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Book Review

"Secret Weapons of the Canadian Army"

Review By Peter Brown


Secret Weapons of the Canadian Army by Roger V Lucy

A5 size softcover at 128 pages.

Published by Service Publications, PO Box 33071, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3Y9, Canada. www.servicepub.com

ISBN 1-894581-40-7

Retail Price: $29.95 CND

Editor's Note: Peter's review is done with an eye toward the wheeled vehicle side of the book.  There is much more information contained in the book regarding tracked thingees.

During the Second World War, Canada was a major supplier of equipment of all kinds including armoured vehicles both wheeled and tracked. As well as designs which were built and saw service there were many projects which did not result in an in-service item but are nevertheless worthy of study. All types are covered, from small arms to artillery and including tracked as well as wheeled AFVs, but there is still a lot to interest those solely interested in wheeled vehicles.

A planned "wheeled tank" armoured car may not have got far even if it offered better firepower than some other designs of the time, but best of all is good information on the Wolf. In case you do not know it, this is the eight wheeler with Ram turret which, contrary to be account by William Gregg in one of his books many years ago, was not designed in a bar by a rogue British officer but was the result of a more formal request and might have lead to something had it not been passed over. The multipurpose CAPLAD was maybe trying to put too many roles into one small vehicle, though the Universal Scout Car combining the roles of Car, Scout and Car, Light Reconnaissance showed promise. Even less well-known was the six-wheeled Low-Silhouette light armoured gun tractor which could have seen use in Europe had it not lost to a tracked type.

Some readers may have seen photos of the 2pdr-equipped Lynx scout car but have they seen both types and do they know much about them or the 6pdr on the Fox armoured car? Mounting a Bofors on a truck was one of the more successful projects which did see production and this is covered along with Canadian-designed 20mm cannons on trucks and trailers. Well, both had wheels.

Sometimes ideas were tried in the field, fitting aircraft rockets onto Staghounds armoured cars was less well known than British adaptations of Shermans and the idea showed enough promise for a more elaborate system with even more rockets to be developed and tested and there was another type using a halftrack. Also not successful was the Mobile Armoured Rotating Carriage for the 25pdr gun, mentioned in passing in many books on artillery, both the towed and truck-mounted versions get more coverage here alongside more practical artillery developments.

Photo coverage is good and even obscure projects are illustrated with a sketch. Some of the above you may know about or - like Wolf - think you know about though several will be new to you. Alongside these are other tracked armour designs which will also interest many readers. While most were dead-ends in the end they are all fascinating, either for their historical value or as unusual modelling projects they make for absorbing reading.

My thanks go to Clive Law for sending this book for review, Service Publications produce a very good series on Canadian equipment which includes books on a one-off armoured car and US halftracks which are reviewed elsewhere at http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/books/wow/servicepub.htm and there are plans for others on Staghound and even those little Jeep car things some people seem to like!

Peter Brown February 2007