Book Alert: British Battle Tanks: British-made tanks of World War II

Osprey Publishing has released a new hardcover book by David Fletcher titled British Battle Tanks: British-made tanks of World War II.  This book is a follow-up to last years book British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939.  For those familiar with the WWI book, this new book follows the same format, although with a slightly higher page count (280) than the previous book.  This is a well illustrated book, with photos, drawing or charts on every page accompanying the text.  These books are both published in association with the Tank Museum at Bovington.  Author David Fletcher served for many years as the Museum historian and is widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable researchers on the topic of British armor.

Publisher’s Description:

Building on the earlier volume dealing with British armor of the First World War, this is the second of a multi-volume history of British tanks by renowned British armor expert David Fletcher MBE.

This volume traces the story of the British use of the tank through the early years of World War II, when Britain relied on its own tanks built in the late 1930s, and those designed and built with limited resources in the opening years of the war. Plagued by unreliable vehicles and poorly thought-out doctrine, these were years of struggle against an opponent well versed in the arts of armored warfare. It covers the development and use of the Matilda, Crusader, and Valentine tanks that pushed back the Axis in North Africa, the much-improved Churchill that fought with distinction from North Africa to Normandy, and the excellent Cromwell tank of 1944–45. It also looks at Britain’s super-heavy tank projects, the TOG1 and TOG2, and the Tortoise heavy assault tank, designed to battle through the toughest of battlefield conditions, but never put into production.

Tank Chats #42 Elefant

Tank Museum curator David Willey does a nice job describing the history of the German Elefant tank destroyer.

Tank Chats #41 Sherman Firefly

David Fletcher of the Tank Museum at Bovington takes a look at the British Sherman Firefly.

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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Tank Chats #39 Sherman M4A1 Michael

David Fletcher of the Bovington Tank Museum takes a look at “Michael”, the second Sherman tank ever produced.

Tank Chats #37 Daimler Armoured Car

Historian David Fletcher MBE, of the Tank Museum at Bovington discussing the Daimler Armoured Car.

Article on Tank 785

The Daily Mail recently posted an article on the WWI era Mark II tank identified at tank 785.  This tank currently resides at the Tank Museum at Bovington.  According to the article, this tank was unwittingly sent into combat despite being built not out of armor plate but of untreated steel, leaving it vulnerable to rifle fire.

3FCD142B00000578-4462368-image-m-57_1493637716986British tank crews unwittingly went into the first ever major tank battle in vulnerable unarmoured vehicles, historians have revealed 100 years after the event.  Researchers have found that the 45 Mark II tanks that went into action at the Battle of Arras in May 1917 were training vehicles which had no armour.  Experts believe the crews were not informed the steel the tanks were made from was untreated and therefore could be penetrated by rifle fire.  The weakness of the vehicles actually ended up helping the British war effort after one was captured by the Germans, who then abandoned plans to develop more advanced armour-piercing weapons.  But it was actually mechanical issues that proved the most costly, with just 11 of the tanks eventually crossing No Man’s Land due to breakdowns.

Read the full Daily Mail piece here