by: Randy Harvey [ ]
This is a review of the Tankograd Publications Technical Manual Series Number 6021 – U.S. WWII M8 Light Armored Car M20 Armored Utility Car by Verlag Jochen Vollert and edited by Michael Franz.
During World War II the United States produced and fielded two types of six wheeled armoured car designs; the M8 Scout Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car. The M8 and M20 both had a six wheeled chassis with an armoured hull. They were powered by the Hercules 6-cylinder gasoline engine, and were manned and operated by a four man crew. The M8 had a 37 mm cannon main gun with a coaxial .30 caliber machine gun and on some of the vehicles a .50 caliber machine gun was mounted on a turret ring. The M20 did not have a turret. In its place was a single .50 caliber machine gun mounted in a turret ring above the open fighting compartment. Both vehicles were used in the reconnaissance role. With their light weight, speed, off road capabilities and ability to mount several radios they served their purpose well. During WWII the British and the French employed the vehicles as well as the German military, when they captured them, proving that the vehicles were both valuable and useful in their roles as light armored reconnaissance vehicles. They have been used by several different militaries around the world from World War II to the present day. This is a feat that cannot be credited to most military vehicles.
Tankograd Publications Technical Manual Series Number 6021 – U.S. WWII M8 Light Armoured Car M20 Armoured Utility Car by Verlag Jochen Vollert and edited by Michael Franz 2011 copyright. The book details the M8 Light Armoured Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car from their development to their use during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and on into the 1950s in French Algeria. The book is a 48 page soft cover book and contains 3 color photographs and 186 black and white photographs, drawings and exploded parts views. The book provides a 2 page written history of the M8 Light Armoured Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car, earlier and later variants and their development as well as technical data, references and the books editorial. The remainder of the book is dedicated to the wide array of photographs and drawings with detailed captions.
- History, Development and Technical Description
- Light Armoured Cars T21, T22 and T23
- Light Armoured Car M8
- Armoured Utility Car M20
- M8 and M20 in Action
- M8/M20 Further Developments
- Driver’s Compartment, Controls and Instruments
- Engine, Power Train and Suspension
- Hull, Turret and Equipment
- Deep Water Fording Equipment
- Radio Equipment
Shown throughout the book is a wide variety of photographs of the M8 Light Armoured Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car and their earlier and later variants. The photographs range from action scenes to casual scenes to scenes that were staged for the press. The photographs show the M8 Light Armoured Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car during various times of the year such as summer and winter and in different types of terrain such as snow, mud and water. Many of the photographs will be a benefit to the diorama oriented military modeler such as one of my favorites on page 13 that shows a well lived in M8 Armoured Car with a coat of white wash, sand skirts removed and a lot of gear and personal equipment stowed on its exterior. Many of the photographs are walk-around type photographs that will help out detail and scratch-builder modelers. Due to the visible open fighting compartments of the M8 and the M20 the detail oriented modeller will find the interior photographs provided in this volume a valuable resource due to the large amount of information they provide. Several of the photographs are taken from military manuals and are very detailed. The military manual photographs have arrows indicating specific items and provide information as to what the arrows are indicating. One problem I noticed with the military manual pictures is that some of them have been reduced in size which makes the detailed wording in the picture difficult to read, however this does not affect the captions. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author.
All of the photographs are accompanied by captions that are in English text. The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and go into great detail in regards to the vehicle and the scene that is shown. It is obvious that the author has taken the time to study the photographs and research them so that they are well detailed and point out several items of interest.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. The coverage of the M8 Light Armoured Car and the M20 Armoured Utility Car and their earlier and later variants is very well covered. With its wealth of detailed photographs and captions this book will appeal to the military vehicle modeler, detail modeler, scratch-builder and military vehicle enthusiast and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. I would have no hesitation to add other Tankograd Publishing TM titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.