Book Review
U.S. WW II 105MM Howitzers
  • 6016_-_1_M2_M3_1

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


The M2a1 105mm Howitzer was a Light Field Artillery piece and was normally deployed at Regimental level, usually (though not always) in support of Infantry. The gun evolved from the (Post) WWI M1920 and, was in U.S. service, in various designations, from 1941 until the 1960s. The M3 Howitzer, the second part of the study in this book, was developed from a demand for a lighter, air-transportable artillery piece which would have the characteristics of the M2a1 but much more lightweight for use with the new Airborne Units.

The Book - overview

6016 - U.S. WW II 105MM Howitzers M2A1 & M3 is a new book by the German Publishing House, Tankograd. The book contains 64 pages and close to 200 photos along with numerous detail drawings. Photos are in both color and black and white. As with the other books in this particular series, the images come from three distinct sources - Reproductions of images from the original U.S. Technical Manuals, Contemporary Photos from a number of different sources and Color images (contemporary and modern). The book is edited by Michael Franz.

About Tankograd's 6000 Series

The Internet has brought us access to many reference sources - one of those being the U.S. Technical Manuals being available for download. However, as I stated in my recent Review on the 2.5 Ton CCKW, the problem of the manuals is they frequently have TOO much information. Want to know the component parts of the rear tail-light on an M4a1? Not many modelers probably do, therefore there was a need, before this series began, for a 'distillation' of the Data into a manageable size. With many of the manuals having over 300 pages, it's sometimes a real chore wading thru what's there... Therefore, publications like this, are an absolute boon to the modeler. Tankograd's '6000 Series' begins with the Technical Manual(s) on a given subject, edits them down to what's necessary for the modeler (or vehicle enthusiast) and then adds in appropriate images of the System/Vehicle in the Field.

The Book in Detail

U.S. WW II 105MM Howitzers is clearly divided into two halves The first deals with the M2a1, the second part, with the lighter version - the M3.

Each gun carries its own brief technical overview. This covers such areas as weight, range and production numbers.
It's easier to seperate the book into two for review purposes, so...
The M2a1 Section: This is by far the largest part of the book and begins with some interesting drawings showing the different carriages and trails used on the M1, M2 & M2a1 - a brief illustrated guide to the 'evolution' of the gun. There then follows a number of pages of photos showing the gun (with different carriage-types) from a variety of perspectives with the labels attached showing the components. The next section is 10 pages of contemporay photos (2 per page) again with the M2a1 in a variety of settings.
Following on from these captioned images, the book then begins to go into real detail. Using, once again, the images from the Technical manuals, the M2a1 is broken-down into its respective areas. These are:

Tube & Breech
Recoil Mechanism & Cradle
Top Carriage
Bottom Carriage
Sighting Equipment & Ammunition

The next section (no doubt presented as a kind of 'homage' to Italeri's combo of DUKW with 105mm Gun) consists of three pages devoted to transporting the 105 by DUKW. This, for anyone wishing to do it as part of a Diorama is exteremely useful containg not only photos of the real thing, but also some useful illustrations of its placement in the cargo bay.

The final section, in the documentation of the M2a1, presents four images of the gun in service with the Bundeswehr.

The second part of the book, dealing with the M3 105mm Howitzer is briefer but no less detailed. Structure is more or less similar to its 'Heavier' cousin - reproductions of images from the Technical Manuals are complemented by a number of excellent contempory imges of the gun in-theater. The difference in ammunition is clearly demonstrated and shows the four principal types.
The book finishes with a useful bibliography listing all the relevant Technical Manuals.


The section on the M2a1 will be invaluable for those wishing to improve the rather old (but good) model from Italeri (Peerless, Max & Airfix) the second section, on the M3, will be of great value to those who wish to attempt a pretty intensive scratch-building project.
In summary an excellent book absolutely packed full of PRACTICAL information. The quality of the images is, once again, superlative.

VERY Highly Recommended
Highs: Quality of images and the limited scope of the book - only covering two (towed) variants is a good use of the available space.
Lows: A (larger) section on ammunition types and particularly on the wider-range of round stowage containers would have been very useful.
Verdict: Like the other books in this (Workshop Manual) series - an invaluable and well-edited guide.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 6016
  Suggested Retail: 9.90 Euro
  PUBLISHED: Nov 26, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


Kurt Laughlin has written an article on 105 ammo that will be a helpful companion piece to the Tankograd book. You can find it here: http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/105mm%20Ordnance/1%20105mmOverview.html Tim.
NOV 27, 2008 - 07:34 AM
Hi guys, Where on internet one can get the TM for free? Sometimes I want to detail something and the TM would come handy. Thanks in advance, Angel
NOV 27, 2008 - 08:33 PM
I'll try and find the site - there is one with many of the Tech Manuals available. As I said in the Review, there is in my opinion, a limit to the use of the manuals. In reality, there's only a TINY part which is useful (pure gold though it is) each vehicle sometimes has several with each running to sometimes hundreds of pages). What Tankograd has done, is to cover within their TM Series, the essential parts of the vehicle and back it up with contemporary and modern images of the subject area. In that respect, with each one costing around 10 €uros they're an absolute bargain...
NOV 27, 2008 - 09:31 PM
Here is one: LINK It's a bit involved . . . Click Research > Research Catalogs, then Military Publications, then Search. You can put the subject in the DDS Search Panel but that will pull up every digitized document that includes your terms within the full text, so something like "tank" will result in nearly everything they have. Instead, try putting the relevant term in the Title box. "Tank" there will get you 68 items. You can also put the publication number in the Title box if you know that. Like Jim said, these are of varying utlity for modeling. Of maybe 600 pages in a later tank TM, there are about 100 useful pictures. The remainder is tables telling how to diagnose a flickering internal light, how to rebuild the turret traversing motor, and how often the brake pedal should be oiled. Also, the scans on this site are adequate but coarse and the pictures are poor compared to those in the Tankograd books. You get what you pay for, y'know. KL
NOV 28, 2008 - 02:52 AM
Hi, Thanks a lot guys for your replies. I hope I can have access to that webpage from anywhere in the world. Last year I worked in China and the year before in India. Right now I am in the process of changing work and chances are very high that I will go back to China (Finance Manager) or India (Managing Director). Personally I prefer India but my fiancéé is chinese and she is living in Beijing. This might seem an stupid question but last year, while working in China, access to certain pages was quite difficult (partly because of the "Chinese Wall" and also partly because of the webmasters. Finally I am not going to work to the USA (Harlingen, TX). Things didn´t come up as one would have liked. Have a nice day, Angel
NOV 28, 2008 - 11:22 AM
Hi Guys, Other than the M7 Priest did the British ever used the towed 105mm? Thanks Al
DEC 07, 2008 - 04:50 AM

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