Army Manuals Listed in the
Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports

Robert L. Bolin

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE

  University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-4100
      © 2004 by Robert L. Bolin. All rights reserved
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URL: Manuals Listed in BSIR, 1946-49.htm
        Version 4.03, Revised, 23 March 2005

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Just after World War II, President Truman set up a program to distribute the fruits of government and government supported-research which had been bottled up by war-time secrecy. The Office of the Publication Board was ogranized to distribute reports and The Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports(BSIR) was issued to announce the reports available. The federal technical reports system and National Technical Information Service has grown out of that effort.

More than 2,000 U.S. Army manuals were listed in BSIR from 1946 into 1949. This index lists those Army manuals by manual number and gives references to the citations in BSIR. Appendices also list the manuals by title and by PB-number.



This index is intended for a very limited audience -- persons looking for World War II era Army manuals who have not been able to find the ones they need in printed form. There are many libraries with excellent collections of Army Manuals. So this index should be a last resort for persons who cannot locate printed copies of manuals they are seeking.

In particular, I hope this index is helpful to the librarians and historians at the Pentagon Library and the Military History Institute who have helped me track down many obscure manuals over the years.

The Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports (BSIR) is a catalog of documents released to the public by the federal government following World War II. BSIR was published initially by the Office of the Publication Board in the Commerce Department. It was continued after the organization was renamed Office of Technical Services. The Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports was published under that name from 1946 into 1949. The Office of Technical Services was a predecessor of the National Technical Information Service and BSIR was a predecessor of Government Reports Announcements and Index.

The Office of Technical Services assigned PB numbers to documents listed in BSIR. PB numbers were unique identifiers to be used when ordering documents. Although the documents are now available from the Library of Congress, you still must use PB numbers when ordering documents listed in BSIR.

In the first few years of its existence, a wide variety of publications were listed in BSIR. Those included more than 2,000 US Army military manuals.

This index provides basic information about each manual:

  • Manual Number and Date
  • Title
  • Number of Pages

The index also provides the PB number of the citation in BSIR as well as the location of the citation:

  • Volume Number of BSIR
  • Issue Number in Parentheses
  • Page on which the citation is found
  • Date that issue of BSIR was published.

For example:

Field Manual FM 1-50, 42. Weather, 59 pages.
PB 58575 - BSIR 5(3):240; 04/18/47

Field Manual FM 1-50 was issued in 1942. It was assigned PB number 58575, and the citation for it can be found in Volume 5, Number 3, of BSIR on Page 240. Volume 5, Number 3 was published on April 18, 1947.

What is Included in this Index

Army manuals are several series of official publications intended to be instructive and informative. Using a phrase which appeared in many, they were "published for the information and guidance of all concerned." During the 1940s, Army manuals were approved by the Chief of Staff and authenticated by the Adjutant General. Field Manual FM 21-6, List and Index of War Department Publications, is a detailed list of the manuals available. Many editions of FM 21-6 were published during the 1940's.

Army manuals listed in BSIR included a number of so-called "enemy" manuals. Those are manuals -- which are official US Army manuals -- concerning enemy equipment or forces. The letter "E" in the manual number indicates that a particular manual is an "enemy" manual. For example, Technical Manual TM E9-803 on the German Volkswagen appears just after Technical Manual TM 9-803 on the Jeep. Similarly, Technical Bulletin TB SIG E18 is a Manual on the Japanese Radio Set, Model 97, Light Wireless Set. A number of "enemy" manuals about foreign forces are included, like TM E30-420, Handbook of the Italian Military Forces. The publication of "enemy" manuals was authorized by Section II, "Processing of Captured Materiel for Intelligence Purposes", of War Department Training Circular 81, 6 November 1942. In the list below, enemy manuals are shown in blue to set them off from the other manuals.

Army manuals in these series were found in BSIR :

What is Not Included

Many Air Force manuals -- particularly for electronic equipment -- are listed in BSIR. Many were issued in a series of "Technical Orders" which were outside the official Army manual system. Air Force "Technical Orders" and other manuals, not published in the series listed above, were excluded.

Thousands of intelligence reports and reports which resemble intelligence reports -- like BIOS, CIOS, FIAT, and Strategic Bombing Survey reports -- are listed in BSIR. The only intelligence reports indexed here are the so-called "enemy" manuals which were published as official Army manuals.

Numerous reports by military commands and organizations and by their contractors are listed in BSIR. Those reports were excluded because they are not official manuals.

Obtaining the Manuals

Copies of the manuals listed in this index are available from the Library of Congress. However they are very expensive.

Unless you have no alternative, you should try to obtain the manual you need from a depository library or army library. If you cannot visit a depository library, you can probably use interlibrary loan to get the manuals you need. Interlibrary Loan is a system through which libraries loan material through other libraries. Consult your local library to use Interlibrary Loan.

Depository Libraries

Many Army manuals are available in Federal Depository Libraries. The Federal Depository Libraries are libraries around the country to which the Government Printing Office sends copies of documents published by the Federal Government. Most loan documents through Interlibrary Loan.

Large Army Libraries

The Pentagon Library and the library at the Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, have excellent collections of manuals. Both make loans through Interlibrary Loan.

Ordering Manuals from the Library of Congress

All the early PB-numbered documents have been transferred to the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has copies of the manuals listed in BSIR on microfilm. Prints from the film are available. The combination of a high "search" fee and a high per page fee make for very expensive prints. A long manual could cost hundreds of dollars.

For further information Call the Photoduplication Service at (202)707-5640.

FAX orders to the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Department at:

(202) 707-1771

or mail your orders to:

Library of Congress
Photoduplication Service
Washington, DC 20540

You must include the PB number listed in the citation in your order and include other identifying information like the number, title, and date of the manual you are ordering.

Payment is required at the time the order is placed so include a credit card number along with your name as it appears on the card, the expiration date, and any other information needed to make purchases with your card. The Library of Congress accepts only MasterCard and Visa do include the PB-number but don't include your American Express Card number....

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