US Armored Funnies:
|Stock Number and Description||Concord Publications 7052, US Armored Funnies: US Specialized Armored Vehicles in the ETO in World War II. By Steven J. Zaloga|
|Media and Contents:||Soft cover book|
|Review Type:||First Read|
|Advantages:||Useful descriptions and photos of these fascinating vehicles; excellent color plates|
During World War Two, the US came to realize that specialized AFVs were needed to support their armored divisions during the assault. This led to a certain degree of conceptualization and experimentation, as well as to the production of specialized vehicles and modification kits that could be used on standard medium tanks, typically the M4 series. In short order the US fielded tanks mounted with bulldozer blades, mine clearance devices (rollers, flails and explosive charges), rocket launchers, swimming and deep wading devices, obstacle clearance fittings (notably the various “Culin” devices and their off-shoots), bridging vehicles, tank recovery vehicles, tractors for pulling super-heavy artillery, flamethrower tanks, search-light tanks (including a brief bit and a photo on US Infrared-equipped experimental tanks) and deception/psychological warfare platforms based on tanks and half-tracks. All of these fall into the category of armored “Funnies”, a term coined to describe British efforts in that field.
There is probably no-one writing today better suited to present this subject than this book’s author. He begins with a concise run-down of the major projects and their employment, using four pages of very informative text. He then follows with 192 B&W photos, which show virtually every type described, usually in an operational scenario. All photos have something of interest and are certain to prove inspirational to modelers who want something different for their collections. Captions are fairly brief, but certainly adequate. The book’s center features 16 color plates, which were created based upon actual scale models along with computer-aided image manipulation. The AFVs covered include four M31-series TRVs, two T40 “Whiz-Bang” rocket launcher tanks, three Bulldozer tanks (one with deep wading stacks), two more Deep Wading tanks, one M17 rocket launcher tank, a Sherman Crocodile Flamethrower tank, two T1E3 Mine exploder tanks (nick-named “Aunt Jemima”) and a “Leaflet” search-light-equipped M3.
In general the repro quality of the photographs is quite fine, and many are printed on a half page. This conspires to make details readily visible to the careful reader. There are a couple of very minor typos in the text, but they are nothing really to worry about. More than a few of these photos have been seen before, usually in previous related works by this author. But I don’t see this as a hindrance, since it’s very convenient to have all of them in the same place. And, since they are accompanied by excellent color plates, this book is certainly worth the price of admission. The commentary for the color plates are all quite detailed and complete; they provide more than enough pertinent information, which will allow a modeler to proceed with confidence if he decides to tackle one of these unusual beasts.
I often see people posting on various web sites, looking for certain books from this author, usually long out-of-print. This book deserves to become one of those. So, get it now to avoid disappointment; you’ll be glad you did.
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
Concord Publications are available from retail and mail order shops, or from the publisher at: http://www.concord-publications.com
Text and Images by Frank V. De
Page Created 28 January, 2006
Page Last Updated 27 January, 2006