British Battle Tanks: British-made World War II Tanks Book Review
|Date of Review||January 2019||Title||British Battle Tanks: British-made World War II Tanks|
|Author||David Fletcher, with Bruce Oliver Newsome and Richard Harley||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||280 pages, hardbound||MSRP (USD)||$30.00|
David Fletcher – with Bruce Oliver Newsome and Richard Harley – segues to the most famous "British-made World War II Tanks" in the second part of Osprey's British Battle Tanks trilogy.
And like its companion titles, this one includes "[s]ome of the material in this book" from several previous "New Vanguard" volumes. Contents include:
- Matilda Infantry Tank
- A13 Cruiser Tank
- Crusader and Convenanter Cruiser Tanks
- The Tanks of the Old Gang
- Valentine Infantry Tank
- Churchill Infantry Tank
- Churchill Crocodile and other flame-thrower vehicles
- Cromwell Cruiser Tank
Subject sections cover design, development, deployment, disposition, and derivatives across 280 picture-packed pages. Prototypes. Production vehicles. Field modifications. Major upgrades. Conversions. And more.
Osprey's effort sports plenty of period photos, color profiles, action art, cutaways, and official drawings.
But a shot of Churchill Mk Is "fitted with cupolas taken from captured German Panzer III tanks" would have been nice. And shouldn't text read "marks IX, X and XI" on page 177?
Sidebars, extended captions, tables, references, and index also augment the account. And a concluding chapter surveys less well known "other types" – A17 Tetrarch, A25 Harry Hopkins, A33 Excelsior, and A39 Tortoise.
Lots of informative and intriguing information dominates details.
I especially enjoyed coverage of Cruiser vehicles with Christie suspension. Imagine how history might have changed had Britain actually acquired – and developed – Soviet BT-series tanks into something approximating the legendary T-34.
Fletcher and Harley also claim that "losses in France arrested tank development in Britain by two years". "The Old Gang" certainly stunted progress, too. And the chronicle of "Wasp" Universal Carriers proved particularly provocative.
Make Osprey's whole trilogy your launchpad for further study of British Battle Tanks.
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!