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New Vanguard 107: US Anti-Tank Artillery 1941–45

by Steven J Zaloga, illustrated by Brian Delf

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd, SBN 1-84176-690-9, 48 pages

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This is a very useful guide to its subject, and since there are no other published sources that specialise in this field it’s going to be an essential addition to the bookshelf. It begins with early US ideas on anti-tank defence, basically that the .50-cal. machine gun could penetrate most 1920s and 30s tanks so there was no need for a specialised gun. Attitudes changed in the mid-30s and in 1937 work began on a 37mm weapon. Here there are some interesting notes on the differences of opinion! The eventual gun emerged as the M3 used in North Africa, and although even there it was found to be little use against Axis armour it did perform well against Japanese tanks in the Pacific right up to the end of the war.

The 57mm M1 comes next, originally put into production to meet British needs but adopted for US service when the shortcomings of the M3 became obvious. Contrary to common belief the M1 cannot be distinguished from the British 6 pounder by its longer barrel – 6 pounders existed with the longer barrel s well as the early short one. Although there were other modifications on the US version, the distinguishing feature is really the raised tow coupling needed for connection to US tow vehicles. It was a good deal heavier than the M3 so difficult to manhandle into firing position, and units were not entirely happy with it for that reason. For some reason the US Army did not at first realise that HE rounds would be needed, so many units scrounged them from British stocks.

Then the 3-inch M5 is described. Heavy, hard to move, and having an uninspiring performance, it was not a shining success. There were also various experimental designs, like the 76mm T1and and 90mm T8, that never went into service but are described here.

The use of all these guns in combat is very well covered, with eleven pages devoted to M1 and M5 experience in Italy, France, and the Battle of the Bulge as well as two pages on the M3. Excellent photo coverage is included as well as multi-view plans of the M3 and M5, and the colour plates also include what amount to multi-view plans of the M3, M1and M5 for good measure. The more “scenic” plates are equally good, particularly one of a towed 57mm of 18th Infantry with their very specific markings.

Highly recommended!

John Prigent

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