Pen & Sword Books
US Vehicles & Heavy Weapons of the Vietnam War
Author David Doyle has been on a bit of a Southeast Asian, Vietnam War roll lately, bringing readers several titles on subjects relating to that era defining conflict. This time out, he is examining the heavy weapons and vehicles ( land ) used by all branches of the United States military during the US involvement in the Vietnam War.
This book’s publisher is Pen & Sword Books, of the United Kingdom and Philadelphia, PA, renowned for their extensive military history line of books.
Format - hardcover, portrait format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 238 pages
Size - 10” x 7”
Photos - approximately 250+ black and white, and full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of vehicle data
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
As can be seen in the table of contents above, the contents of this volume are grouped into four categories; wheeled, track laying vehicles, self propelled weapons, and towed weapons. All items covered by this work can be clearly seen above, it’s quite a list. The scope of this work is broad, so being able to find the vehicle or weapon you’re seeking in this TOC is nice.
This volume has a more than respectable amount of informative text and images on the quite large number of vehicles and heavy weapons that are covered in the book. The author gives a solid amount of clear and concise background and historical information on the subject matter in his text on each, and a nice mix of photographs have been included as well. This mix can be black and white or full color images, taken stateside or in Vietnam.
Most of the images used in this volume are bright, crisp and clear. Occasionally there were will be one that may be just a bit dark, or otherwise slightly less than perfect. Given the interesting subject matter, this is acceptable to me.
Within the quite wide scope of this volume, some fairly scarce vehicles can be found, such as the neat looking little M76 “Otter” cargo / troop hauler seen above. I would absolutely love to see a mainstream manufacturer do a kit of this vehicle.
Above - technical / general data tables are provided for the vast majority of the vehicles and heavy weapons in this book.
Above - it would be inconceivable for any Vietnam War volume to NOT include the M113 family. Two really interesting variants are pictured above.
Image sizes throughout the book range from quarter page size up to full page sized images.
Photographic coverage of vehicles in this volume occasionally includes “formal portraits” taken stateside at factories or proving grounds, but the vast majority of the images were taken in country, in a wide variety of actions and situations.
The author is well known for his clear and informative text and photo captioning, and does not disappoint here. Quite a bit of information is contained in the photo captions in this book, and areas of special attention in the images are pointed out very well.
Self propelled artillery is well represented in this volume with coverage of the M53, M107, M109, and M110 howitzers.
Above - the WWII era M55 quad .50 “meat chopper” as used in Vietnam. Mostly used in perimeter defense or convoy defense roles, these things reportedly managed to burn through 10 MILLION rounds of .50 ammo in Vietnam.
Above - and finally, another thing no self respecting book on Vietnam would be without, artillery fire base images.
There are a LOT of varied vehicles and weapons addressed in this book. Within it’s pages, the author does justice to all of them. He provides much more complete information on each subject than simple “thumbnail” looks, giving very complete background on each, accompanied by a nice selection of interesting images.
You will likely find things in this book that you might not even have known existed…the M98 Howtar was one such for me. I saw Howtar and thought it was a misspelling of howitzer, but no…it wasn’t. ( The Howtar was a 107mm mortar tube mounted on an M1A1 pack howitzer chassis, issued to the USMC naturally...)
This book possibly won’t appeal to those seeking “nut and bolt” level detail on specific vehicles or weapons, but it will do extremely well as much more detailed than usual overview of vehicles and weapons of a specific conflict. Those with interest in the Vietnam War, or US military vehicles in general, will need to find a place in their bookcase for this book.
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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