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Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915–40

Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915–40 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review March 2018 Title Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915–40
Author Steven J. Zaloga Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 9781472825155
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.00


Steven J. Zaloga completes his succinct study of Early US Armor with a survey of "Armored Cars 1915–40" – 254th in Osprey's vast "New Vanguard" range.

Armored cars served in light-combat, reconnaissance, and liaison roles. They also proved suitable for internal security, convoy protection, and swift, specialized surgical strikes.

Zaloga commences coverage by charting early developments – including many spearheaded by private individuals and state National Guards. Lots of spellbinding stuff here.

First use of US armored cars in combat occurred during the 1916-1917 Mexican Punitive Expedition. While gaining valuable experience, the US Army discovered that early vehicle designs proved "too heavy to be used away from roads so they were used mainly to guard the various towns along the border".

Static trench warfare squelched US armored car developments during WWI. But mobile actions late in the conflict prompted renewed interest in the weapons.

Interwar advancements in engine and automotive technologies produced more capable designs and derivatives – including a convertible wheel/track vehicle. And most were built on commercial chassis.

What's the difference between "Armored Cars" and "Combat Cars"? You'll find the answer here.

By early World War II, designs largely fell into wheeled "scout car", halftrack, and turreted types. That's where you'll find, for instance, the famous M3 halftrack. But design and deployment details of this legend and others fall outside the scope of Zaloga's compact chronicle.

Photos and color profiles illustrate the account. Felipe Rodríguez's artwork is terrific. Extended captions – some almost sidebars – contain lots of engaging information. Want development details of USA Olive Drab (3-1) camouflage paint? They're here.

Tables recap production and development. And an index and selected bibliography neatly conclude contents. But, unfortunately, don't expert any annotations.

Read this superb little study with Zaloga's equally excellent Early US Armor: Tanks 1916-40 (New Vanguard 245).


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!