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Books About Tanks


EnsignExpendable
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Today I got two books in the mail.  The Haynes manual on the Chieftain by Dick Taylor.  Also, Design and Development of Fighting Vehicles by R.M. Ogorkiewicz.  The Haynes book is fine, exactly what I was expecting.  The Ogorkiewicz book is 50 years old so it's definitely dated, yet still quite interesting.  It's a bit like a shorter, early draft of his Technology of Tanks book.  

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On 2/16/2017 at 10:45 AM, EnsignExpendable said:

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

Sent another email last night about not getting the download link for this; they apologized and replied with the link today. It's an 8-page pdf (including the front and rear covers) with a comic book-style SU-152 crewwoman talking head giving some facts on the machine and its introduction and organization. Ten speech bubbles are provided, and three of these relate to WoT. But hey, it's free. ;)

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On 2/13/2017 at 10:20 PM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

Cool, well, I just added the Cannister books to the must buy list. 

Speaking of Centurions in Vietnam, another one you might be interested in is Jungle Tracks; finished it this weekend. Unlike Canister! On! Fire!, its main focus is on the crewmen themselves; interviews make up a huge portion of the text. So it doesn't have the high-level history and background of Hopkins's book or the detail of the operations of Canister! On! Fire!, but the crewmen interviews are so informal and conversational that the book is a real page-turner. They discuss the machines they used, the enemy they fought, the allies with whom they worked, and the mood back home when they left and returned. Not all the opinions agree, of course, and that's probably one of the strengths of the book. I found this one to be very readable and interesting, and to be honest I also had a hard time not imagining the veterans' anecdotes in an Australian accent when they're talking about certain operations being a ripper or lamenting that the trickle replacement policy meant you couldn't even exchange a g'day with the guy going home in your stead.

n4yNAEp.jpg?1

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On 2/23/2017 at 11:57 PM, 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

Here ya go.

A Military, Political and Global History of Armoured Warfare: An Interview with Alaric Searle

 

 

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Got done with AFVs in Irish Service since 1922 by Ralph Riccio. I had previously read and enjoyed his book on WW2 Italian vehicles, and also wasn't disappointed with this work. The book has a historical review of the use of AFVs in Ireland, beginning with the appropriated Guinness delivery trucks that were fitted with locomotive boilers during the Easter uprising, then machines used by both sides the civil war, organization during and after WW2, and on the use of AFVs during various UN missions. The bulk of the book is devoted to monographs of the machines themselves, including vehicles loaned to Ireland by the UN or other countries during deployments. He even manages to nail down surviving vehicles and the national registration plate numbers for the Irish vehicles from the first Rolls-Royce armored cars. My only regret upon reading the book is realizing that, when we visited Howth on a whim on the last day of our trip to Ireland in December 2010, that we didn't know the city was home to the National Transport Museum, which has a number of armored cars in its collection. :( Now to check out Nicholas Moran's video on Irish AFVs...

7cFLymG.jpg

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So I picked this up for Christmas with a gift card, got it used so it was cheap. 

614466nSAxL.jpg

 

It had a lot of promise, claiming the 781 was assigned to Fort Knox to be the AFB test battalion.  THe book covers something called the million dollar tank test,  where the 781st, took ten tanks with each engine type and ran them for 4000 miles or 400 hours, to see what engine worked the best and improve the engines in general. The book only covers this interesting subject in a very shallow way, just going over a few interesting failures, trash talks the A57, then later mentions after improvements became supper reliable, but was still a dud. He states the US dumped them on the British who didn't want the A4s, and got the total made wrong, and then when the talks about its use as a firefly, he propagates "the it had a  new turret myth", and totally glosses over the 17 pounder used in the Sherman was a new gun,  and had to be manufactured a specific way for use in a Sherman firefly. 

 

He then shit talks the Sherman and castigates it, for get this BS, having a to small a turret ring! He then further attacks the sherman for not being able to mount a 90mm gun! He then goes through the typical slander fest of the Sherman costing the lives of a lot of allied crews because the M26 was delayed by the evil McNair, and does not cover any of the statistics about the Sherman actually being a pretty safe tank even before the ammo rack changes. He also implies TIgers and Panthers were super common and glosses over the losses to antitank guns.  Of course Death Traps is in the bibliography. 

 

I hope it will get better once they talk about the actual combat the 781 saw, but there is so much that's just not right, who knows what you can trust?

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On 4/29/2017 at 11:05 AM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

So I picked this up for Christmas with a gift card, got it used so it was cheap. 

614466nSAxL.jpg

 

It had a lot of promise, claiming the 781 was assigned to Fort Knox to be the AFB test battalion.  THe book covers something called the million dollar tank test,  where the 781st, took ten tanks with each engine type and ran them for 4000 miles or 400 hours, to see what engine worked the best and improve the engines in general. The book only covers this interesting subject in a very shallow way, just going over a few interesting failures, trash talks the A57, then later mentions after improvements became supper reliable, but was still a dud. He states the US dumped them on the British who didn't want the A4s, and got the total made wrong, and then when the talks about its use as a firefly, he propagates "the it had a  new turret myth", and totally glosses over the 17 pounder used in the Sherman was a new gun,  and had to be manufactured a specific way for use in a Sherman firefly. 

 

He then shit talks the Sherman and castigates it, for get this BS, having a to small a turret ring! He then further attacks the sherman for not being able to mount a 90mm gun! He then goes through the typical slander fest of the Sherman costing the lives of a lot of allied crews because the M26 was delayed by the evil McNair, and does not cover any of the statistics about the Sherman actually being a pretty safe tank even before the ammo rack changes. He also implies TIgers and Panthers were super common and glosses over the losses to antitank guns.  Of course Death Traps is in the bibliography. 

 

I hope it will get better once they talk about the actual combat the 781 saw, but there is so much that's just not right, who knows what you can trust?

 

 

This book really hasn't gotten better, though there are a few parts that are good, the parts dealing with the actual actions the unit saw, where, and when, etc.  Unfortunately it spends more time talking about high level gossip as if it was true. He spends a time going on about an Ike and Devers feud,  He portrays Ike as a Jerk and Devers as the Brilliant kicked dog.  He also spends time whining about Patton leaving a hole in their lines when he went off showboating in the ardennes and didn't like how the French from Le'clerk right up to De Gaulle were bastards for having the gall to demand to be a part of the liberation of France, and Paris in particular. 

 

Here are some minor tidbits, he complains about US tank only having rubber tracks and how they sucked in icy conditions, but does not mention every sherman was issued with grousers. He also talks about US tank gunners were taught to fire ranging rounds, as if the first round, if it misses the commanders range estimate wasn't used for that, and implies they would try and bracket a target before hitting it, this come up several times.  He does cover some of the flaws of the Panther, more than Cooper ever did, but he even gets a few things wrong there too, like saying the tranny had to be pulled to change a panther final drives. 

 

Here, let me list the advantages he thought the Sherman had of the Tiger and Panther. 

 

Quote

The Sherman had the following advantages over Tigers and Panthers:

  1. They were more reliable, easier to service, and their crews were generally better trained than their German counterparts at this point.
  2. They were more maneuverable over hard ground.
  3.  They had greater range, both on road and cross-country.
  4.  Speed: Of the Panther, Tiger and Sherman, the Panther was theoretically fastest on strait roads, but in reality, the Sherman and Panther were in a dead heat, because German Fuel quality was deteriorating and Sherman crews were wiring their tanks governors open. 
  5. Higher quality armor. The Shermans armor was tougher and less prone to cracking, but there just wasn't enough of it. 

Quantity- there were oodles and oodles of Shermans for every Panther. 

 

Panthers had the following advantages over the Shermans: 

 

  1.  Low Flash powder:  The U.S. rounds had such a big muzzle blast and smoke that the gunner , at times, couldn't see through it to mark the fall of his shot. The German rounds went off clean, only marked by a dust cloud if the round passed over dirt. 
  2. A better gun with higher penetration. Ricochets had been seen that went through Shermans at 3000 yards.
  3. Thicker Armor.  The 75mm and 76mm rifles of the Sherman couldn't penetrate the front hull of a panther. Shermans could penetrate a Panther or Tiger from the side, and since the Panther stowed rounds in the sides , they would frequently light up if hit from the side. Panther Armor, though thicker, was becoming brittle, as the war the war dragged on, supplies of critical alloying elements- molybdenum in particular- were being cut off. The panther armor was prone to fracture. 
  4. Superior gunsights  that had two magnifications: 2.5x and 5x. (Sherman had a fixed 5x) the panther and sherman sights were lit, and gradations could be seen during low-illuminations times. But the Panther also had a flip-down shade for shooting into the sun that the Sherman gunner didn't. However, the German gunners's site didn't have a brow pad, and having his forehead anywhere near the sight while moving was dangerous. So the Panther gunner was blind until the tank stopped, then he had to reorient and reacquire. The gunner also had to flip his right earpiece out of the way when sighting, because the gun was so close to his right shoulder. (The Panther and Sherman gunnery crews were positioned differently.  The Sherman gunner was to the right of the gun, with the loader on the left. The Panther crew were in opposite position.)  
  5. Superior floatation. The panther could outmaneuver a Sherman in wet and muddy terrain due to the Shermans higher ground pressure. On mud, where a Panther would leave a track five inches deep, a Sherman would sink until it stuck
  6. Lower silhouette. The Panther was 9 feet tall vs. the 11ft Sherman,Which could easily be seen from 200 to 3500 yards away.
  7. The Commanders hatch on the German tanks opened by Popping up five inches and then swinging to the side. this permitted the commander to ride with the hatch popped up but not swung open, which provides superior visibility and ventilation, and still gave overhead protection from air bursts, shells, snipers, grenades, weather, etc. Allied commanders had to look through a periscope or go into danger with an open turret hatch. Most chose to go with the hatch open, which of course made them prime targets for snipers and bazooka teams. 

 

The bold are parts I found particularly amusing. On 6 he shorts the Panther by 10 inches, and 2 inches to the Sherman! I don't think the Lee was even 11 inches tall!  On 1 I think rain and snow along with muzzle brakes solved this and tanks of the 781st in the time period of the book got tanks with muzzle brakes and this was only a problem on M1A1 armed tanks and were in areas that had lots of mud and snow. 2 is arguable, and the second part is bullshit. sn't3 Isn't horrible compared to the rest. 4 discounts the advantage of having a 1X and 5X setup and a periscope along with a telescope. It does not mention the target hand off and spotting problems the Panther gunner had, nor the Stabilizer and how this made getting a shot off after coming to a stop easier for a Sherman gunner. 5 discounts HVSS tanks that would have been coming in as replacements, and that the mud got deep enough even the Panther could cross it. the commanders cupola was not very user friendly on the panther, as the Chieftain's hatch on the Panther A shows. I'd rather have the all around vision cupola all 76 tanks and some 75 tanks had with a spring loaded, easy to open hatch over the complicated and hard to work junk the Panthers commanders hatch was. Also I doubt many bazooka or Panzerfaust teams were aiming for Commanders heads... 

 

He has a 'Tiger drove out into the open, to  show Sherman tankers how good it was, daring Shermans to come out, while laughing manically' section right after the pro and cons part, page 103 to be exact. This was because, in his words, Tiger and Panther commanders were taught 'not to fear Shermans, even when outnumbered 2:1', this was of course followed by a bunch of unformed garbage, He also mentions here how Shermans could outrun the tigers turret traverse because it was hand crank only, but the panther had good power traverse for the gun. He then goes on to say the would never send Tigers out totally along,  they would have a lone stug cover its flanks!

 

On the next page he mentions the Shermans stabilizer, allowing them to run in shoot and scoot, but odds for the poor americans was long. The rest of the page is a shitshow of bad information where he mentions the M36, a sherman hull or chassis with a 90mm gun, and then says right after, Shermans got no 90mm guns. He also mentions an encounter with a tiger, I'm sure the commander laughing manically as he gunned own six poor sherman's before an M36 came and got it, while not being a Sherman with a 90mm in a new turret. 

 

After that shit show, he gets back to the day to day details of what they were doing and fighting, and oddly, there is no mention of any tank on tank encounters... 

 

I'll update again, but finishing this turd is going to be hard, and I may be laughing manically at by the end. 

 

 

 

/

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  • 1 month later...

While I was at the MVPA convention in Cleveland, I got into a conversation with an older gentleman who seemed quite knowledgeable about tanks.  We got to talking about books.  I got the feeling he was not much for computers or the internet.  He was genuinely shocked when I told him his two volume set of Ogorkiewicz Technology of Tanks goes for $600 online.  I suppose I should have kept my mouth shut and made him a lowball offer on them.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The other day I bought a copy of Spielberger's Tiger & King Tiger Tanks book (The crappy English edition from 1991).  I didn't really need it, but I was at a used book store owned by a friend and I like to at least buy one item every time I visit.  It was the only tank book he had at the time.  I think I approached the counter saying "I need another book on the Tiger like I need a hole in my head, but...."  

 

9780854298419-uk-300.jpg

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14 hours ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

I have the Jentz book on the same subject, but not that one, I think it's pathetic Jentz has no notes or sourcing. 

 

You probably have the later edition of the book that looks like this.  Hillary Doyle gets a co-author credit on this version.

51+8+TwNdUL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Not to be confused with the series of Tiger books done by Jentz and Doyle.  

 

0764310380.jpg

 

In defense of Jentz, he does generally state the source of his information within the text of the book, he just doesn't do it in the form of footnotes and/or end notes.  The book is lacking a bibliography because he and Doyle did not use any other secondary sources or reference books in their study, relying entirely on primary documents, photographs and examination of existing vehicles.  That said, you would think they would have at least included a page of the source documents used at the end of the book, similar to the bibliography page found in a Hunnicutt book.  

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6 hours ago, EnsignExpendable said:

That's a terrible excuse for not having citations. Pasholok's books are all based on primary documents, and they are sourced just fine, with typed up versions of key documents in the appendix.

Yes, yes it is.  I don't think it means we throw Jentz and his books out the window, but it's one of those things to keep in mind.   

 

 

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