by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
This is a brief review of the recent publication from Tankograd Publications on the M20 Diamond T 980/981 12 ton 6 x 4 truck and the M9 45 ton 12 wheeled trailer, this combination being known as the M19.
From cover to cover the book contains 50 pages, 48 of those being glossy A4 black and white pages. Only page 2 and page 49 are in colour, page 2 having 2 good photographs of the truck and combination as shown in the review shots, whilst page 49 is an advertisement with details of the Tankograd web site.
The text in the book is in the split page format with the right hand side in English and the left hand side in German.
• History on the Development
• Cab Interior, Controls and Instruments
• Engine, Power Train and Suspension
• Cab, Body and Equipment
• 54-tom Trailer M9
• Diamond T tractor Truck (US Army/Navy)
• Tractor Truck w/30/40ton Semitrailer (British Army)
• 40-ton Trailer Mk 1 and 2 (British Army)
• 45-ton Tracked Recovery Trailer (British Army)
• 50-ton Trailer No 1 Mk 1, 2 and 3 (British Army
• Diamond T w/Rolls Royce Engine (British Army)
• Worldwide Service
History on the Development:
The book opens with a short history on the development of the vehicle and trailer, outlining the rational behind the development, and the main/key manufacturers (pages 2 to 5). Interestingly, the development was at the request of the British and two types of vehicles were planned, one for Tank Transport and one for Tank Recovery. The Transport was known as Model 980 and the Recovery Vehicle as Model 981. It contains further information about the trailer types and differences in payload, for example: 40 ton (British) and 45 ton (US).
The text continues with the main production changes noted by year, and a technical description of the combination. Production figures are also included at the end of page 3. The U.S. and British trailer designations are covered at the top of page 4, and there is a brief summary of U.S. usage and registration numbers. The same applies for the British Army, again with an explanation of the Census numbers.
Finally on page 5 there is a table containing the technical data on the combination.
Overall, pages 2 through 5 provide a good range of very useful information supported by an explanation on the rational behind the development and deployment of the vehicle, coupled with lots of technical data.
Pages 6 through 15 provide a range of good quality photographs showing the vehicle and trailer from various angles and combinations, which also include original production and wartime plates.
Cab Interior, Controls and Instruments:
Page 16 is dedicated to the cab layout with 5 good pictures identifying the cab controls and instrument panel. Sufficient data to identify what is what and how the layout should be. Other items of interest can also be seen, such as the door handles, etc.
Engine, Power Train and Suspension:
Pages 17 to 23 focus on the Engine, Power Train and Suspension of the vehicle. Again with good B & W plates identifying the various bits of the vehicle. There are about 50 pictures covering this area of the truck, so plenty of reference material.
Cab, Body and Equipment (Exterior):
Pages 24 through 27 are centred on the Cab, Body and Equipment of the vehicle, and again will be excellent references for the modeller. About 20 pictures this time, including 7 that show the main parts of the winch. I would have liked more pictures of the cabling arrangement, I could find only one on page 35.
45 ton Trainer M9:
Pages 28 to 31 concentrate on the detail of the M9 trailer with technical drawings and charts of various parts, combined with actual pictures of usage. Again there should be sufficient data to get a good understanding of the trailer arrangement
US Army/Navy Usage:
Page 32 gives some brief details along with photographic evidence of US Army and Navy usage. Although the Americans were not keen on the idea of the truck, they adopted the Diamond T to fill in until the arrival of the M25 Tank Transporter. Of the 6584 vehicles and 6,143 M9 trailers produced, they kept about 3,000 M20s and 4,000 M9 trailers.
Tractor Truck w/30/40-ton Semitrailer (British Army):
The British also built their own trailers and these are outlined in the following pages. On pages 33 to 36, the semitrailer combination is covered, again with technical drawings and actual photographs. The British received through ‘Lend-Lease’ some 2,195 M20s and 1,222 M9 trailers, with the remainder of the production going to Canada and Russia.
40 ton Trailer Mk 1 and 2 (British Army):
This is covered briefly on pages 37 and 38, and leads naturally to the following of the 45 ton tracked recovery trailer and 50 ton trailer Mk 1, 2 and 3.
45-ton tracked recovery Trailer 9 (British Army) and
50-ton trailer No 1 Mk 1, 2 and 3 (British Army):
These are covered briefly on pages 39 and 40. The 45-ton Tracked Recovery Trailer is one I had not seen before, and in the text it mentioned that it was originally intended to be towed by the Churchill AVR Mk 2.
Diamond T with Rolls Royce Engine:
Pages 41 and 42 cover the use of the Rolls Royce engine in the post war period, noting changes to the vehicle and showing details of the engine from various angles.
World Wide Service:
This is outlined in pages 43 through 46, much of the data being centred on post war distribution with a range of pictures accompanied by brief texts.
On the front page the book states that it is a comprehensive pictorial with technical description based on the original Technical manuals. The book was edited by Michael Franz and takes the format of previous Tankograd publications. I think that is a fair description.
It makes for interesting and easy reading, with good reference pictures and detailed technical drawings. A very handy reference not overloaded with technical detail, but with sufficient volume to give a rounded and accurate picture of the M20 Truck and M9 Rodgers trailer with additional, very useful, data.
It got me interested in a subject I have so far ignored, and would be a great reference for any build. The inclusion of some 1/35 scale drawings would have been very useful.
As a modelling build reference it is very good, although it lacks detail on unit distribution, WD numbers etc, but that data can be gleaned from other sources as this is, after all, a photo-based technical reference.
For the committed ‘heavy trucker’ it might lack a bit on the usage side, and further pictures of the various trailer types might have been useful, but it should still be of interest as a quick, accurate and handy reference. The pictures are of good quality and the reference diagrams will be a very quick and useful source of data.
I would have like to have seen additional images of the winch and top of the truck, along with some further photos of the winch cabling arrangement.