the  car- 
nage, was  kept  running  to  provide 
power  for  the  gun's  services. 

Not  rtlany  K 3s  were  produced;  most 
references  mention  eight  or  10.  They 
were  all  used  operationally  by  one 
unit,  schwere  Artillerie  Abteilung 
(mot)  83.  Thismotorizedartillerybatta- 
lion  had  three  batteries  (each  with  two 
guns),  and  it  was  in  action  all  over 
Europe  from  the  USSR  to  Normandy. 

The  K 3 was  the  subject  of  much 

experimentation  by  German  desig- 
ners, Special  barrels  were  produced 
in  order  to  fire  experimental  projec- 
tiles with  body  splines  that  aligned 
with  the  barrel  rifling  as  the  projectile 
was  rammed  into  the  chamber.  Other 
barrels  fired  projectiles  fitted  with 
sabots  to  increase  range,  and  there 
was  even  a device  fitted  over  the  muz- 
zle that  'squeezed'  back  skirts  around 
special  sub-calibre  projectiles,  again 
in  an  attempt  to  increase  range.  Some 
smooth-bore  barrels  were  produced 
to  fire  the  long-range  Peenemiinder 
Pfeilgeschosse  (arrow  shells). 

By  a quirk  of  production  schedules 
the  Rhemmetall-designed  K 3 
weapons  were  actually  manufactured 
by  Krupp  of  Essen.  The  Krupp  en- 
gineers were  not  highly  impressed  by 
the  engineering  of  the  K3  and  decided 
they  could  do  better,  so  producing 
their  own  version,  the  24-cm  K 4.  This 
was  a very  advanced  design  with  the 
mounting  carried  on  the  move  be- 
tween two  turretless  Tiger  tanks. 
There  was  even  supposed  to  be  a self- 
propelled  version,  but  in  1943  the  pro- 
totype was  destroyed  during  an  air 
raid  on  Essen  and  the  whole  project 
was  terminated. 

The  K 3 was  still  in  action  when  the 
war  ended  and  at  least  one  example 
fell  into  US  Army  hands.  This  was  taken 
to  the  United  States  and  underwent  a 
great  deal  of  investigation.  Once  the 
trials  were  over  it  went  to  Aberdeen 
Proving  Grounds  in  Maryland,  where  it 
can  still  be  seen. 



Calibre:  238  mm  (9,37  in) 

Length  of  piece:  13. 104  m (42  ft  11. 9 in) 
Weight:  travelling  (six  loads)  84636  kg 
( 1 86,590  lb)  and  inaction  54000  kg 
(119,050  lb) 


35.5-cm  Haubitze  M.I 

In  1935  the  German  army  asked  Rhein- 
metall to  produce  an  enlarged  version 
of  its  24-cm  K 3,  and  although  the  de- 
sign of  that  gun  was  still  at  an  early 
stage  the  Rheinmetall  company  went 
ahead  and  produced  a new  design 
with  an  actual  calibre  of  355.6mm 
(14  in).  The  first  example  was  pro- 
duced ready  to  enter  service  in  1939, 
and  emerged  as  a scaled-up  version  of 
the  24-cm  (9.37-in)  design.  The  new 
weapon  was  designated  the  35.5-cm 
Haubitze  M.I  (35.5-cm  H M.I)  and  in- 
corporated many  of  the  features  of  the 
24-cm  (9.37-in)  design  including  the 
double-recoil  carriage.  The  weapon 
was  even  carried  in  six  loads,  but  an 
extra  load  had  to  be  involved  for  the 
special  gantry  needed  to  assemble 
and  disassemble  the  massive  weapon. 
This  gantry  used  electrical  power  from 
a generator  carried  on  the  same  18- 
tonne  halftrack  tractor  that  towed  the 
disassembled  gantry.  Other  18-tonne 
halftracked  tractors  were  also  used  to 
tow  the  other  components;  these  were 
the  cradle,  top  carriage,  barrel,  lower 
carriage,  turntable  and  rear  platform. 

There  appears  to  be  no  record  of 
how  long  it  took  to  get  the  H M.  1 into 
action,  but  the  time  involved  must  have 
been  considerable.  It  is  known  that  the 
weapon  was  used  by  only  one  unit, 
namely  1 Batterie  der  Artillerie 
Abteilung  (mot)  641.  This  motorized 

artillery  battery  was  certainly  involved 
in  the  siege  of  and  assault  on  Sevasto- 
pol, but  its  exact  whereabouts  at  other 
times  are  not  certain. 

In  fact  the  H M.  1 is  something  of  a 
mystery  weapon,  and  there  are  still  a 
number  of  unknown  facts  regarding  its 
service  career.  Even  the  exact  num- 
ber produced  is  uncertain.  It  is  known 
that  the  weapon  was  manufactured  at 
Rheinmetall's  Dusseldorf  factory,  but 
the  number  completed  varies  from 
three  to  seven  depending  on  the  refer- 
ence consulted.  The  projectiles  fired 
included  a high  explosive  shell 
weighing  575  kg  (1,267.6  lb),  and  there 
was  also  a concrete-piercing  shell  that 
weighed  926kg  (2,041.51b).  Four 
charges  propelled  these  shells.  It  is 
known  that  it  was  possible  to  effect 
360°  traverse  on  the  carriage  platform 
by  using  power  jacks. 

For  aU  its  weight  and  bulk,  the  H M.  1 
had  a range  of  only  20850m  (22,800 
yards),  so  the  efficiency  of  the  weapon 
must  have  been  questionable  even  at 
the  time.  Looking  back  it  now  seems 
doubtful  that  the  considerable  invest- 
ment of  money,  manpower  and  equip- 
ment in  a howitzer  with  such  a limited 
range  was  generally  not  worth  the 
efforts  involved.  But  the  H M.  1 fired  a 
shell  that  must  have  been  devastating 
in  effect  when  it  landed  on  target.  Even 
the  strongest  fortification  would  be 

Elevation:- 1°  to-i-56° 

Traverse:  on  turntable  360°  and  on 
carriage  6° 

Muzzle  velocity:  870m(2,854ft)per 


Maximumrange:  37500  m (4 1,0 10 

Shell  weight:  152.3  kg  (335,78  lb) 

The  24-cm  K3  was  a very  long-range 
gun  designed  for  counter-battery 
work  as  well  as  to  pound 
fortifications  to  rubble.  Only  a 
handful  were  made,  this  one  being 
captured  by  the  US  Army.  Krupps 
produced  a version  which  was 
carried  by  two  turretless  Tiger  tanks. 

hard  put  to  remain  operational  after  a 
few  hits  from  such  a shell,  and  this  no 
doubt  made  the  howitzer  a viable 
weapon  for  the  Germans.  But  the  truth 
was  that  during  World  War  II  there 
were  few  such  targets  for  the  H M.  1 to 
pulverize,  and  the  only  time  that  the 
howitzers  were  put  to  any  great  use 
was  during  the  siege  of  Sevastopol. 
There  are  records  of  these  howitzers 
firing  280  rounds,  though  they  must 
have  taken  some  time  to  accomplish 
this,  for  the  rate  of  fire  of  the  H M.  1 was 
at  best  one  round  every  four  minutes. 

Calibre:  356.6  mm  (14  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  10.265  m(33  ft8.1  in) 

The  career  of  the  monstrous  35.5-cm 
HM.l,  seenherein  action  on  the 
Eastern  Fron  t,  is  still  shrouded  in 
mystery.  Several  of  them  were  used 
to  pulverize  the  Soviet  fortifications 
at  Sevastopol. 

Weight:  travelling  123500  kg 
(272,271  lb)  and  in  action  78^  kg 
(171,960  lb) 

Elevation: -1-45°  to-i-75° 

Traverse:  on  platform  360°  and  on 
carriage  6° 

Muzzle  velocity  :570m(l,870ft)per 

Maximumrange:  20850  m (22,800 

Shell  weight:  HE575kg(  1 ,267.61b) 
and  anti-concrete  926  kg  (2,041.5  lb) 




From  the  earliest  days  of  gunpowder,  artillery  has  often  had  a decisive 
impact  upon  the  battlefield.  The  evolution  of  field  artillery  meant  that  armies  could 
carry  their  own  fire  support  with  them,  and  by  1939  the  field  gun  was  an  important 

weapon  of  all  the  major  armies. 

The  German  invasion  forces  in  Norway  in  1940.  The  horses  are  drawing  a 105mm  (4.1  Sin)  light 
howitzer  or  LeFH  1 8,  a piece  of  field  artillery  that  was  overweight  due  to  its  solid  construction. 

Field  artillery,  whether  in  the 
form  of  guns  or  howitzers, 
plays  the  major  part  in  providing 
fire  support  for  other  arms  of 
the  service  to  operate.  Without 
the  covering  fire  of  field  artillery, 
effective  infantry  and  armoured 
operations  would  be  all  but 
impossible,  while  time  and  again 
throughout  military  history  it 
has  been  demonstrated  that 

artillery  fire  support  saves  lives. 

It  makes  the  enemy  keep  his 
head  down  as  an  attack  goes  in, 
it  disrupts  his  supply  lines  and  it 
destroys  his  installations  and 

By  1939  field  artillery  had 
grown  into  a well-established  and 
well-organized  arm  in  all  major 
armies.  Whatever  its  nationality, 
each  army  had  ready  for  use  a 

well-exercised  chain  of  artillery 
command  and  a well-tried  chain 
of  communications.  Without  these 
two  essentials,  field  artillery  could 
not,  and  still  cannot  even  today, 
operate.  Field  artillery  must  have 
its  orders  carefully  handed  along 
a sensible  command  network  and 
its  orders  must  arrive  at  the  cor- 
rect place  in  as  short  a time  as 

In  all  this  interlocking  system 
the  guns  and  howitzers  have  only 
one  part  to  play:  they  are  but  the 
delivery  system  for  what  is  really 
the  gunner's  weapon,  the  projec- 
tile itself.  The  gun  merely  acts  as 
the  method  of  delivering  that 
projectile,  but  this  is  often  forgot- 
ten in  the  attraction  that  artillery 
has  for  so  many.  The  guns  of  all 
nations  are  constantly  cosseted 
and  cleaned  in  a way  no  electron- 
ic black  box  can  ever  be,  for  each 
gun  somehow  acts  as  a gleaming 
example  of  a gunner's  pride  in  his 
role  and  function:  it  is  the  guns 
that  win  battles,  it  is  the  guns  that 
control  the  destinies  of  nations, 
and  it  is  the  guns  upon  which 
are  lavished  the  care  that  would 
otherwise  go  to  such  equally 
intangible  symbols  as  a regiment's 

Thus,  the  guns  and  howitzers 
discussed  here  are  just  a part  of  a 
much  larger  method  of  waging 
war.  The  selection  contained  in 
the  following  pages  are  merely  an 
example.  There  were  far  more 
types  and  models  of  artillery 
pieces  used  during  World  War  II 
than  are  shown  in  these  pages, 
but  the  examples  shown  here 
are  a good  cross-section  of  the 
range  of  types  used,  from  the 
ancient  to  the  modern  and  from 
the  little-used  to  those  that  were 



I Canon  de  75  mie  1897 

During  World  War  I the  French  75'  or, 
more  formally,  the  Canon  de  75  mod- 
ele  1897,  passed  into  French  national 
legend  as  the  gun  that  enabled  the 
French  to  win  the  war.  It  was  famous 
even  before  1914  as  what  may  now  be 
regarded  as  the  first  of  all  modern  field 
artillery  designs:  it  coupled  a highly 
efficient  recoil  mechanism  with  a 
rapid- action  breech  design  and  a car- 
riage that  enabled  hitherto  unheard-of 
rates  of  fire  to  be  maintained.  Before 
1914  the  75  was  a virtual  state  secret 
but  once  in  action  it  more  than  proved 
its  worth,  to  the  extent  that  the  French 
army  depended  on  its  high  rate  of  fire 
to  make  up  for  deficiencies  in  the 
availability  of  heavier  artillery 

By  1939  the  75  was  rather  past  its 
best,  and  was  outranged  by  more 
modern  field  gun  designs,  but  the 
French  still  had  well  over 4,500  of  them 
in  front-line  use.  Other  nations  also  had 
the  75.  The  hst  of  these  nations  was 
long  for  it  included  the  USA  (which  was 
producing  its  own  75-mm  M1897A2 
and75-mmMl  897 A4  versions),  Poland 
(armata  polowa  wz  97/17),  Portugal, 
many  of  the  French  colonies,  some  Bal- 
tic states,  Greece,  Romania,  Ireland 
and  many  other  nations.  The  75  of  1918 
was  also  very  different  from  the  75  of 

1939  in  many  cases.  The  Americans 
and  Poles  had  introduced  split  trail 
carriages  to  the  75  in  place  of  the  ori- 
ginal pole  trail,  and  many  nations  (in- 
cluding the  French)  had  introduced 
rubber-tyred  wheels  for  motor  traction 
in  place  of  the  original  spoked  wheels. 

The  75  has  also  undergone  some 
other  changes  in  role.  Before  1918 
many  75  barrels  had  been  placed  on 
rudimentary  anti-aircraft  carriages, 
both  static  and  mobile,  and  despite 
their  limited  value  many  were  still 
around  in  1939.  The  75  has  also  under- 
gone some  adaptation  as  a form  of  tank 
weapon,  but  it  was  to  be  left  to  the 
Americans  to  make  the  full  develop- 
ment of  this  possibility  when  they  later 
adapted  the  type  as  the  main  gun  for 
their  M3  and  M4  tank  series.  In  France 
the  75  was  updated  to  Canon  de  75 
modele  1897/33  standard  with  a new 
split  trail  carriage,  but  by  1939  there 
were  few  of  these  in  service. 

In  the  shambles  of  May  and  June 

1940  huge  numbers  of  75s  fell  into  the 
hands  of  the  Germans,  who  were  only 
too  happy  to  use  many  of  them  for  their 
own  purposes  as  the  7.5-cm  FK  231(f) 
or,  more  commonly,  as  the  7.5-cm  FK 
97(f).  At  first  many  were  issued  to 
occupation  garrisons  and  second-line 
formations,  while  others  were  later  in- 
corporated into  the  beach  defences  of 
the  Atlantic  Wall.  Many  more  were 
stockpiled  ready  to  be  on  hand  when 
some  use  could  be  found  for  them.  That 
came  during  1941  when  it  was  discov- 
ered the  hard  way  that  the  armour  of 
the  T-34/76  Soviet  tank  was  invulner- 
able to  nearly  all  the  German  anti-tank 
weapons.  As  a hasty  stopgap  impro- 
visation the  stockpiled  75s  were  taken 
from  the  storerooms,  fitted  with  streng- 
thening bands  around  the  barrel  and 
placed  on  5-cm  Pak  38  anti-tank  gun 
carriages.  A muzzle  brake  was  fitted 
and  special  armour-piercing  (AP) 
ammunition  was  hastily  produced,  the 
results  were  rushed  to  the  Eastern 
Front  and  there  they  proved  just  cap- 
able of  tackling  the  Soviet  tank  armour. 
This  rushed  improvisation  was  known 
to  the  Germans  as  the  7.5-cm  Pak  97/38 
and  was  really  too  powerful  for  the 

The  Canon  de  75  mie  1897 was  still  in 
widespread  service  in  1939;  this 
example  has  been  fitted  with  large 
pneumatic  tyres  for  mechanized 
traction.  Not  all  World  War  11 
examples  were  so  fitted,  butin  any 
form  the  old  75  was  still  a viable  field 
gun  in  1939  and  went  on  to  serve  with 
the  Germans  after  1940. 

Righ  t:  French  gunners  after  a range 
training  session.  These  75shaveall 
been  fitted  with  the  large  pneumatic 
tyres,  but  still  retain  the  original  1897 
carriage  and  shield.  Note  the  lug 
under  themuzzle  that  engaged  with 
the  recoil  cylinder  at  full  recoil. 

light  anti-tank  gun  carriage,  but  it 
worked  for  the  period  until  proper 
anti-tank  guns  arrived  on  the  scene. 

The  7.5cm  Pak  97/38  was  not  the 
only  war-time  development  of  the  75, 
for  later  the  Americans  developed  the 
75  to  the  stage  where  it  could  be  car- 
ried in  North  American  B-25  bombers 
as  an  anti-ship  weapon. 

After  1945  the  75  lingered  on  with 
many  armies,  and  it  would  not  be  sur- 
prising if  it  is  still  in  service  here  and 
there.  In  its  day  it  was  an  excellent 
artillery  piece  that  well  deserved  its 
famous  reputation. 

Canon  de  75  modele  1897 
Calibre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2 . 72m(  1 07 . 08  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1970kg(4,343  lb) 
and  in  action  1140  kg  (2,514  lb) 
Elevation:-!  l°to-F  18° 

Traverse:  6° 

Muzzle  velocity:  575  m(l,886ft)per 


Range:  11110m(  12,140yards) 

Shell  weight:  6 . 1 95  kg  ( 1 3 .66  lb) 

Below :Not  all  the  mie  1897 guns  were 
fitted  with  tyres  for  pneumatic 
traction,  as  demonstrated  by  this 
example  on  tow  behind  a Citroen- 
Regresse  halftrack. 



I I CanondelOSmie  1913  Schneider 

In  the  first  decade  of  this  century  the 
French  Schneider  concern  took  over 
the  Russian  Putilov  armaments  factory 
as  part  of  a deliberate  plan  of  commer- 
cial expansion.  Putilov  had  for  long 
been  the  main  Russian  armament  con- 
cern, but  during  the  early  1900s  had 
been  restricted  in  its  expansionist 
ideas  by  the  backwardness  of  the  Rus- 
sian commercial  scene,  so  the  infusion 
of  French  capital  was  a decided 

Among  the  designs  found  on  the 
Putilov  drawing  boards  was  an  adv- 
anced design  of  107-mm  (4.21  -in)  field 
gun  that  appeared  to  offer  consider- 
able increase  in  range  and  efficiency 
over  comparable  models.  Schneider 
eagerly  developed  the  model  and 
offered  it  to  the  French  army,  which 
was  at  first  not  interested  as  the  75  was 
all  it  required  and  there  was  no  need 
for  heavier  weapons.  But  eventually 
the  Schneider  sales  approach  trium- 
phed and  in  1913  the  Russian  design 
was  adopted  by  the  French  army  as 
the  Canon  de  105  modele  1913 
Schneider,  more  usually  known  as  the 
L 13  S.  The  events  of  1914  rammed 
home  to  the  French  the  fact  that  the  75 
was  not  capable  of  supplying  all  the 
artillery  fire  support  required,  and  that 
heavier  guns  would  be  necessary. 
Thus  the  L 13  S was  placed  in  a higher 
priority  bracket  and  large  numbers 
began  to  roll  off  the  Schneider  produc- 
tion lines. 

Between  1914  and  1918  the  L 13  S 
provided  sterling  service.  It  was  a 

handsome  gun  with  a long  barrel  and  a 
conventional  box  trail  that  provided 
enough  elevation  for  the  15.74-kg 
(34.7-lb)  shell  to  reach  a range  of 
12000  m (13,130  yards).  After  1918  the  L 
13  S became  a French  export  as  it  was 
either  sold  or  handed  on  to  numerous 
armies  under  French  influence.  These 
nations  included  Belgium,  Poland  and 
Yugoslavia  but  it  was  in  Italy  that  the  L 
13  S achieved  its  main  market  penetra- 
tion, There  the  L 13  S became  the  Can- 
none  da  105/28,  and  it  remained  one  of 
the  main  field  guns  of  the  Italian  forces 
until  1943,  The  Poles  modified  their  L 
13  S guns  to  take  a new  spht  trail  de- 
sign, and  this  armata  wz  29  was  in  ser- 
vice when  the  Germans  attacked  in 

After  1940  the  Germans  found  that 
the  L 1 3 S was  a viable  weapon  and  out 
of  the  854  still  in  French  service  in  May 
1940  they  captured  many  that  were  still 
intact.  Large  numbers  were  handed 
over  to  various  occupation  units  but  it 
was  not  until  1941  that  a real  use  was 
found  for  the  bulk  of  the  booty.  When 
the  Atlantic  Wall  was  ready  to  be 

armed  the  L 13  S was  decided  upon  as 
one  of  the  primary  weapons  to  be 
used.  There  were  enough  on  hand  to 
become  a standard  weapon,  and  there 
were  stockpiles  of  ammunition  ready 
for  use.  Thus  the  L 13  S became  the 
German  10.5-cm  K 331(f)  and  was 
ready  to  play  its  most  important  part  in 
World  War  II.  Ex-Belgian  guns  were 
designated  10.5-cm  K 333(b). 

The  Germans  took  the  guns  off  their 
carriages  and  mounted  them  on  spe- 
cial turntables  protected  by  curved  or 
angled  armour  shields.  These  were 
placed  in  bunkers  all  along  the  French 
and  other  coasts,  and  many  of  the 
bunkers  can  still  be  seen  among  the 
Atlantic  sand  dunes  to  this  day.  As  a 
beach  defence  gun  the  L 13  S was 
more  than  suitable,  and  the  bunkers 
were  hard  nuts  for  any  attacking  force 
to  crack.  Fortunately  the  Normandy 
landings  of  June  1944  bypassed  most  of 
these  bunkers.  Not  all  the  guns  in  these 
bunkers  were  directly  ex-French; 
some  found  their  way  into  the  defences 
from  as  far  away  as  Yugoslavia  and 
Poland.  Captured  guns  used  by  the 

T he  Canor?  c/e  /OS  m /e  19 13  had  its 
origins  in  a P?uss/an  design,  but  it  was 
a thoroughlymodem  weapon  that 

Mvasstingoodin  /939-45.  Despite  its 

age  (1913)  it  was  a good-looking  gun 
with  a good  performance,  and  after 
the  occupying  German  army. 

Germans  were  the  10.5-cm  K 338(i) 
and  10.5-cm  K 338  (j)  Italian  and  Yugos- 
lav weapons,  while  unmodified  and 
modified  Polish  weapons  were  the 
10.5-cm  K 13  (p)  and  10.5-cm  K 29  (p) 



Calibre:  105  mm  (4. 134  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.987  m(l  17.6  in) 
Weight:  travelling  2650  kg  (5,843  lb) 
and  in  action  2300  kg  (5,0%  lb) 
Elevation:-0°  to-r37° 

Traverse:  6° 

Muzzle  velocity:  550m(l,805  ft)per 

Range:  1 2000  m ( 1 3 , 1 3 0 yards) 
SheUweight:  15.74kg(34,71b)for 
Erenchgunsand  16.24kg(35,81b)for 
Italian  guns 


II  Canon  de  105 

By  the  mid- 1930s  the  Erench  artillery 
park  was  beginning  to  take  on  the 
appearance  of  an  antique  supermar- 
ket. The  vast  bulk  of  the  weapons  in 
service  were  items  retained  from 
World  War  I,  and  if  not  already  obso- 
lete were  at  best  obsolescent.  Most  of 
the  weapons  involved  were  75s,  which 
despite  their  one-time  excellence  had 
their  limitations  by  the  1930s  and  were 
also  unable  to  produce  the  plunging 
fire  that  was  so  often  required  when 
attacking  fixed  defences.  Thus  the 
need  was  forecast  for  a new  field  piece 
capable  of  easy  transport  for  the  sup- 
port of  mechanized  forces,  and  two 
weapons  were  produced  as  the  result 
of  this  forecast. 

The  first  was  a weapon  known  as  the 
Canon  de  105  court  modele  1934  S,  It 
was  a Schneider  design  which  was  en- 
tirely orthodox  in  design  and  appear- 
ance yet  possessing  a relatively  short 
barrel.  Although  the  mie  1934  was  de- 
signated a gun,  it  had  more  in  common 
with  a howitzer.  The  mie  1934  was 
ordered  into  production,  but  only  at  a 
low  priority  as  more  was  expected  of  a 
slightly  better  design. 

The  better  design  was  a product  of 
the  state-run  Atelier  Bourges  and 
appeared  during  1935,  hence  the  de- 
signation Canon  de  105  court  Modele 
1935  B (court,  for  short,  and  B for 

court  mie  1935  B 

Bourges).  The  mie  1935  was  a very 
advanced  design  for  its  day,  and  it  too 
had  a relatively  short  barrel,  shorter  in 
fact  even  than  that  of  its  Schneider 
equivalent.  The  carriage  had  a spht 
trail  which,  when  opened,  also  splayed 
the  wheels  outwards  to  improve  crew 
protection.  Once  spread  the  trails 
were  held  in  place  with  large  spades 
that  were  pushed  down  into  the 
ground  through  the  trail  extremities. 

The  wheels  could  be  either  large  steel 
items  with  sohd  rims  or  more  modem 
designs  with  pneumatic  tyres  for  tow- 
ing by  Laffly  tractors.  The  rate  of  fire 
was  about  15  rounds  per  minute,  which 
was  quite  high  for  a weapon  of  its 

The  mie  1935  was  ordered  into  pro- 
duction, but  this  was  slow  to  the  extent 
that  although  610  were  initially 
ordered  this  total  was  never  reached. 
Instead  production  was  terminated  in 
1940  in  order  to  permit  the  churning 
out  of  more  anti-tank  guns,  which  were 
by  then  realized  as  having  a higher 
operational  priority.  Thus  there  were 
only  232  mie  1935s  in  service  when  the 
Germans  attacked  in  May  1940  (and 
only  144  of  the  Schneider  mie  1934s),  In 
action  they  proved  to  be  excellent  lit- 
tle field  pieces,  so  much  so  that  the  I 
Germans  took  over  as  many  as  they  i 
could.  The  Germans  recognized  the 

mie  1935  for  what  it  was  and  gave  it  a 
howitzer  designation  as  the  10.5-cm 
leEH  325(f).  The  weapons  were  used 
for  training  purposes  and  by  various 
second-line  occupation  units.  Some 
have  been  recorded  as  being  incorpo- 
rated into  various  coastal  and  beach 
defences.  The  mie  1934  became  the 
10.5-cm  leFH  324(f). 


Canon  de  105  court  mie  1935  B 
Calibre:  105  mm  (4, 1 34  in) 

Length  of  piece:  1.76  m (69.3  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1700  kg  (3,748  lb) 

and  in  action  1627  kg  (3,587  lb) 

Traverse:  58° 

Muzzle  velocity:  442  m(  1450 ft)  per 

Range:  10300  m ( 1 1 ,270  yards) 

Shell  weight:  15,7  kg  (34.62  lb) 

This  photo  graph  of  a Canon  de  105 
mie  1 935  B provides  a good 
indication  of  how  the  steel  carriage 
wheels  were  'toed  in  'to  provide 
extra  protection  for  the  carriage  and 
gun  crew. 



P*  105-mm  Howitzer  M2A1  - Carriage  M2A2 

When  the  USA  entered  W orld  War  I in 
1917  the  US  Army  was  poorly  equip- 
ped with  artillery  and  once  in  France 
was  issued  mainly  with  French  or  Brit- 
ish equipments,  The  Americans  de- 
cided to  egmp  themselves  properly 
with  the  French  75'  and  began  produc- 
tion in  the  USA  for  their  own  use.  Pro- 
duction was  just  getting  under  way 
when  the  war  ended,  leaving  the  US 
Army  with  a huge  stockpile  of  75s  that 
was  to  last  them  until  1942,  Thus  when 
an  investigating  body  met  to  report  on 
the  future  equipments  for  the  US  Army 
the  findings  oftheir  initial  reports  were 
not  implemented. 

The  investigating  body  was  the 
its  recommendations  was  the  desira- 
bility of  a 105-mm  (4,13-in)  howitzer.  At 
the  time  little  was  done  to  put  the  sug- 
gestions into  practice,  so  it  was  not 
until  1939  that  the  design  of  the  pro- 
posed howitzer  was  completed.  The 
weapon  was  placed  into  production 
the  following  year  and  thereafter  the 
105-mm  Howitzer  M2  A 1 poured  off  the 
American  production  lines  in 

The  M2A1  was  destined  to  become 
one  of  the  most  widely  used  of  all 
American  weapons  in  WorldWar  II.  A 
measure  of  its  success  can  be  seen  in 
the  fact  that  it  is  still  in  widespread 
service  in  this  decade,  and  even  now 
some  production  batches  are  still  run 

The  M2A1  was  an  orthodox  piece  of 
artillery  with  little  of  note  in  its  overall 
design.  The  associated  Carriage 
M2A2  was  a split-trail  design  with  the 
gun  assembly  mounted  in  such  a way 
that  the  centre  of  balance  was  just  for- 
ward of  the  breech.  The  weapon  was 
never  intended  for  animal  traction  and 
so  was  fitted  with  rubber-tyred  wheels 
from  the  outset.  Overall  the  weapon 
was  heavy  for  its  calibre,  but  this 
meant  that  strength  was  so  'built-in  that 
the  howitzer  never  seemed  to  wear 
out.  The  barrel  and  carriage  could 
take  enormously  hard  use  and  still 

The  M2A1  was  used  in  all  theatres 
where  the  US  forces  fought,  from 
Europe  to  the  Pacific.  Throughout  the 
war  years  the  basic  design  was  the 
subject  of  numerous  trials  and  im- 
provements, and  the  ammunition 
underwent  the  same  development 
process.  By  the  time  the  war  ended  the 
range  of  ammunition  fired  by  the  M2  A 1 
ranged  from  the  usual  HE  through  to 
propaganda-leaflet  shells,  various 
smoke  marker  shells  and  tear  gas 
shells.  Not  all  of  the  105-mm  (4,13-in) 
howitzers  were  towed.  Some  were 
placed  on  various  self-propelled  car- 
riages, one  of  the  most  widely  used 
being  the  M7,  known  to  the  British  gun- 
ners who  used  it  for  a while  as  the 
'Priest^  Later,  Sherman  tank  chassis 
were  used  to  mount  the  howitzer,  and 
there  was  at  least  one  attempt  to  mount 
the  M2A1  on  a half-track.  Thus  the 
M2A1  was  able  to  provide  fire  support 
for  armoured  formations  as  well  as  in- 
fantry formations,  and  was  among  the 
first  such  weapons  to  provide  mobile 

T/ie  howitzer  that  was  to  become  the 
105 -mm  M2 A1  was  planned  during 
1919,  but  the  first  example  was  not 
ready  until  1939.  Thereafter  it  was 
produced  in  thousands  and  became 
the  standard  US  Army field  artillery 
howitzer.  Rugged  and  basically 
simple,  it  was  able  to  withstand  all 
manner  of  use. 

fire  support,  even  though  many  others 
had  undergone  trials  for  the  task. 
Post- war  the  M2  A 1 was  given  a later 
form  of  designation  (it  is  now  the  M 1 02) 
and  it  is  still  a front-line  weapon  with 
theUS  Army  and  ofthe  armiesofmanv 
other  nations.  It  is  still  used  as  a yard- 
stick by  which  other  artillery  designs 
are  measured. 

Right:A105-mmHowitzerM2Al  in 
action  during  the  Korean  War. 
Although  taken  in  1950,  this 
photograph  could  be  typical  ofmany 
actions  in  which  the  howitzer  was 
used  in  World  Warll.  TheM2Al  was 
eventually  re-designatedM102,  and 
it  is  still  in  service  with  the  US  Army 

Below:  105mm  HowitzerM2Als  on  a 
training  range.  In  the  foreground  is  a 
37 -mm  (1.45 -in)  sub-calibre  barrel 
that  was  used  mounted  over  the 
barrel  during  training  to  decrease 
costs  by  firing  smaller  calibre  and 
cheaper  amm  unition  and  to  reduce 
wear  and  tear  on  the  full-calibre 
howitzer  barrels. 

Howitzer  M2  A1 
Calibre:  105  mm  (4. 134  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.574m(101.35  in) 
Weight:  travelling  and  in  action 
1934  kg  (4,260  lb) 

Elevation:  -5°  to  -i-65° 

Traverse:  46° 

Muzzle  velocity:  472  m (1,550  ft)  per 

Range:  11430m  (12,500  yards) 

SheU  weight:  14.97  kg  (3j  lb) 


1^  Cannone  da  75/27  modello  06  and 
Cannone  da  75/27  modello  11 

One  of  the  most  elderly  of  all  field  artil- 
lery pieces  still  in  service  during 
World  War  II  was  the  Italian  army's 
Cannone  da  75/27  modello  06  (gun  of 
75  mm,  27  calibres  long,  model  1906,  in 
the  standard  way  of  inte^reting  Italian 
artillery  designations).  This  was  origi- 
nally a German  Krupp  export  model 
adopted  by  the  Italian  army  in  1906 
and  retained  thereafter  until  1943. 

The  original  Krupp  designation  was 
M.06,  and  the  weapon  was  an  entirely 
orthodox  design  with  little  of  note  other 
than  a sound  and  sturdy  construction. 
The  carriage  used  a form  of  one-piece 
pole  trail  which  restricted  elevation 
and  thus  range,  but  for  all  that  the  75/27 
still  had  a useful  range  for  a field  gun. 
Not  surprisingly,  the  original  models 
had  wooden  spoked  wheels  for  horse 
traction,  but  bv  1940  some  had  been 
modified  to  take  all-steel  wheels  and 
rubber  tyres  for  powered  traction,  and 
it  was  this  model  that  was  most  usually 
encountered  outside  the  Itahan  main- 
land. The  steel-wheeled  gun  was 
widely  used  throughout  the  North  Afri- 
can and  other  Italian  colonial  cam- 
paigns, and  was  at  one  point  issued  to 
German  field  batteries  in  North  Africa 
when  their  own  equipment  was  not 
available.  The  Germans  even  supplied 
the  75/27  with  their  own  designation. 

An  American  soldier  examines  a 
captured  Cannone  da  75/27modello 
1 1.  This  had  a barrel  that  elevated 
independently  of  its  recoil 

7.5-cm  FK  237(i).  So  widespread  was 
the  use  of  the  75/27  modello  06  in  Italian 
service  that  there  were  even  special 
versions  produced  for  use  infixedfor- 

The  modello  06  was  not  the  only  75/ 
27  in  Italian  service.  To  confuse  mat- 
ters somewhat  there  was  also  a Can- 
none da  75/27  modello  11.  This  was 
another  licence-built  gun,  this  time 
from  a French  source,  namely  the  De- 
port design  centre.  The  75/2/  modello 
1 1 had  one  unique  feature,  namely  the 
original  design  of  recoil  and  recuper- 
ator mechanism.  On  nearly  all  artillery 
pieces  the  recoil/recuperator 
mechanism  is  situated  alongside  the 
barrel,  either  above  or  below  it  and  in 
some  cases  both.  On  the  modello  11 
the  mechanism  stayed  in  the  horizontal 
position  and  the  barrel  elevated  inde- 
pendently. The  operation  of  the  sys- 
tem was  in  no  way  impaired,  but  this 
feature  did  not  catch  on  with  other  de- 
signers and  soon  fell  into  abeyance. 

Nevertheless  the  modello  11  was 
still  in  widespread  Itahan  service  in 

1940  and  was  used  mainly  in  support  of 
cavalry  units,  although  some  were 
issued  to  field  batteries.  As  with  the 
modello  06  some  were  modified  to 
take  steel  wheels  with  rubber  tyres  for 
powered  traction  and  some  were  also 
used  by  the  Germans  at  one  time  or 
another  as  the  7.5-cm  FK  244(i). 


Cannone  da  75/27  modello  06 
Cahbre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.25  m (88.6  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1080  kg  (2,381  lb) 
and  in  action  1015  kg  (2,238  lb) 
Elevation: -10°  to -I- 16° 

Traverse:  7° 

Muzzle  velocity:  502 m(  1 ,647  ft)  per 

Range:  10240  m ( 1 1 ,200  yards) 

SheU  weight:  6,35  kg  (14  lb) 


Cannone  da  75/27  modello  1 1 
Calibre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2. 132  m (83,93  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1900  kg  (4,190  lb) 
and  in  action  1076  kg  (2,3/3  lb) 
Elevation:-15°  to-i-65° 

Traverse:  52° 

Muzzle  velocity:  502m(  1,647  ft)per 

Range:  10240  m ( 1 1 ,200  yards) 

Shefl  weight:  6.35  kg  (14  lb) 


Obice  da  75/18  modello  35 
Calibre:  75  mm  (195  in) 

Length  of  piece:  1 .557  m (6 1 .3  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1850  kg  (4,080  lb) 
andm  action  1050  kg  (2,315  lb) 

In  contrast  to  many  other  Italian 
artillery  pieces  ofWorld  War  II  the 
Obice  da  75/1 8 modello  35  was  a very 
modern  and  handy  little  field  piece. 
Designed  by  Ansaldo,  it  was  the  field 
howitzer  version  of  a mountain 
howitzer  design  and  thus  lacked  the 
ability  to  be  broken  down  into 
several  pack  loads. 

Elevation: -10°  to-i-45° 

Traverse:  50° 

Muzzle  velocity:  425  m (1,395  ft)  per 

Range:  9565  m (10,460  yards) 

Shefl  weight:  6 .4  kg  ( 1 4.  lib ) 


l°l  Obice  da  75/1 8 modello  35 

Ever  since  the  establishment  of  Italy  as 
a nation,  a certain  sector  of  its  armed 

forces  has  associated  itself  with  the 
^ecialized  art  of  mountain  warfare, 
ms  has  included  the  provision  of  spe- 
cial types  of  artillery  adapted  for  the 
mountainrole.  Many  of  these  mountain 
artillery  pieces  came  from  the  Austrian 
firm  of  Skoda,  andduring  World  Warl 
the  Itahans  were  happily  firing  Aus- 
trian mountain  guns  at  their  former 
surlier  s. 

By  the  1930s  much  of  this  mountain 
artillery  material  was  obsolescent  and 
overdue  for  replacement.  The  Italian 
firm  Ansaldo  tnus  undertook  to  pro- 
duce a new  mountain  howitzer  design. 
By  1934  this  had  emerged  as  the  Obice 
da  75/18  modello  34,  a sound  and  thor- 
oughly useful  little  howitzer  that  was 
intended  for  the  mountain  role  and 
could  thus  be  broken  down  into  eight 
loads  for  transport.  In  the  interests  of 
standardization  and  logistics  it  was  de- 
cided that  the  75/18  was  just  what  was 
required  as  the  light  howitzer  compo- 
nent of  the  normal  field  batteries,  and 
thus  the  weapon  was  ordered  for  them 
as  well,  but  this  time  with  a more  ortho- 
dox carriage  with  no  provision  for 
being  broken  down  into  loads.  This 
field  version  became  the  Obice  da  75/ 
18  modello  35. 

The  modello  35  was  ordered  into 
full-scale  production  but  like  its  con- 
temporary, the  modello  37  gun,  could 
not  oe  produced  in  the  numbers  re- 
quired. This  was  despite  the  fact  that 
the  carriage  used  by  the  modello  35 
howitzer  had  many  features  in  com- 
mon with  the  later  modello  37  gun,  and 
the  same  barrel  and  recoil  mechanism 
as  that  used  for  the  mountain  howitzer 
was  carried  over  to  the  field  howitzer 

The  supply  situation  was  not  eased 
in  any  way  by  the  need  for  the  Italians 
to  sell  the  modeUo  35  abroad  in  order 


to  obtain  foreign  currency.  In  1940  a 
sizable  batch  was  sold  to  Portugal,  and 
more  went  to  some  South  American 
states  to  pay  for  raw  materials.  More 
production  capacity  was  diverted  to 
the  production  of  versions  for  use  on 
various  forms  of  Italian  semoven/e 
(self-propelled)  carriages,  but  very 
few  of  these  ever  reached  the  troops. 
Those  that  did  proved  to  be  as  efficient 
as  any  of  the  comparable  German 
Sturmgeschutze  (assault  guns). 

After  1943  the  Germans  took  the 
modello  35  under  their  control  as  swift- 
ly as  they  took  over  the  rest  of  the 
available  Italian  gun  parks,  and  the 
little  howitzers  took  on  a new  guise  as 
the  7.5-cm  leFh255(i). 

Italian  gunners  undergo  training  on 
an  Obice  da  75/1 8 modello  35.  The 
box  by  the  wheel  con  tained  the 
sights,  not  ammunition.  That  no 
firing  was  intended  can  be  deduced 
by  the  fact  that  a dust  cover  is  still  in 
place  over  the  muzzle.  The  small  size 
of  this  howitzer  can  be  clearly  seen. 


Cannone  da  75/32  modello  37 

When  Italy  emerged  from  World  War  I 
its  economy,  never  particularly  sound, 
was  in  no  state  to  support  a rearma- 
ment programme,  and  thus  the 
weapons  ofWorld  War  I were  bulked 
out  by  reparations  from  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  Empire,  and  the  army  was 
otherwise  left  to  cope  with  what  it 
already  had.  By  the  1930s  even  the 
large  numbers  of  weapons  at  hand 
were  seen  to  be  no  real  answer  to 
more  modern  designs,  so  a program- 
me of  new  weapon  design  was  under- 
taken. The  first  weapons  to  be  consi- 
dered were  those  of  the  field  artillery, 
and  thus  the  first  post-war  artillery  de- 
sign to  be  introduced  since  1918  was  a 
field  gun,  the  Cannone  da  75/32  mod- 

This  new  gun  was  an  Ansaldo  de- 
sign. It  was  a good,  sound  and  modern 
idea  that  was  intended  from  the  outset 
for  powered  traction,  it  had  a long  bar- 
rel fitted  with  a muzzle  brake,  and  had 
a high  enough  muzzle  velocity  that  it 
could  be  usefully  employed  on  occa- 
sion as  an  anti-tank  weapon.  When  the 
split  trail  was  deployed  it  provided  a 
traverse  of  50°,  which  was  no  doubt 
useful  in  armoured  warfare,  but  this 
was  rather  negated  by  the  use  of  large 
trail  spades  that  were  hammered 
down  into  the  ground  through  the  trail 
legs,  and  thus  a rapid  change  of 

traverse  angle  was  not  easy.  Even  with 
this  slight  disadvantage  the  modello  37 
was  a very  useful  field  gun  and  the 
Italian  gunners  clamoured  for  as  many 
as  they  could  get. 

Unfortunately  they  clamoured  in 
vain,  for  Italian  industry  was  in  no  posi- 
tion to  provide  the  numbers  required. 
There  was  quite  simply  no  industrial 
potential  to  spare  to  produce  the  guns 
and  all  the  raw  materials,  or  at  least  the 
bulk  of  them,  had  to  be  imported.  Thus 
gun  production  had  to  get  under  way  at 
a time  when  all  other  arms  of  the  Italian 
forces  were  in  the  process  of  re- 
armament; the  air  force  was  given  a 
far  higher  degree  of  priority  than  the 
artillery,  and  the  Itahan  navy  was  also 
absorbing  a large  proportion  of  the 
few  available  manufacturing  and  raw 
material  resources.  So  demand  for  the 
modello  37  constantly  exceeded  supp- 
ly, and  by  1943  most  of  the  Italian  artil- 
lery park  was  still  made  up  of  weapons 
that  dated  from  World  War  I or  even 

In  1943  the  Italians  changed  sides. 
The  Germans  had  already  noted  the 
finer  points  of  the  modello  37  and  as  the 
Italian  nation  withdrew  from  the  Axis 
the  Germans  swiftly  moved  in  to  take 
over  the  Italian  armoury,  or  at  least  as 
much  of  it  as  they  could  lay  their  hands 
on.  In  this  grab  for  possession  large 

numbers  of  modello  37s  on  the  Italian 
mainland  changed  their  designation  to 

7.5-cm  EK  248(i).  The  Germans  used 
their  booty  until  the  war  ended,  not 
only  in  Italy  but  also  in  the  confused 
campaigns  against  Yugoslav  partisan 


Cannone  da  75/32  modello  37 
Cahbre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2,574  m ( 101.3  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1250kg  (2,756  lb) 
and  in  action  1200  kg  (2,646  lb) 

Tht  Cannone  ddi  75/32  modello  37 
was  another  Ansaldo  design,  and 
was  a good  modern  weapon  that 
could  stand  comparison  with  any  of 
its  contemporaries.  Its  main  fault  for 
the  Italian  army  was  that  there  was 
never  enough  of  them.  After  1943  the 
Germans  took  over  as  many  as  they 
could  find  for  their  own  use. 

Traverse:  50° 

Muzzle  velocity:  624  m (2,050  ft)  per 

Range:  12500  m (13,675  yards) 

SheU  weight:  6.3  kg  ( 13.9  lb) 


lid  Skoda  76.5-mm  kanon  vz  30  and  100-mm  houfnice  vz  30 

When  the  Austro-Hungarian  Empire 
vanished  in  the  aftermath  of  World 
War  I,  the  new  state  of  Czechoslovakia 
was  left  with  the  huge  Skoda  arms 
manufacturing  complex  at  Pilsen.  Con- 
sequently the  Czech  state  became  a 
maj  or  supplier  of  all  manner  of  arms  to 
the  Central  European  nations,  but  in 
the  years  after  1919  the  arms  market 
was  still  sated  with  the  residue  of 
World  War  I.  The  only  way  to  break 
into  the  market  was  to  offer  something 
that  was  not  already  in  the  market  and 
by  1928  the  Skoda  gun  designers  de- 
cided that  they  had  found  such  a 

What  the  Skoda  designers  disco- 
vered was  that  there  was  a definite 
market  for  a gun  that  could  be  all  things 
to  all  men.  Their  suggestion  was  for  a 
field  gun  with  a high  angle  of  barrel 
elevation  that  would  enable  it  to  be 
used  as  an  anti-aircraft  gun,  or  as  an 
alternative  act  as  a useful  mountain 
gun.  At  that  time  the  limitations  im- 
posed by  the  requirements  of  the  anti- 
aircraft weapon  were  still  not  fully 
appreciated  so  the  new  Skoda  propos- 
al met  with  some  interest.  The  new 
weapon  was  produced  in  two  forms, 
one  as  a 75-mm  (2.95-in)  field  gun/anti- 
aircraft gun  and  the  other  as  a 100-mm 
(3.93  -in)  howitzer  that  could  be  used  in 
a mountain  role. 

The  first  two  weapons  of  this  type 
were  known  as  the  75-mm  kanon  vz  28 
(vzor,  or  model)  and  100-mm  vz  28  as 
they  were  produced  during  1928.  Both 
types  found  ready  markets  in  Yugosla- 
via and  in  Romania,  Both  weapons 
used  a conventional  enough  carriage 
in  appearance  but  what  was  not  im- 
mediately obvious  was  that  the  barrel 
could  be  elevated  to  an  angle  of  -i-80°. 
A firing  table  could  be  placed  under 
the  spoked  wheel  carriage  enabling 
the  barrel  to  be  traversed  rapidly  in 
order  to  follow  aerial  targets.  Needless 
to  say  the  performance  of  the  guns 

against  aircraft  targets  was  less  than 
satisfactory  for  by  the  late  1920s  it  was 
formally  being  recognized  that  there 
was  more  to  anti-aircraft  firing  than 
merely  pointing  a muzzle  skywards; 
but  as  a field  and  mountain  gun  the  vz 
28  weapons  were  more  than  adequate 
and  the  anti- aircraft  role  was  dropped. 
Instead  the  multi-role  feature  was 
emphasized  by  making  the  carriage 
easy  to  dismantle  into  three  loads  that 
could  be  carried  on  three  horse- 
drawn  carts  for  the  mountain  warfare 

In  1930  the  Czech  army  decided  to 
adopt  the  two  Skoda  weapons  as  their 
vz  30  guns.  The  main  change  from  the 
export  models  was  that  the  calibre  of 
the  gun  was  altered  to  76,5mm 
(3,01  in)  to  suit  the  standard  Czech 
calibre  requirements,  resulting  in  the 

76.5-mm  kanon  vz  30,  The  lOO-mm 
houfnice  vz  30  was  fitted  with  a new 
pattern  of  rubber-tyred  wheels  and 
the  result  was  a more  than  adequate 
field  gun  and  howitzer  combination  to 
arm  the  field  batteries  of  the  Czech 

Tnese  weapons  never  got  a chance 
to  prove  their  worth  in  Czech  hands. 
The  events  of  1938  and  1939  meant  that 
the  Germans  were  able  to  take  over 
the  large  Czech  army  gun  parks  and 
the  assets  of  the  Skoda  complex  at 
Pilsen  without  a shot  being  fired.  All 
the  Czech  guns  and  the  bulk  of  the 
various  export  models  eventually 
found  their  way  into  German  army  ser- 
vice and  Skoda  was  forced  to  supply 

TheSkoda  76.5mm  kanon  vz30  was 
an  attempt  to  produce  a field  gun 
with  enough  barrel  elevation  for  it  to 
be  used  as  an  anti-aircraft  gun.  While 
it  was  a sound  enough  field  gun,  it 
proved  to  be  oflittle  use  as  an  anti- 
aircraft weapon,  but  the  type  was 
used  by  the  Czechoslovak  and  other 

ammunition,  spares  and  even  more 
guns  for  German  army  requirements. 
In  German  service  the  7.65-cm  EK  30(t) 
guns  and  10-cm  leEH  30(t)  howitzers 
were  used  by  all  manner  of  units  from 
front-line  batteries  to  beach  defence 
positions  on  the  Atlantic  Wall.  They 
provided  excellent  service  wherever 
they  were,  but  not  as  anti  - aircraft  guns. 


76.5-mm  vz  30 
Cahbre:  76.5  mm  (3.01  in) 

Length  of  piece:  3.606  m (120,47  in) 
Weight:  travelling  2977  kg  (6,564  lb) 
and  in  action  1816  kg  (4,004  lb) 
Elevation:-8°  to-r80° 

Traverse:  8° 

Muzzle  velocity  :600m(  l,968ft)per 

Range:  13505  m(  14,770  yards) 

SheU  weight:  8 kg  ( 1 7 . 64  lb) 

100-mm  vz  30 
Calibre:  100  mm  (3.93  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  2.5  m(98,4  in) 
Weight:  travelling  3077  kg  (6,785  lb) 
and  in  action  1766  kg  (3,894  lb) 
Elevation:-8°  to-i-80° 

Traverse:  8° 

Muzzle  velocity:  430m(l,410ft)per 

Range:  16000  m (17,500  yards) 

SheU  weight:  16  kg  (35.28  lb) 



Skoda  100-mmhoufnicevz  14andhoufnicevz  14/19 

In  the  days  of  the  Austro-Hungarian 
Empire  the  name  of  Skoda  ranked  only 
to  that  of  Krupp  in  European  arma- 
ments manufacture,  and  many  of  the 
old  European  nations  armed  them- 
selves almost  entirely  with  weapons 
produced  at  the  massive  Skoda  works 
at  Pilsen.  By  1914  Skoda's  designs 
were  as  good  as  any  produced  any- 
where, and  the  range  of  weapon  pro- 
ducts was  greater  than  most  as  Skoda 
also  specialized  in  mountain  guns.  One 
of  its  products  was  a 100-mm  (3.93-in) 
mountain  howitzer  mounted  on  a spe- 
cial carriage  that  could  be  broken 
down  into  loads  for  carrying  over  dif- 
ficult terrain,  and  this  weapon 
attracted  the  attention  of  many  armies. 
Unfortunately  they  did  not  like  the  idea 
of  the  special  carriage  which  was 
heavier  than  many  would  want  for  field 
artillery  use  so  a new  field  carriage 
was  produced.  This  was  the  100-mm 
houfnicevz  14. 

The  vz  14  was  destined  to  be  used 
mainly  by  the  Italian  army,  which  re- 
ceived large  numbers  in  the  upheavals 
of  the  break-up  of  the  empire  in  1918 
and  1919.  The  type  became  a standard 
weapon  for  the  Italians  as  the  Obice  da 
100/17  modello  14,  and  was  still  in  ser- 
vice in  1940  in  large  numbers.  The 
numbers  involved  were  so  large  that 
the  Italians  produced  their  own  spare 
parts  and  ammunition.  The  type  saw 
action  in  North  Africa  and  served  with 
Italian  units  on  the  Eastern  Eront  along- 
side the  Germans,  But  in  1943  the  Ita- 
lians withdrew  from  the  conflict  and 
their  modello  14  howitzers  were  taken 
over  by  the  German  forces  and  re- 
mained in  use  until  1945  under  the  de- 
signation 10-cm  leFH  315  (i),  sup- 
plementing similar  weapons  taken 
over  from  the  Austrians  as  the  10-cm 
leFH  14(o).  The  type  was  also  in  ser- 

vice with  the  Polish  and  Romanian 

When  Skoda  resumed  production 
for  its  new  Czech  owners  the  vz  14  was 
one  of  the  first  weapons  placed  back 
into  production.  However,  the  oppor- 
tunity was  taken  to  modernize  the  de- 
sign, the  main  change  being  to  the  bar- 
rel length  which  was  increased  from 
19  calibres  (L/19)  to  24  calibres  (L/24), 
i.e.  the  length  of  the  barrel  was  in- 
creased to  24  times  that  of  the  calibre 
(10prnmx24  for  2400mm/7ft  10.5m). 
This  improved  the  range,  and  new 
ammunition  was  also  introduced  to 
provide  the  new  design,  soon  known 
as  the  100-mm  houfnice  vz  14/19,  with 
an  improved  all-round  performance. 

The  vz  14/19  was  soon  in  demand 
and  numbers  were  exported  to 
Greece,  Hungary,  Poland  (Haubica  wz 
1914/1919)  and  Yugoslavia  (M.  1914/19). 
Italy  also  acquired  the  parts  to  mod- 
ernize a proportion  of  its  modello  14s 
and  the  Czech  army  also  adopted  the 
vz  14/19  as  one  of  its  standard  field 
pieces.  All  in  all  the  vz  14/19  became 

one  of  the  most  important  Central 
European  field  pieces,  and  by  1939  the 
howitzer  was  in  service  in  numbers 
that  ran  into  the  thousands.  It  was  a 
stout  weapon  with  few  design  frills  and 
it  was  capable  of  prolonged  hard  use. 
Many  Italian  examples  were  fitted  with 
rubber-tyred  wheels  for  motor  traction 
(Obice  da  100/24)  but  even  after  1939 
many  examples  retained  their  original 
spoked  wheels  and  were  pulled  into 
action  by  horse  teams. 

After  1940  many  vz  14/1 9s  passed 
into  German  army  service.  The  Czech 
army  stocks  had  by  then  already  pas- 
sed into  German  hands  as  a result  of 
the  take-overs  of  1938  and  1939  and  the 
vz  14/19  was  widely  used  during  the 
French  campaign  of  May-June  1940  as 
the  10-cm  leFH  14/19(t).  Many  more 
were  used  during  the  initial  stages  of 
the  invasion  of  the  Soviet  Union  during 
1941  but  thereafter  the  vz  14/19s  were 
gradually  relegated  to  second-line  use 
and  many  were  incorporated  into  the 
Atlantic  Wall  defences  where  they  re- 
mained until  1945.  Examples  taken 

The  Skoda  100-mm  houfnice  vz!4 
was  one  of  the  better fieldweapons 
of  the  old  Austro-Hungarian  Empire 
during  World  War  I,  and  went  on  to 
serve  with  many  armies  in  World 
War  II.  By  then  it  had  been  updated 
to  the  vz  14/19  standard  by  several 

over  from  Greece  were  10-cm  leFH 
318(g),  those  from  Poland  10-cm  leFH 
14/19(p)  and  those  from  Yugoslavia  10- 
cm  leFH  3160). 

100-mm  vz  14/19 
Cahbre:  100  mm  (3.93  in) 
Lengthofpiece:2.40m(94.5  in) 

Weight:  travelling  2025  kg  (4,465  lb) 
and  in  action  1505  kg  (3,318  lb) 
Elevation:  -7.5°  to  -h48° 

Traverse:  5.5° 

Muzzle  velocity:  415  m ( 1,362  ft)  per 

Range:  9970  m (10,907  yards) 

Shell  weight:  14kg(30,871b) 

75-mm  Field  Gun  Type  38  (Improved) 

The  Japanese  Field  Gun  Type  38 
dated  back  to  a Krupp  design  of 
1905,  but  by  World  War  II  it  had  been 
modernized  in  several  respects  to 
obtain  the  (Improved)  designation.  It 
was  an  unremarkable  gun,  but  the 
Japanese  were  so  short  of  artillery 
production  facilities  that  the  type 
was  kept  in  service  un  til  1945. 

Field  Gun  Type  38  (Improved)  was  a 
title  given  by  Western  intelligence 
agencies  to  a field  gun  that  was  in 
widespread  use  with  the  Japanese 
field  batteries  between  1935  and  1945. 
The  gun  had  its  origins  in  a Krupp  de- 
sign that  was  obtained  for  licence  pro- 
duction as  far  back  as  1905.  This  was 
the  original  Type  38,  and  during  World 
War  I the  Japanese  had  observed 
enough  of  artillery  developments  else- 
where to  be  able  to  make  improve- 
ments to  the  original  design. 

Perhaps  the  most  obvious  of  these 
Japanese  innovations  was  the  intro- 
duction of  a form  of  box  trail  in  place  of 
the  original  Krupp  pole  trail.  This  in- 
novation made  possible  extra  eleva- 
tion, and  thus  range  was  increased  ac- 
cordingly. Other  alterations  were 
made  to  alter  the  balance  of  the  barrel 
on  its  cradle,  and  yet  more  minor 
changes  were  made  to  the  recoil 
mechanism.  Although  the  updated  gun 
was  given  the  full  title  Field  Gun  Type 
38  (Inmroved)  by  the  Alhes,  by  1941 
few,  if  any,  of  the  Type  38  guns  had 
been  left  unmodified,  so  the  extra  ter- 
minology was  superfluous. 

Despite  the  changes  introduced  to 
the  Type  38  by  the  Japanese,  the  over- 
all design  was  unremarkable,  and  the 
overall  performance  was  also  unim- 
pressive. Throughout  its  service  life 
the  gun  was  never  adapted  for  vehicle 
traction,  so  horse  or  mule  teams  were 
used  right  up  to  1945.  In  appearance 

the  gun  was  archaic,  and  it  was  indeed 
a design  relic  of  a former  era,  main- 
tained in  service  as  the  Japanese  were 
never  able  to  develop  the  industrial 
potential  to  produce  artillery  in  the 
amounts  required.  Although  much 
more  modern  and  powerful  field  guns 
(with  calibres  of  75  mm/2,95  in  and  up- 
wards) were  produced  right  up  to  the 
beginning  of  World  War  II,  they  were 
never  produced  in  numbers  sufficient 
to  permit  the  replacement  of  the  Type 
38.  Thus  Japanese  gunners  were  sad- 
dled with  obsolete  guns  in  default  of 
anything  else. 

During  the  initial  stages  of  the 
Japanese  war  against  the  Chinese  dur- 
ing the  1930s  the  Type  38  proved  more 

than  adequate  for  all  its  required  oper- 
ational tasks,  but  once  the  Alhes  joined 
in  the  conflict  after  1941  things  were 
very  different.  Following  initial  easy 
successes,  the  Japanese  gunners  con- 
stantly found  themselves  outgunned 
by  even  small  forces  of  Allied  artillery, 
and  in  these  circumstances  the  Type 
38  did  not  shine.  In  fact  the  Type  38 
became  something  of  a liability  for, 
being  horse-drawn,  it  was  easily  ren- 
dered immobile  by  enemy  action  or 
terrain  conditions  and  many  precious 
Japanese  guns  were  lost  or  knocked 
out  simply  because  they  could  not  be 
moved  rapidly  enough. 

After  1945  quantities  of  Type  38  guns 
passed  into  the  hands  of  various  forces 

in  South  East  Asia,  some  official  and 
some  unofficial,  and  there  were  re- 
ports of  the  weapon  being  used 
against  French  forces  in  Indo-China 
during  the  late  1940s. 


Field  Gun  Type  38  (Improved) 

Cahbre:  75  mm  (2,95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.286  m (90  in) 

Weight:  travelling  1910  kg  (4,21 1 lb) 
and  in  action  1136  kg  (2,504  lb) 
Elevation:-8°  to-H43° 

Traverse:  7° 

Muzzle  velocity:  603  m ( 1 ,97 8 f t)per 

Range:  11 970  m (13,080 yards) 


Ordnance,  Q.F.,  25- 

throughout  the  rest  of  World  War  II. 

Some  changes  were  made  to  the 
carriage  design  to  suit  local  require- 
ments, A narrower  version  was  de- 
veloped for  jungle  and  airborne  war- 
fare (25-pdr  Mk  2 on  Carriage  25-pdr 
Mk  2)  and  a version  with  a hinged  trail 
(25-pdr  Mk  2 on  Carriage  25-pdr  Mk  3) 
was  produced  to  increase  elevation  for 
hill  warfare.  The  Australians  produced 
a drastic  revision  for  pack  transport, 
and  there  was  even  a naval  version 
mooted  at  one  time.  The  25-pdr  went 
'self-propelled'  in  the  Canadian  Sexton 
carriage  and  there  were  numerous 
trial  and  experimental  versions,  one 
classic  expedient  being  the  stopgap 
mounting  of  1 7 -pdr  anti- tankbarrels  on 
25-pdr  carriages.  Captured  examples 
were  designated  8.76-cm  FK  280(e)  by 
the  Germans. 

The  25-pdr  provided  sterling  ser- 
vice wherever  it  was  used.  It  had  a 
useful  range,  and  the  gun  and  carriage 
proved  capable  of  absorbing  all  man- 
ner of  punishment  and  hard  use.  It  re- 
mained in  service  with  numerous 

THq  British  25-pdr  was  one  of  the 
'classic  'field  artillery  weapons  of 
World  War  II.  It  served  in  all  theatres 
after  1940  and  made  its  initial  mark 
during  the  famous  barrage  at  El 
Alamein.  As  well  as  being  used  as  a 
field  gun,  it  was  atone  tim  e pressed 
into  action  as  an  anti-tank  gun  in  the 
Western  Desert. 

armies  for  many  years  after  1945  andis 
still  in  service  with  many.  The  25-pdr 
was  one  of  those  artillery  pieces  that 
will  go  down  in  history  as  a 'classic', 
and  many  gunners  remember  the 
weapon  with  what  might  almost  be 
termed  affection. 

Ordnance,  Q.F,  25-pdr  Mk  2 
Calibre:  87.6  mm  (3.45  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.40  m (94,5  in) 
Weight:  travelling  and  in  action 
1800  kg  (3,968  lb) 

Elevation:-5°  to+40° 

Traverse:  on  carriage  8° 

Muzzle  velocity:  532  m(  1,745  ft)  per 


Range:  12253  m (13,400  yards) 

Shell  weight:  1 1 .34kg  (25  lb) 

25-pdr  son  a training  range  are 
manned  by  Canadian  gunners,  the 
25-pdr  being  the  standard  field  gun 
for  many  Commonwealth  armies. 
This  photograph  probably  da  tes 
from  mid- 1943. 

The  gun  that  was  to  become  one  of  the 
most  famous  of  all  British  artillery 
pieces  had  its  origins  in  operational 
analysis  after  World  War  I that  indi- 
cated that  it  would  be  possible  to  pro- 
vide the  Royal  Artillery  with  a light 
field  piece  that  could  combine  the 
attributes  of  a gun  and  a howitzer. 
Some  development  work  on  this  con- 
cept was  carried  out  in  the  1920s  and 
1930s,  but  funds  for  the  project  were 
very  limited  and  it  was  not  until  the 
mid-  1930s  that  the  go-ahead  was  given 
to  develop  the  new  weapon  to  replace 
the  British  Army's  ageing  stock  of  18- 
pdr  field  guns  and  114-mm  (4.5-in) 

Since  there  were  large  stocks  of  the 
old  18-pdr  guns  still  around  in  the 
1930s  the  Treasury  dictated  that  some 
way  would  have  to  be  found  to  use 
them.  From  this  came  the  Ordnance, 
O.P.,  25-pdr  Mk  1,  which  was  a new 
barrel  placed  on  an  18-pdr  carriage, 
and  it  was  with  this  gun  that  the  BEF 
went  to  war  in  1939.  The  old  carriages 
had  been  updated  with  new  pneuma- 
tic wheels  and  other  changes  (some 
even  had  split  trails),  but  the  25-pdr 
Mk  1 had  little  chance  to  shine  before 
most  of  them  were  lost  at  Dunkirk. 

By  then  the  25-pdr  Mk  2 on  Carriage 
25-pdr  Mk  1 was  on  the  scene.  This 
was  a purpose-built  weapon  that  was 
intended  to  be  the  full  replacement  for 
the  old  pieces,  and  was  among  the  first 
examples  of  what  can  now  be  de- 
scribed as  a gun-howitzer.  It  used  an 
ammunition  system  with  variable 
charges  but  could  be  used  for  lower- 
register  firing  with  no  loss  in  efficiency. 
The  barrel  itself  was  orthodox  and 

used  a heavy  vertical  sliding  breech 
mechanism,  but  the  carriage  had  some 
unusual  features.  It  was  a humped  box 
trail  carried  on  a circular  firing  table 
that  enabled  one  man  to  make  large 
changes  of  traverse  angle  easily  and 
quicldy.  The  design  was  intended  from 
the  start  for  powered  traction,  the  usual 
tractor  being  one  of  the  large  'Quad' 

Almost  as  soon  as  the  first  25-pdr 
guns  saw  action  in  North  Africa  they 
were  pressed  into  use  as  anti-tank 
guns.  The  little  2-pdr  anti-tank  gun 
proved  to  be  useless  against  the  Afrika 
Korns'  tanks,  and  the  25-pdr  had  to  be 
used  as  there  was  nothing  else  to  hand. 
It  was  then  that  the  circular  firing  table 
came  into  its  own,  for  the  guns  could  be 
rapidly  moved  from  target  to  target, 
but  the  25-pdr  had  to  rely  on  shell  pow- 
er alone  for  its  effects  as  there  was  no 
armour-piercing  ammunition.  Such  a 
round  was  developed,  but  it  entailed 
the  use  of  an  extra  charge  which  in  turn 
dicated  the  use  of  a muzzle  brake,  and 
in  this  form  the  25-pdr  was  used 


ThQ  1 0.5-cm  leFH  18  in  its  original 
form  with  no  muzzle  brake,  pressed 
steel  wheels  of  typical  German  form 
and  the  original  heavy  carriage.  This 
was  a Rheinmetall  design  that 
proved  sound  but  too  heavy  for  the 
mobile  role  intended,  especially  in 
them  uddy  conditions  of  the  Russian 


The  10.5-cm  howitzer  family  / 


The  10.5-cm  IqF]T18(M)  where  the 
(M)  of  the  Mundungbremse  (muzzle 
brake)  can  clearly  be  seen.  This 
allows  the  howitzer  to  fire  a more 
powerfulpropellant  charge  and  thus 
range  was  increased.  Several 
designs  of  muzzle  brake  were  used 
until  one  that  allowed  sub-calibre 
amm  unition  to  be  fired  was  devised. 

The  German  army  had  chosen  the 
calibre  of  105  mm  (4, 1 34  in)  for  its  stan- 
dard field  howitzers  well  before  World 
War  I,  and  then  stuck  with  it.  During 
World  War  I the  standard  field  howit- 
zer had  been  the  10.5-cm  leFH  16 
(leichte  FeldHaubitze,  or  light  field 
howitzer)  which  used  the  same  car- 
riage as  the  then-standard  7.7-cm  FK 
16.  After  1918  numbers  of  these  howit- 
zers remained  with  the  rump  of  the 
German  army  and  were  used  to  train 
the  generation  of  gunners  who  were  to 
be  the  battery  commanders  and  NCOs 

The  operational  analysis  carried  out 
by  German  war  planners  during  the 
1920s  indicated  that  in  future  conflicts  a 
105 -mm  (4. 13 -in)  projectile  would  be 
far  more  effective  than  the  75-mm 
(2.95 -in)  equivalent  for  no  great  cost  in 
delivery  system  weight,  that  is  the 
artillery  piece  involved.  Thus  they 
plumped  for  a new  105-mm  (4.13-in) 
howitzer,  and  design  work  started  as 
early  as  1928-9.  Rheinmetall  was  the 
project  leader,  and  the  result  of  its 
efforts  was  ready  for  service  in  1935. 

The  new  weapon  was  the  10.5-cm 
leFH  18,  a conventional  and  sound 
howitzer  with  a useful  projectile 
weight  and  adequate  range.  If  there 
was  a fault  with  the  leFH  18  it  was  that  it 
was  so  soundly  constructed  that  it  was 
rather  heavy,  but  as  motor  traction  was 
expected  to  provide  the  bulk  of  the 
pulling  power  that  was  no  great  dis- 
advantage, at  least  in  theory.  The  leFH 
18  became  a valuable  export  item,  and 
numbers  were  sold  to  Spain,  Hungary, 
Portugal  and  some  South  American 
nations;  large  numbers  also  came  off 
the  production  lines  to  equip  the  ex- 
panding German  forces. 

As  ever  the  gunners  were  soon 
asking  for  more  range,  and  as  a result 
an  increased  propellant  charge  was 
introduced  for  the  leFH  18.  Tins  dic- 
tated the  introduction  of  a muzzle 
brake  which  meant  a change  of  de- 
signation to  10.5-cm  leFH  18(M),  the 
suffix  denoting  Mundungbremse,  or 
muzzle  brake.  The  introduction  of  this 
muzzle  attachment  meant  that  a spe- 
cial sabot  sub-calibre  88-mm  (3.46-in) 
projectile  could  not  be  fired  until  a new 

revised  design  was  introduced  slightly 

Thus  the  leFH  18  series  went  to  war 
and  proved  itself  efficient  enough  until 
the  winter  campaign  in  the  Soviet  Un- 
ion took  its  toll  in  1941-2,  During  the 
thaws  involved  in  that  campaign  large 
numbers  of  1 05 -mm  (4 . 1 3 -in)  howitzers 
were  lost  because  the  weights  in- 
volved were  too  great  for  the  available 
towing  vehicles  to  drag  weapons  clear 
of  the  all-prevailing  mud.  Thus  the 
overweight  howitzers  showed  their 
disadvantage  with  a vengeance,  and  a 
hurried  search  for  some  form  of 
alternative  carriage  then  began. 

The  result  was  an  unsatisfactory  im- 
provisation, The  carriage  of  the  7.5-cm 
Pak  40  anti-tank  gun  was  simply  taken 
as  the  new  mount  for  the  leFH  18(M) 
gun,  its  associated  cradle  and  the  large 
shield.  The  result  was  slightly  lighter 
than  the  original  (but  not  by  very 
much),  and  the  improvised  arrange- 
ment gave  constant  problems  that 
were  never  properly  eradicated.  It 
was  intended  that  the  new  howitzer/ 
carriage  combination,  designated 

10.5- cm  leFH  18/40,  would  become  the 
standard  field  howitzer  for  all  the  Ger- 
man army,  but  this  never  happened 
and  in  1945  even  the  old  FH  16  was  stiU 
in  the  line. 


10.5- cmleFH  18/40 
Cahbre:  105  mm  (4.134  in) 

Length  of  piece:  3.31  m (130.23  in) 
Weight:  travelling  and  in  action 
1955  kg  (4,310  lb) 

Elevation:-5°  to-i-42° 

Traverse:  60° 

Muzzle  velocity:  540  m ( 1,770  ft)  per 

Range:  12325  m (13,478  yards) 

SheU  weight:  14.81  kg  (32.65  lb) 

Above:  Abandoned  10.5-cm  leFH 
18(M)  howitzers  in  Normandy  in  June 
1944.  Note  the  obvious  bulk  and 
weigh  t of  the  trail  legs  and  spades 
that  combined  to  make  this  howitzer 
too  heavy  for  the  mobile  field  role. 

Below:  1 0. 5 -cm  leFH  1 8s  in  action  in 
France  during  May  1940  when  these 
howitzers,  towed  into  action  by  half- 
tracks, consistently  outfought  the 
more  numerous  French  artillery 
units  as  they  swept  across  France. 



7.5-cmFeldkanone  16nAandleichteFeldkanone  18 

Almost  as  soon  as  the  German  army 
began  to  adopt  new  field  guns  in  the 
late  19th  century  they  adopted  the 
calibre  of  77  mm  (3.03  in)  as  their  stan- 
dard field  gun  calibre,  In  1896  they 
produced  the  C/96  of  this  calibre,  and 
m 1916  updated  and  revised  the  de- 
sign to  produce  the  1.1 -cm  FK 16  ( Feld- 
Kanone,  or  field  gun,  and  16  for  1916). 

After  1918  there  was  a drastic 
rethink  of  German  weapon  practices, 
and  among  the  changes  that  emerged 
from  this  study  was  the  adoption  of  a 
new  standard  calibre  of  75  mm 
(2.95  in);  this  calibre  was  (and  still 
is)  a standard  field  gun  ammunition 
calibre,  so  the  Germans  were  only  fol- 
lowing a well  trodden  path.  The  Ver- 
sailles Treaty  had  left  the  rump  of  the 
German  army  with  a stockpile  of  the 
old  FK  16s,  so  in  order  to  modernize 
these  guns  they  were  rebarrelled  with 
new  75-mm  (2.95-in)  barrels.  The  guns 
were  then  known  as  the  7.5-cm  FK  16 
nA,  with  the  nA  denoting  neuerArtil- 
lerie,  or  new  model. 

The  rebarrelled  guns  were  issued 
during  1934,  initially  to  horse-drawn 
batteries  supporting  cavalry  units.  The 
Germans  continued  to  use  horse  caval- 
ry units  until  1945,  but  by  then  the  FK  16 
nA  had  fallen  out  of  use  for  it  was  really 
a relic  of  a past  era,  and  was  as  such  too 
heavy  and  lacking  in  mobility  for  the 
cavalry  role.  Instead  many  were  rele- 
gated to  the  training  role  or  were 
issued  to  various  second-line  units. 
Large  numbers  were  still  in  service 
when  the  war  ended,  and  one  fired  its 
way  into  history  when  it  held  up  an 

The  Model  16  field  gun  seen  here  is 
being  used  to  train  members  of  the 
Indian  Legion,  one  of  the  units  raised 
by  the  Germans  from  disaffected 
prisoners  of  war  to  fight  against  their 
former  comrades. 

Allied  armoured  formation  for  some 
time  during  the  fighting  near  the  Nor- 
mandy beach-heads  in  June  1944.  That 
particular  gun  was  not  destroyed  until 
It  had  knocked  out  at  least  10  Allied 

Even  while  the  rebarrelling  of  the 
old  FK  16  carriages  was  under  way  a 
call  for  a new  design  of  cavalry  gun 
was  put  out.  During  1930  and  1931  both 
Krupp  and  Rheinmetall  produced  de- 
signs, and  although  the  Krupp  design 
was  finally  chosen  it  was  not  until  1938 
that  the  first  examples  were  issued  for 
service.  The  new  design  became  the 
7.5-cm leFK  IS  (leichteFeldkanone,  or 
light  field  gun),  and  it  had  such  modem 
features  as  a split  trail  carriage  to  in- 
crease the  on-carriage  traverse  (so 
useful  for  anti-armoured  warfare)  and 
a range  of  ammunition  that  included  a 
hollow-charge  warheadfor  use  against 
tanks,  TheleFK  18  was  judged  to  to  be 
a great  success.  Its  range  was  less  than 
that  of  the  weapon  it  was  intended  to 
replace,  and  the  complex  carriage 
made  it  an  expensive  anci  difficult  item 
to  produce.  Consequently  not  many 
were  produced  and  the  emphasis  for 
field  artillery  calibres  changed  to 
105  mm  (4.134  in).  However,  the  leFK 

18  was  kept  in  production  for  export 
sales  to  gain  influence  and  foreign  cur- 
rency. Some  sales  were  made  to  va- 
rious South  American  countries  and  in 
one  of  them  (Brazil)  the  leFK  18  is  still 
in  limited  use. 



Calibre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  2.70  m (106.3  in) 
Weight:  travelling  2415  kg  (5,3^  lb) 
and  m action  1524  kg  (3,360  lb) 
Elevation : -9  ° t o -i-  4 4 ° 


Muzzle  velocity:  662  m (2,172  ft)  per 


Range:  12875  m (14,080  yards) 
SheU  weight:  5.83  kg  (12.85  lb) 

leFK  18 

Calibre:  75  mm  (2,95  in) 

Length  of  piece:  1.94  m (76,4  in) 
Weight:  travelling  1324  kg  (2,919  lb) 
and  m action  1120  kg  (2,47()  lb) 
Elevation: -5°  to-i-45* 

Traverse:  30° 

Muzzle  velocity:  485  m(  l,590ft)per 

Range:  9425  m(  10,3  lOyards) 

Shell  weight:  5.83  kg  (12.85  lb) 


10.5-cm  Kanone  18  and  18/40 

Among  the  post-war  requirements  for 
a new  German  artillery  park  to  replace 
the  lost  rehes  of  World  War  I was  that 
for  a new  long-range  gun  for  use  by 
corps  rather  than  field  artillery  batter- 
ies. This  project  was  one  of  the  very 
first  put  out  to  the  underground  Ger- 
man armaments  industry,  for  by  1926 
both  Krupp  and  Rheinmetall  had  pro- 
duced specimen  designs  and  by  1930 
both  were  ready  with  prototype  hard- 

As  it  turned  out  the  German  army 
could  not  decide  which  design  to 
approve;  in  the  end  it  compromised  by 
accepting  the  Rheinmetall  barrel  and 
the  Krupp  carriage.  The  Krupp  car- 
riage was  destined  to  become  one  of 
the  most  widely  used  of  all  the  German 
artillery  carriages,  for  it  was  the  same 
as  that  used  on  the  larger  15-cm  sEH  18 
howitzer  series.  It  was  1934  before  the 
first  guns  actually  reached  the  troops 
and  for  a while  the  new  gun,  known  as 
the  10.5-cm  K 18  (Kanone,  or  gun),  was 
the  standard  weapon  of  the  medium 
artillery  batteries. 

This  state  of  affairs  did  not  last  long 
for  the  choice  of  105-mm  (4.134-in) 
calibre  for  a medium  gun  was  to  prove 
an  unhappy  one.  In  a nutshell  the  gun 
was  too  heavy  for  the  weight  of  projec- 
tile fired.  The  larger  150-mm  (actually 
149  mm/5 .87  in)  howitzers  fired  a much 
more  efficient  projectile  over  almost 
the  same  range  and  at  no  great  in- 
crease in  weapon  weight.  There  was 
also  another  snag:  when  the  K 18  en- 
tered service  it  was  at  a time  when  the 
German  army  had  yet  to  become  even 
partially  mechanized,  so  the  guns  had 
to  be  pulled  by  horse  teams.  The  gun 
weighed  too  much  for  one  horse  team 

to  tackle,  so  the  barrel  and  carnage 
had  to  be  towed  as  s^arate  loads, 
which  was  a bit  much  for  a 105-mm 
(4, 1 3 -in)  gun.  Later  on  the  introduction 
of  half-tracked  tractors  enabled  the 
piece  to  be  towed  in  one  load,  but  by 
then  the  K 18  was  on  a very  low  pro- 
duction priority. 

In  order  to  make  the  K 18  a more 
powerful  weapon,  the  German  staff 
planners  called  for  an  increase  in 
range.  There  was  no  way  to  produce 
this  increase  without  lengthening  the 
length  of  the  barrel  from  the  original 
IV52  to  IV60.  The  first  of  these  improved 
models  was  ready  in  1941  and  was 
known  as  the  10.5-cm  K 18/40,  but  it 

was  not  put  into  production  until  much 
later  when  the  designation  had  been 
changed  yet  again  to  10.5-cm  sK  42 
(schwere  Kanone,  or  heavy  gun).  Very 
lew  were  actually  produced. 

By  1941  the  disadvantages  of  the  K 
18  and  its  later  versions  had  been 
recognized,  but  there  remained  a role 
for  them  where  their  weight  and  bulk 
would  be  of  a relatively  minor  dis- 
advantage, namely  coastal  defence. 
Weapons  for  the  Atlantic  Wall,  at  that 
time  still  under  construction,  were  in 
great  demand  and  short  supply,  so  the 
K 18  was  assigned  to  that  relatively 
static  role.  As  a coastal  defence 
weapon  the  piece  had  a considerable 

A 1 0.5 -cm  K1 8 stands  in  splendid 
isolation  in  the  middle  of  an 
abandoned  German  field  position  in 
the  Western  Desert,  in  the 
background  is  one  of  the  famous  '88' 
Flakguns,  giving  an  indication  that 
the  position  was  in  tended  to  be  some 
form  ofstrongpoint. 

advantage  in  its  long  range,  even  if  the 
projectile  weight  was  still  rather  low. 
To  enable  it  to  be  used  to  greater 
advantage  when  firing  at  marine 
targets  a new  range  of  ammunition  was 
introduced,  among  which  was  a spe- 
cial sea  marker  shell  for  ranging  pur- 




Calibre:  105mm(4.134in) 

Length  ofpiece:  5.46  m (214.96  in) 
Weight:  travelling  6434  kg  ( 14,187  lb) 
and  in  action  5624  kg  ( 12,400  lb) 
Elevation:-0°  to+48° 

Traverse:  64° 

Muzzle  velocity:  835  m (2,740  ft)  per 

Range:  19075  m (20,860  yards) 

Shell  weight:  15.14  kg  (33.38  lb) 

British  infantry  examine  a 1 0.5 -cm  K 
18;  note  the  sneer  size  of  this  gun.  In 
the  foreground  is  a handspike  used 
to  move  the  trail  legs  either  for  a 
rapid  change  of  traverse  or  to  join 
them  together  for  a move  to  a new 


76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model  00/02  and  02/30 

The  family  of  field  guns  based  on  the 
old  Russian  00/02  design  are  among 
that  group  of  weapons  which  are  little 
known  or  regarded  but  are  yet  among 
those  which  have  provided  excellent 
service  over  a long  period.  They  are 
still  hardly  known  outside  the  Soviet 
Union,  but  they  were  used  throughout 
two  world  wars  (and  in  a great  number 
of  other  conflicts  as  well)  and  have  all 
played  their  part  in  world  history. 

The  original  gun  in  the  series  was 
the  Russian  76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model 
00,  produced  in  1900  by  Putilov.  The 
origins  of  the  Model  00  may  have  been 
in  a Krupp  design,  for  the  Russian 
weapon  certainly  had  many  of  the  cur- 
rent Krupp  features,  but  by  1902  the 
full  production  model,  the  Model  00/02 
was  Deing  issued  to  the  Tsarist  armies. 
The  type  was  used  throughout  the 
many  large-scale  campaigns  on  the 
Eastern  Eront  in  World  War  I,  and 
throughout  them  all  was  used  in  an  un- 
spectacular but  effective  manner. 
After  the  upheavals  of  1918  the  Mod- 
el 00/02  was  retained  by  the  new  Red 
Army  but  numbers  were  either  sold  or 
handed  over  to  some  of  the  new  Baltic 
States  and  such  nations  under  Soviet 
influence  such  as  Einland.  Poland  also 
received  a batch  which  they  pro- 
ceeded to  convert  from  the  original 
76.2-mm  (3-in)  to  75-mm  (2.95-in) 
calibre  to  match  the  rest  of  their 
Erench-supplied  equipments.  The 
Poles  knew  the  gun  as  the  armata  wz 
02/26,  and  it  was  still  in  service  when 
Germany  attacked  in  1939,  examples 
passing  into  German  service  being  de- 
signated 7.5-cm  EK  02/26(pX 
In  the  Soviet  Union  the  Red  Army 
decided  to  modernize  its  large  but 
elderly  gun  stocks  and  the  Model  00/02 

was  an  early  candidate  for  the  process. 
In  1930  most  of  the  in-service  guns 
were  updated  by  the  introduction  of 
new  ammunition,  better  propellants 
and  in  some  cases  new  barrels.  To 
confuse  matters  some  guns  retained 
their  original  IV30  barrels  while  others 
were  fitted  with  entirely  new  IV40  bar- 
rels, Both  of  these  modernized  guns 
were  then  known  as  the  Model  02/30, 
and  became  two  of  the  standard  Red 
Army  artillery  field  pieces.  Large 
numbers  were  in  use  when  the  Ger- 
mans invaded  in  1941,  and  the  Ger- 
mans in  turn  took  over  the  types  as  two 
of  their  own  standard  field  weapons 
(7.62-cm  EK  295/l(r)  for  the  L/30  and 
7.62-cm  FK  295/2(r)  for  the  L/40).  The 
guns  were  later  relegated  to  the  usual 
round  of  second-line  units  and  Atlantic 
Wall  beach-defence  purposes. 

The  Model  02/30  was  not  used  only 
by  the  Red  Army.  Numbers  found  their 
way  all  over  the  world,  especially  in 
the  years  following  1945  when  many 
started  to  appear  in  the  Far  East.  Large 
numbers  were  handed  over  to  the 
Communist  Chinese,  who  used  them 
both  against  their  Nationalist  foes  and 
later  against  the  United  Nations  forces 
in  Korea.  The  type  turned  up  again  in 
the  hands  of  the  Viet  Minh  in  Indo- 
China  and  it  may  be  doubted  if  the  last 
has  yet  been  heard  of  this  gun. 

Eor  all  its  longevity  and  variety  of 
forms,  the  Model  00/02  and  Model  037 
30  were  entirely  orthodox  guns  in 
almost  every  way.  Most  never  lost  their 
original  spoked  wheels  or  their  simple 
box  trails,  and  the  majority  appear  to 
have  retained  their  gun  shields 
throughout  their  service  lives.  They 
must  have  been  produced  in 
thousands,  but  perhaps  the  greatest 


76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model  1936 

By  the  early  1930s  the  Red  Army  artil- 
lery staff  was  becoming  aware  that  its 
stock  of  field  pieces  was  falling  behind 
those  of  the  rest  of  Europe  in  power 
and  efficiency,  and  so  m the  early 
1930s  the  USSR  began  a programme 
for  new  we^ons.  One  early  attempt, 
made  in  193  j,  was  the  placing  of  a new 
76.2-mm  (3-in)  barrel  on  the  carriage 
of  a 107 -mm  (4-in)  field  gun,  but  this 
was  intended  only  as  a stopgap  until 

the  introduction  of  what  was  intended 
to  be  one  of  the  best  all-round  field 
guns  in  the  world. 

The  new  gun  was  introduced  in 
1936,  and  was  thus  known  as  the  76.2- 
mm  Eield  Gun  Model  1936,  usually 
known  as  the  76-36.  It  was  an  excellent 
design  that  made  quite  an  impression 
on  artillery  designers  elsewhere  when 
the  details  became  known  over  the 
next  few  years.  The  76-36  had  a very 

reasons  for  their  longevity  were  their 
essential  simplicity  and  design  to  meet 
the  worst  rigours  of  the  Russian  terrain 
and  climate.  Any  weapon  that  could 
resist  them  could  stand  up  to  virtually 

Model 00/03  (y  SO  type) 

Cahbre:  76.2  mm  (3  m) 

Length  ofpiece:  2.286  m (90  in) 

Weight:  in  action  1320  kg  (2,910  lb) 
Elevation: -5°  to-i-37° 

Traverse:  2.66° 

long  and  slender  barrel  mounted  on  a 
deceptively  simple  split-trail  carriage 
that  provided  a wide  angle  of  traverse. 
This  wide  angle  had  been  deliberately 
designed  into  the  weapon  for  even  by 
that  time  (the  early  1930s)  the  Red 
Army's  anti-tank  defence  philosophy 
had  been  formulated  to  the  extent 
where  every  gun  and  howitzer  in  the 
Soviet  armoury  had  to  have  its  own 
inherent  anti-tank  capability.  Even 

Soviet  field  guns  were  captured  in 
huge  numbers  during  the  early 
stages  of  the  war  in  the  east,  and  with 
Germany  having  a huge  requirement 
for  weapons  both  to  continue  the  war 
and  to  control  occupied  territories 
many  of  these  captured  weapons 
were pressed  into  service.  This  76.2- 
mm  field  gun  is  on  the  Atlantic  Wall. 

Muzzle  velocity:  646  m (2, 1 1 9 ft)  per 

Range:  12400  m (13,565  yards) 

when  firing  a standard  high  explosive 
shell  the  76-36  had  a powerful  anti- 
armour effect,  and  this  factor  was  a 
constant  benefit  throughout  the 
service  life  of  the  gun. 

The  76-36  first  saw  active  service  in 
Einland  in  the  Winter  War  of  1939- 
1940.  It  performed  effectively  enough 
in  this  campaign,  but  in  its  second 
major  deployment  it  did  not  fare  so 
well.  The  second  campaign  was  the 


invasion  of  the  Soviet  Union  by 
Germany,  in  which  it  was  not  so  much 
that  the  76-36s  did  not  perform  well  but 
rather  that  they  had  little  chance  to  do 
anything.  The  advancing  German 
armies  moved  so  fast  that  whole  Soviet 
armies  were  cut  off  and  destroyed. 
Huge  numbers  of  76-36s  fell  into 
German  hands  and,  more  disastrously 
for  the  Soviets,  the  Germans  also 
captured  a great  deal  of  the 
manufacturing  plant  that  produced  the 
guns.  Thus  almost  the  whole  Red  Army 
stock  of  76-36  guns  was  lost  within  a 
ve^  short  time. 

German  artillery  experts  swarmed 
over  the  captured  guns.  They  took 
measurements,  carried  out  their  own 
firing  trials  and  came  up  with  two 
suggestions.  One  was  that  the  76-36 
should  become  a standard  German 
field  gun,  7.62-mm  FK  296(r)  as  there 
was  enough  ammunition  to  hand  to 
make  them  useful  for  some  time,  and 
long-term  plans  were  laid  to  produce 
more  ammunition  in  Germany.  The 
second  suggestion  was  also  acted 
upon.  That  was  to  convert  the  76-36  into 
a specialized  anti-tank  gun  for  use 
against  even  the  most  powerfully 

armoured  Soviet  tanks,  and  this 
suggestion  was  also  implemented. 
Large  numbers  of  76-36  guns  were 
taken  to  Germany,  and  there  modified 
to  take  new  ammunition  for  the  guns  to 
become  the  7.62-cm  Pak  36(r),  one  of 
the  best  all-round  anti-tank  guns  of 
World  War  II.  The  changes  for  the  anti- 
tank role  also  involved  some  on- 
carnage  changes  (such  as  all  the  fire 
control  wheels  being  used  by  the  layer 
instead  of  the  original  two  men)  and  a 
few  other  modifications. 

Thus  a Soviet  field  gun  ended  up 
being  used  just  as  much  by  the 
Germans  as  by  the  Red  Army.  With  the 
disruption  in  production  imposed  by 
the  German  advances  the  76-36  was 
never  put  back  into  full  production, 
although  spare  parts  were  made  in  a 
few  places  for  use  on  the  few  76-36s 
remaining  in  Red  Army  hands.  By  1944 
the  76-36  was  no  longer  a Red  Army 
weapon,  for  they  had  by  then  a new 
gun  in  service. 

Field  Gun  Model  1936 
Cahbre:  76.2  mm  (3  in) 

Length  ofpiece:  3,895  m (153.3  in) 

Weight:  travelling  2400  kg  (5,292  lb) 
and  in  action  1350  kg  (2,9/7  lb) 
Elevation:-5°  to-i-75° 

Traverse:  60° 

Muzzle  velocity:  706  m (2,3 16  ft)  per 

Range:  13850  m(l  5, 145  yards) 

Shell  weight:  6.4  kg  (14, lib) 

A long  way  from  home  for  this  7.62- 
cm  Model  1936  field  gun,  taken  from 
the  Eastern  Fron  t by  the  Germans  in 
1941  and  convertedfor  use  as  a very 
effective  anti-tank  gun  in  North 


76.2-mmFieldGunModel  1942 

W ith  much  of  their  artillery  production 
facilities  lost  to  the  advancing  German 
forces  during  1941,  the  Soviet  staff 
planners  had  some  difficult  decisions 
to  make.  Vast  stockpiles  ofwe^ons  of 
all  kinds  had  been  lost  to  the  Germans 
and  in  order  to  make  new  weapons 
production  capacity  had  to  be  hurried- 
ly improvised  in  outlying  areas  where 
metories  did  not  even  exist.  One  factor 
in  the  Soviet's  favour  was  that  their 
weapon  design  bureaux  were  in- 
herently conservative  and  made  few 
innovations,  depending  rather  on  the 
gradual  evolution  of  design  and  on  the 
practice  of  using  a new  gun  or  carriage 
m conjunction  with  an  existing  car- 
riage or  gun. 

This  practice  served  the  Soviets 
well  after  1941,  for  in  1939  they  had 
introduced  a new  gun  known  as  the 
76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model  1939,  or  76- 
39.  This  was  introduced  mainly  be- 
cause it  was  realized  that  good  as  the 
76-36  was,  it  was  really  too  bulky  and  a 
smaller  design  was  thus  desirable. 
The  76-39  used  a shorter  barrel  on  the 
carriage  derived  from  that  of  the  76-36. 
When  the  Germans  struck  in  1941  they 
did  not  capture  the  main  plant  for  76-39 
barrels,  though  they  did  take  the  car- 
riage plant  for  the  76-36.  Thus  it  was 
possible  to  use  the  barrel  and  recoil 
mechanism  of  the  76-39  on  a new  car- 
riage to  allow  production  to  once  more 
get  under  way.  The  result  was  the  76.2- 
mm  Field  Gun  Model  1942,  later  known 
as  the  76-42  or  Zis-3. 

The  76-42  was  to  achieve  fame  by 
being  produced  in  greater  numbers 
than  any  other  gun  during  World  War 
II.  It  was  produced  in  its  thousands, 
and  if  this  had  not  been  enough  it 
turned  out  to  be  an  excellent  all-round 
weapon  capable  of  being  used  not 
only  as  a field  gun  but  an  anti-tank  gun. 

a form  of  tank  gun  and  a self-propelled 
gun.  The  new  carriage  was  a very  sim- 
ple but  sturdy  affair  using  split  pole 
trails  and  a simple  flat  shield.  The  gun 
assembly  was  modified  to  take  a muz- 
zle brake  to  reducefiring  stresses  and 
keep  the  carriage  as  light  as  possible 
and  throughout  the  design  process 
emphasis  was  given  to  ease  of  mass 
production.  Once  in  action  the  76-42 
proved  light  and  easy  to  handle,  and  it 
also  had  excellent  range.  To  simplify 
the  Red  Army's  logistic  load  the 
ammunition  was  ruthlessly  standar- 
dized to  the  point  where  the  76-42  used 
the  same  types  of  ammunition  as  the 
76.2-mm  (3-in)  guns  carried  by  the  T- 
34  tanks  and  many  other  similar  guns. 
Only  two  basic  types  of  projectile 
were  used  in  World  War  II,  namely  HE 
and  AP  (though  smoke  was  fired  on 

The  76-42  was  produced  in  such 
large  numbers  that  it  remains  in  ser- 
vice with  some  nations  to  this  day.  Ex- 
amples were  encounterd  in  Korea  and 
Indo-China,  and  the  gun  is  still  widely 
used  in  Africa  and  the  Ear  East,  The 

A 76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model  1942,  or 
Zis-3,  in  action  in  the  ruins  of  the 
Tractor  Works  in  Stalingrad  during 
the  ferocious  fighting  in  the  winter  of 
1942-3.  Both  sides  discovered  that 
this  gun  had  a very  good  anti-tank 

The  76.2-mm  Field  Gun  Model  1 942 
was  produced  in  greater  numbers 
than  any  other  artillery  weapon  of 
World  War II.  Also  known  as  the  76- 
42  or  Zis-3,  the  Model  1942  was  a very 
sound  design  with  no  frills  anda 
goodperformance,  as  it  fired  a6.21- 
kg(  13. 7 -lb)  shell  to  a range  of 

76-42  has  been  widely  issued  to  va- 
rious guerrilla  groups  such  as  the  PLO 
and  SWAPO  in  South  West  Africa,  and 
there  seems  to  be  no  time-  limit  on  its 
active  life. 

Numerous  attempts  were  made  to 
mount  the  76-42  on  various  self- 
propelled  carriages  but  only  one  was 
ever  produced  in  any  quantity.  This 
was  the  SU-76,  another  ex-Soviet 
weapon  that  is  still  in  widespread  ser- 

Eield  Gun  Model  1942 
Cahbre:  76.2  mm  (3  in) 

Length  of  piece : 3 . 246 m(127.8in) 
Weight:  travelling  and  in  action 
1120  kg  (2,470  lb) 

Elevation: -5°  to-i-37° 

Traverse:  54° 

Muzzle  velocity:  680  m (2,230  ft)  per 

Range:  13215  m (14,450  yards) 
Shehweight:  6.21  kg(  13.71b) 


Heavy  Anti- 

The  dramatic  rise  In  the  power  of  aircraft  between  the  wars  saw  many  areas 
formerly  safe  from  battle  come  under  threat.  While  the  major  counter  to  high- 
altitude  bombing  was  the  defending  fighter,  ground  forces  also  had  a part  to  play, 

notably  centred  around  the  anti-aircraft  gun. 

The  combatting  of  raiding  bombers  was  the  task  of  anti-aircraft  guns,  such  as  these  Soviet  85mm 
(3.34in)  examples,  a design  highly  prized  by  the  Germans  who  sent  captured  pieces  to  the  Reich. 

World  War  II  was  the  scene 
of  the  last  large-scale  use 
of  the  heavy  anti-aircraft  gun  - it 
was  also  its  hey  clay.  The  weapon 
had  been  born  during  World 
War  I,  but  by  1939  the  heavy 
anti-aircraft  gun  was  basically  the 
same  as  that  used  in  1918,  along 
with  the  fire-control  systems 
which  were  hardly  more 
advanced  in  1939  than  they  had 
been  in  1918.  Although  the  guns 

appeared  to  be  similar  to  the 
World  War  I weapons  they  had  in 
fact  been  considerably  advanced 
in  performance:  more  powerful 
charges  fired  larger  and  more 
effective  projectiles  to  greater 
heights  than  ever  before  and  at 
much  higher  muzzle  velocities. 
Their  carriages  had  also  been 

Here  and  there  some  leftovers 
from  World  War  I had  survived, 

especially  among  the  French 
75mm  (2.95in)  guns.  But  by  1939 
many  of  the  guns  in  service  were 
no  longer  the  hasty  improvisa- 
tions of  1918  and  earlier,  but  pur- 
pose-designed and  purpose-built 
weapons  of  considerable  power. 
Upon  them  fell  the  brunt  of  the 
defence  of  cities  and  field  armies 
against  air  attack,  and  the  same 
guns  defended  the  important  cen- 
tres of  communication  and  pro- 

duction. At  many  and  diverse  loca- 
tions these  guns  stood  and  waited 
for  an  enemy  which  often  never 
arrived,  but  elsewhere  the  enemy 
came  in  droves  and  the  heavy 
anti-aircraft  guns  were  in  action 
for  as  long  as  their  crews  could 
load  them. 

Among  the  guns  discussed 
here  is  one  that  has  by  now 
become  almost  a legend,  namely 
the  German  '88'.This  famous  gun 
earned  its  reputation  outside  its 
design  spectrum  as  an  anti- 
armour weapon,  but  all  its  details 
are  provided  here  along  with 
accounts  of  its  use  in  action. 
Nevertheless,  as  will  be  seen,  the 
'88'  was  not  endowed  with  magi- 
cal powers;  nor  did  it  have  a spec- 
ification that  made  it  differ  from 
many  other  weapons  in  this  book. 
It  was  simply  the  way  it  was  used 
that  attracted  so  much  notoriety. 
Many  other  guns  could  have  been 
used  in  a similar  way  against 
armour  but  their  owners  were 
either  not  so  inclined  or  not 
organized  to  use  anti-aircraft  guns 
against  land  targets.  They  were 
used  instead  for  the  role  for 
which  they  were  designed, 
namely  the  engagement  of  aircraft 
targets  in  defence  of  a locality  or 
installation.  Most  of  them  were 
able  to  carry  out  this  task  more 
than  adequately,  and  certainly  as 
well  as  any  German  '88'. 



Cannone  da  75/46  C.A.  modello  34 

Between  the  two  world  wars  the  Italian 
armaments  industry  produced  many 
ood  designs,  but  not  many  got  to  the 
ardware  stage  for  the  Italian  eco- 
nomy was  constrained,  then  as  now,  by 
an  overall  shortage  of  raw  materials  of 
every  kind.  Thus  before  any  new 
weapon  design  was  introduced  into 
service  it  had  to  be  vetted  carefully  to 
ensure  that  it  was  as  good  a design  as 
possible  to  justify  the  expenditure  in- 
volved. So  when  Ansaldo  produced  a 
new  anti-aircraft  gun  in  1926  it  was  ex- 
amined over  a long  period  before  pro- 
duction was  authorized,  audit  was  not 
until  1934  that  the  gun  was  actually  in 

The  new  gun  was  the  Cannone  da 
75/46  C.A.  modeUo  34  (75/46  denoting 
the  calibre  of  75  mm  and  the  barrel 
length  of  46  calibres).  In  overall  design 
the  75/46  was  a sound  though  unre- 
markable effort  that  owed  much  to  the 
influence  of  the  contemporary  Vickers 
designs  produced  in  the  United  King- 
dom. This  was  especially  apparent  m 
the  carriage  design,  with  a central 
pivot  on  which  the  gun  saddle 
swivelled  and  a folding  cruciform  plat- 
form. On  the  move  the  platform  legs 
were  folded  together,  leaving  the  pivot 
resting  on  a two-wheeled  carriage 
arrangement.  When  the  equipment 
was  ready  for  emplacement,  the  legs 
were  swung  forward  and  the  wheels 
removed  once  the  load  had  been 
taken  by  the  centre  of  the  carriage. 
The  arrangement  of  the  ordnance  on 
the  carriage  was  very  simple  and 
straightforward,  and  the  fire-control  in- 
struments on  the  carriage  were  simple 
but  adequate. 

As  always  for  the  Italian  armaments 
industry,  the  main  problem  with  the 
75/46  was  one  of  production.  Despite 
ever-increasing  demands  from  the 
field,  production  was  slow  and  erratic. 
Initially  240  equipments  were 
ordered,  but  even  by  tne  end  of  1942 
only  226  had  been  delivered.  Not  all  of 
these  were  used  primarily  as  anti- 
aircraft guns,  some  being  emplaced  as 
dual-purpose  anti-aircraft  and  coastal 
defence  guns  at  selected  points.  This 
meant  that  many  of  the  rather  ancient 
AA  weapons  in  use  at  the  time  had  to 
be  retained  well  past  their  planned 
replacement  dates.  Things  were  not 
helped  greatly  by  the  diversion  of 
some  finished  barrels  for  use  in 
semovente  (tracked  assault  gun) 

Despite  this  dispersion  of  effort,  the 
75/46  was  spread  as  thinly  as  possible 
for  home  defence  of  the  Italian  main- 
land and  the  North  African  territories. 
When  Italian  army  units  moved  to 
serve  on  the  Eastern  Front  they  took  a 
further  54  guns  with  them,  leaving 
even  fewer  to  defend  Italy.  But  even 
these  guns  were  destined  to  follow  a 
varied  service  career,  for  in  1943  after 
the  Italian  surrender  the  guns  still 
around  were  taken  over  bv  German 
occupation  forces.  The  74/4-6  then  be- 
came the  7.5-cm  Flak  264/3(i),  but  the 
type  was  not  used  by  the  Germans 
outside  Italy  other  than  in  some  of  their 
anti- Yugoslav  partisan  operations. 
Even  this  change  of  hands  did  not  mark 
the  end  of  the  ownership  hst  for  the 
75/46,  for  following  the  Alhed  invasion 
of  the  Italian  mainland  numbers  were 
captured  by  the  advancing  Allied 


Cannone  da  90/53 

Of  all  the  anti-aircraft  guns  in  service 
with  the  Italian  army  from  1941  to  1943 
none  was  better  than  the  Cannone  da 
90/53.  It  was  an  excellent  weapon  that 
could  stand  comparison  with  any  of  its 
contemporaries,  and  it  was  a good, 
sound  and  modern  design.  It  was 
another  product  of  the  Ansaldo  design 
team  and  the  first  examples  were  pro- 
duced during  1939.  Procmction  was  au- 
thorized in  three  main  versions. 

The  most  numerous  version  of  the 
90/53  was  supposed  to  be  the  modello 
4 IP  intended  for  static  emplacement 
only;  1,087  examples  of  this  version 
were  ordered.  A further  660  examples 
of  the  towed  modello  41C  were 
ordered,  while  another  order  was  for  a 
further  57  guns  to  be  mounted  on  a 
variety  of  heavy  trucks  (autocannoni 
da  90/53).  A later  order  requested  yet 
anotherbatchofbarrels  (30)  for  mount- 
ing on  self-propelled  tracked  mount- 

Ordering  these  weapons  was  one 
thing,  but  producing  them  was  quite 
another,  and  the  final  production 
figures  never  reached  the  original 
optimistic  totals.  By  July  1943  only  539 
weapons  of  all  variants  had  been  deli- 
vered, but  by  then  the  production  line 
was  in  German  hands  and  continued 
for  German  use  alone,  German  forma- 
tions in  North  Africa  had  already  had 
the  90/53  in  their  service  for  some  time, 
for  they  recognized  it  as  a very  good 
gun  comparable  with  their  own  At 

first  sight  the  90/53  resembled  the  8.8- 
cm  (3.465-in)  Flak  18  and  Flak  37 
weapons,  but  there  were  many  differ- 
ences and  the  similarities  were  only 

superficial.  The  90/53  had  a pivot  car- 
riage mounted  on  a cruciform  plat- 
form, but  on  the  carriage  itself  the 
arrangement  of  the  fire-control  instru- 
ments was  quite  different  from  those  of 
the  German  guns  and  the  barrel  was  of 
one-piece  construction  instead  of  the 
multi- section  arrangement  of  the  later 
German  guns. 

The  Italians  used  the  90/53  as  amulti- 
purpose  weapon  on  occasion,  but 
some  were  emplaced  as  dual-purpose 
anti-aircraft/coast  defence  weapons. 
At  times  they  were  used  as  long-range 
field  guns  and  the  performance  of  the 
gun  was  such  that  it  could  match  the 
German  '88'  as  an  anti-armour  weapon. 
Numbers  were  also  diverted  to  the  Ita- 
lian navy.  The  Germans  valued  the  90/ 
53  so  highly  that  following  the  Italian 
surrender  of  1943  they  impressed  as 
many  90/53s  as  they  could  find.  Many  of 
them  were  sent  back  to  Germany  for 
the  defence  of  the  Reich  as  the  9-cm 
Rak  41(i)  thoimh  the  official  designa- 
tion was  9-cm  Flak  309/l(i),  and  by  De- 
cember 1944  315  such  equipments  are 
mentioned  in  German  records,  though 
many  of  these  would  no  doubt  have 
been  emplaced  in  Northern  Italy. 
Numbers  of  90/53s  also  fell  into  Allied 
hands  during  their  advance  north 
through  Italy,  and  many  of  these  were 
impressed  for  the  coast  defence  role 
by  British  coastal  batteries  around  the 
main  captured  ports. 

Cannone  da  90/53 
Calibre:  90  mm  (3.54  in) 

This  Cannone  da  75/46  C.A.  Modello 
34  is  in  action  against  Allied  aircraft 
Hying  over  Libya.  This  Ansaldo  gun 
was  the  standard  Italian  anti-aircraft 

armies  and  eventually  used  in  a coastal 
defence  role  around  such  ports  as  Na- 


cWione  da  75/46  C.A.  modeUo  1934 
Cahbre:  75  mm  (2,95  in) 

Weight:  travelling  4405  kg  (9,7 1 1 lb) 
and  firing  3300  kg  (7,275  lb) 
Dimensions : length  overall  7 , 4 m (24  ft 

gun;  it  was  used  on  all  the  Italian 
fronts  and  was  a good  all-round 
performer,  but  could  not  be  supplied 
in  the  quantities  required. 

3 in);  width  1.85  m(6  ftO.8  in) ; height 
2.lW(7ft0.6in);  length  of  b arrel 
3 .45  m ( 1 1 ft  3 . 8 in) ; length  of  rifling 
2.844  m (9  ft  4 in) 

Elevation:  h-907- 2° 

Traverse: 360° 

Maximum  effective  ceiling:  8300  m 

SheU  weight:  6.5  kg  (14,33  lb) 

Muzzle  velocity:  750  m (2,46 1 ft)  per 

Weight:  travelling  8950  kg  ( 19,731  lb) 
and  firing  6240  kg  (13,757  lb) 
Dimensions:  length7.60m(24  ft 
1 1 .2  in) ; width2 .30m(7ft6.5in);  height 
4.736  m(  15  ft  6.5  in);  length  of  rifling 
4.046  m (13  ft  3.3  in) 

Elevation:  -1-857-2° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  effective  ceihng:  12000m 

SheU  weight:  10.33  kg  (22.77  lb) 

This  Cannone  ddi  90/53  is  rendered 
mobile  by  mounting  on  a Autocarro 
Pesante  Lancio  3/RO  heavy  truck. 
The  gun  is  seen  here  fitted  with  a 
protective  shield  for  the  gun  crew  in 
action,  and  very  noticeable  are  the 
outriggers  used  to  stabilize  the  gun 
when  firing.  Only  a few  of  these 
combinations  were  made. 

Muzzle  velocity:  830  m (2,723  ft)  per 



Type  88  75-mm  anti-aircraft  gun 

The  75-mm  (2.95-m)  Type  88  Mobile 
Field  AA  Gun  was  a Japanese  army 
weapon  introduced  into  service  in 
1928,  At  that  period  the  Type  88  was  as 
good  a gun  as  any  in  service,  and  was 
well  capable  of  tackling  the  aerial 
targets  then  likely  to  be  encountered. 
But  it  was  soon  overtaken  by  increases 
in  aircraft  performance,  to  the  extent 
that  it  could  at  best  be  described  as  an 
efficient  but  indifferent  performer. 

The  Type  88  design  was  chosen  af- 
ter an  examination  of  other  current  and 
prospective  anti-aircraft  guns,  and  was 
an  amalgam  of  some  of  the  better 
points  of  several  weapons.  The  barrel 
was  a single-piece  design  with  a slid- 
ing breech  and  mounted  on  the  then- 
fashionable  central  pivot.  The  firing 
platform  had  five  legs  which  folded 
fore  and  aft  for  transport,  and  to  assist 
the  overall  balance  on  the  move  the 
barrel  was  partially  retracted.  In  ac- 
tion each  outrigger  leg  was  supported 
on  an  adjustable  foot  for  levelhng  and 
there  was  another  adjustable  foot 
under  the  central  pivot.  A central  pair 
of  wheels  was  used  to  tow  the  gun 
along  roads,  these  being  removed  be- 
fore firing. 

Like  so  many  other  contemporary 
Japanese  weapons,  the  Type  88  was 
difficult  to  produce  as  virtually  every- 
thing on  the  gun  had  to  be  hand-made. 
It  gradually  became  the  standard 
Japanese  army  anti-aircraft  gun  and  at 
one  time  or  another  was  used  by  every 
army  field  formation,  starting  in  China 
and  Manchuria  during  the  19j0s.  It  was 
also  widely  used  during  the  early 
Japanese  advances  in  the  Pacific. 
However,  once  the  Japanese  mainland 
came  increasingly  under  threat  of  air 
attack  from  1943  onwards  the  Type  88s 
were  gradually  withdrawn  from  the 
more  outlying  island  garrisons  and 
sent  to  the  home  islands.  Their  places 
were  taken  by  a motley  array  of  di- 
verse weapons,  mainly  ex-naval 
pieces  dug  into  improvised  land  em- 

Back  in  Japan  the  Type  88  soon  de- 
monstrated that  it  suffered  from  a low 

maximum  effective  ceiling  (the  alti- 
tude to  which  the  projectiles  could  be 
fired  to  engage  an  aircraft  tar^t  for  a 
useful  amount  of  time).  FortheType  88 
this  was  about  7250m  (23,785ft),  and 
on  many  occasions  Boeing  B-29  bom- 
bers could  operate  at  well  above  this 
altitude.  But  for  the  Japanese  it  was  the 
Type  88  or  nothing,  for  as  always  they 
lacked  the  large  manufacturing  base 
and  design  experience  to  produce 
anything  Fetter  in  the  time  available. 
Instead  they  had  to  impress  all  manner 
of  modified  naval  guns  for  the  home 
defence  role  and  even  resorted  to  the 
use  of  simple  mortars  for  low-level  de- 
fences in  some  areas. 

The  Type  88  is  mentioned  in  some 
Allied  intelligence  reports  as  having 
an  anti-armour  role,  but  there  appears 
to  be  little  (if  any)  evidence  of  the  Type 
88  being  used  in  this  role.  A special 
armour-piercing  projectile  known  as 
the  Type  95  was  produced  for  use  by 
the  Type  88,  but  tne  usual  high  explo- 
sive projectile  was  the  Type  90. 

Type  88 

Calibre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Weight:  travelling  2747  kg  (6,056  lb) 
and  firing  2443  kg  (5,386  lb) 

Dimensions:  length  travelling  4.542  m 
( 1 4 ft  1 0. 8 in) ; width  1 . 95 1 m (6  ft  4 . 8 in) 
height2.019m(6ft7.5  in);  length  of 
barrel3.3 15  m(  1 Oft  10,5  in) ; lengthof 
rifling  2.578  m (8  ft  5.5  in) 

Elevation:  -r85°/-0° 

Traverse: 360° 

Maximum  effective  ceihng:  7250  m 

Muzzle  velocity:  720  m (2,362  ft)  per 

Above.’  The  mount  of  a captured 
Type  88  75-mm  gun  is  examined  in 
thePaciBc.  Notice  the  five  legs  of  the 
firing  platform  and  the  detached 
barrel  at  the  bo  f f ora  Jeff  of  the 

Left:  An  emplaced  75-mm  (2.95dn) 
Type  88  anti-aircTaftgun.  This 
Japanese  gun  sh  ould  not  be 
confused  with  the  German  88.  for  the 
Japanese  Type  88 
referred  to  ^e  year  of 
introduction  according 
to  the  Japanese 

calendar  and  n ot  to  th  e ] 

calibre,  as  mfh  the 

Germ  an  gun ; fhe  two 

had  very  little  in  ^ 



The  French  75-mm  guns 

When  the  problem  of  anti-aircraft  de- 
fences arose  during  World  War  I the 
French  army  reacted  in  its  usual  man- 
ner, taking  the  ordnance  of  the  famous 
75',  themie  1897  field  gun,  and  placing 
it  onto  a simple  high-angle  mounting. 
There  were  several  of  these  mount- 
ings, one  being  a simple  arrangement 
oithe  gun  on  a fixed  turntable  with  the 
carriage  knocked  up  from  steel 
assemblies.  This  simple  arrangement 
was  the  Canon  de  75  mm  anti-aerien 
mie  1915,  but  a better  arrangement 
was  produced  by  the  Canon  de  75  mm 
anti-aerien  mie  1913,  which  was  an 
early  attempt  to  produce  a self- 
propelled  anti-aircraft  gun  by  mount- 
ing a mie  1897  on  a truck.  Despite  the 
early  design  date  this  turned  out  to  be 
a remarkably  good  anti-aircraft 
weapon  but  it  was  not  the  only  use  of 
the  mie  1897  for  the  role.  There  was 
also  a Canon  de  75  mm  contre 
aeronefs  mie  1917  which  was  a towed 
piece  but  one  in  which  all  the  fire- 
control  instruments  were  mounted  on 
the  carriage;  this  was  a Schneider  de- 

These  three  equipments  were  still  in 
use  in  appreciable  numbers  in  1939 

when  World  War  II  began  for  the  sim- 
ple reason  that  there  appeared  to  be 
no  real  need  to  replace  them;  moreov- 
er, funds  for  new  equipment  for  the 
French  army  were  scant  while  the 
Maginot  Line  was  being  constructed. 
However,  by  the  late  1920s  it  was 
appreciated  that  the  old  mie  1897  field 
gun  was  being  rapidly  outmoded  as  an 
anti-aircraft  weapon  and  that  higher- 
velocity  weapons  would  soon  be 
needed.  Thus  there  started  a desultory 
programme  of  re-equipping  the  many 
old  batteries.  Some  of  the  first  to  be 
updated  were  the  fixed  batteries 
around  such  locations  as  Paris,  where 
the  old  fixed  mie  1915  equipments 
simply  had  their  barrels  replaced  with 
a more  powerful  Schneider  ordnance 
to  produce  the  Canon  de  75  mm  contre 
aeronefs  mie  17/34.  This  new  barrel 
provided  a much  better  performance 
with  less  time-of-flight  and  improved 
service  ceiling.  Similar  barrels  were 
placed  on  the  old  mie  1913  truck- 
mounted  equipments  and  also  on  the 
almost-as-old  mie  1917  equipments, 
but  so  slow  was  this  gradual  rebarrell- 
ing programme  that  many  guns  still 
had  their  original  mie  1897  barrels  in 

The  Canon  de  75  mm  mie  1936  was  a 
Schneider  design  produced  only  in 
small  numbers,  this  example  was 

captured  in  North  Africa  from  the 
Vichy  French  in  1943. 



Some  completely  new  equipments 
were  produced  during  the  l93Ds.  Us- 
ing the  new  Schneider  barrel  a com- 
pletely new  anti-aircraft  gun  known  as 
the  Canon  de  75  mm  contre  aeronefs 
mie  1933  was  produced  during  the 
mid-1980s.  This  was  an  odd-looking 
gun  mounted  in  action  on  a cruciform 
platform  with  the  barrel  trunnions 
mounted  well  down  the  barrel  near  the 
breech;  192  equipments  were  in  ser- 
vice in  1940,  Another  totally  new 
Schneider  weapon  was  produced  in 
two  forms  as  the  Canon  de  75  mm  con- 
tre aeronefs  mie  1932  and  1936,  which 
djffered  only  in  detail.  This  was  a thor- 
oughly modern  weapon  designed 
from  the  outset  for  mobility.  The  mie 
1932  had  a crew  of  nine  men  and  could 
fire  up  to  25  rounds  per  minute.  On  the 
road  It  could  be  towed  at  speeds  of  up 
to  40  km/h  (24.85  mph). 

When  the  Germans  invaded  in  May 
1940,  the  French  army  was  thus  still  in  a 
state  of  confusion  regarding  anti- 
aircraft guns.  The  planned  programme 
of  replacement  of  the  old  weapons  was 
still  far  from  complete,  and  many  guns 
still  had  their  obsolete  mie  189/  bar- 
rels. There  were  really  too  many  types 
of  guns  in  service  for  logistical  comfort 
but  in  the  event  the  advances  of  May 
and  June  1940  swept  the  French  army 
away  before  the  anti-aircraft  guns 
could  make  any  impact  on  the  Luftwaf- 
fe, Huge  amounts  of  French  75 -mm 
(2 . 95  -in)  anti-aircraft  equipment  were 
captured  by  the  Germans,  who  took 
over  many  for  their  own  use  - but  not 

the  old  mie  1897s,  which  were  re- 
moved from  their  carriages  and  were 
later  used  as  beach  defence  weapons 
in  the  Atlantic  Wall.  However,  many  of 
the  more  modern  Schneider  guns 
were  still  in  German  use  in  1944,  The 
designations  were  7.5-cm  FK  97(f)  for 
the  75-mm  anti-aerien,  7.5-cm  Rak 
M.  17734(f)  for  the  mie  17,  7.5-cm  Rak 
M.33(0  for  the  mie  1933,  and  7.5-cm 
Rak  M.36(f)  for  the  mie  36, 


Canon  de  75  mm  contre  aeronefs  mie 

Cahbre:  75  mm  (2.95  in) 

Weight:  travelling  5300  kg  (11,684  lb) 
and  firing  3800  kg  (8,377  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  travelling  6.95  m 
(22  ft  9.6  in);  width  travelling  1.5  m (4  ft 
1 1 in) ; length  of  b arrel  4 . 05m  ( 1 3 ft 
3.5  in);  length  of  rifling  3.25  mQOft 
8 in) 

Elevation:  -1-707- 5 ° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  ceiling:  8000  m (26,245  ft) 
SheU  weight:  6.44  kg(  14.21b) 

Muzzle  velocity:  700  m (2,297  ft)  per 

Th&  Germans  were  always  short  of 
anti-aircraft  guns,  and  used  as  many 
ex-French  guns  as  they  could.  This 
gun  in  German  hands  is  a 75-mm  mie 
1 933 formed  by  placing  a 
modernized  Schneider  barrel  onto  a 
revised  and  updated  World  War  I 
carriage.  At  one  time  the  Germans 
had  160  of  these  in  service. 


Bofors  75-mm  and  80-mm  Model  1929  and  Model  1930 

The  widely  acknowledged  success  of 
the  40-mm  Bofors  gun  has  tended  to 
overshadow  the  fact  that  the  Swedish 
company  of  Bofors  also  made  a larger 
and  quite  successful  75-mm  (2.95-m) 
anti-aircraft  gun.  The  Bofors  concern 
has  always  been  insistent  that  this  gun 
was  evolved  by  the  company  alone, 
but  it  cannot  be  overlooked  that  the 
design  was  being  formulated  at  a time 
when  Bofors  was  working  in  close 
association  with  the  Krupp  team  resi- 
dent in  Sweden  as  a means  to  avoid  the 
terms  of  the  Versailles  Treaty.  It  now 
seems  almost  certain  that  some  form  of 
cross -fertilization  occurred  between 
the  two  teams,  for  almost  at  the  same 
instant  the  Krupp  team  produced  a 75- 
mm  (2.95-in)  gun  that  led  eventually  to 
the  famous  German  '88'  and  Bofors  pro- 
duced its  75-mm  (2.95-in)  Model  1^9. 

The  Model  29  differed  in  many  de- 
tails from  the  Krupp  75-mm  (2.95-in) 
design,  but  the  two  weapons  had  a 
very  similar  performance.  Other  simi- 
larities were  that  both  used  a cruciform 
carriage  with  a central  traverse,  and 
that  both  guns  used  barrels  of  similar 
length  ana  construction.  But  whereas 
the  &upp  gun  was  used  in  only  limited 
numbers  by  the  German  navy  and  a 
few  South  American  states,  the  Bofors 
model  was  adopted  by  the  Swedish 
armed  forces  in  two  versions. 

There  were  two  main  models  of  the 
Bofors  gun,  the  Model  29  and  Model 
30.  These  differed  only  in  detail,  but  to 
confuse  matters  both  were  produced 
for  export  in  calibres  of  75  mm  and 
80mm(2.95  in  and  3. 15  in).  Export  ver- 
sions were  sold  to  Argentina,  China, 
Finland,  Greece,  Hungary,  Iran  and 
Thailand,  some  in  75-mm  (z. 95-in)  and 

the  largest  customers  was  Hungary, 
which  received  80  mm  guns;  these 
were  used  extensively  during  the 
period  when  the  Hungarian  army  was 
allied  with  the  Germans  along  the 
Eastern  Front  from  1941  to  194 A and 
more  were  retained  for  home  defence. 
In  Hungary  the  Model  29  was  known  as 
the  8-cm  29  M.  Another  80-mm  (3.15- 
in)  customer  was  the  Dutch  East  In- 
dies, but  few  of  these  weapons  sur- 
vived after  1942. 

The  Bofors  gun  was  a sound  but  un- 
spectacular performer.  It  used  a cruci- 
form firing  platform  that  was  lowered 
to  the  ground  from  two  wheeled  axles, 
which  were  then  completely  removed 
before  firing.  A horizontal  breech 
block  mechanism  was  fitted,  and  this 
was  virtually  the  same  as  that  used  on 
the  Krupp  gun.  However,  the  Bofors 
gun  did  have  one  thing  that  the  Krupp 
design  lacked,  namely  an  overall  sim- 
plicity of  design:  the  Bofors  gun  had 
little  of  the  complicated  fire-control 
equipment  that  was  used  on  the  Krupp 
design  and  proved  to  be  easy  to  oper- 
ate, even  in  the  hands  of  relatively  un- 
trained personnel.  Thus  when  the 
B ofor s gun  was  used  in  China  it  proved 
to  be  remarkably  effective,  and  the 
type  was  chosen  for  its  overall  simple 
approach  by  such  armed  forces  as 
those  in  the  Dutch  East  Indies,  which 
had  to  rely  on  a personnel  force  with 
few  technical  assets.  Overall,  the 
Bofors  gun  was  a sound  gun  but  one 
that  was  soon  outperformed  by  later 



Calibre:  80  mm  (3.15  in) 

Weight:  travelling  4200  kg  (9,259  lb) 
and  firing  3300  kg  (7,275  lb) 
Dirnensions : barrel  length  4 . 0 m ( 1 3 ft 

Elevation:  -1-807-3° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximumeffective  ceiling:  10000m 

Shell  weight:  8 kg  ( 1 7 .6  lb) 

Muzzle  velocity:  /50  m (2,461  ft)  per 

The  Swedish  Bofors  Model  29  was 
sold  to  various  countries  in  either  75- 
mm  (2.95-in)  and  80-mm  (3.15-in) 
calibres.  It  was  a sound  design 
produced  by  Bofors  when  German 
designers  were  working  in  Sweden 
on  the  88,  and  so  there  were  many 
design  features  common  to  the  two. 



8.8-cm  Flak  18  and  Flak  37 

The  terms  of  the  1919  Versaille  Treaty 
laid  down  strict  guidelines  as  to  what 
artillery  production  could  be  be  car- 
ried out  in  Germany,  so  the  largest 
German  armaments  company,  Krupp 
of  Essen,  sent  a team  to  Sweden  to 
carry  on  research  and  development 
outside  the  imposed  restrictions. 
Working  with  Bofors  the  Krupps  team 
worked  initially  on  a 75-mm  (2.95-in) 
anti-aircraft  gun  using  clandestine 
German  army  funds,  but  the  army  was 
not  particularly  happy  with  the  result 
and  asked  for  something  heavier.  The 
'Swedish'  Krupp  team  accordingly 
produced  a new  and  advanced  88-mm 
(3. 465 -in)  gun  that  by  1933  was  in  series 
production  at  Essen  as  the  NSDAP 
came  to  power. 

This  new  gun  was  the  8.8-cm  Elak  18 
(Elak  standing  for  Fliegerabwehr- 
kanone,  or  anti-aircraft  gun),  and  it  was 
an  immediate  success.  It  was  a long- 
barrelled  gun  mounted  on  a pivoted 
cruciform  carriage  which  was  m turn 
carried  on  the  move  by  twin  axles  that 
allowed  the  gun  to  be  rapidly  placed 
into  the  firing  position.  The  Elak  18  had 
a one-piece  barrel  but  was  later  sup- 
plemented by  an  improved  version, 
the  8.8-cm  Elak  36,  which  had  a multi- 
section barrel  on  which  only  the  worn 

Eart  nearest  the  chamber  needed  to 
e changed  after  prolonged  firing. 
Then  came  the  8.8-cm  Elak  37,  which 
was  a Elak  36  with  a revised  system  of 
fire-control  data  transmission  more 
suited  to  static  use  than  field  use,  In 
practice  the  three  models  were  inter- 
changeable to  a high  degree,  and  it 
was  not  unusual  to  see  a Elak  18  barrel 
on  a Elak  37  carriage.  Several  changes 
were  introduced  to  the  weapons  once 
they  were  in  service,  including  a re- 
vised twin-axle  carriage  arrangement, 
and  the  8.8-cm  Flak  series  was 
adapted  to  be  carried  on  a variety  of 
self-propelled  mountings,  including 
railway  flatcars. 

The  8,8-cm  Rak  series  became  one 
of  the  most  celebrated  weapons  in  the 
entire  German  army,  for  it  went  on  to 
be  as  famous  as  an  anti-tank  weapon  as 
it  was  as  an  anti-aircraft  gun:  following 
the  gun's  'blooding'  in  Spain  during  the 
Civil  War  and  again  in  France  in  1940, 
it  was  discovered  that  the  high  muzzle 
velocity  coupled  with  an  efficient  and 

heavy  projectile  made  the  weapon 
ideal  as  a 'tank  killer'.  This  became 
very  evident  durii^  the  early  North 
African  and  later  Eastern  Eront  cam- 
paigns, but  the  8.8-cm  Elak  series  was 
really  too  high  and  bulky  for  the  anti- 
tank role  and  had  to  rely  on  its  range 
and  power  rather  than  concealment  m 

As  anti-aircraft  guns  the  8.8-cm  Rak 
series  was  the  mainstay  of  the  German 
field  armies  and  of  the  defence  of  the 
Reich  under  Luftwaffe  control.  The 
type  was  never  replaced  by  later  mod- 
els as  had  been  planned,  and  in  August 
1944  there  were  10,704  of  all  three 
models  in  service.  Production  was 
undertaken  at  several  centres,  and  a 
wide  range  of  ammunition  was  pro- 
duced for  these,  weapons,  including  a 
high  proportion  of  armour-piercing.  By 
the  end  of  the  war  versions  for  static 

emplacement  only  were  being  pro- 
duced, but  by  then  the  8,8-cm  Flak 
series  had  been  used  on  self- 
propelled  platforms,  railway  mount- 
ings, coastal  defence  locations,  light 
shipping  and  in  several  experimental 

The  8.8-cm  Flak  guns  were  also 
used  by  the  Italian  army,  and  for  a 
while  in  late  1944  the  type  was  even 
used  operationally  by  the  US  Army 
along  the  German  borders  when  its 
own  supply  lines  became  overex- 
tended. Many  were  used  by  several 
armies  post-war,  and  the  Yugoslav 
army  uses  the  8.8-cm  Flak  as  a coastal 
gun  to  this  day. 

8.8-cm  Rak  18 
Calibre:  88  mm (3.465  in) 

Weight:  travelling 686 1 kg  ( 1 5 , 1 26  lb) 

This  Flak  36  is  seen  in  action  during 
the  Soviet  campaign.  After  the 
tribulations  of  the  bitter  winter  of 
1941,  the  German  army  had  become 
more  familiar  with  sub-zero  fighting, 
but  'General  Winter 'was  still  a 
potent  contributor  to  the  Soviet  war 

and  firing  5150  kg  (11,354  lb) 
Dimensions:  lengthoverall7.62  m(25  ft 
0 in);  width  2.305  m(7  ft  6.75  in);  height 
2 , 4 1 8 m (7  ft  1 1 . 2 in) ; length  of  b arrel 
4,93m(16ft2.1  in);  length  of  rifling 
4.124  m (13  ft  6.4  in) 

Elevation:  -1-857-3° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  ceiling:  8000  m (26,245  ft) 
SheU  weight:  HE  9.24  kg  (20,34  lb) 
Muzzle  velocity:  820  m (2,690  ft)  per 


8.8-cm  Rak  41 

By  1939  it  was  obvious  to  the  long-term 
German  military  planners  that  the  ex- 
pected increases  m aircraft  perform- 
ance then  on  the  way  would  render  the 
existing  8.8-cm  (3.4o5-in)  and  10.5-cm 
(4.13-m)  Elak  weapons  obsolete,  so 
they  initiated  the  development  of  a 
new  8,8-cm  (3.465-in)  weapon.  Rhein- 
metall  was  given  the  contract  for  this 
new  gun,  and  the  company  according- 
ly attempted  to  integrate  into  the  de- 
sign all  the  various  lessons  learned 
from  the  existi^  8.8-cm  Elak  18  and 
Rak  37  series.  Tmus  the  new  weapon, 
known  initially  as  the  Gerat  37,  was 
intended  for  use  not  only  as  an  anti- 
aircraft gun  but  it  also  had  to  be  suited 
for  use  as  an  anti-tank  weapon  and 
even  a field  or  coastal  artillery  piece. 

The  result  was  that  when  develop- 
ment of  the  Gerat  37  was  completed  in 
1941  a highly  complicated  weapon  was 
presented  to  the  troops.  The  Gerat  37 
was  adopted  as  the  8.8-cm  Rak  41 , but 
service  development  took  until  1943 

for  the  design  was  full  of  'bugs',  some  of 
which  were  never  entirely  eliminated. 
An  example  of  this  can  be  quoted  as 
the  ammunition,  which  in  typical  Ger- 
man style  used  a long  anci  expensive 
cartridge  case.  These  cases  frequent- 
ly jammed  on  extraction  after  firing,  to 
the  extent  that  special  high-grade 
brass  cases  had  to  be  manufactured 
specifically  for  some  of  the  early  exam- 
ples. Both  three-  and  four-section  bar- 
rels were  produced,  and  the  weapon 
even  had  an  automatic  fuse  setter  on 
the  loading  mechanism.  There  were 
no  fewer  than  three  separate  firing  cir- 
cuits, and  a powered  rammer  was 

The  first  production  examples  were 
sent  to  Tunisia  during  the  latter  stages 
of  the  North  African  campaign:  here 
their  technical  troubles  continued  and 
they  were  given  little  chance  to  shine. 
Thereafter  they  were  assigned  to  use 
within  the  borders  of  the  Reich  only, 
where  they  could  be  near  the  very 

necessary  workshop  facilities  that  they 
constantly  demanded.  But  it  should  not 
be  thought  that  the  Elak  41  was  an  un- 
successful weapon,  for  when  it  worked 
it  was  an  excellent  anti-aircraft  gun. 
After  the  war  it  was  generally  re- 
garded as  the  best  of  all  the  German 
anti-aircraft  guns  from  a technical 
point  of  view,  but  one  that  required  an 
inordinate  amount  of  maintenance  and 
repair  time.  When  it  did  work  properly 
it  nad  a rate  of  fire  of  up  to  25  rounds 
per  minute  and  had  a maximum  effec- 
tive ceiling  of  14700m  (48,230ft).  It 
fired  a different  round  from  the  other 
8.8-cm  (3.465-in)  weapons. 

Despite  the  technical  promise  of  the 
Rak  41,  the  type  was  never  produced 
in  anything  but  limited  numbers.  It 
consumed  a great  deal  of  manufactur- 
ing potential  and  production  was  not 
assisted  by  the  constant  attention 
given  by  the  Allied  air  forces  to  the 
weapon^^s  main  production  centre  at 
Diisseldorf.  Eurther  lengthy  produc- 

tion delays  were  imposed  when  an 
attempt  was  made  to  switch  some  pro- 
duction to  the  Skoda  Werke  at  Pilsen, 
but  for  all  their  efforts  the  most  the 
Germans  could  ever  field  was  318  and 
that  was  in  January  1945. 

8.8-cm  Hak41 
Calibre:  88  mm  (3.465  in) 

Weight:  travelling  1 1240  kg  (24,780  lb) 
and  firing  7840  kg  ( 17,284  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  overall  9.658  m 
(31  ft8.2  in);  width2.4  m(7  ft  10.5  in); 
height  2.36  m (7  ft  8.9  in);  length  of 
barrel  6.548  m (2 1 ft  5.8  in) ; length  of 
rifling  5.411m  (17  ft  9 in) 

Elevation:  -1-907-3° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  effective  ceiling:  14700  m 

Shell  weight:  HE  9.4  kg  (20,7  lb) 
Muzzle  velocity:  1000  m (3,280  ft)  per 




Steadily  ahead  at  several  centres  until 
the  war  ended. 


10.5-cm  Rak  39 
Cahbre:  105mm(4.13in) 

Weight:  travelling  14600  kg  (32,187  lb) 
and  firing  10240  kg  (22,575  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  overall  10.31  m 
(33ft9.9in);  width2.45  m(8ft0.5  in); 
6.648  m (21  ft  9.7  in);  length  of  rifling 
5.531  m(18ftl.9  in) 


Traverse: 360° 

Maximum  ceiling:  12800  m (41 ,995  ft) 
Shell  weight:  1 5. 1 kg  (3  3 . 3 lb) 

Muzzle  velocity:  880m(2,887  ft)per 

A 1 0.5 -cm  Flak39in  action  ona 
special  railway  truck  mounting,  here 
being  used  for  harbour  defence. 
These  railway  mountings  were 
moved  around  the  occupied 
territories  and  the  Reich  itself. 

The  10. 5-cm(4. 13-in)  Flak38and39 
resembled  scaled-up  versions  of  the 
8.8-cm  Flak  18  series,  but  used  an 
all-electrical  control  system  and  a 
revised  loading  system.  Intended  for 
use  by  field  units,  many  were  la  ter 
diverted  to  the  Luftwaffe  for  the 
defence  oftheReich  and  many  were 
used  on  railway  mountings. 

10.5-cm  Flak  38  and  Flak  39 

As  far  back  as  1933  the  German  milit- 
ary planners  saw  a need  for  an  anti- 
aircraft gun  heavier  than  the  8.8-cm 
(3.465-in)  Flak  series,  and  both  Rhein- 
metall  and  Krupp  were  invited  to  sub- 
mit designs  for  a ^shoot-off  contest  for 

10.5-cm  (4, 1 3-m)  weapons  held  in  1935, 
Rheinmetall  won  the  contract  with  its 
Gerat  38,  which  duly  went  into  produc- 
tion as  the  10.5-cm  Flak  38.  This  model 
had  an  electrical  control  system  and  a 
powered  loading  mechanism,  but  was 
soon  reRaced  m production  by  the 

10.5-cm  Rak  39  with  arevised  electric- 
al and  fire-control  data  system. 

Both  10.5-cm  (4.1 3-m)  Flak  guns 
were  intended  for  use  by  the  German 
field  armies,  but  in  the  event  they  were 
almost  all  employed  in  the  home  de- 
fence of  the  Reich.  In  appearance  the 
Flak  38  and  Rak  39  resembled  scaled- 
up  Rak  18  guns,  but  there  were  many 
detail  differences  and  proportionally 
the  Flak  38  and  Flak  39  were  much 
heavier  and  bulkier  weapons.  In  over- 
all terms  the  Rak  38  and  Rak  39  were 
complex  weapons  and  were  made 
more  complex  to  manufacture  by  the 
use  of  a sectional  barrel  (for  rapid 
change  of  the  worn  portion  only  after 
firing)  on  the  Rak  39,  Unfortunately,  in 
action  they  proved  to  be  little  better 
than  the  8.8-cm  (3.465-in)  Flak  series  as 
far  as  overall  performance  was  con- 
cerned, and  at  one  point  it  was  even 
intended  to  replace  them  in  produc- 
tion by  the  8.8-cm  (3. 465 -in)  Rak  41 
though  this  never  happened:  produc- 
tion of  the  Flak  41  was  so  slow  that  the 

10.5-cm  (4.13-in)  Rak  guns  were  kept 
on  the  production  lines.  When  the  war 
ended  there  were  still  1 ,850  in  service, 
most  of  these  within  the  borders  of  the 

Although  intended  as  a field 
weapon,  the  Rak  38  and  Rak  39  were 
really  too  heavy  for  the  role.  They  used 
a scaled-up  version  of  the  mobile  twin- 
axle  carriage  of  the  8.8-cm  (3.465-in) 
Flak  series,  but  even  with  the  aid  of 
integral  winches  and  pulleys  the  guns 

were  slow  and  awkward  to  emplace. 
Many  were  subsequently  assigned  to 
static  emplacements,  and  116  were 
mounted  on  special  Flak  railway 
trucks  that  rumbled  around  the  Reich 
wherever  they  were  needed.  Each 
model  needed  a crew  of  a commander 
and  nine  men,  though  use  of  the  manu- 
al loading  system  required  a further 
two  men. 

The  10.5-cm  (4.13-in)  Flak  series 
never  acquired  the  fame  of  the  8.8-cm 
(3. 465 -in)  Flak  series,  mainly  because 
it  was  not  widely  used  in  the  field  and 
because  its  bulk  and  weight  meant  that 
it  was  only  rareW  used  as  an  anti- 
armour weapon.  Overall  its  perform- 
ance was  not  as  good  as  had  been 
originally  hoped,  and  despite  a great 
dem  of  development  work  on  a proj  ect 
known  as  the  10.5-cm  Rak  40,  which 
was  to  have  had  a longer  barrel  to  fire  a 
heavier  projectile,  the  10.5-cm  (4.13- 
in)  Rak  guns  were  never  'stretched'  to 
the  same  extent  as  the  other  German 
Flak  guns.  Instead  production  went 

^ 12.8-cmHak40 

The  idea  of  producing  a German  128- 
mm  (5.04-in)  anti-aircraft  gun  was  first 
mooted  in  1936  when  Rheinmetall  was 
requested  to  produce  a design  known 
then  as  the  Gerat  40.  Progress  on  this 
design  was  not  placed  at  a very  high 
priority,  so  it  was  not  until  1940  that  the 
first  prototype  was  rea^.  At  that  time 
it  was  intended  that  the  Gerat  40  would 
be  a weapon  for  the  field  army,  but 
when  the  military  saw  the  size  and  bulk 

of  the  prototype  they  decided  that  the 
weapon  would  be  produced  for  static 
use  only.  The  weapon  was  ordered 
into  production  as  the  12.8-cm  Rak  40. 

Bv  that  time  plans  had  already  been 
made  for  aproduction-line  mobile  ver- 
sion, so  the  first  six  were  produced  on 
mobile  carriages.  The  R^  40  was  so 
large  that  it  proved  impossible  to  carry 
the  gun  in  one  load  over  other  than 
very  short  distances,  so  a two-load  sys- 

tem was  initially  employed.  Even  this 
proved  to  be  too  cumbersome,  and 
was  later  revised  to  a single  load  once 
again.  Later  versions  were  produced 
for  static  use  only,  and  such  was  the 
overall  performance  of  the  Rak  40  that 
it  was  carefully  emplaced  around 
some  of  the  main  production  and 
population  centres  such  as  Berlin  and 
V ienna.  Special  Elak  to  wer  s were  built 
in  some  locations  to  make  best  use  of 

these  guns,  and  there  was  also  a spe- 
cial railcar  version  to  provide  the  guns 
with  some  sort  of  mobility. 

Production  of  the  static  version  be- 
gan in  1942,  but  it  was  a costly  and 
complex  gun  so  by  January  1945  there 
were  only  570  in  service,  all  of  them 
based  inside  the  borders  of  the  "Reich, 

Soon  after  full-scale  production  be- 
gan, the  Flak  40  was  joined  by  a twin 
version  of  the  same  gun  known  as  the 

Only  six  mobile  versions  of  the  12.8- 
cm  Flak  40  were  produced  before 
production  was  switched  to  static 
versions  only.  This  gun  is  carried  on 
a Sonderhanger22u  in  one  load,  but 
some  guns  were  carried  as  two 


12.8-cm  Flakzwilling  40.  This  consisted 
of  two  12.8-cm  (5.04-in)  Flak  guns 
mounted  side-by-side  on  the  same 
mounting  and  provided  with  'mirror' 
loading  arrangements.  These  power- 
ful gun  combinations  were  used  only 
on  special  Flak  towers  around  the 
main  centres  of  population  within  the 
Reich,  and  were  so  costly  and  difficult 
to  produce  that  there  were  never 
many  of  them;  even  by  February  1945 
there  were  only  33  in  service.  The 
Flakzwilling  (Zwilling,  or  twin)  was  in- 
troduced as  it  was  realized  that  ever 
heavier  anti-aircraft  guns  would  be 
needed  to  counter  the  increasing  per- 
formance of  Allied  bombers,  and  de- 
spite strenuous  efforts  to  develop  guns 
with  calibres  of  150  mm  (5.9  in)  and 
even  240mm  (9.45  in),  none  got  past 
the  prototype  stage  at  best  and  some 
failed  to  get  even  that  far.  Thus  the  twin 
arrangement  of  the  Flakzwilling  40  was 

an  attempt  to  produce  at  least  some 
form  of  increased  firepower  to  counter 
the  Allied  heavy  bombers,  and  in  the 
event  it  turned  out  to  be  an  excellent 
anti-aircraft  weapon. 

As  the  war  ended  the  original 
mobile  Flak  40s  were  still  in  use,  many 
more  were  in  use  on  special  Flak 
trains.  A new  12.8-cm  Flak  45  gun  was 
under  development  as  the  war  ended, 
and  this  would  have  been  an  even 
more  powerful  weapon  than  the  ori- 
ginal. Only  a single  prototype  was 

Calibre:  128  mm  (5,04  in) 

Weight:  travelling  (mobile)  27000  kg 
(59,524  kg),  firing  (mobile)  17000  kg 
(37,478  lb),  and  firing  (static)  13000  kg 
(28,660  lb) 

Dimensions:  length  overall  15  m (49  ft 


sis  Ordnance,  OF,  3 in  20  cwt 

The  British  76.2-mm  (3-in)  anti-aircraft 
gun  had  the  distinction  of  being  one  of 
the  very  first,  if  not  the  first  gun  to  be 
designed  specifically  for  the  anti- 
aircraft role,  the  initial  examples  being 
in  service  as  early  as  1914,  From  that 
time  the  basic  design  was  gradually 
modified  and  generally  updated,  and 
in  1940  there  were  still  many  in  service 
as  the  Ordnance,  OF,  3 in  20  cwt.  The 
updating  meant  that  the  gun  was  still  a 
viable  weapon  for  its  role,  but  its  over- 
all performance  was  such  that  it  lacked 
the  power  of  later  designs  and  it  was 
intended  in  1939  that  most  of  them 
would  be  replaced  by  more  modern 
equipments  (mainly  the  94-mm/3.7-in 
weapon)  by  1941. 

In  1939  there  were  no  fewer  than 
eight  marks  of  gun  in  service,  some 
with  sliding  breech  blocks,  some  with 
interrupted  thread  blocks,  some  with 
loose  barrel  hners,  and  so  on.  There 
was  an  equally  formidable  array  of  car- 
riages in  use  as  well:  some  of  these  had 
four  wheels,  others  had  but  two  and 
stiU  more  were  statically  emplaced  in 
concrete.  By  1940  nearly  all  in-service 
anti-aircraft  (ack-ack)  gunners  had 
been  trained  on  the  7 6 . 2 -mm  (3  -in)  gun 
for  not  only  was  it  the  standard  weapon 
of  the  small  regular  forces  but  it  was 
also  the  main  equipment  of  the  grow- 
ing number  of  Temtorial  Army  batter- 
ies that  were  formed  during  the  late 

The  gun  was  of  simple  design,  being 
little  more  than  a barrel  and  recuper- 
ator/recoil mechanism  slung  between 
two  side  mounting  plates  carried  on  a 
turntable.  The  turntable  could  be 
either  mounted  on  a heavy  cruciform 
firing  platform  or  carried  on  a four- 
wheeled  platform,  the  field  army  pre- 
ferring the  latter  by  1939.  The  gun  was 
the  mainstay  of  the  anti- aircraft  batter- 
ies with  the  BEF,  for  although  some 
batteries  had  been  issued  with  the  94- 
mm  (3.7-in)  gun  by  1940,  they  by  far 
preferred  the  much  lighter  and  hand- 
ier 76.2-mm  (3 -in)  gun  with  which  they 
were  familiar.  However,  the  Dunkirk 
episode  put  paid  to  that  source  of  dis- 
sent for  most  of  the  76.2-mm  (3-in)  guns 
with  the  BEF  were  either  destroyed  or 
captured  by  the  Germans  (they  later 
took  over  the  type  for  their  own  use  by 
units  in  France  under  the  designation 
7.5-cm  Flak  Vickers  (e)).  There  were 
few  servicable  76.2-mm  (3 -in)  guns  left 

The  British  3 -in  (76.2-mm)  was  one  of 
the  first  designedfor  an  ti-aircraft  use 
during  World  War  land  was  still  in 
widespread  use  in  1939-40.  They  had 
been  progressively  modernized,  and 
many  gunners  preferred  them  to  the 
new  3. 7-in  ( 94-mm)  guns  as  they 
were  so  m uch  handier.  Many  were 
lost  at  Dunkirk. 

in  the  United  Kingdom  other  than  the 
few  static  installations,  but  gradually 
even  they  were  soon  phased  out  as 
front-line  weapons  and  many  of  the 
mobile  platform  carriages  were  con- 
verted to  rocket-launching  platforms. 
About  100  platforms  were  eventually 
converted  for  this  rocket  role,  and  of 
the  barrels  removed  some  were  used 
as  the  main  armament  for  a tank  des- 
troyer using  a Churchill  tank  chassis. 
That  project  eventually  came  to  no- 
thing, and  mystery  still  surrounds  a 
project  to  place  50  old  76.2-mm  (3-in) 
guns  onto  surplus  17-pounder  anti-tank 
gun  carriages  for  home  defence  dur- 
ing 1944.  There  were  few,  if  any,  76.2- 
mm  (3-in)  anti-aircraft  guns  left  in  ser- 
vice by  1945. 


Ordnance,  OF,  3 in  20  cwt  (on  four- 
wheel  platform) 

Calibre:  76.2  mm  (3  in) 

Weight:  travelling  and  complete 
7976  kg  (17,584  lb) 

Dimensions : length  travelling 7.468m 
(24ft6in);  width  travelling  2.31 1 m(7ft 
7 in);  height  2.794  m (9  ft  2 in);  length  of 
barrel  3.551m  (11  ft  7,8  in);  length  of 
rifling  2.977  m (9  ft  9.2  in) 

Elevation:  -1-907 - 1 0° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  ceding:  7163  m(23,500 ft) 
SheU  weight:  7.26  kg(161b) 

Muzzle  velocity:  610m(2,000ft)per 


2 .6  in) ; height 3 .965  m ( 1 3 f t) ; length  of 
rifling  6.478  m (2 1 ft  3 in) 

Traverse: 3 60° 

Maximum  effective  ceiling:  14800  m 


Muzzle  velocity:  880  m (2,887  ft)  per 

This  photograph  of  12.8-cm  Flak  40s 
in  the  field  was  taken  in  1940  in  order 
toshowthe  'might' of  the  German 
army's  anti-aircraft  field  defences.  In 
fact  only  one  ba  ttery  was  so  used 
before  all  production  of  the  gun  was 
switched  to  the  home  defence  of  the 
Reich.  This  one  ba  ttery  was  also 
moved  out  of  the  field. 

The  usual  model  of  the  3-in  (76.2- 
mm)  gun  in  use  with  the  BEF  in  1940 
was  this  platform  version,  complete 
with  twin  axles.  The  platform  used 

outriggers  when  firing  and  the  feet 
for  these  can  be  seen  below  the  gun 
platform.  The  locker  housed  ready- 
use  ammunition  and  the  sights. 


Ordnance,  OF,  3.7  in 

Soon  after  World  War  I ended  it  was 
suggested  that  something  heavier  and 
more  powerful  than  the  existing  76,2- 
mm  (3-in)  anti-aircraft  gun  would  be 
required  by  the  UK  to  meet  antici- 
pated increases  in  aircraft  perform- 
ance, but  at  that  time  (1920)  the  report 
was  simply  shelved  as  there  was  then 
no  prospect  of  any  funding  for  even 
initial  research  into  such  a project.  In- 
stead it  was  not  until  1936  that  Vickers 
produced  a prototype  of  a new  gun 
with^a  calibre  of  94mm  (3.7  in).  The 
design  was  approved  for  production 
as  the  Ordnance,  OF,  3.7  in,  but  initial 
progress  towards  this  goal  was  so  slow 
that  it  was  not  until  1938  that  the  pilot 
production  models  were  issued  for  de- 
velopment trials. 

The  main  reason  for  this  slow  pro- 
gress was  the  gun's  carriage.  While 
the  gun  was  a fairly  straightforward  but 
modern  component,  the  carriage  was 
complex  to  what  seemed  an  extreme. 
The  gun  was  intended  for  use  in  the 
field  by  the  army  and  thus  had  to  be 
fully  mobile,  but  the  final  assembly  was 
what  can  only  be  classed  as  'semi- 
mobile'.  The  gun  and  its  cradle  and 
saddle  rested  on  alargefiringplatform 
which  in  action  rested  on  four  outrig- 
gers. The  front  wheels  were  raised  off 
the  ground  in  action  in  order  to  pro- 
vide some  counter-balance  for  the 
weight  of  the  gun  mass,  and  the  rear 
(towing  end)  axle  was  removed,  Pro- 
duction of  the  carriage  soon  proved  to 
be  a time-consuming  bottleneck,  to  the 
extent  that  production  began  of  what 
was  to  be  a purely  static  carriage  for 
emplacement  in  concrete.  As  time 
went  on  the  carriage  was  re- 
engineered to  a more  manageable 
form.  Thus  the  first  production  car- 
riage was  the  Mk  I,  the  static  carriage 
the  Mk  II  and  the  final  production  ver- 
sion the  Mk  III;  there  were  sub-marks 
of  all  of  these. 

When  the  equipment  was  first 
issued  the  gunners  did  not  take  kindly 
to  it  as  they  by  far  preferred  the  hand- 
ier and  familiar  76.2-mm  (3-in)  gun,  but 
even  they  came  to  appreciate  that  the 
performance  of  the  94-mm  (3.7-in) 
ordnance  by  far  exceeded  that  of  the 
older  gun.  In  fact  the  94-mm  (3.7-in) 
had  an  excellent  all-round  perform- 
ance even  if  emplacing  and  moving  it 
was  sometimes  less  than  easy.  As  more 
equipments  entered  service  they 
were  gradually  fitted  with  improved 
and  centralized  fire-control  systems 
and  such  extras  as  power  rammers 
and  fuse  setters.  By  1941  the  type 
formed  the  mainstay  of  the  army's  anti- 
aircraft defences,  and  went  on  through 
the  rest  of  the  war  to  prove  itself  to  be 
an  excellent  weapon. 

The  94-mm  (3.7-in)  gun  was  im- 
pressed into  use  as  an  anti-armour 
weapon  in  the  Western  Desert  cam- 
paigns, but  its  weight  and  bulk  made  it 
less  than  effective  in  this  role  although 
it  could  still  knock  out  any  tank  set 
against  it.  Instead  it  was  retained  for 
whatit  was  best  suited,  the  anti-aircraft 
role,  and  thus  the  94-mm  (3.7-in)  never 
really  got  a chance  to  prove  itself  as 
the  British  equivalent  of  the  German 
'88'.  It  was  used  on  occasion  as  a long- 
range  field  piece  and  was  even  at  one 
stage  of  the  war  used  as  a coastal  de- 
fence gun.  However,  its  use  in  this  role 
was  in  the  hands  of  the  Germans,  who 
had  captured  some  of  the  type  at 
Dunkirk,  They  appreciated  the  effec- 
tiveness'of  the  weapon  they  termed 
the  9.4-cm  Flak  Vickers  M.39(e)  so 

Right:  The  static  version  of  the  British 
3.  Tin  (94-mm)  anti-aircraft  gun  was 
theMkll,  of  which  there  were  three 
sligh  tly  dijferen  t versions.  This 
version  had  a power  rammer  and 
had  a characteristic  counterbalance 
weigh  t over  the  breech  to 
compensate  for  the  long  barrel. 

Below:  A 3. 7 -in  ( 94-mm)  gun  sited  in  a 
desert  sangar  formed  by  filling  old 
Italian  ammunition  boxes  with 
stones.  The  barrel  is  fitted  with 
makeshift  sigh  ts  as  the  gun  was  no 
doubt  opera  ting  away  from  its 
normal  position. 

much  that  they  even  went  to  the  trou- 
ble of  manufacturing  their  own 
ammunition  for  them  for  both  the  Flak 
and  the  coastal  defence  roles.  In  the 
latter  they  were  particularly  effective 
at  Walcheren,  where  94-mm  (3.7-in) 
guns  sank  several  Allied  landing  craft. 

The  gun  soldiered  on  in  British  use 
until  Anti-Aircraft  Command  was  dis- 
banded during  the  1950s.  Many  were 
sold  or  handed  over  to  other  nations, 
and  some  still  survive  in  use  in  such 
locations  as  South  Africa  and  Burma. 


Ordnance,  OF,  3.7  inMkIIIon 
Carriage  Mk  in 
Calibre:  94  mm  (3.7  in) 

Weight:  complete  93 17  kg  (20,541  lb) 
Dimensions:  length  overall  travelling 
8.687  m(28  ft  6 in);  width  2.438  m (8  ft); 
height  2. 502  m (8  ft  2. 5 in);  length  of 
barrel4.7  m(  15  ft  5 in) ; length  of  rifling 
3.987  m (13  ft  0.95  in) 

Elevation:  -1-807-5° 

Traverse:  360° 

Maximum  effectiveceihng:  9754m 

SheUweight:  HE  12.96  kg(28.56  lb) 
Muzzle  velocity:  792  m (2,600  ft)  per 

These  guns  were  only  just  entering 
production  when  the  war  began,  but 
they  remained  in  British  service  until 
the  late  1950s. 

A victory  sddu  tc  is  fired  in  May  1 945 
by  a complete  ba  ttery  of  123. 7 -in 
( 94-mm)  guns,  probably  on  the 
Larkhill  ranges  on  Salisbury  Plain. 


Ordnance,  QF,  4.5  in,  AA  Mk  II 

The  British  4. 5 -in  anti-aircraft  gun 
was  not  meant  to  he  an  easily 
transportable  weapon,  as  it  was 
originally  a naval  gun.  In  order  to 
move  these  guns  across  the  country  a 
special  transporting  carriage  was 
produced,  but  even  so  moving  the 
gun  was  slow  and  awkward. 

The  gun  that  was  to  become  the  British 
army^s  4.5-inch  anti-aircraft  gun  had  a 
rather  muddled  provenance,  for  it  was 
actually  a naval  gun  intended  for  use 
on  board  heavy  vessels.  It  was  under- 
going acceptance  trials  in  1936  when  it 
was  decided  that  it  would  make  an 
ideal  anti-aircraft  weapon  for  the  army, 
and  after  some  inter- service  discus- 
sion the  Admiralty  agreed  to  divert 
some  of  its  anticipated  production  to 
the  army,  but  only  on  the  understand- 
ing that  the  guns  would  be  emplaced 
for  the  local  defence  of  naval  dock- 
yards and  other  such  installations. 
More  muddle  ensued  when  it  was  dis- 
covered by  the  army  that  the  naval 
guns  (actual  calibre  113  mm/4.45  in) 
were  intended  for  mounting  in  pairs. 
The  army  wanted  single  mountings,  so 
time  was  lost  while  the  necessary 
changes  were  made  and  tested. 

When  the  type  did  eventually  get 
into  service  (as  the  Ordnance,  OF, 
4.5  in  AA  Mk  II)  in  time  for  the  difficult 
days  of  1940,  it  was  emplaced  as  a 
static  weapon  only.  Some  measure  of 
mobility  could  be  provided  by  using  a 
special  heavy  transporter  trailer  but 
such  moves  were  difficult  and  lengthy, 
and  required  a great  deal  of  prepara- 
tion. Once  emplaced,  the  guns  demon- 
strated their  naval  origins  by  the  reten- 
tion of  a turret-type  mounting  that 
rested  on  a base  of  heavy  steel  plate. 
The  turret-type  shelter  over  the  gun 
had  only  limited  protective  value 
against  steel  splinters  or  falling  shrap- 

nel, but  was  welcome  on  some  of  the 
bleak  gun- sites  at  which  the  weapons 
were  located. 

The  gun  had  all  the  usual  naval  attri- 
butes, namely  items  such  as  a power 
rammer,  a heavy  counter- weight  over 
the  breech  and  a fuse  setter  on  the 
loading  tray.  The  ammunition  handling 
equipment  was  very  necessary,  for 
each  complete  round  weighed 
38.98  kg  (85.94  lb)  and  the  movement 
of  s