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United States Army Technical Manuals: A Resource Guide and Inventory

Obtaining Copies of Technical Manuals

Mechanics & apprentices wanted for enlistment in the Construction Division of the Army. 1919. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Accessing General Collection Manuals Onsite

The Library of Congress holds in its general collections, print copies of all War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals, or TMs, listed in this inventory, unless otherwise noted. While a small number of these manuals have individual bibliographic records, most are only represented in the catalog by the serial title record, United States. Dept. of the Army. Training Publication, and do not have individual item records.

War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals are organized into more than 30 separate series, representing different military branches or subjects. Within individual series, the manuals have individual numbers. The "TM number" of a War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manual includes the abbreviation "TM", series number, and individual report number. For example, the manual, Navigation being in Series 1, has the number TM 1-205.

Many TMs have been updated over time. These later editions retain the same individual manual number, but can be distinguished by differing publication dates. Thus, the manual, Aerial Photography, for example, has two versions, from July 1941, and Nov. 1942. Both are TM1-220, but the first is TM1-220 July 1941, while the second is TM1-220 Nov. 1942.

Different versions of War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals which share the same manual number, usually share the same title, but not always. For example, TM1-260 Dec. 1942, is Dive Bombing, while TM1-260 May 1965 is Rotary Wing Flight.

Manuals represented in the catalog by the serial title record are assigned the Library of Congress Call Number U408.3.A13, followed by their TM number and date. Thus, Aerial Photography, TM1-220 July 1941, has the call number. U408.3.A13 TM1-220 July 1941.

When requesting manuals without individual records for use onsite, readers should navigate to the United States. Dept. of the Army. Training Publication catalog record, fill out the online request form, and use the "Additional Information" field to provide the title, full TM number and publication date of the technical manual they would like to access. The Science and Business Reading Room has scanners and copiers available for the purpose of making copies of the manuals.

Accessing Publication Board Manuals Onsite

Just after the Second World War, within the Department of Commerce, a new agency was created to collect and distribute government scientific and technical documents. This agency, the Publication Board, is the original antecedent to today's National Technical Information Service. Over subsequent years, the Publication Board distributed hundreds of thousands of technical documents from a variety of government agencies, including some War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals.

Because Publication Board documents come from a variety of government agencies, they have report numbers in many different formats. So, in order to arrange them into a single series, in addition to original report numbers, Publication Board documents are assigned "PB numbers", which include the letters "PB", and a sequential number, and are arranged by this number within the Library's collections.

PB numbers for many War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals possessing those numbers can be found in the Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports. Using this resource, now-retired Business Librarian and Emeritus Professor, Robert Bolin, created a web guide, now preserved in the Internet Archive, called "Army Manuals Listed in the Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports 1946-1949 External". This guide provides lists of Army manuals and their associated PB numbers. One of those lists focuses specifically on "Technical Manuals and related Technical Bulletins External".

The Library's Publication Board materials are held in the Technical Reports & Standards Section of the Science, Technology & Business Division. Historical PB reports with numbers below 160000 are held in print and microform, while those with numbers above 160000 are held on microfiche.

Readers should be aware that while the Library's collections of Publication Board documents are extensive, the Library does not have every PB document. Those wishing to use PB documents are encouraged to verify that a particular document is held by the Library by submitting an Ask-a-Librarian request in advance of a visit.

Readers may request these materials for use onsite by inquiring at the reference desk of the Science and Business Reading Room, by calling the reference desk, at 202-707-5639, or by submitting an Ask-a-Librarian request in advance of a visit. Because these materials are arranged by PB number, a PB number is required to locate them.

Accessing Manuals Offsite

For readers unable to visit the Library in person, copies of War Department/Department of the Army Technical Manuals may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). These requests must be initiated through your local library. Generally, your local library will request materials from another library before contacting the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress does not loan out materials to individuals, but does send out materials to other libraries on a case-by-case basis. Manuals lacking individual catalog records in the Library catalog, are treated as serial titles and when provided, are sent electronically. Up to 25 exposures may be provided, with each exposure consisting of up to two facing pages. Manuals with individual catalog records are treated as books for the purposes of interlibrary loan.

Please consult your library about their ILL processes and procedures, as these may vary.

Readers unable to visit the Library in person may also request copies of Army Technical Manuals through the Library's Duplication Services website or by calling Duplication Services at (202) 707-5640. The Library's Duplication Service is a fee-based service and there are restrictions based on the physical conditions of individual items. For ordering and price information, consult their website at Readers must include the TM or PB number, as well as any other identifying information, such as the title and date of the manual being ordered.

Federal Depository Libraries

Many Army manuals are also available in Federal Depository Libraries—libraries around the country to which the Government Printing Office sends copies of documents published by the Federal Government. Most Federal Depository Libraries lend documents through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Large Army Libraries

The Pentagon Library and the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania have excellent collections of manuals and will loan materials through ILL.

Additional Online Resources

Some full-text digital versions of these Army Technical Manuals can be found in online digital library collections. The following sources contain significant numbers of freely available Army Technical Manuals online.