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M65 Atomic Cannon (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Colour Books Military > Pre-WWI > American History Military > Tanks Military > Weaponry Photographic Books

By David Doyle
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 385
ISBN: 9781526743602
Published: 25th April 2019



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Through historic photos, this volume traces the development, production and deployment of this iconic piece of military equipment from the drawing boards to the Cold War battlefields of Europe.

In 1949, the US Army wanted an artillery gun that could fire a nuclear warhead in the event that guided missiles and long-range bombers proved insufficient in delivering atomic weapons. The result was the M65, 280mm Atomic Cannon. On May 25, 1953, at 0830 hours, an M65 of A Battery, 867th Field Artillery Battalion, let loose with the only nuclear round the type would ever fire.

Six battalions of the M65 would eventually be deployed, most in Europe with one battalion sent to the Korean Peninsula. Though never used in combat, they served as a significant tactical nuclear deterrent in the early stages of the Cold War.

A fascinating book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in military history.

Classic Military Vehicle - Issue 244, September 2021

Every single detail of the weapon is eviscerated by often large-format images, a fact that will surely be appreciated by students of this subject, post-war artillery scholars and model makers.

STORIA militare, April 2020

Yet another beautiful Images of War series book and a perfect accompaniment for Dragon Models M65 Atomic Annie Gun kit. As the series title suggests, this book is overflowing with images and with some great ideas for dioramas.

See the full review here

Vintage Airfix

As featured on



Quality documentation for the scale military vehicle model.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

There are a lot of high quality images... an absolute must for modellers.

Watch the full video review here

The View From The Turret Vlog

The Images of War series continues with David Doyale taking a look at the M65 Atomic Cannon, a fearsome piece of tracked artillery celebrated in some style in David's book.

Books Monthly

There are a number of models available of the M65 Atomic Cannon and if you were going to build one, then this would be the ideal companion.

This will appeal to anyone with a general interest in large ordnance and anyone building a model of one, in whatever scale.

IPMS Magazine July-August 2019

I think this will appeal to anyone with a general interest in large ordnance and anyone building a model of one, in whatever scale.

Dave Smith, IPMS, 2019

The author has delivered a beautifully researched and illustrated book covering the unique US Atomic Cannon, the apex of US heavy artillery development. – Very Highly Recommended

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David Doyle, a military vehicle enthusiast, has come up trumps with a complete record of the M65; I found the book fascinating and will certainly be making my way to see 'Atomic Annie' (all M65 cannon had their own nicknames and 'Atomic Annie' was the gun that fired 'Shot Grable') next time I am in Fort Sill.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

With its loaded length of 71 feet one can imagine the problems of negotiating small village roads, even with "push-me, pull-you" tractor units. Although only one 15kt warhead was ever fired, it stood guardian until rockets and smaller atomic rounds for conventional artillery were developed. Scale modellers will find this book invaluable and anyone interested in the Cold War will find it fascinating.

Japanese Aviation Society

An interesting weapon of the Cold War era and great detail for the modeller who may wish to add more of it to the 1/72 scale model that has been produced by Dragon Models in recent years. Another very good book for the military vehicle/artillery enthusiast from author David Doyle.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Thanks to this book I believe that the M65 atomic gun received the attention it deserved.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

With the M65 Atomic Cannon having limited coverage by the model manufacturers I am really pleased to have a copy of this book from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images of War’ book series. The period photographs are a great visual reference on the M65 Atomic Cannon and with the very good captions provided with the photographs increasing their value even further.

This weapon was never used in anger or as far as I am aware anything more than a deterrent to the Eastern BLOC countries and so I found the period pictures a really nice inclusion. It is also for this reason and the fact that it is just such a huge piece of equipment that the in detail section with the walk around and close ups is so valuable. The captions that accompany these images are really helpful as I feel it would prove next to impossible for the average person to know exactly what aspect of the vehicle they are looking at. In finishing this book and for that matter the series, offer fantastic value for money regardless of where your interests lay or the reason you have an interest.

Read the full review here


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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