155-mm Howitzers in Canadian Service
by John Davidson.
Canada’s Weapons of War Series, WOW039
A5 size softback, 24 pages
Review by Peter Brown
“After many years of using British equipment, Canadian artillery units re-equipped with American types following WW2. The heavy punch was provided by three generations of 155mm weapons.
First of these was the M1A1 155mm Howitzer which came into service in 1951.
This was preferred to the larger M1-series 155mm Gun (a few of which was also bought in small numbers) as it was easier to move, emplace and operate.
Carried on a two-wheeled split-trail carriage and towed by a truck, this weapon designed in the late 1930s can be recognised by its bare silver barrel. Canadian guns were built in Canada and designated M1A1Cdn, later changed to M114Cdn to follow American practice. They served at home and in Germany until the 1960s Replacing these from 1966 were M109-series self-propelled guns. This lightly-armoured design with its rear-mounted turret has been used by many countries. Canadian guns were upgraded over the years to the longer-barrelled -A1 series and through -A2 and -A3 rebuilds before finally becoming M109A4+ models in the 1990s.
Despite these improvements they were withdrawn in 2005 Although it looked as if the 155mm was no longer to be a part of the Canadian forces, a small number of M777 towed guns were bought for use in support of troops deployed to Afghanistan. This gun is British-designed but most of its parts are built in the USA. The first half-dozen guns were in fact bought from US Marine Corps stocks, following successful use in the field more guns have been purchased.
As well as covering all these guns with concise text, black-and-white photos and 1/35th side-view drawings of M1A1Cdn/M114Cdn, M109, M109A4 and M777 guns, the author also provides background details on the use of Canadian artillery in WW2 as a background as well as covering artillery tactics and ammunition development including a planned upgrade for the M114 guns.
Overall a lot is packed into a small package offering readers interested in artillery equipment for general purposed or modelling much useful material.
Thanks to Clive Law at Service Publications for the review book.”