by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
a bit of history
The idea for the M29 Weasel came about from the request of British inventor Geoffrey Pyke in support of his proposals to attack Axis forces and industrial installations in Norway. Pyke's plan to hamper the German atomic weapons development became Project Plough for which he requested that a fast, light, tracked vehicle be developed that could transport small groups of commando troops across snow covered terrain. With the current demands upon both Combined Operations and British industry, it was decided to offer the plan to the United States in March 1942 and General George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, accepted the suggestion for Project Plough. In April 1942, since no suitable vehicle existed that could be used for the operation, the U.S. Government asked automobile manufacturers to look into such a design. Studebaker subsequently created the T-15 cargo carrier, which later became the M29 Weasel. An amphibious version was also developed which was designated as the M29C Weasel.
Tankograd Publications Technical Manual Series Number 6020 – US WWII Studebaker M29 & M29C Weasel is by Verlag Jochen Vollert, edited by Michael Franz and has a 2010 copyright. The book details the Weasel from its development to its use during WWII, Korea, Viet-Nam and on into the 1980’s. This publication is a 48 page soft cover book and contains 3 color photographs and 173 black and white photographs, drawings and exploded parts views. Also included are four line drawings that are referred to as being in 1/35 scale. The book provides a written history of the Weasel and its development as well as technical data, an English/German glossary, references and the books editorial. The remainder of the book is dedicated to the wide array of photographs and drawings with detailed captions.
Shown throughout the book is a wide variety of photographs of the Weasel and its variants. The photographs range from action to casual scenes, and some that were staged for the press. The photographs show the Weasel during various times of the year, such as summer and winter, and in different types of terrain such as snow, mud and water. Many of the photographs are walk-around type photographs that will assist detail and scratch-build modelers. Several of the photographs are taken from military manuals and are very detailed. The military manual photographs have arrows indicating specific items and provide information as to what the arrows are indicating. One problem I noticed with the military manual pictures is that some of them have been reduced in size which makes the detailed wording in the picture difficult to read, however this does not affect the captions.
Two of my favorite photographs are of the experimental anti-personnel mine exploder, T-13, and one of a M29C shown rigged for aerial delivery by parachute. Another photograph I like, as it is almost comical, is of two French M29C amphibious Weasels in the Algerian desert. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said, the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author.
All of the photographs are accompanied by captions that are in both English and German text. The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and go into great detail in regards to the vehicle and the scene that is shown. I thought I had found one caption that was incorrect on identifying a piece of equipment. The picture was of a Weasel pulling a one quarter ton trailer though water. The caption referred to the trailer as being amphibious and I thought that was a mistake. So I did some research and discovered that the trailers were indeed amphibious, and so I was mistaken. It is obvious that the author has taken the time to study the photographs and research them so that they are well detailed and point out several items of interest. As I read through the captions I did notice a few grammatical and spelling errors, however they are few.
As with my other book reviews, I like to mention certain items that are shown and mentioned in the book that I hope will provide additional information and will be of interest to others.
Some of the Weasel variants shown and discussed in the book are:
▪ M29 Weasel
▪ M29C Weasel – amphibious version
▪ Ambulance version
▪ T13 Anti-personnel mine exploder
▪ Wire laying version
▪ Armed versions armed with:
▪ U.S. M1916 37mm gun
▪ U.S. 75mm recoilless rifle
▪ U.S. 105mm recoilless rifle
▪ U.S. M60 machine gun
Some of the military units listed in the captions are the:
▪ 1st Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade)
▪ U.S. 87th Motorized Chemical Battalion
▪ U.S. 56th Signal Battalion
▪ U.S. 4th Infantry Division
▪ British 79th Armored Division
▪ French Foreign Legion
Some of the countries and areas of operation listed are:
▪ Iwo Jima
▪ Aleutian Islands, Alaska
All in all I am very impressed with the book. The coverage of the M29 Weasel and its variants is very well covered. With its wealth of detailed photographs and captions this book will appeal to the military vehicle modeler, detail modeler, scratch-builder and military vehicle enthusiast and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. I would have no hesitation to add other Tankograd Publishing TM titles to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others
▪ Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles 1940-1965 Thomas Bernt Krause Publications ISBN: 0-87341-223-0