Book Review: The Yanks Are Coming!

Most of the books I look at are primarily text-based, and today I figured we should do something a little bit different. Armor Plate Press, run by Tom Laemlein, specializes in photographic studies of various weapons (and vehicular) topics. Today’s book is The Yanks Are Coming! Firepower of the American Doughboy in World War One – a volume that appealed to me in particular because of the wide variety of gear used by American troops in that conflict (French, British, and American). Instead of researching the history and development of a particular piece of equipment, Laemlein has collected a plethora of photos of that piece of gear throughout its service use. He is clearly quite passionate about the work (publishing books came as an idea after many years of collecting photographs), and I think it adds a valuable extra dimension to a library of academic textual research.

As an example, consider the American use of shotguns for trench warfare. The evidence is quite substantial that US forces used them, between formal paper records, anecdotal troop recollections, and even German formal protest against the practice. However, in decades of searching, no photograph of one actually being used in combat has ever been found. Why not? Laemlein believes it is due to censorship – US leadership wanting to prevent German propaganda from being able to portray the US as using uncivilized weapons (whatever that means in the war that gave us poison gas and the flamethrower). It is only the search for photographs that brings this to light.

The pictures in The Yanks Are Coming! ranges from training camps to front line combat, and from candid to carefully posed. For the student of history interested in the era, it brings a touch of the human perspective to a topic so often relegated to dry text.



  1. Thank you for a very interesting and informative site.
    I have designed a few weapons which you may find interesting ,these are the NTW 20 anti-materiel rifle,
    NEOPUP PAW20 grenade launcher , and recently the NEOSTRIKE machine gun which fires the same ammo
    as the NEOPUP . You should be able to find info on these on the internet.

    • The ergonomics of the NEOPUP are very interesting, it looks almost something from science fiction. The recoil also seems very manageable given the round. I wonder what the odds are of finding one in the US that I can register as a destructive device?

    • I saw a T.V program once, future weapons it was called or something similar. Anyway he was firing a gun that fired wee grenades around 20mm, but they were “smart” airburst etc. Anyway I liked the idea, but thought they would be better being contained in weapon which you mounted on your shoulder like a “Bazooka” figured a central barrel with a helical drum mag around it.

      Think it was blowfoward, jackhammer shotgun style forget…

      Point being ergonomics, a weapon like that would be better if you had it at the time. Throw away, like a Law even. The reduced power as oppose 40mm, is made up for by the amount of shots particually well placed ones quickly type lark.

      Nice gear anyway, Tony.

      • Something you can stick under the lid of your Bergan and whip out in essence, there’s a limit to what you can carry.

        • I watched a video on Youtube on the “Neopup” and read the Wikipedia page, apparently there’s a XM25 by Hk which is similar to it but has air burst grenades.

          Which are frickin laser controlled in a remote manner or something, there’s these new phones which charge wirelessly… Perhaps you could knock up something similar as a sort of er “digital fuse” ie. The round in the chamber is “zapped” in the wireless charging manner, and said “zap” imparts a charge that correlates to the range gained by the laser range finder.

          The fuze would be a battery I suppose which “runs out” when flat causing a short circuit or something, so a bit of a charge is short range, bit more of a charge is medium range etc calibrated thus.

          Anyway nice gun, but the electronic rounds have the edge in my opinion.


            Mentions the automatic Neo strike on the above link, lighter than a 40mm version presumably might be handy a sort of “bomb” firing Kord.

            Some sights the PGK bezel and COD 2 (Belomo – Belarus) amongst other things, general interest.

            I once unscrewed the front lenses off a pair of 10×50 cheap binos, and put them on top of each other “one facing forward, the other back” and thought if you put a laser beam pen thing under them at an angle facing towards the shooter, but which hit a mirror inside that you could move like a reticule. You could see the beam when looking over the scope, and when looking through it – near and far ranges like, the big eye piece helps with looking through it with both eyes type thing target aquisition all that.

  2. Thanx for the link, Ian…I have a number of Tom’s books – mostly photographic treatises on specific firearms…the Garand and the M1 Carbine…but need to add this one to mty library, considering that this coming Saturday will be the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo…

    CB in FL

  3. Thanks for the link, Ian…I have couple of Tom’s books – on the Garand & the M1 Carbine…need to get this one for my vast collection…like I need MORE books..

    CB in FL

  4. Regarding lack of photographic evidence of the use of trench shotguns, apparently there was considerable use of the Winchester M1907 and M1910 self-loading carbines in trench raids, as well, notably in .351 WSL. But I’ve never seen a photo of one actually taken in the battle area.

    I wonder- could such photos have also been suppressed due to the Winchester carbine’s external resemblance to a pump-action shotgun?



  5. American tecknology not just in weapons had a great influence on the french.I have an aluminium soup spoon marked US 1917 Tt was given to me in 1972 by a friends grandmother who bought 6 from american solders guartered in Blois during WW1
    For somebody used too heavy shoddy difficult to clean pewter spoons it was straight out of science fiction

  6. Cool books, in Britain we used to get Osprey publications about Normans etc.

    Illustrations etc, before the internet he he.

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