by: Randy Harvey [ ]
With the outbreak of World War 2 for the United States, the government realized it needed to adapt its peacetime economy to the exigencies of warfare planning. It asked the Caterpillar company to increase its production level above historic limits. By doubling its workforce (including hiring women for the first time) and keeping the doors open 24-7, the company produced over 51,000 vehicles for the military. One of these tracked-type tractors was the D7, which is the focus of the latest Technical Manual Series book from Tankograd. The first D7 appeared in 1938, and was used by the U.S. Military during World War II, continuing it service to this day.
Tankograd Publications Technical Manual Series Number 6022 – U.S. WWII Caterpillar D7 Track-Type Tractor is edited by Michael Franz, and is a 48-page softcover book containing 194 black & white and three photographs, drawings and exploded parts views, along with three color photographs. The book has a 2-page history of the Caterpillar D7 Track-Type Tractor, as well as technical data, references and the book’s editorial. The remainder is dedicated to the wide array of photographs and drawings with detailed captions.
- History, Development and Technical Description
- Caterpillar Fifty, Diesel Fifty and RD7
- Heavy Tractor M1 (Caterpillar RD& and D7)
- Caterpillar D7 (7M, 3T and 4T series)
- Hyster D7N Towing Winch
- LeTourneau WCK7 Angledozer
- LeTourneau FTD7 Power Control Unit
- LeTourneau R7 Power Control Unit
- LeTourneau XD7 Bulldozer
- LeTourneau A7 Tiltdozer
- LaPlant-Choate R76F and R76R Trailbuilder
- LaPlant-Choate R71 Trailbuilder
- Trackson MD7 Pipelayer with AF7 Anglefiller
- Trackson T7 Traxcavator Loader
- 6-ton Tractor Crane M4 (Cardwell Model C)
- Armored Caterpillar D7 Tractors
Shown throughout the book is a wide variety of photographs of the Caterpillar D7, ranging from action scenes to casual moments that were staged for the photographer. The photographs show the D7 during various times of the year, and in different types of terrain such as snow, mud and debris-filled streets. Many will be a benefit to the diorama-oriented military modeler, as most of them show the D7 doing what it was built to do: move earth.
One of my favorite photographs that places the D7 Caterpillar in a combat type setting is on page 46, and shows an armored cab version pushing a knocked-out German Tiger II (Sd.Kfz. 182) off of a roadway. Many of the photos are the walk around-type that will help out detail and scratch-builder modelers. Another photograph that will prove useful to the modeling scratch-builder is on page 14 showing a D7 with the mine excavator T4E1 attached to it. Other useful photos show the armored cab versions, as well as D7s fitted with a crane attachment, one shown lifting a Jeep.
Due to the fact that most of the D7 is visible (as opposed to fighting vehicles such as tanks), modelers will find the photographs a valuable resource, due to the large amount of information they provide. Several are taken from military manuals and meant to show the various parts, often arrows indicating specific items with information about what the arrows indicate. One problem I noticed with the military manual pictures is that some have been reduced in size, making the wording describing the details in the picture difficult to read (though not the captions).
Most of the photos are nice and clear, though some have an out-of-focus look to them. These likely are actually stills taken from films. The good news is that I haven’t seen a majority of the featured photographs before. I definitely consider that a bonus having a reference book containing lesser-known photographs, as opposed to the same old over-used ones that many books tend to contain.
All of the photographs are accompanied by captions in English. The captions are well-written, and go into great detail in regards 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.
I am very impressed with the book. The coverage of the Caterpillar D7 Track-Type Tractor is very well-covered. With its wealth of detailed photographs and captions, it will appeal to the military vehicle modeler, scratch-builder and military & construction vehicle enthusiast. It should be a welcome addition to anyone’s personal reference library, and I would have no hesitation recommending this book to others.
This review book was provided by Tankograd Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on Armorama when you make your purchase.
Caterpillar Military Tractors Vol. 1 Photo Archive, edited by P.A. Letourneau
Caterpillar Military Tractors, Vol. 2 Photo Archive, edited by P.A. Letourneau (Iconografix)
Soviet Full-Tracked Artillery Tractors of World War 2 in Red Army and Wehrmacht Service (Verlag Jochen Vollert/Tankograd Publishing)