Book Alert: A13 Cruiser Mk.V Covenanter Tank A Technical History

British author and researcher P.M. Knight has released a new and massively updated version of this book on the A13 “Covenanter” Cruiser tank.  This is a significantly larger edition than the previous edition, coming in at a substantial 220 pages.  It is fair to say that this is the most comprehensive coverage of the Covenanter tank ever put down on paper.

Publisher’s Description:

product_thumbnailThe Covenanter was intended to be the main equipment of the Armoured Divisions during the early years of the Second World War, and was a generally reliable tank that was well suited to its primary task of home defence. Due to a rather convoluted series of events, mainly involving material shortages, it would not see service overseas, and as Britain’s strategic circumstances evolved it would increasingly be used as a training tank. If the Covenanter’s active service was relatively uneventful, its development life was the very opposite, with two drastically different variants of the original machine being created, and constant refinement being undertaken while it was in the hands of its users. The Covenanter was reflective of the many blind spots in the British Army’s pre-war thinking as regards Armoured Fighting Vehicles, and from its travails much practical experience was gained that benefited subsequent tank designs.

Available from Lulu.com.

Book Alert: German Heavy Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War: From Tiger to E-100

Fonthill Media has released a new title by author Ken Estes titled German Heavy Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War: From Tiger to E-100.  This is a 180 page softcover book.

Publisher’s Description:

The German army faced tanks of superior size, armor and firepower from the outset of World War II. Although their Panzerwaffen handled the Polish campaign, war with France meant confronting superior heavy and medium tanks like the Char B and Somua, with 47 mm high velocity cannon that penetrated German tank armor with ease. French infantry disposed of effective antitank weapons and a portion of their 75 mm field guns were detailed as antitank guns. Even greater challenges emerged with the Russo-German War, for the Germans had no initial answer to the KV-1 heavy tank and T-34 medium.

The successive technical shocks of superior tanks introduced by each side produced a gun-armor race that continued in some manner even after the war’s end. The Germans placed a premium on technological quality and superiority over mass production, for which their industry (and, arguably, their regime) remained rather unsuited. Not satisfied with the advantage they obtained with the Tiger and Panther series tanks, the army leadership and Adolf Hitler himself pushed for larger and more powerful tanks than had ever been built.

Available from Amazon here.

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.

Book Alert: T-90 Standard Tank: The First Tank of the New Russia

Osprey books has released a new entry in the New Vanguard series.  This one is titled T-90 Standard Tank: The First Tank of the New Russia (New Vanguard) and is authored by Steven Zaloga.  It follows the standard New Vanguard pattern, being a softcover of 48 pages with color photos and illustrations.

Publisher’s Description:

In the wake of the T-72 tank’s poor performance in the 1991 Gulf War, the Kremlin instructed the Russian tank industry to drop the discredited T-72 designation in favour of the T-90 Vladimir. The T-90 was in fact a further evolution of the T-72 family, but the name change represented an important break in Russian/Soviet tank design history. The T-90 has become the principal export tank of Russia, and is in service in large numbers in many countries including Algeria, India, and many of the former Soviet republics. Using detailed illustrations and full colour artwork, this book will also describe the evolution of the T-90s many failed successors including the little known Bokser, Molot, and T-95, as well as its likely successor, the new T-14 Armata, and the wide range of specialized vehicles based on the T-90 chassis such as the formidable Terminator tank support vehicle.

Available from Amazon here.

Book Alert: Soviet T-34 Tank Manual (Haynes Manuals)

The Haynes Manuals series has released a new book on the WWII era Soviet T-34 Tank.  This is a hardcover book of 140 pages.  Titled Soviet T-34 Tank Manual (Haynes Manuals), this book is by Mark Healy, author of Midway 1942, The Tiger Tank Story and Zitadelle: The German Offensive against the Kursk Salient 14-17 July 1943.

Publisher’s Description:

The Soviet T-34 was one of the finest tanks of the Second World War and the mainstay of Soviet armoured units throughout the war. Most nations underestimated the scale and quality of Soviet tank production before the Second World War and the Germans were no exception. They were certainly not prepared for the T-34, which they encountered during Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of Russia) in 1941. Its combination of firepower, mobility, protection, and ruggedness led German Panzer General Paul von Kleist at the time to call it “The finest tank in the world.” Another legendary Panzer tactician and general, Heinz Guderian, also confirmed the T-34’s “vast superiority” over existing German armour of the period.

Book Alert: Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915-40

A new entry in the Osprey New Vanguard series.  This one is titled Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915–40 (New Vanguard) by Steven Zaloga and is the companion to his earlier New Vanguard title on Early US Armor: Tanks 1916-40.  As with other New Vanguard titles, this one is 48 pages and features plenty of photos and illustrations.

Publisher’s Description:

The first American armoured cars began to emerge around the turn of the century, seeing their first military use in 1916 during the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa. When the United States entered World War I, the American Expeditionary Forces used some armoured cars in France, and American armoured cars were used by the French Army.

The inter-war years saw considerable innovation and experimentation in armoured car design. Of the 1930s scout car designs, the M3A1 scout car was good enough to be produced in very large numbers in World War II, and was widely exported to many other armies via Lend-Lease. It also served as the basis for the late M2 and M3 armoured half-tracks.

In this study, using detailed full colour plates and rigorous analysis, US armour expert Steven J. Zaloga chronicles the development of the US armoured car in the years leading up to World War II.

Book Alert: The Anti-Tank Rifle

Osprey Publishing has released a new book by Steven Zaloga on the history of the anti-tank rifle titled The Anti-Tank Rifle (Weapon).  This is part of the Osprey “weapon” series and is a softcover of 60 pages with color illustrations and plenty of photos.

Publisher’s Description:

The emergence of the tank in World War I led to the development of the first infantry weapons to defend against tanks. Anti-tank rifles became commonplace in the inter-war years and in the early campaigns of World War II in Poland and the Battle of France, which saw renewed use in the form of the British .55in Boys anti-tank rifle – also used by the US Marine Corps in the Pacific. The French campaign made it clear that the day of the anti-tank rifle was ending due to the increasing thickness of tank armour.

Nevertheless, anti-tank rifles continued to be used by the Soviets on the Eastern Front with two rifles, the 14.5mm PTRS and PTRD, and were still in widespread use in 1945. They served again with Korean and Chinese forces in the Korean War, and some have even appeared in Ukraine in 2014–15. Fully illustrated and drawing upon a range of sources, this is the absorbing story of the anti-tank rifle, the infantryman’s anti-armour weapon during the world wars.