Amazon has listed a release date of January 2016 for the book “Fallen Sentinel: Australian Tanks in World War II.” We assume this is a release date for a US edition since the book has been available in Australia or in a digital version since 2011. Authored by Peter Beale, this hardcover book is listed at 320 pages published by Big Sky Publishing. Peter Beale is best known for his book “Death by Design” which gives a critical evaluation of World War II British tank development. While British WW2 tank development has been covered over the years fairly extensively by authors such as David Fletcher, AJ Smithers and Peter Beale, this book is the first to cover Australian tank development in substantial detail. A preview of the book is available on Amazon here.
Fallen Sentinel tells the story of Australian tanks in World War II, a dismal tale for both tankman and taxpayer. Against the backdrop of the sweeping conquest of Western Europe by Hitler’s Panzers, the Australian Government, cash-strapped and resource poor, attempted to field its own tank force to do battle with the Axis forces. Three armoured divisions were created — and all three disbanded before they had seen action. In what became a prodigious waste of time, material, and human endeavour, sixty-six Australian cruiser tanks were produced — the Sentinel tank —none of which would ever take the field of battle. This is a book that portrays governments under pressure and the bureaucratic bungles that saw opportunities lost and precious resources squandered. Fallen Sentinel presents a careful dissection of government process in the crucible of war, a rare gem in an age when most wartime histories focus on the front-line soldier. Peter Beale presents a damning indictment of the frailty of government under pressure, a bureaucracy in crisis and the extraordinary failure of government process at the highest level. Modern-day governments would do well to heed the lessons of this book.