The Sexton SP Gun in Canadian Service
by Doug Knight.
Canada’s Weapons of War Series, WOW014
A5 size softback, 24 pages
Review by Peter Brown
Canada supplied a lot of military material in WW2, one of the most successful items was the Carrier, SP, 25pdr, Ram or, as it was later and more commonly known, the Sexton.
It came from a mixture of sources. Although it was designed and built in Canada, the gun itself was the excellent 25pdr field gun designed in the United Kingdom while the chassis was based on the Ram cruiser tank derived from the American M3 Medium Tank or Lee. While it may be seen as too small a gun on too large a vehicle, it was successful and served Canadian, British and other Commonwealth units well in the latter half of the War and beyond with some remaining in service for many years in South Africa and Portugal.
Service Publications have already produced books on the 25pdr and Ram but wisely they have devoted a separate book to the Sexton. This gives the maximum possible coverage within the small format of the series to its development, production and service. The original ideas behind this class of weapon is described as well as the background to its design, trials in Canada and the UK, production and service. As with most military equipment, many changes were made during its production run and the most important ones are listed, though perhaps for space reasons not all 660 of them! Serial number batches are given which show some were intended for Canadian and some for British use, there are brief details of the Gun Position Officer’s vehicle which was the only variant of Sexton.
How these guns were organised in service is described along with examples of them in use. The service details naturally only cover Canadian use but they are interesting as they also mention the use of the American M7 HMC Priest by Canadian units around D Day and there is also a comparison of the two. The book is well illustrated with many period photos of Sextons in various guises, several of them in service and in the field plus some shots of wading trials. These will be useful for modellers, though none of them show the interior which is a small drawback. There is a set of 1/35 four-view plans showing an early Sexton I in the centre spread which gives some idea of the inside, though maybe not enough for modelling purposes.
Apart from that drawback, coverage is good so anyone who does not have much information about Sexton will find this a very useful one-stop reference source filling another gap in coverage of WW2 Allied vehicles.
Thanks to Clive Law at Service Publications for the review book.”