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Books About Tanks


EnsignExpendable
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Got two books, Baryatinskiy on German/Czech tanks and one on the SU-76 by some guy I've never heard of. A quick skim revealed no obvious transgressions aside from calling the Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer". The SU-76 book is heavy on the technical side, with images from the manual and blueprints and such. 

 

To me, the Jadgpanzer 38 will always be the Hetzer, evidence to the contrary be damned.  Its a good nickname.  Just please don't tell me that the nickname "bare assed ferdinand" for the SU-76 was not real.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday, I finished The United States Cavalry: Time of  Transition 1938-1944, Horses to Mechanization by Gary Palmer, who was an E-2 Hawkeye pilot in Vietnam and a sheriff's deputy and National Guard tanker after the war. I found it while trolling Amazon for books on mechanization, and from the numerous subtitles I had some decent hopes. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. This really isn't a scholarly work; Palmer does go through some history of cavalry mechanization, but tends to cite a single source once or twice a page for several pages at a time until he moves on to another source for the next several pages. He says his idea for the book was as a rewrite of the 106th Cavalry Group's unit history, since his dad was a member, and it's more effective in this vein as it has a lot of excerpts from trooper memoirs (and even a school paper biography by a 15-year old relative of one of the troopers). He intends to publish further books detailing other periods of the 106th's history (this book ends when the unit is deployed to Europe), so the subtitles make better sense when this is realized. I was hoping for something on the order of Hofmann's Through Mobility We Conquer or Morton's Men on Iron Ponies, but Palmer's book (which uses the former two as sources) doesn't measure up to the scholarly history. Also, despite being an NG tanker, Palmer apparently got JEB and Jimmy confused, as he exclusively uses the latter's last name when referring to the cavalry's light "Stewart" tanks. Overall, the book did have some enjoyable accounts, but the title confused me as to the book's ultimate purpose: a relatively minor focus on scholarly history using a few sources, and a major focus as a first issue of a series of books recounting the actions and thoughts of members of the unit.

Sl5MKxm.jpg

Next up is Australian Armour: A History of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps 1927-1972. This should be good, as author Maj-General RNL Hopkins, CBE, notes in the preface that, "I had been sent to Great Britain in 1937 to gain experience with the Royal Tank Corps and other armoured organisations. At the commencement of the 1939-1945 War I was the only Regular officer in Australia fully qualified in this arm. Late in 1940 the large-scale development of armoured training and the urgent formation of an armoured division became largely my responsibility." :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished Australian Armour today, and found it very worthwhile. Hopkins helped set up Australia's armored forces and the book gets into the politics behind acquiring machines, the setting up of armored forces, as well as operations that the troops endured during World War II and up until Australia left Vietnam in 1972. The trials of tanks in World War II (which he continually refers to as "the 1939-1945 War"--is this an Australian thing?) and the background and development of the Sentinel are detailed, and the theme of the book seems to be a continual struggle to get armored forces to be accepted and used (indeed, until the author essentially threw a fit, Australia was prepared to include a light horse regiment along with its World War II expeditionary force...). A few things don't add up (e.g., the timeline of the M60's introduction, and referring to the Conqueror as a medium tank), and details of combat operations necessarily aren't as detailed as, for example, the epic 2-volume Canister! On! Fire!, but a good mix is achieved of behind-the-scenes politics and battlefield use. Recommended.

W1sVdLX.jpg

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6 hours ago, EnsignExpendable said:

How much of the book is dedicated to the pinnacle of engineering that is the Bob Semple tank?

None, unfortunately. Like Walter implied, I chalked up the dearth of text on the Bob Semple to the embarrassment that it was created in New Zealand while the best the Aussies could come up with was a plan for a 17-pounder armed Sentinel.

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20 hours ago, DogDodger said:

Finished Australian Armour today, and found it very worthwhile. Hopkins helped set up Australia's armored forces and the book gets into the politics behind acquiring machines, the setting up of armored forces, as well as operations that the troops endured during World War II and up until Australia left Vietnam in 1972. The trials of tanks in World War II (which he continually refers to as "the 1939-1945 War"--is this an Australian thing?) and the background and development of the Sentinel are detailed, and the theme of the book seems to be a continual struggle to get armored forces to be accepted and used (indeed, until the author essentially threw a fit, Australia was prepared to include a light horse regiment along with its World War II expeditionary force...). A few things don't add up (e.g., the timeline of the M60's introduction, and referring to the Conqueror as a medium tank), and details of combat operations necessarily aren't as detailed as, for example, the epic 2-volume Canister! On! Fire!, but a good mix is achieved of behind-the-scenes politics and battlefield use. Recommended.

W1sVdLX.jpg

 

Cool, how much detail does it get into on the Centurions used in Vietnam?

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He gets into the acquisition of the Centurion, the dearth of training with various infantry units, the initial thoughts that armor would not be useful in the theater, the activities of the first APC troop sent to Vietnam, the haphazard and quick preparations the armored troops undertook upon learning (from a radio report!) that they were to be sent to Vietnam in 3 months despite being understaffed in Australia, and further actions of the APCs and of the tanks once they were sent. If you're looking for just info on Australian Cents in Vietnam, though, the aforementioned Canister! On! Fire! is the one to get: a two-volume study solely concentrated on Australian armor operations in Vietnam.

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On 15/02/2017 at 5:22 AM, DogDodger said:

Thanks for the tip. I've had those preordered on Amazon since June 2016, and they aren't set to come out until June 2017. The ebooks are also each $5 cheaper. Decisions decisions... :)

Just downloaded the two books in E book format directly from the US World of Tanks site. No problem in doing so, even though I am based in the UK. Much cheaper than Amazon UK where they wont be available until June.

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Talking of books. I have a pristine copy of my Merkava book published by Tankograd for sale. Its still shrink wrapped. I also have two copies of the book in excellent used condition which I am willing to sell. If anyone is interested, please PM me. I have to be honest guys, I will be selling them a lot cheaper than Abe's books, where they are quoted as £304 ($380), but they won't be cheap. I need the money!

Cheers

Marsh

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11 hours ago, EnsignExpendable said:

How's the bonus comic book or whatever that comes with them?

Just ordered both of them but didn't get a link to the free pdf in the download email, nor is there an apparent link to it on my account page on the website. I've sent them a message asking what's up. The books themselves look pretty cool from paging down through them, though,

17 hours ago, Marsh said:

Talking of books. I have a pristine copy of my Merkava book published by Tankograd for sale. Its still shrink wrapped. I also have two copies of the book in excellent used condition which I am willing to sell. If anyone is interested, please PM me. I have to be honest guys, I will be selling them a lot cheaper than Abe's books, where they are quoted as £304 ($380), but they won't be cheap. I need the money!

Cheers

Marsh

I'd be all over this if I didn't already own it. ;)

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Finished Alaric Searle's Armoured Warfare: A Military, Political and Global History tonight. From the title, I expected something interesting and unorthodox in the vein of Patrick Wright's Tank, but alas it turns out to be mostly a shallow history of armored battles throughout history that is laden with small errors. In the preface Searle notes that he's a college professor who teaches a class on the history of armored warfare (whatever level 5 means), and felt that he could not recommend to his students a reputable single-volume text on the subject that covered multiple timeframes and countries. Hence, this book. The "global" part comes from the fact that, besides the usual topics like the World Wars and Desert Storm, he talks (sometimes quite briefly) about other conflicts like the Iran-Iraq war and French experience in Indochina. The "political" aspect of the subtitle, and the main reason I ordered the book, is limited to a 15-page chapter penultimate to the conclusion. There are numerous small errors throughout, e.g., gun caliber, introduction dates, confusing the T-64 and the T-62, etc., and for what is described in the preface as a book for teaching, he often throws around names of vehicles with no description of their form or purpose. E.g., when talking about the formation of the Bundeswehr: "The first American AFVs the Germans received in 1956 were 1,110 M47s, 152 M41s, 100 M39s, and 300 M74s." The only machine in the list he had previously discussed was the M47, and the only one to be mentioned later in the text is the M41. I suppose students are expected to look up on their own what their textbook does not define. Or maybe Armoured Warfare (level 5) students are expected to know. Anyway, bottom line is that I anticipated some unconventional analysis, but ended up with a short, meh attempt at an overall history. I do like the mustache on the cover, though.

TpoJoma.jpg

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10 hours ago, DogDodger said:

Finished Alaric Searle's Armoured Warfare: A Military, Political and Global History tonight. From the title, I expected something interesting and unorthodox in the vein of Patrick Wright's Tank, but alas it turns out to be mostly a shallow history of armored battles throughout history that is laden with small errors. In the preface Searle notes that he's a college professor who teaches a class on the history of armored warfare (whatever level 5 means), and felt that he could not recommend to his students a reputable single-volume text on the subject that covered multiple timeframes and countries. Hence, this book. The "global" part comes from the fact that, besides the usual topics like the World Wars and Desert Storm, he talks (sometimes quite briefly) about other conflicts like the Iran-Iraq war and French experience in Indochina. The "political" aspect of the subtitle, and the main reason I ordered the book, is limited to a 15-page chapter penultimate to the conclusion. There are numerous small errors throughout, e.g., gun caliber, introduction dates, confusing the T-64 and the T-62, etc., and for what is described in the preface as a book for teaching, he often throws around names of vehicles with no description of their form or purpose. E.g., when talking about the formation of the Bundeswehr: "The first American AFVs the Germans received in 1956 were 1,110 M47s, 152 M41s, 100 M39s, and 300 M74s." The only machine in the list he had previously discussed was the M47, and the only one to be mentioned later in the text is the M41. I suppose students are expected to look up on their own what their textbook does not define. Or maybe Armoured Warfare (level 5) students are expected to know. Anyway, bottom line is that I anticipated some unconventional analysis, but ended up with a short, meh attempt at an overall history. I do like the mustache on the cover, though.

TpoJoma.jpg

I'm supposed to be getting a review copy of this book soon.  

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11 hours ago, Walter_Sobchak said:

I'm supposed to be getting a review copy of this book soon.  

Cool, looking forward to your thoughts. Maybe your opinion will be higher.

9 hours ago, EnsignExpendable said:

How come nobody sends me books? :(

Amazon et al send me books all the time. ;)

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