Centurion Main Battle Tank 1946 to Present Owners’ Workshop Manual
Reviewed by Al Bowie
70 years ago, in April 1947, the Centurion MBT entered service with the British Army. It would be to claim that this is the most successful British tank of all time earning an enviable reputation further enhanced by the fact they can still be found in service some 70 years on.
This book in the expanding range of Haynes Owner’s Workshop Manuals is devoted to the Centurion MBT and is produced in conjunction with the Tank Museum to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Cents development. Simon Dunstan the Author is no stranger to the subject matter and this shows throughout the title.
The Centurion MBT is widely regarded as one of the most important post-war Western tanks and its genesis showed a marked departure from the normal development of AFV for the British Army that after 6 years of war where the British Tanker was fighting with equipment of a poorer standard to his opponent the A41 Centurion changed all of that and gave the British (and the western Allies) a truly excellent tank and one widely regarded as the first true MBT that went on to serve the British Army in one form or another up until the second Gulf War in 2003.
During the last 73 years, the Cent has seen extensive combat serving starting with the Korean War (Britain), Vietnam (Australia), The Arab – Israeli Conflicts (Israel & Jordan), The Indo – Pakistan Wars (India), The South African Bush Wars and it continues to serve as highly specialised variants with the Israelis.
Most people of a certain age who have owned a car at one time would have bought a Haynes Manual to aid in the service and maintenance. These were immensely popular, however the complexity of modern vehicles has seen much less demand for such titles and the Publisher has rather imaginatively branched out offering owner’s manuals on a diverse range of subjects from tanks, aircraft, trains through to Sci Fi.
The reader should not think less of these titles given the publisher and this title is an excellent example of what quality publications most of these are.
The book is 156 pages in A4 sized hardback format and printed on high quality glossy paper with numerous high quality images in black and white and colour. The book has eight Chapters plus Appendixes, Forewords and an extensive Bibliography:
This book is a fantastic treasure trove of information and images with a broader insight into the development of British AFVs contained in the Forewords. It is aimed at a broad range of readers and I would recommend this to serious students of the AFV/MBT, armoured warfare historians, modellers and even former crewmen with additional recommendation for restorers.
This is not Simon Dunstan’s first book on the Centurion but I rank it as one of his best. Do not be fooled by the novelty of the format being an Owners Manual. This is thoroughly researched and high quality. For the price, it is an absolute bargain and I would rate this as one of the must read titles on the Centurion MBT.
I cannot recommend this enough due to the high quality of material within. I will be adding a lot more of this range to my library.
Thanks to Haynes UK for the sample www.haynes.com
Text and Images by Al Bowie