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British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939

British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review February 2017 Title British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939
Author David Fletcher Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2016 ISBN 9781472817556
Format 236 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $30.00


From Little Willie through Whippet to WWII's Western Desert.

Suitably subtitled "World War I to 1939", British Battle Tanks recounts the formative phase in the development of British armored fighting vehicles.

Part of Osprey's "General Military" range, author David Fletcher's handy hardback supplements sections from several previous "New Vanguard" titles with new material.

His chronologically arranged contents span 236 pages and ten informative chapters:

  • The Tank Idea
  • In The Beginning
  • Mark IV Tank
  • Mark V Tank
  • Medium Mark A Whippet
  • Wartime Prototypes
  • The End Of The War And New Beginnings
  • Vickers Mediums
  • 1930s Tank Developments
  • Light Tanks 1927-45

Coverage of individual vehicles includes design, development and – where applicable – deployment details. Photos, action paintings and color profiles illustrate the effort. And extended captions further augment the account.

It's also full of fascinating factoids.

Did you know that on the Vickers-Armstrongs 6-Ton Tank (Mark E), the "driveshaft, passing through the tank from back to front, is said to be one reason why a twin-turreted layout was chosen"? And did you know that at least two Medium Mk IIAs surprisingly survived to serve in North Africa during WWII?

Particularly interesting was the A1T1 Independent T1020 – a formidable-looking, five-turret failure. Ditto for Vickers-Armstrongs light-tank designs of the 1930s – especially the intriguing T-15 for Belgium, amphibious vehicles and so-called "Command Tank" with 40mm gun.

Gripes? When will Osprey dedicate a substantial study to Vickers' influential Six Ton family? And when will Osprey offer, in author David Fletcher's words, that "fair-sized book on the Light Tanks alone"?

Soon, I hope!

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!