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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

US T27 Xylophone Rocket Launcher

A new toy for the Americans that can be found in Devil's Charge is the T27 Xylophone Rocket Launcher.  Mounting the same M8 rockets found on the Calliopes, the T27 is a cut down cheap piece of artillery for the US, similar to the mighty Russian Katyusha.  For 75 points, you get two T27s and for an additional 10 points you can give each T27 extra crew.


The extra crew allow you to count each T27 as two weapons when shooting.  For less that 100 points you can field a effective four gun battery of rockets.  The T27 is efficient on the points, but does lack in fire power (only 5+) and does not get smoke like German Rockets.  However, if you need some cheap artillery to boost your force the T27 are a good option.  Another plus is the T27 mounts a .50 cal AAMG, so if your in a pinch they can blaze away with those heavy MGs, to protect your objectives.

M8 Rockets
from Wikipedia

The M8 was a 4.5-inch (110 mm) rocket developed and used by the United States military during World War II. Produced in the millions, it was fired from both air and ground-based launchers; it was replaced by the M16 rocket in 1945.


The M8 rocket was developed by the National Defense Research Committee and the Army Ordnance Department in the early 1940s; at Picatinny Arsenal. Ground tests began in 1941, while the first air launch of the system was conducted in 1942, from a Curtiss P-40 pursuit aircraft. It was fin stabilized, and had a diameter of 4.5 in (110 mm).

The initial production model was given the Army designation of M8; improvements resulted in the M8A3, with a more powerful rocket engine and enlarged fins, and the T22, which had improved reliability and modifications to make the rocket safer.


Operational history
Entering service in 1943, the M8 family of rockets saw service with the United States Army, which classified the M8 as a "barrage rocket". The rocket was also widely used by the United States Army Air Forces. Over 2,500,000 of the M8 type rocket had been produced by the end of the war.

Operational service showed some drawbacks in the M8's performance; ground launch resulted in the rockets' fin stabilizers proving ineffective, reducing the accuracy of the rocket; despite this, it was considered an effective barrage weapon. Due to the lack of accuracy, when ground launched, it was being launched from large multiple launchers; the most commonly used being eight- and 60-tube launchers, called "xylophones" and "calliopes" respectively. The "calliope", given the official designation T34, was mounted on top of a M4 Sherman tank; once fired, the launcher could be detached and discarded, allowing the tank to be used in conventional combat, while the "xylophone", officially the T27, was carried on a 2½-ton pickup truck chassis. A 120-round launcher, designated T44, and a 144-round T45 launcher were also developed; these were intended for use by the United States Navy, being mounted on DUKW amphibious vehicles and LSTamphibious warfare vessels. Single- and twin-14-round launchers were also developed.


The M8 showed poor effectiveness against hardened targets; this resulted in the development of the Super M8, which had larger fins, a more powerful rocket and a more powerful warhead. The Super M8 underwent testing in late 1944, but failed to see combat. The M8 was replaced by the improved spin-stabilized M16 rocket during 1945.

The truck models are one piece resin kits mounted to a base.  The base has pre-slotted spaces for the crew or tubes of empty rockets.  The M8 rocket launchers are metal and I had a bit of a hard time gluing all the pieces together, much like you would with the Katyusha.  This didn't bug me much though - how else could it have been made?  Every rocket kit I have ever bought, regardless of manufacture, is fiddly like this.


The other observation I had was that there was no space to mount a .50 cal AAMG.  Even Battlefront doesn't have them mounted in their pictures of the T27s on their website.  The .50 cal is not an upgrade, it is an integral part of the T27, so it is kind of disappointing that there is no way to mount a .50 cal on the truck, especially since Flames of War is WYSIWYG.  If I am missing something, let me know on the forum.



Other than my gripe about the .50 cal, this model is excellent and since all you need is two to field a basic unit, I believe it is well worth the buy if you need artillery, but don't have a lot of points to spend.  Overall a great tool for the Americans.  If you have any thoughts or comments on the T27 or rocket launchers, feel free to discuss them on the WWPD forum.

“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles at

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