BRITISH BATTLE TANKS – British Made Tanks of World War II
by David Fletcher
Reviewed by Al Bowie
This one takes up where the last title left off at the outbreak of WWII and covers those British produced Tanks used during World War II. David, in association with the Tank Museum Bovington, has already done many soft cover OSPREY titles on subjects within this timeframe and this new hardcover title again is a compendium of those books in one volume with some additional information.
Compared to German AFV references on British AFV and Tanks tends to be very limited and patchy regarding some vehicles and it is pleasing to see this title adding to the pool of available reference.
This compendium packs a lot into its 272 pages and will not disappoint anyone with an interest in the British Tanks or the History of Armoured warfare.
This book is a study of the main British battle tanks and is broken down into the main types used in roughly the order of appearance on the battlefield. As indicated, it contains a number of previous Osprey New Vanguard titles however it also contains information not covered in those and covers a subject not available as a separate title – the A13 Cruiser.
As with all David Fletcher titles I have read, it is well backed by good research and is in an easily readable style of writing that will satisfy the novice and pedant alike. This is not the be all and end all reference on the subjects and would be considered an excellent overview or primer on the subject until more in depth studies become available. Some chapters cover a lot more than the Chapter subject, particularly the Churchill Crocodile that covers the development of British armoured flamethrowers and their use. It further covers the follow-ons.
The Cromwell Chapter covers associated designs such as the A34 Comet, Avenger TD and I feel this is the one failing of the book. A separate Chapter on the Comet, which was the finest British tank of the war, and the first designed by the users and not self-serving industry, would have really rounded out this book.
This title offers excellent value for money and offers valuable reference for the modeller, historian and the armour enthusiast. Its colour plates are all preserved from the original titles and it also offers the benefit of a hard cover and additional plates.
The Author is an acknowledged authority on British armour and has used his association with the Bovington Tank Museum to the readers advantage providing a quality but budget priced reference on such an important subject in the history of armoured warfare. I cannot recommend this enough particularly as it is a one stop title on British Armour of WWII at a bargain price.
Available online from Osprey Publishing and specialty book shops worldwide www.ospreypublishing.com