Book Alert: Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 (New Vanguard)

It’s a double dose of Steven Zaloga today for those that collect Osprey Books titles.  In addition to his new Duel book on the BT-7 and Pz 38, today also saw the release of his new title in the New Vanguard Series: Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 (New Vanguard).  This book follows the same format as other New Vanguard titles, being a softcover of 48 pages.  Illustrations for this book are by Felipe Rodríguez Náñez (aka Felipe Rodna).

Publisher’s Description:

Between the two world wars, the United States contributed significantly to the evolution of the tank, a weapon invented by the British and the French seeking to break through the lines of German trenches. From the employment of the French Renault FT and British Mark V during their involvement in World War I, the United States branched out with its own indigenous designs, including the M1 Cavalry Car and the M2 Light and Medium tanks, the precursors to the Stuart and Grant tanks of World War II. Tank designers in this period faced unique challenges, and the story of early American armor is littered with failures among the successes.

Featuring previously unpublished photos and fully illustrated throughout, Early American Armor (1): Tanks 1916–40 is essential reading for anyone interested in American armor, or in the development of tank design.

Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 is available from Amazon here.

Book Alert: South African Armour of the Border War 1975-89

A new entry in the Osprey New Vanguard series is scheduled for release on Thursday, Feb 23.  South African Armour of the Border War 1975-89 (New Vanguard) by Kyle Harmse and Simon Dunstan is the first New Vanguard title to explore armor in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As with other books in this series, this is a softcover book of 48 pages with numerous black and white and color photos and plates.  While Kyle Harmse is a new name to us, Simon Dunstan is quite familiar, having written over 50 books on military history as well as appearing in several TV documentaries.

Publisher’s Description:

The Border War saw the biggest armoured battles in Africa since World War II. Starting as a counter-insurgency operation by the South African Defence Force (SADF) against the South West Africa People’s Organisation, South Africa became embroiled in the complex Angolan Civil War, where they came up against enemies well supplied with equipment and armoured vehicles from the Soviet Union.

With the aid of stunning illustrations and photographs, this study details the characteristics, capabilities and performance of the wide variety of armoured vehicles deployed by the SADF, from the Eland armoured car to the Ratel infantry combat vehicle and the Olifant tank. Designed for the unique conditions of the region, South Africa’s armour was distinctive and innovative, and has influenced the design of counterinsurgency armoured vehicles around the world.

Frequently requested by Osprey readers, and written by two renowned experts on armoured vehicles, this will appeal to all those interested in modern armour and the Cold War proxy wars.

Book Review: Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-1945


Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45 (New Vanguard) is the latest release in the long running New Vanguard series by Osprey Publishing.   Written by Dr. Bruce Newsome, this volume follows the well-established model of the New Vanguard series.  As with other New Vanguard books, it’s 48 pages and features a combination of photos, drawings and charts to accent the text.  As far as we can tell, this is the first New Vanguard title written by Dr. Newsome, most of the previous New Vanguard titles on WW2 British tanks having been authored by David Fletcher.  In examining the Valentine, Dr. Newsome has picked one of the more challenging vehicles due to the large number of variants and types of Valentine built during the war.

The Valentine was produced in greater numbers by the British Commonwealth than any other model of tank and yet it generally receives little attention, as evidenced by the fact that this book is the 233rd in the series.   Compared to its German and American counterparts, relatively little ink has been devoted to this vehicle, being limited to the old AFV Profile series from the 1970’s, the Museum Ordnance Special from the 1990’s and the more recent  books on the Valentine by Dick Taylor.

Given the large number of Valentine variants and the relatively small page count, this book does not give much in-depth detail to any particular Valentine model.  One deviation from previous New Osprey titles is the use of fairly large charts.  These account for roughly seven pages of the book and are quite useful for providing the details of the various Valentine models in a concise manner.  Also addressed in this book are the Bishop and Archer self-propelled guns as well as the ill-fated Valiant “assault” tank.    Given the small page count of the New Vanguard series, it might have been better to address these other vehicles in a separate volume.  Certainly, there is enough to say about the Valentine to fill two volumes of 48 pages.  That said, Dr. Newsome has packed as much information into the book as the New Vanguard format allows.

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45 (New Vanguard) is available in both softcover and kindle editions at Amazon.

Book Alert: Valentine Infantry Tank

valentine bookA new addition to the Osprey Publishing New Vanguard line titled Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-1945 is slated to be released on April 21.  Authored by Bruce Newsome, this is a soft cover book of 48 pages  with color illustrations.

Publishers description:

The Valentine was the most produced and most widely used British tank of the Second World War. The Valentine first saw combat during Operation Compass in November 1941 and remained one of the main medium tanks in British service into 1943. As the Churchill became more prevalent the Valentine was relegated to specialist and tank-destroyer variants, which would remain in service in the Far East to the end of the war.
This book describes the evolution of the Valentine design and weighs up its impact on the battlefield. Although widely regarded today as one of the weaker tanks to be fielded during the war, it was exceptionally numerous, with more Valentines produced than any other British tank.

Book Alert: Polish Armor of the Blitzkrieg

A new addition in the popular Osprey Publishing New Vanguard series has been announced, “Polish Armor of the Blitzkrieg” by Jamie Prenatt.  This volume is illustrated by Henry Morshead and as per the New Vanguard format, it is 48 pages in color glossy softcover.  Mr. Prenatt appears to be a relatively new author as far as books on tanks and AVFs.

Publishers description:

51rAR439fnL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_The Polish army during the Blitzkrieg conjures up tragic images of infantry and dashing, but ineffective and ultimately doomed cavalry charges. In actuality the Poles, in the midst of a large-scale re-armament program, had up to 600 armored vehicles available at the time of the German attack, as well as a number of newer and better designs in various stages of development. Facing the inventors of the ‘Lightning War’, who attacked in great numbers, on multiple fronts and with total mastery of the air, the Polish armored formations were up against it. But outdated equipment, doctrine and enormous odds did not stop these units from fighting with bravery and determination before being finally overwhelmed. This volume is a complete technical study of the machines that formed the backbone of Poland’s defenses on the ground, using never-before-seen photographs and a comprehensive design and developmental history that reveal a full picture of Poland’s armored forces in the context of their greatest challenge.