Today in WW II: 20 Nov 1940 Hungary joins Hitler's Axis Tripartite Pact, followed by Romania and Slovakia in the next few days [November 20-25].  More 
20 Nov 1942 British forces capture Benghazi, Libya.
20 Nov 1942 Alaska-Canadian [ALCAN] Highway dedicated at Soldiers Summit and officially opened, although not generally usable until 1943.
20 Nov 1943 Makin, Tarawa [Gilbert Islands] invasion by US amphibious force [20-23 Nov].
20 Nov 1944 Hitler leaves his Wolf's Lair field headquarters [near Rastenburg, East Prussia] to go to Berlin, never to return.
20 Nov 1945 Nuremberg war crimes trials begin.
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M53 155mm Self-Propelled Medium Gun (G259)

The M53 155mm Self-Propelled Gun is the sister vehicle to the M-55 8-inch Self-Propelled Howitzer, differing almost entirely in the mounted gun and a few other details. Both were manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry based on the M46, M47 and M48 Patton tanks. The M53 155mm gun tube is longer and thinner than the tube of the 8-inch howitzer mounted on the M55, the main way to visually distinguish the two models. The M53 155mm SP Gun was known as the T97 in prototype.

The M53 and M55 self-propelled artillery were employed by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps beginning in 1952. Most of the M53 155mm Self-Propelled Medium Guns were converted to M55 8-inch Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzers, starting in 1956. The requirement for air-transportable heavy artillery, powered by diesel engines, led to the replacement of these units with the introduciton of the M-107 175mm Self-propelled Howitzer and M-110 8in Self-propelled Howitzer in the early 1960s, gradually phasing out the M53 and M55.

M-52 105mm Self-propelled Howitzer Specifications

Crew 6
Weight 96,000 lbs
Height 140 in.
Width 140 in.
Length 402 in.
Engine Continental AV-1790-5B, 5C, 5D, gasoline
Horsepower (net) 704@2800 rpm
Transmission Allison CD-850-4B
Max Speed 30 mph
Range 160 miles

Since the introduction of the M53 and M55 self-propelled artillery in 1952, there have been published Technical Manuals for the two models jointly. The original manuals were numbered in the TM 9-xxxx series, superseded in the late 1950s by the current numbering system of the form TM 9–2350–210-xxx. Examples include:

  • TM 9-2350-210-12 Operator's and Organizational Maintenance Manual (M53 and M55) (30 JUL 59 to Change 9 06 AUG 71)
  • TM 9-2350-210-20P Organizational Maintenance Repair Parts and Special Tool Lists (M53 and M55) (17 NOV 59 to Change 2 10 SEP 62)
  • TM 9-2350-210-ESC Equipment Serviceability Criteria (June 1964)

The M53 Gun, Field Artillery, Self-Propelled was assinged FSN 2350-739-3840 and then NSN 2350-00-739-3840.

M-55 8-inch Self-Propelled Howitzer (right) with the M53 155mm Self-Propelled Gun
M-55 8-inch Self-Propelled Howitzer (right) with the M53 155mm Self-Propelled Gun.

M53 155mm self-propelled Howitzer, Elgin AFB, FL, 1979
M53 155mm self-propelled Howitzer, Elgin AFB, FL, 1979.