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British Battle Tanks: American-made World War II Tanks

British Battle Tanks: American-made World War II Tanks Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2018 Title British Battle Tanks: American-made World War II Tanks
Author David Fletcher, Steven J. Zaloga Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 9781472820068
Format 256 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $30.00

Review

David Fletcher and Steven J. Zaloga continue Osprey's study of British Battle Tanks with a survey of "American-made World War II Tanks" in Commonwealth service.

A compilation from at least seven previous "New Vanguard" titles, contents span the whole story:

  • M3 Light Tank: The Stuart
  • M3 Medium Tank: The Grant and Lee
  • M4 Medium Tank: The Sherman
  • Firefly: The 17-Pounder Sherman
  • Sherman Duplex Drive
  • Sherman Crab Flail Tank
  • Other American-Built Tanks
  • Staghound Armoured Car

Chapters cover development, deployment, and disposition of key designs. Prototype and production vehicles. Tracked and wheeled. Modifications and conversions. Even attitudes and outcomes.

Some in Britain, authors note, for instance, considered American designs "crude, lacking the sophistication of their British counterparts". And some favored producing British tanks in American factories.

But reality dictated otherwise.

As total war continued, Britain lacked the financial and manufacturing means to sustain Commonwealth tank formations. Lend-Lease American armor proved critical in addressing those deficiencies.

To-wit: by 1944's Normandy invasion, the Sherman "equipped more British tank regiments than any other type" – and fought "until the end of the war" in Commonwealth hands.

From field modifications to major upgrades, the UK often adapted American armor to evolving events. Sherman Firefly VC coverage shows, for instance, how Britain leveraged combat lessons, armament progress, and ergonomic factors to enhance existing designs.

Dozens of captioned photos augment the account. Cut-away art tells the inside stories of key designs. And profiles sport service notes and official color specifications. But why no multi-views of more complex camouflage schemes?

Unfortunately, my eighth-grade composition teacher would have spilled red ink on this one. Antecedent issues abound. Dangling modifiers sow confusion. And the word "none" takes singular verbs.

But don't let some grammar gripes dissuade you from buying this one. Make Osprey's handy handbook your launchpad for further study of WWII American armor in Commonwealth service.

Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!