Books in Review October 2016

tank-commander

The Tank Commander Pocket Manual, 1939-1945, by R. Sheppard (ISBN 978-1910860168, Pool of London Press, distributed by Casemate Distributed in the U.S. by Casemate, 908 Darby Road, Havertown, PA 19083, 610.853.9131; www.casemategroup.com. Hardcover, 5” x 8”, 144 pages, illustrated with diagrams, 2016, $14.95).

From the pioneering tactics and terror of the Blitzkrieg assault, through the carnage of Barbarossa, Kursk, the Desert War, and the Normandy Bocage and the Battle of the Bulge, there were perhaps no more unsettling and merciless positions to occupy in the Second World War than that of a tank commander. This new book puts the reader at the very heart of this “hell on wheels” and presents all of the original information required to perform this most dangerous of wartime battlefield roles.

From training manuals and war office memorandums to combat reports and first-hand accounts, The Tank Commander Pocket Manual places you in the turret position of commander of some of the most fearsome land vehicles. These include the Soviet T-34, the German Panther and its nemesis the American Sherman, the terrifying Tiger I as well as tank variants including flamethrowers and tank destroyers such as the Allied M10 and the StuG III. Original documents, diagrams, technical drawings and reports have been collated and compiled from archives and collections to include original Russian, German and English angles on the commander’s many roles including how to ‘run’ the rest of the crew of this most decisive weapon of WWII.

dragon-wagon-2

Dragon Wagon, Part II: A Visual History of the U.S. Army’s Heavy Tank Transporters, 1955-1975, by David Doyle. (9781944367008, The Ampersand Group. available from David Doyle Books, PO Box 172287, Memphis, TN 38187, orders@DavidDoyleBooks.com; www.DavidDoyleBooks.com. Softcover, 10.9” x 8.7”, 128 pages, more than 250 color and black-and-white images, 2016, $22.95).

Dragon Wagon is the second in a series of titles covering the U.S. Army’s Heavy Tank Transporters. The first volume covered the M25/M26 Pacific family of vehicles and trailers during their service in WWII and Korea.

Part 2 picks up the story with the successor to the Pacific; the magnificent 10-ton M123 tractor. The unarmored M123 soldiered on through the 1950s and Vietnam while paired with the modernized M15A1 and M15A2 trailers from WWII. Also covered is the rare and unusual M746 tractor with service pictures from its brief career.

Photo coverage includes lavish color shots of the M123 taken during the  Vietnam War, as well during development and testing. Additional detail photos are provided of the M123A1C, M123E2 and M746.

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