Books in Review: Tanks

JAG gives his take on military book titles. This time he reviews 'Tank Wrecks of the Eastern Front 1941-1945 (Images of War)' and 'Sherman Tank, Vol. 1, America’s M4A1 Medium Tank in World War II.'
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Tank Wrecks of the Eastern Front

Tank Wrecks of the Eastern Front 1941-1945 (Images of War) by Anthony Tucker-Jones (ISBN-13: 978-1473895003, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS; www.pen-and-sword.co.uk. Softcover, 152 pages, illustrated throughout, 2018, $22.95).

Four years of armored battle on the Eastern Front in the Second World War littered the battlefields with the wrecks of destroyed and disabled tanks, and Anthony Tucker-Jones’s photographic history is a fascinating guide to them. It provides a graphic record of the various types of tank deployed by the Red Army and the Wehrmacht during the largest and most destructive confrontation between mechanized armies in military history.

During the opening stages of the war the German victors regularly photographed and posed with destroyed Soviet armor. Operation Barbarossa left 17,000 smashed Soviet tanks in its wake, and the heavy and medium tanks such as the T-28, T-35, KV-1 and the T-34 proved to be a source of endless interest. Once the tide turned the wrecked and burnt-out panzers – the Mk IVs, Tigers and Panthers — were photographed by the victorious Red Army.

As well as tracing the entire course of the war on the Eastern Front through the trail of broken armor, the photographs provide a wide-ranging visual archive of the tank types of the period that will appeal to everyone who is interested in tank warfare.

Sherman Tank Vol 1

Sherman Tank, Vol. 1, America’s M4A1 Medium Tank in World War II, by David Doyle (SBN13: 9780764355677, Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 1931 ; 610-593-1777; www.schifferbooks.com. Hardcover, 112 pages, 225 color and b/w photos, 2018, $19.99).

This book documents the development and production of the M4A1 through its many variations, as well as its combat use around the globe. Produced by Lima Locomotive Works, Pressed Steel Car Company, and Pacific Car and Foundry, the M4A1 was the first of the famed Sherman tanks and preceded the welded-hull M4 into production. Powered by a nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine, the M4A1 fought in North Africa with both US and British forces, across northwestern Europe, and on Pacific Islands with both the Army and the Marines, serving well into the 1950s. The evolving design went through three major hull designs, multiple turret designs, and armament with either a 75 mm or 76 mm gun—all of which are detailed in this book. Extensive archival photographs are augmented by stunning color images of preserved tanks, taking the reader around and inside this famed warhorse.

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