Hot on the heels of Dragons recent release of the M2A1 105mm Howitzer, they have combined that kit with the already available M2/M3 Halftrack series to produce the T19. The T19 was a limited stop-gap standard production vehicle produced from January 1942 to April 1942 by combining the regular M2 howitzer with the M3 halftrack in a similar fashion to the M3 75mm GMC. The T19 was intended as an interim solution until the fully tracked M7 105mm HMC could be fielded, and the 325 T19s produced were used in training, and also by artillery companies of infantry divisions, as well as artillery battalions of armored divisions during the North Africa campaign. They were largely replaced by the time of the invasion of Sicily, though some lingered on through the Italian campaign and later the invasion of Southern France. In July 1945, 90 T19s were converted to M3A1 infantry carrier halftracks.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the T19 was the armored driver’s windshield hinged to fold down onto the hood. The first examples of the T19 had no protective shields, but later a shield similar (but not identical) to the one on the M2 howitzer was added. Other technical details about the T19 include its gun traverse of 40° and elevation of 35° to -5°. It carried a crew of 6, and each T19 was followed by an M3 Halftrack carrying additional ammunition. Since the T19 carried only 8 rounds, at the maximum rate of fire would, that would have lasted one minute (it had a rate of fire of 8 rounds/min). Photos from T19s used in training show an additional ammunition trailer towed by each T19 and M3. Secondary armament consisted of a .30 or .50 cal. machine gun mounted on a pintle in the back of the fighting compartment. Hunnicutt (see references below) states a .50 cal M2 HB was used, though all pictures shown with the machine gun mounted have a .30 cal. M1919.
What’s in the box?
The 11 sprues in standard Dragon grey plastic are a mix and match from three different kits with only one new sprue for this kit. This means that many parts will go into the spares box. As all the other relevant kits have been reviewed previously on Armorama, I will not go into details on these sprues (click here
for the M2/M2A1; click here
for the M3 75mm GMC and click here
for the M2A1 105mm howitzer). The instructions are the usual Dragon line drawings with 15 easy-to-follow steps. Small parts are individually packed and mounted on the now standard dragon carton backing, and include:
- 8 parts for the drive sprocket and idler
- PE fret from the M2/M2A1 halftrack kit with radiator armor, back mud guards, headlight guard details, bumper details and direct vision slot armor.
- Turned aluminum barrel with rifling
- Decal sheet with generic white numbers for vehicle registration and unit numbers
- Decal sheet specific for this kit with white stars, vehicle names, flags and yellow vehicle registration numbers
The various sprues contain:
From the M2/M2A1 kit: the engine, suspension, chassis, the driver’s cab, parts for the upper hull & bumper, machine gun, tools, and the suspension parts (wheels, tracks, etc.).
From the M2A1 kit: the howitzer parts.
From the M3 75mm GMC: new driver’s cab sides and hood with the correct screw slots (not rivets as in some kits).
Sprue G is new, and has the parts for the fighting compartment, including floor (with a good pattern), gas tanks, box structure mounting for the howitzer, side and back armor panels with slotted screws, crew seats, gun and drivers shield, ammunition rack (4 rounds for each side, molded in one part), gun mounting parts and four water jerry cans with the appropriate lid. The gun shield is molded very thin and has the correct details front and back. Some might want to replace it with a PE part but personally I think it is thin enough.
As the kit is based on previous halftrack kits, the basic dimensions are good and there are no issues with the new parts. The kit features the correct driver’s cab without jerry can rack, and has the screws present on all halftracks (not rivets as is wrongly depicted in the M2/M2A1 release). The wheels are the same as in all the previous releases, with the weight bulge (if this is accurate or not has already been discussed in length), and the later standard tread pattern (NDMS tread on combat rim). Many pictures of the T19 show the directional tread pattern on combat rims, and so for many T19s (in particular those used in training), the kit’s front wheels are not accurate. This is not to say that there is something wrong with the wheels, just that they are not the most common type used on the T19. In particular “Battering Ram” had the early pattern tire, and a replacement (for example by Hussar Productions or Tracks) will have to be found for an accurate depiction of that vehicle.
As the T19 was based on early M3 halftracks, there is also the issue of the idler springs (Parts A (black) 21 and 22). The color plate in Zaloga’s Concord book (p. 34) shows this feature, while the plans in the Hunicutt book and all pictures that show this area clearly do not have it. I would recommend leaving this feature off and filling in the locating points on the chassis.
The tracks are made from standard styrene and are very well detailed. As most pictures show the tracks well tensioned, this is usually no problem, but some pictures of early halftracks show a bit of sag. On the T19, both can be seen.
The instructions show the gun shield to be optional. While this is correct, they do not indicate which marking option carried it and which did not (in the painting guide all vehicles have the shield). While “Evelyn” had the shield mounted according to the color plate in Zaloga’s Concord book, “Battering Ram” did not have it. As no information on the other version was available, I can’t comment on this issue, but it would probably be safe to assume that they didn’t have the shield fitted, either. Pictures of T19s in action show the shield fitted. The instructions tell you to use the .30 cal. machine gun, which is what all the pictures available to me had as well. Should one choose to follow Hunnicutt, the .50 cal. M2 HB is included in the kit.
While the ammunition storage is correct with four rounds on each side, it is a pity that all four rounds are moulded in one piece. It would have been a nice touch to include separate rounds for the modeler to depict a vehicle in action with some rounds already used.
There are marking options for 5 vehicles, all in olive drab with white stars. Four are marked as “US Army 1942” with the vehicle names being “Battering Ram,” “Bull” “Alamosa” and “Cathy.” The last option is from the 7th Regimental Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Rabat, Morocco 1942, and is named “Evelyn.” “Battering Ram” appears in a picture on p. 10 of Zaloga’s Concord book (see references below), while “Evelyn” is featured in a color plate on p. 34 of the same book. “Battering Ram” is a training vehicle in the National Desert Training Center, and it is probably safe to assume that the other “US Army 1942” vehicles are as well.
This kit comes highly recommended with a few places to watch out for in the instructions to get the right features for the vehicle desired (gun shield, idler springs). It is unfortunate that the early pattern wheels were not included, as these were more common on most of the marking options of the kit.
- Half Track– A History of American Semi-tracked Vehicles
, by R. P. Hunnicutt
- U.S. Halftracks in Combat 1941-1945
, by Steven J. Zaloga (Concord Publications)
- M3 infantry Half-Track 1940-73
, by Steven J. Zaloga (Osprey Publishing, New Vanguard)
- Standard Guide to U.S. World War II Tanks and Artillery
, by Konrad F. Schreier Jr.