The AMX 13 Light Tank...

 

...A Complete History, new Images of War from Pen and Sword

 

Title: The AMX 13 Light Tank, A Complete History

Author: M P Robinson, Peter Lau, Guy Gibeau

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52670-167-1

A new Images of War book from Pen & Sword, this time providing an excellent English Language history of the French AMX 13 Light tank. Sad to see that one of the authors, Guy Gibeau, had passed away in 2017 after having contributed so much to the work on the book after his interest in the AMX 13 and many years of experience in the French armed forces working with them.

The  story is divided across 15 chapters and extends the book to 237 pages.  It naturally starts with the background to the development of the AMX series as the French armaments industry worked to re-establish itself after WW2, and supported with US investment. It explains the design requirements for keeping a lightweight armoured vehicle but with a main gun big enough to stand up to larger tanks, replacing the French army equipment which involved US AFVs such as the M24 Chaffee after the war. As the new design took shape it entered service and was capable to taking on a number of upgrades, such as the fitting of 4x SS 11 wire-guided missiles above the main gun. As well as a number of modifications over the years, it also went through changes of unit organisations within the French armed forces over the years, and tables and structure charts tell us the detail.

The chassis proved very adaptable and a number of variants were built on it, such as APC, SP artillery, SP AA and bridgelayer. As a small AFV with a powerful punch the AMX series also achieved success on the export market, and a number of customers carried out their own upgrades over the years and kept them in service as a cost effective solution. We get to see many of these foreign upgrades, as well as sections showing the vehicles in Combat, in theatres such as the Middle East.

Informative text in each chapter is supported by plenty of archive photos, and a mix of black and white archive images alongside more modern colour images. All have comprehensive captioning and they do include the fascinating line up of examples of the AMX series which can be found at the French Musee des Blindes at Saumur. A very useful addition to the Images of War series, and a fitting tribute to Guy Gibeau I felt.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin