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M12 Gun Motor Carriage (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Colour Books Military Photographic Books WWII > Photographic Books

By David Doyle
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 142
Illustrations: 194
ISBN: 9781526743527
Published: 12th December 2018



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Although only 100 examples were produced, the 155mm Gun Motor Carriage M12 served with distinction as an infantry-support weapon and in particular as a bunker-buster during the U.S. assault on the Siegfried Line in the winter of 1944-45.

The ability to rapidly ready heavy artillery for firing lead to the development of the M12 155mm gun in 1941, based on the M3 Medium Tank chassis. The trial vehicle, built by Rock Island Arsenal, was designated T6. To accommodate the large, rear mounted weapon – a French-made M1917 155mm gun, the engine was relocated forward to a position just behind the driving compartment. A hydraulically operated spade mounted at the rear of the vehicle, which was lowered during firing to anchor the vehicle against the recoil. When retracted into the travelling position it provided a seat for two of the six crewmen.

The production run was between September 1942 and March 1943, with a total of one hundred units being built. Though a few were used by training units, most were placed in storage until February 1944, when the first of 74 of them were shipped to Baldwin Locomotive Works to be improved based on further tests and usage in training. This work continued until May 1944.

Three slightly different WWI surplus weapons were mounted depending upon availability, the M1917, the M1917A1 and the M1918M1. The M1917 was French built, the M1918 was US built, and the M1917A1 had the French gun tube, and the US breech.

The M12 would earn the nickname "Door Knocker" for its pounding of the German Siegfried Line.

"Excellent for anyone with an interest in WW2 artillery and ideal for the AFV modeller for not only the detail of every facet of the M12. Has a good detailed collection of photographs."

Ordnance Society - Newsletter No.134, 07/2021

This book provides an excellent and comprehensive description of the M12 and M30. It will appeal to those who have an interest in World War II US armour as well as model makers looking for inspiration for dioramas. The rare photographs and colour photographs of the surviving M12 as well as the comprehensive text make this book a must for all those interested in the subject.

Tom Cole, Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicles Association, September 2020

An excellent reference on the M12, recommended to all military modellers.

IPMS Magazine Nov-Dec 19

Featured in

Military Vehicle Trust

Well recommended, especially for the modeller of fighting vehicles, not only for the images of the M12 but also for many photos that could provide inspiration for diorama building.

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I find the GMCs as a whole interesting, so I found the book interesting... the range of photos is good, from factory/testing 'technical' shots to private 'in action' pics. It finishes off with multiple good colour images of that sole survivor. All the images throughout are clear & well-produced.

It's really for nerds like me that find detailed close-ups of sprockets & fire extinguisher nozzles worthwhile, and, of course: modellers.

If you're building an M12 model, I can't imagine you'll get better detail reference unless you clambered over one yourself.

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WW2 Talk

First-line documentation.

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Miniaturas JM

The book ends with a detailed look at the sole surviving M12 which languished at the Aberdeen Proving Ground before restoration and placement at Fort Sill. This chapter is of essential value to model makers because Mr. Doyle’s walk-round photography appears to cover every nut and bolt.

As ever, it is the combat and training stuff that attracts the most, and there are a good few corkers here, especially action shots from the Bill Larkin collection. The images from Dan Ballou are also effective, and one showing a full battery firing conveys all the mud and noise of campaigning.

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War History Online

The book covers every aspect of the M12's limited service with the U.S. military. Included are excellent black and white as well as some incredible close shot, colour photos. For someone building a model of this gun, this book has all the essential details including interior detailing, unit signage and ammunition types used. I also found this book interesting inasmuch as it covered a subject that, strangely enough, only ever served with the United States Army. Unusually, at this time, Britain was crying out for armoured weapons but refused to consider the M12.

Highly recommended to model-maker's and historians.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

This new addition to the series covers the M12 self-propelled howitzer which may have been used only in small numbers but was highly successful and set the approach for future 155mm gun carriages. - Most Highly Recommended

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Excellent for anyone with an interest in WW2 artillery and ideal for the AFV modeller for not only the detail of every facet of the M12, but archive photos which give plenty of diorama ideas as well. Recommended.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About David Doyle

An avid military vehicle enthusiast whose collection includes 10 Vietnam-era vehicles, it is not surprising that most of his 100+ published books focus on US military weapons of war. In June 2015, he was presented the coveted Bart Vanderveen Award by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, given in recognition of "…the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide."
Some of David Doyle's published works are - U.S Vehicles and Heavy Weapons of the Vietnam War; M65 Atomic Canon; M7 Priest, M12 Gun Motor Carriage; U.S. Half-Track Vehicles In Action; The Complete DUKW Historical Reference; P-47 Thunderbolt In Action; USS Iowa (BB-61)

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