Book Review: Weapons Mounts for Secondary Armament

Weapon Mounts for Secondary Armament is a nearly 1200-page reference on all manner of machine gun mounting systems for tanks, aircraft,t light vehicles, and ground mounts. The book was commissioned in 1957 by the Detroit Arsenal as a reference for engineers tasked with designing the secondary weapon mounts for new vehicles, and only a few dozen copies were printed. The original manuscript film was located by Dan Shea of Long Mountain Outfitters (now Phoenix Defense) and reprinted in 2007, because it is a massively valuable source of information on a subject that is not normally given close attention.

For any machine gun researcher or collector, this book is clearly a must-have. It focuses on American equipment, but covers everything that was available to the US military form World War One until 1957, which includes a lot of foreign material. Not just standard material, but lots of experimental guns, tanks, vehicles, and mounts as well. I expect it is fully worth the cover price just as a pictorial reference to inter-war experimental US tanks, entirely aside form the machine guns.

As of this filming, copies of the 2007 reprint are still available, for a remarkably low price of $70.


  1. If I’m not mistaken, there was a ridiculous pintle-mount with springs and cables to fit a pan-fed Bren atop a tank commander’s hatch, such that the assembly was always force-balanced no matter where the Bren’s barrel was elevated (in other words, don’t worry about having to work the gun against gravity to target low-flying attack planes). Not surprisingly, many tank commander’s thought the mount a silly idea and refused to have it fitted to their vehicles. Did I mess up?

    • I think you are referring to the Lakeman Mount

      “According to Mr.David Fletcher from the Bovington Tank Museum, Tom Lakeman, the designer of the AA mount installed on numerous British tanks of the early war years, was a Royal Tank Regiment officer, slightly mad according to people who knew him, who devised all kinds of strange machine-gun mountings.

      The principle was a balance of arms and springs, like an office desk lamp, the idea being to reduce the weight (sic – the inertia) of the weapon when used against aircraft.

      In practice they were usually more trouble than they were worth and most soldiers hated them and tried to throw them away at the first opportunity.”

  2. Great book and brilliantly written review. I tried to write reviews about literature, but unfortunately, it is too difficult for me. I find it easier to write reviews about writing sites online because reviews of this type do not require creativity. It is important to be objective in writing such reviews.

  3. That’s just freakin’ awesome 🙂 I clicked on the linkand bought the book before I even finished watching the video 😉 It will help tide me over until my signed copy of your book arrives 😉

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