Tanks of World War II – Episode 6: Char D1, D2 and FCM 36

We dive further into French tanks of 1940 with this new video looking at the Char D1, D2 and FCM 36 tanks.  While none of these vehicles were produced in great numbers, all three saw combat in the 1940 campaign and deserve mention.  Next episode, we will look at two more french tanks, the R 35 and H 35.

For reading recommendations for these vehicles, be sure to check out our picks here.

Video: World of Tanks Interview with Eagle 7’s Gunner

World of Tanks North America has released a new video clip of their chief researcher Nicholas Moran interviewing Clarence Smoyer, the gunner of a World War II M24 Pershing tank which engaged and destroyed a German Panther tank in front of the cathedral in Cologne, an incident which was famously captured on film.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Scout Car, M3A1

Here is a new “Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch” episode on the M3A1 Scout Car.  Some of you might be wondering why some of his new videos are lacking the usual music and graphics.  We were wondering that as well, so we shot him a facebook message and got a response.  These episodes on the Rock Island Arsenal vehicles are ones he is shooting on his own, separate from the episodes he does for World of Tanks.  This means they do not represent a change in style for the series, the World of Tanks “Inside the Hatch” episodes will continue to have the familiar graphics, music and production values.

Tank Chats #55 Churchill Crocodile

Here is a new Tank Chats episode from the Tank Museum at Bovington featuring David Fletcher discribing the Churchill Crocodile.

Book Review: The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa

Here is our video book review of the new title The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa: Soviet versus German Armour on the Eastern Front by Boris Kavalerchik.  This is hardcover book from Pen & Sword.

Publishers Description:

 When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 the Red Army had four times as many tanks as the Wehrmacht and their tanks were seemingly superior, yet the Wehrmacht won the border battles with extraordinary ease the Red Armys tank force was pushed aside and for the most part annihilated. How was this victory achieved, and were the Soviet tanks really as well designed as is often believed? These are the basic questions Boris Kavalerchik answers in this absorbing study of the tanks and the tank tactics of the two armies that confronted each other at the start of the war on the Eastern Front.

Drawing on technical and operational documents from Russian archives, many of which were classified until recently and are unknown to Western readers, he compares the strengths and weakness of the tanks and the different ways in which they were used by the opposing armies. His work will be essential reading for military historians who are interested in the development of armoured warfare and in this aspect of the struggle on the Eastern Front.

Book Review: T-34-85 After WW2: Camouflage & Markings 1946-2016

Here is our video book review of T-34-85 After WW2: Camouflage & Markings 1946-2016 (Green Series) by Przemyslaw Skulski.  This book is part of the Green Series by MMP Books.

Publisher’s Description:

This book continues the story of the T-34-85, in postwar service this time. Information is included about postwar production in the USSR, and licensed versions made in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland. A brief summary of the T-34’s involvement in conflicts and active service up to 2016 is given.

The most important part of the book describes the camouflage and markings of T-34-85s in service around the world. There are more than 40 especially commissioned color profiles, and 150+ B&W and color photos, many not previously published.

Book Review: 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich

In this video we review the new book The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich .  This book is part of the Casemate Illustrated series and is written by Yves Buffetaut.

Publishers Description:

The 2nd SS Division, “Das Reich,” was a battlefront mainstay for Nazi Germany throughout WWII—from the invasion of Poland in 1939 to the final surrender in May 1945. In between it was switched back-and-forth between east and west depending on the crisis, and it fought in nearly every major campaign, from Barbarossa to Normandy, and from Kharkov to the Ardennes.

Das Reich was the first Waffen SS division created (though the title “1st” was reserved for Hitler’s Leibstandarte). Originally named the Verfügungs Division, its regiments fought through the campaigns in Poland, the Low Countries, and France, earning the respect of Wehrmacht leaders who originally doubted the efficacy of SS units. Renamed “Das Reich” after the French surrender, its elements served as a spearhead in the Balkans campaign, achieving a daring capture of Belgrade.

In Operation Barbarossa, Das Reich fought with Guderian’s Second Panzer Group, first in the drive on Moscow, then toward Kiev, then Moscow again. Pulled out of the line after gigantic casualties, it seized Toulon in France, then was sent back to Russia, as part of the SS Panzer Corps, to retrieve the German debacle after Stalingrad. At the titanic tank-battle of Kursk, Das Reich was at the forefront.

In June 1944, as a full SS-Panzer Division, Das Reich played an infamous role in its approach march to Normandy, as the French Resistance temporarily reached a high tide. On the Allied invasion front, Das Reich not only escaped from the Falaise Pocket but was sent back into it, to retrieve other German units struggling to get out.

Das Reich fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was then transferred to Hungary, for Hitler’s last counteroffensive of the war. Failing to retake Budapest, elements of the division were able to mount a gallant defense of Prague. When the end came, some formations were forced to surrender to the Russians while others made it to American lines. Its reputation, for better or worse, had already been established.

This lavishly illustrated book by renowned French historian Yves Buffetaut lays out the full history of Das Reich in World War II, with rare photos, informative text, and true insights into a unique combat division in modern warfare.