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M109 SPG in Canadian Service

M109 SPG in Canadian Service Book Review

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review March 2005 Title M109 SPG in Canadian Service
Author Barry Beldam Publisher Quartermaster's Depot
Published 2005 ISBN 0-9734277-1
Format 217 pages, softbound MSRP (CDN) $37.50

Review

The M109 is the prototype for all modern self-propelled artillery, as it is light, compact and capable of both quick movement and relatively sustained fire with relatively good working conditions for its crew, including armor protection. Having been in service for 42 years, it has gone through a number of variants, most of which still retain the same basic characteristics and components.

This new book by well-known modeler and Canadian military writer Barry Beldam covers most of the major versions of the M109, even though its primary focus is the current Canadian M109A4+ variant of the gun. Here is a quick recap to show what I mean:

  • M109 – original variant, with a 20 caliber long howitzer and unique bore evacuator.
  • M109A1 – improved variant, with 39 caliber long gun and automotive improvements.
  • M109A1B – A1 built new (A1s were converted from M109s.)
  • M109A2 – an improved variant with more changes including an all-weather armored head for the gunner's panoramic sight.
  • M109A3 – M109A1 brought up to A2 standards.
  • M109A4 – improved M109A2 and M109A3 guns with improvements to internals, new NBC protection system and other modifications.
  • M109A5 – M109A4 brought up to near M109A6 standards less its new turret (e.g. GPS and other changes to internal parts.)
  • M109A6 – Paladin, with new turret, barrel lock, etc.

As can be seen, there is a lot of commonality among the guns. Barry covers all of the items of interest to modelers, mixing photos with manual illustrations, and as a result provides a very handy "one-stop shopping" document for anyone who wants to do a detailed version of the 109. Note that this book, as it states in its title, only covers the standard versions of the M109 as used by the US , Canada and a few other NATO countries, and not the Israeli or German modifications in other than passing.

With the fact that there are at least three companies marketing M109 interior and detail sets, this book is an invaluable aid to anyone doing one up "right" as it provides the where and how which many resin kit directions seem to invariably lack. Combined with the new book on the history of the M109 by Steve Zaloga (Osprey New Vanguard Number 86; M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 1960-2005) it provides nearly all a modeler may want to know on the 109. (I am a 109 fan, as I did manage to get a license to drive one while on active duty; it reminded me of a 32-ton sports car with eight foot of gun tube sticking out in front which you had to be careful about when near trees!)

Thanks to Quartermaster's Depot for the review samples.

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