Book Alert: Armor Camouflage & Markings of the British Expeditionary Force, France 1939–1940

A new entry in the Armor Color Gallery series has been released, titled Armor Camouflage & Markings of the British Expeditionary Force, France 1939–1940: Part 1: 1st Army Tank Brigade (Armor Color Gallery) by Robert Gregory.  This is an 80 page softcover book.

Publisher’s description:

During the inter war period, the British army decided upon two tank designs: the Infantry Tank, which featured thick armor and slow speed to attack defensive positions, and the Cruiser Tank, with thin armor and fast speed to exploit any breakthrough. The Infantry Tank would equip an Army Tank Brigade and the Cruisers would equip the Armored Brigades. These designs were based on the theory that any new war would resemble the static warfare of 1914–1918.

Early in the 1940 campaign in France and Flanders, the British Expeditionary Force, along with the Belgian army and the best French divisions, were encircled north of the Somme. Futile attempts were made to break the encirclement. One such attempt was made by the 1st Army Tank Brigade, launched south of the town of Arras. The appearance of these Infantry Tanks stunned the German commander, who did not realize how few tanks there actually were, which caused the Germans to slow their advance, thus buying valuable time for the Dunkirk evacuation. The only British tanks north of the Somme that were capable of fighting other tanks were the Infantry Tanks of the 1st Army Tank Brigade. The Brigade had only two of its three Battalions and only one Battalion with its full complement of the larger A12.

Part 1 of Armor Camouflage & Markings of the British Expeditionary Force, France 1939–1940 examines the tanks of the 1st Army Tank Brigade. For security reasons, photography by British soldiers was strictly forbidden but encouraged on the German side. These after-the-battle photographs taken by German soldiers are valuable in examining what the tanks looked like during the 1940 campaign. Included are 157 b&w photographs and 26 full-color plates. Using war diaries, training pamphlets and other documents, the camouflage and markings of these armored vehicles are described. A brief description of the three types of tanks used, and the movements of the Brigade during the campaign are also covered. The photo captions point out the differences in the three types of A11, the modifications made specifically to the A12s and other information when known, such as the vehicle’s location and tank crew. The color plates depict the Light Tanks, the A11 and A12 Infantry Tanks, and show the camouflage and markings on several of each type. This book is the best-captioned reference to date, companioned with charts, rare unpublished photographs and color plates. It is a valuable resource for the armor enthusiast and military modeler.

Available from Amazon here.

AFV News from Around the Web

Here is an assortment of recent news articles on armored vehices. Click on the headline to go to the complete piece.

 

BBC – The Salvagers who raise World War Two tanks from the dead

p060mznwWhen the German army attacked the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, tanks were a crucial factor in their initial success. German tanks roared across the Soviet border giving the enemy no time to recover.  As the Soviets reeled under the surprise attack, the most powerful German formations swept through what is now Belarus. Huge battles were fought, leaving the land strewn with dead bodies and ruined machines.

 

Task & Purpose – Why Tanks Need 4 Crew Members, Not 3

86167374Having spent a lot of time on tanks, I would argue that pursuing technical solutions that don’t account for the human dimension of sustained ground combat is a mistake. The four-soldier crew gives flexibility that three cannot.  Pulling local security is a real requirement inside a tactical assembly area. Doing so while maintaining weapons, conducting maintenance, eating, and getting some sleep is already tough. When in radio listening silence you need a runner, and during tactical road marches you need an air guard.

 

Defense News – Singapore denies acquisition of new Leopard tank variant

AR3Q7KAIQBC75EY2VJEKXT6KCAMELBOURNE, Australia ― Singapore is denying it took delivery of Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks from Germany, contradicting a report by a Swedish nongovernmental organization.  A spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Defence told Defense News that “no other variants of the Leopard has been acquired” since the country ordered Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in 2006.

 

KyivPost – UkrOboronProm finishes producing Oplot tanks for Thailand

DSC8767-800x520After missing several deadlines over the past few years, Ukraine’s state-run defense production concern UkrOboronProm will now finally complete its long-standing contract to supply its advanced Oplot-T battle tanks to Thailand.  In a March 26 press statement, the concern’s director general, Pavlo Bukin, asserted that a final batch of six modern Ukrainian-made armored vehicles had already been produced and successfully tested in the presence of the ordering party.

 

Sofrep News – China testing plan to turn thousands of outdated tanks into drone warfighters

rotype59-1521654192-905x483As a part of China’s People’s Liberation Army’s continued modernization efforts, China is now experimenting with converting outdated tank platforms into unmanned combat drones.  Footage released to the public last Wednesday on state-owned television shows a Type 59 Chinese tank being maneuvered via remote control, using a steering wheel and dual screened console to manage the tasks of tank operation. Although the video does not say, it seems likely that the two screens represent a navigational view of the front of the tank and a bore-sight view for targeting the tanks main weapons system, a 100mm gun.

 

War is Boring – Imagine 1940s French Tanks With Soviet-era Howitzers

AMX-13_with_D30-970x350France built the 14.5-ton AMX-13 tank in the 1940s as a combat vehicle light enough to be air-transportable to support paratroopers. France produced and exported thousands of them, which saw action in several Cold War conflicts. They’re still in service in a handful of countries, mostly in South America.  The antiquated tanks could still see service for awhile longer. Reports suggest Peru is looking at converting 30 to 40 of its AMX-13s into self-propelled howitzers by swapping out their turrets for Soviet-era 122-millimeter D-30 howitzers.

 

Egypt Independent – Russian T-90S/SK tanks to be assembled in Egypt soon: Russia Today

1200px-2013_Moscow_Victory_Day_Parade_28Russian heavy off-road truck manufacturer Ural Automotive Plan has announced plans to establish a local company in Egypt to assemble 400 Russian battle tanks of the T-90S/SK model, according to state-funded Russian news outlet Russia Today.  The project depends on whether the mother company in Russia will issue an official authorization for the assemblage in Egypt.

 

IHS Jane’s – Netherlands transfers last Leopard 2s to Finland

The Netherlands will transfer the last of 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Finland in 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said on its website.  The ministry reported that it began transferring 20 Leopard 2A6s to Finland on 21 March.  The Netherlands decided in 2011 to phase out main battle tanks, and Finland bought its 100 Leopards 2A6s in 2014.

 

 

 

 

Top Five Tanks – Military History Visualized | The Tank Museum

Here is another “Top Five Tanks”  video from the Tank Museum at Bovington.  This episode features the creator of the youtube channel Military History Visualized as he presents his top five.

Video: Movie News

Here is a short video where we discuss news about an upcoming film on the 761st Tank Battalion.

Video Editorial: Why I *Don’t* Hate World of Tanks

Many years ago I had written a piece for my previous blog called Why I Hate World of Tanks.  I decided to expound on that theme a bit more, softening my earlier stance.

Video Book Review: The Battle of Kursk

In this video we take a look at The Battle of Kursk: Controversial and Neglected Aspects by Valeriy Zamulin.

A7V Videos

To mark the first appearance of the German A7V on the battlefield 100 years ago, both the Great War channel and the Bovington Tank Museum have released videos looking at the German WWI tank.  The Tank Museum video is part of their long running “Tank Chats” series as looks at the replica A7V housed at the Tank Museum.  The Great War video looks at the A7V replica that resides at the German Tank Museum in Munster, Germany.  Of course, the only surviving original A7V is at the Queensland Museum in Australia.