Book Alert: M48 Patton vs Centurion

downloadOsprey books has listed a new addition to their “Duel” series titled M48 Patton vs Centurion: Indo-Pakistani War 1965.  Written by David Higgins, this is the first of his Duel series books not to deal with WW2 German armor (King Tiger vs IS-2, Jagdpanther vs SU-100, Panzer II vs 7TP.)  The tank battles between India and Pakistan in the 1960’s and 70’s have received far less coverage than the Middle east tank battles of the same period.  We hope this volume will help fill the void of good reading material on these rather interesting though much overlooked armored clashes.  This book is slated for an early 2016 release.

Publishers description:

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 witnessed the largest tank battles seen since World War II, notably between India’s British-made Centurion Mk 7s and the American-made M48 Pattons fielded by Pakistan. Following nearly two decades of tensions and sporadic conflict between India and Pakistan, in August 1965 several thousand Pakistani soldiers entered the disputed territory of Kashmir disguised as local civilians, to which India responded with a successful ground assault. After a week of fighting, India’s 1st “Black Elephant” Armoured Division launched an offensive toward Sialkot, where it rebuffed Pakistan’s 6th Armoured Division, which suffered considerable tank losses. The ensuing battle at Chawinda on 14-16 September 1965 would demonstrate that the Centurion, with its 105mm gun and heavier armour, generally proved superior to the faster, lighter but overly complex Patton, mounting a 90mm main gun; however, the latter performed exceedingly well in the Sialkot sector, exacting a disproportionately heavy toll on its Indian opponents.

Featuring full-colour artwork, expert analysis and absorbing combat accounts, this is the story of the clash between the Centurion and the M48 Patton in the massed armour battles of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Comments

  1. Some of the largest tank clashes outside WWII and nearly nothing is written on them. I am going to snatch that up.

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    • I have not been blown away by Higgins previous books, but I tentatively look forward to this one.

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      • Dave Higgins says:

        Sorry you haven’t liked my work. Other than the constraints Osprey has placed on the books (page length, chapter structure, photo amount, etc.) was there something particular I should focus on doing better? I’m always trying to improve. One shortcoming I’ve struggled with is too often a detailed description of what rounds were fired in what sequence and their penetration results were not recorded. In such cases I’ve had to attack the problem indirectly, by delving into metallurgical composition, manufacturing, tactics (in theory and practice), after-action reports, etc. to provide a well-rounded argument. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the Indo-Pak piece. I was lucky enough to speak with a few veterans, who provided some great feedback and insight.

        Thanks,
        Dave

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      • Hi David, thanks for responding here. That post was from quite a while ago, I had to backtrack a bit and figure out when I said it. My comment was based primarily on my reading of your book Duel: King Tiger vs IS-2. I think Robert Forczyk’s amazon review of it is on the mark. I think my opinion was also colored by my general boredom with late war German armor and frustrations with the Duel series format. Since then, I have purchased and read both the Pazer II vs 7TP book and the A7V vs Mark IV book, both of which I enjoyed. I have the Patton vs Centurion book on pre-order. I look forward to reading it.

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  2. Mark Neukom says:

    I really hope that Mr. Higgins’ book is more accurate than Osprey’s blurb about it: Indian Centurions carried the 20-pounder gun as main armament during both the 1965 and 1971 conflicts (Indian Centurions were never upgunned with 105mm guns). This is a pretty basic detail pertaining to the Indian armor capability, and is mentioned specifically in Major General Gurcharn Singh Sandhu’s history of the Indian Armoured Corps, “The Indian Armour” (which should be an immediate ‘go-to’ source for background material) . . . as well as two previous Osprey books on the Centurion that discuss the Indo-Pakistani Wars! I am also confused by the last sentence of the first paragraph, which contrasts the performance of ‘Pattons’ at Chawinda with their performance in the Sialkot Sector: since Chawinda is [i]part of[/i] the Sialkot Sector, this statement appears to be at odds with itself. Perhaps they are confusing the [ultimately disastrous] offensive actions by the Pakistani 1st Armoured Division on the Khem Karan/Amritsar Axis with the [ultimately successful] defensive battle conducted by the Pakistani 6th Armoured Division in the Sialkot Sector. When things like this are wrong or confusing — basic details — I always end up asking: ‘if this kind of basic information is wrong, can I trust them with the other details?’

    I really hope that the book turns out to be better than this ‘publisher’s description.’

    Mark Neukom

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    • Dave Higgins says:

      Hi Mark, Not my doing. My book correctly has Centurion Mk7s with the 20pdr. The Osprey guys kept thinking is was either a 90mm or 105mm gun for some reason. I guess whomever wrote the book blurb thought the 105s were used. Sounds like they may have muddled a few other things as well. After editing, polishing, etc. I read through and gave final approval on the book’s content, so it should be accurate.

      Thanks,
      Dave

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      • Mark Neukom says:

        Mr. Higgins:

        Thanks very much for your reply.

        I am glad to hear that this issue was just a publisher copywriter’s error, rather than the direction of the book.

        As I said in my initial comment, it always worries me when I see incorrect information. Suddenly I start to question everything, and wonder if the work has any value. I’ve been seeing this a lot lately, errors cropping up here and there, especially photo captions (I believe an armor author once told me that photo captions, in particular, end up written by editors, or editors’ assistants, rather than authors). A prolific publisher has even printed an image upside-down in one book, and in another used the wrong drawing. In both cases I was familiar with the authors involved, so it was clear that this was a publisher’s error, rather than an author’s . . . and of course I do understand that mistakes happen.

        I am looking forward to your book. This subject has long been over-looked, and is due for closer scrutiny. I particularly like that you’ve been able to include veteran’s perspectives. These would be nearly impossible to come by for the common armor enthusiast. It looks like the book is covering only the 1965 war; I would like to see some coverage of the 1971 conflict as well, since that was an attempt to re-play the previous fighting, armor-wise — on the Western Front, anyway. A section on the Indian Vickers MBT (“Vijayanta”) and its use during the 1971 war would be an interesting conclusion to the book, since that AFV can be directly tied to the Centurion in lineage and concept . . . but apparently not in execution. (I think an argument could be made that the Indians would have been better off upgrading their Centurions in the fashion of the Israelis’ Shot Kal versions rather than opting for the license production of the Vijayanta.)

        OK, that is all for now. I’ve asked Walter to send along my contact information to you, if you would be interested in continued discussions on the subject outside this forum.

        Mark Neukom

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      • Dave Higgins says:

        Hi Mark, Sure. I always enjoy talking military stuff- especially armor. Per your statement regarding India retaining and modernizing the Centurion, one of the vets I’d contacted said that he and his fellow tankers were unhappy to have to give their Centurions up when the time came. The book’s already been completed- in fact I just received a very advanced copy the other day. The maps are a bit too simplified in my opinion, but that’s how my editor and cartographer seem to like them. My submitted refs, etc. tend to be more complex- that’s why I was happy they applied the map refs I sent them for the A7v vs Mark IV book. I stumbled upon the primary map (showing the movements of each of the A7Vs) for the book when going through Germans reports at the US National Archive. For the Indo-Pak book my editor asked that I include a brief rundown of the subsequent 1971 fighting, but I kept things focused on 1965. These Osprey books aren’t that long and I usually have to figure out how best to prioritize, jam in what I think is important or interesting, and still make it readable. I don’t know about other authors, but I write my own photo captions- and everything else. My editor is pretty knowledgeable about the subjects I tackle, and his input and direction really flesh the work out and get it polished. I hate to admit it but I entirely spaced it on two captions in my Jagdpanther vs SU-100 book. When I read the published book it seemed obvious, and I’m still not sure how I didn’t catch them in time! Other than that I think I’ve managed to present accurate info in my other books- at least no one’s mentioned having caught something wrong yet. 🙂 Anyway. It’s getting late- and I want to get back to my research on White Mountain (1620)- No. It’s not an Osprey book. Oh. My email is davidr.higgins@yahoo.com if that works better than this forum. All the best, Dave.

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