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Produced just before the outbreak of the war, the M1 155mm gun, aka "Long Tom", replaced the outdated French 155mm GPF gun then still in service in the US artillery. Though of the same caliber and with a slow rate of fire, the Long Tom had twice the range of the GPF and fired more powerful explosive shells. "Long Tom's" high-angled shells can hit unidentified targets, which make this powerful artillery gun effective for pulverizing light troops and buildings. However, it is handicapped by very slow movement

History

Before entering World War I, the United States was poorly equipped with heavy artillery. To address this problem a number of foreign heavy artillery guns were adopted, including the Canon de 155 mm GPF. After the end of the war development work began in the United States on a design to improve upon the existing models of heavy gun and carriage. A number of prototypes were produced in the 1920s and 1930s, but the projects were put on hold due to lack of funds. In 1938 the 155 mm Gun T4 on Carriage T2 was finally adopted as 155 mm gun M1 on Carriage M1.

The new design used a barrel broadly similar to the earlier 155 mm GPF, but with an Asbury breech. The new split-trail carriage featured four roadwheels, each mounting two tires. The wheels could be lifted, allowing the gun to rest on a firing platform. This made the gun very stable and thus accurate. The gun was developed into M1A1 and M2 variants. After World War II, the United States Army re-organized, and the gun was redesignated as the M59.

The Long Tom saw combat for the first time in North African Campaign on December 24, 1942, with "A" Battery of the 36th Field Artillery Battalion. Eventually it equipped about 49 battalions, including 40 in the European Theater and 7 in the Pacific. The preferable prime mover was initially the Mack NO 6x6 7½ ton truck; from 1943 on it was replaced by the tracked M4 High Speed Tractor. A small number of Long Tom guns were supplied via lend lease channels, to the United Kingdom (184) and France (25).

Pros & Cons

Weapons

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Large cal. HE Shell
31 31 31 6 3 2 1 0 2.4km

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See also

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