Book: American Tanks and AFV's of World War II

by Eric Christianson

thumbnail Title: American Tanks and AFV's of World War II
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS # 42218
Publishing Info: Soft cover, 376-pp, 9.5 x 7. 5", numerous color and B&W photos, drawings, color plates
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Price: $25.00
Product/Stock #: N/A
Website: Osprey Publishing
Product Web Page: View
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

About this book

I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a long time – an inexpensive, comprehensive and readable book on US Armor in WWII. Prolific author Michael Green’s latest release covers just about everything that rolled on track and sported a big white star. While there are images of war in this volume, this book is more informative than sexy – perfectly suitable as a go-to resource for research, as well as an easy read next to the fireplace.

Even though the book is separated into chapters set along functional lines, the author begins with a roughly chronological treatise on the often-conflicting design decisions and questionable Army doctrine that guided early development of U.S. armor. The discussion then continues, walking the reader up through the hard-learned lessons of combat and how the Army came to be the irresistible juggernaut that rolled across Europe and up the island chains of the Pacific. It is this style of writing that sets the book apart from encyclopedic tomes that make up similar works. The book is readable, and filled with enough pictures and artwork to quickly move the reader through this substantial, yet fascinating subject.

About the second chapter or so the author settles down into a more standard approach, moving from one type to the next, cleverly tying each new subject into the continual story about armor development during the war, using anecdotal asides and unusual images to spark the readers interest along the way. For example – I didn’t know that the US Army never officially referred to the M-18 tank destroyer as the ‘Hellcat’, nor did it ever use that name in any of the documents of that period. It isn’t important to the story, but it is interesting, and fun.

American Tanks and AFV's of World War II is broken down into the following nine chapters; Early Medium Tanks, M4 Series Tanks, Light Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Tank Destroyers, Armored Cars, Armoured Half-Tracks, Self-Propelled Artillery, and Landing Vehicles Tracked. The extra emphasis given to the early M3 Grant/Lee, Stuart and M4 Sherman types reflect their importance in the discussion, but I think my favorite parts, as a modeler, tend to be the more obscure and unusual vehicles that peppered American armor development.

Michael Green has provided an excellent go-to resource at a very competitive price for this comprehensive subject. His particular style, and the organization of the book, make it an enjoyable read cover to cover. I highly recommend this book to any armor enthusiast interested in creating a well-stocked library, and I look forward to Mr. Green’s next release.

I would like to heartedly thank Osprey Publishing and Michael Green for providing this book for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.


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