Concord Armor at War Series 7051,
US Tank Battles in North Africa and Italy 1943-45
by Steven J. Zaloga
Concord Publications, ISBN 962-361-084-X. Price: unavailable.
Steve Zaloga continues to mine the US photographic archives system, always
coming up with some fresh nuggets. His latest effort begins with the US
invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch) in November of 1942, and the
follow-on invasions of Sicily and the Italian mainland. In fact, I wonder
why the book was entitled “…1943-45” instead of “…1942-45”,
but as usual, I digress. The book continues with the Italian campaign
through the battles for Cassino, Anzio, the liberation of Rome and the
campaigns through the spring of 1945.
The three pages of introductory text does an excellent job of providing
a background to the remainder of the book, which contains 186 B&W
photographs and eight pages of color art, depicting a total of 16 vehicles.
The photos themselves contain some old friends, but consist of mostly
new images, all accompanied by some very informative captions. For instance,
there are more new photos of US-manned M3A1 scout cars in this book than
I can ever remember seeing previously. Many other vehicle types are covered
such as M3 medium tanks and their M31 (T2) and M33 derivatives. There
are a large number of photos of M4s and M4A1s, with a few 76mm-armed M4A3s
for good measure. These will prove to be especially useful as they show
various markings, camouflage colors and patterns to good effect, including
“textbook” examples actually used in combat. Other vehicles
such as M3/M5/M5A1 light tanks, M3, M7, M10 and M18 GMCs, as well as M8
armored cars are also covered. There are also a number of photos of special-purpose
vehicles built on M3 and M4 medium tank chassis presented, such as bridging,
recovery and de-mining vehicles.
Axis vehicles such as Italian Fiat 3000s, M14 medium tanks, Semovente
90 da 53, Semovente 47/32 and Semovente 75/18 assault guns, and AB 41
armored cars are well represented. The Germans are represented by four-
and eight-wheel armored cars, Panthers (and their Pantherturm fixed emplacements),
Tiger Is, Pzkpw III and IV, plus various SP AT guns. Italian FT-17s and
French S-35 and R-35 tanks round out the coverage. So, there is quite
a decent variety of inspirational photos presented to the modeler.
The color art covers two US M3 medium tanks, three M4A1s, one M4, one
M18, one T2 ARV, one each Sumoa S-35 and Renault R-35, one Semovente 90
da 53, one each Pz.Kpw. IV, Panthar, Elefant, Brumbar and Nashorn. Each
plate is accompanied by extensive captions describing the colors and markings
used on the vehicle in question. The artwork itself is convincingly done
using a technique the author has pioneered in this series of books. The
technique consists of scale models that are manipulated with various electronic
means to render different color schemes.
In conclusion, just when you thought it was safe to model a US vehicle
from this theater of operations, this book will give you cause to re-evaluate
how you want it to be finished, since it sheds new light on what colors
were in use. That alone is worth the very reasonable price of admission.
Frank V. De Sisto
Concord Publications are available from retail and mail order shops,
or from the publisher at: www.concord-publications.com.