Tank Commander : From the Fall of France to the Defeat of Germany – The Memoirs of Bill Close

This is not a new book, but we recently noticed that the kindle edition of Tank Commander : From the Fall of France to the Defeat of Germany – The Memoirs of Bill Close is only 99 cents on Amazon right now.  From what we understand, this book was originally published in 1998 as “View from the Turret.”  Hardcover copies of that edition have become quite expensive, so this 99 cent kindle edition is a welcome addition for those interested in the history of British Sherman tank commanders of WWII.

Publisher’s Description:

Bill Close had a remarkable war. In campaign after campaign, from the defense of Calais in 1940 to the defeat of Germany in 1945, he served as a tank commander in the Royal Tank Regiment – and he survived. His tanks were hit eleven times by enemy shellfire and he bailed out. He was wounded three times. He finished the war as one of the most experienced and resourceful of British tank commanders, and in later life, he set down his wartime experiences in graphic detail. His book is not only an extraordinary memoir – it is also a compelling account of the exploits of the Royal Tank Regiment throughout the conflict. As a record of the day-to-day experience of the tank crew of seventy years ago – of the conditions they faced and the battles they fought – it has rarely been equaled.

Available from Amazon here.

Tank Chats #40 Crusader

David Fletcher of the Tank Museum at Bovington takes a look at the British WWII era Crusader tank.

Video: Saint Chamond, Mark IV replica & A7V replica, Tankfest-2017

This video from the recent Tankfest 2017 showing the WWI era participant vehicles comes from the youtube channel of Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok.  The Mark IV and the A7V are replicas, so its hard to say how much they sound like the original vehicles.

Tank Fest Photo Gallery

Photographer Dave Layland was able to attend the recent Tank Fest event at the Tank Museum at Bovington and snapped some photos for us.  We have posted them below in a slideshow for those that want to give them a look.

 

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Book Alert: Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II (New Vanguard)

Tomorrow is the release of the latest entry in the Osprey New Vanguard series, Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II (New Vanguard).   This is a 48 page softcover with numerous illustrations and photos, following the well established format of previous entries in the series.  As far as we know, this is the first book to deal exclusively with the issue of the Lend Lease tanks sent to the Soviet Union.

Publisher’s Description:

The Red Army suffered such catastrophic losses of armour in the summer of 1941 that they begged Britain and the United States to send tanks. The first batches arrived in late 1941, just in time to take part in the defence of Moscow. The supplies of British tanks encompassed a very wide range of types including the Matilda, Churchill, and Valentine and even a few Tetrarch airborne tanks. American tanks included the M3 (Stuart) light tank and M3 (Lee) medium tank and the M4 Sherman tank, which became so common in 1944–45 that entire Soviet tank corps were equipped with the type. With these Western tanks, the Soviets were finally able to beat back the German tide in the East.

This study examines the different types of tanks shipped to the Soviet Union during the war, Soviet assessments of their merits and problems, and combat accounts of their use in Soviet service using full colour artwork, contemporary photographs and detailed cut-away illustrations.

Photo of the Day: “Covfefe” Paladin

While we try to steer clear of politics here, we couldn’t resist this photo of an M109 SPG with the word “covfefe” stenciled on the gun barrel.

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photo source

Translated Articles from TankArchives.blogspot.com (May)

It’s been a couple months since we looked at what Russian language articles the Tank Archives (formerly Archive Awareness) has translated into English.  There are quite a few, so we have divided them into two posts, one for the articles from May and one for June.  Click on the article headline to go to the full version of the piece.

 

LT vz. 38: Bestseller from Prague

ltvz38s04-977ee030563cb77e6c864a013342687cAfter the victory in the light tank tender for the Czechoslovakian army, CKD received a contract to build its P-II tank, adopted by the army under the index LT vz. 34. Another tender was declared soon after, which resulted in disappointment for CKD. The military did not like the light P-II-a tank. This time, Skoda celebrated victory, whose S-II tank was adopted as the LT vz. 35. However, CKD still managed to grab half of the contract for building the LT vz. 35.

 

Pz.Kpfw.38(t): Prize from Bohemia

pzkpfw38t02-1614789559fcadb7963e8cfcb3bfbff6The LT vz. 38, the best Czechoslovakian inter-war tank, is more famous under another name, since it attained fame in another army. Indexed Pz.Kpfw.38(t) in the Wehrmacht, this tank became a symbol of Blitzkrieg, fighting in the advance guard of the German tank units. In the spring of 1940, tanks built in Prague smashed British and French vehicles who failed to come to Czechoslovakia’s aid two years prior.

 

Imagination Versus Hitler

fakealliedtanks02-cc514c945ecd0ba85a111810fe7ba490As practice shows, the temptation to make up your own tank is great. Sadly (or thankfully), few people are destined to become tank designers. Here is where limitless human imagination steps in to create more “improved” or completely fictional projects than there were real tanks made.  Most of these made up tanks and SPGs belong to Germany. This is not surprising, since German dreams of Wunderwaffen firmly lodged themselves in people’s heads. However, a lot of made up tanks were “invented” for Germany’s enemies.

 

Steel Chimeras of the Red Army

09-084c6f274d682387afc1f8467b49859fScientific and technical progress has always been on the other side of the coin from war. Aiming to obtain instant superiority over the enemy, people who have never thought about the subject were as determined as those whose job was weapons design. In the years of the Great Patriotic War, self-taught designers earnestly believed that their tank or armoured cars can radically alter the course of the war. These designs remained on paper for obvious reasons, but accurately represent the spirit of their time.

 

Hellcat: Highway Tank Destroyer

t70gmcussr03-975057d241b451608b3a1b478ad47dbeThe 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18, more commonly known as the Hellcat, is one of the best known American wartime tank destroyers. With a powerful 76 mm gun and high mobility, the vehicle was an effective anti-tank measure. A number of sources mention that several Hellcats ended up in the USSR, but that is usually all information that is offered. This is not surprising, since, unlike the GMC M10, which was accepted into service, the M18 never made it past trials. More precisely, the USSR received the pre-production prototypes, indexed Gun Motor Carriage T70. What was the fate of these vehicles?

 

Light Tank M3A3: American Emigrant

m3a3light01-95ffdf7d17f08979c937c91d2b2225c4The American Light Tank M3A1 turned out to be a strange tank. On one hand, it had several superior characteristics to its predecessor, the Light Tank M3. Some elements of the design were a definite step forward. For example, the Americans began to use welding to assemble it. On the other hand, some design decisions reduced its battle worthiness. The tank became cramped and uncomfortable for the turret crew. It’s not surprising that another modernization quickly followed, which led to the most perfect form of the Light Tank M3 family: the Light Tank M3A3: a tank produced in large amounts, but almost ignored by the US Army.

 

Char B in German Service

charbp5s01-397690fcb22a4378e2e2da899b344b73The mistake of choosing a “battle tank” (Char de bataille) as a main tank became obvious during the campaign in France in May-June of 1940. The French tank industry did not manage to shift its gears for war. As a result, by the time the German invasion began, the availability of Char B1 bis tanks was far from what was planned. In addition, some French tanks were lost to either technical problems or because of poor supplies of fuel and ammunition. Many of them fell into German hands. How did the German army use the Char B1 and vehicles on its chassis?

 

Renault NC: Destined for Export

renaultnc02-443d3e06338d521fd07a1522740eb6a6The Renault FT ended up being not only the best tank of WWI, but the most numerous one. Its production continued after the end of the war, and 3728 tanks were built by 1921. Meanwhile, the French army was no longer satisfied with the Renault FT. Even the infantry, which inherited the tank, was not thrilled with a vehicle that had a top speed of 3 kph off-road. To replace this “pensioner”, Renault designed a new tank called the Renault NC. Why were foreign armies more interested in this tank than the French?