...more Images of War from Pen and Sword
Title: M1 Abrams
Author: David Doyle
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Yet another addition to the Images of War series, and another from author David Doyle. The M1 Abrams entered service way back in 1980, a new MBT with the then novel use of a Gas Turbine engine. It was designed largely with the thoughts of fighting a conventional war on the Central European Plain, again massed Warsaw Pact tank assaults. Very much a design for the Cold War, and it seems hard to imagine now that less than 10 years later, the Warsaw Pact collapsed and the Berlin Wall came down. Originally armed with a 105mm main gun, it was designed with the intention to change that to the larger 120mm weapon within a relatively short space of time.
With a career spanning almost 40 years it has proved to be an effective combat vehicle, and with a design that has seen various updates which have allowed it to evolve as it has faced quite different threats to those it was originally designed to face. As the author says in his introduction, this book does not attempt to tell the development story as such, because there are other books which already do that, but it does illustrate in excellent detail the various changes that have been made to it over the years. The first chapter shows us the XM1, the Chrysler built prototype which was ordered into production. Chapter 2 moves on to the Improved Performance M1, with the upgrades from General Dynamics which prepared it for fitting the larger 120mm gun, along with other detail changes. That in turn leads to chapter 3, the M1E1, with the new 120mm main gun, new ammunition stowage and NBC systems. That leaves chapter 4 for a very detailed coverage of the early M1A1, including images of the engine and turret interior.
Chapter 5 takes on one of the significant bits of kit which have been added to the Abrams for more recent threats, Mine Plows and Blades. Back to the tank itself for chapter 6, the latest M1A2 SEP (Systems Enhanced Package). All the detail we might ask for again, including the new Thermal Imaging Sight for the commander. For chapter 7 we see the Marine Corps specialised variant, the Assault Breacher Vehicle, a specialist armoured engineer vehicle. This leaves just chapter 8, The Abrams Deployed. Here we see pictures of them in service over the years, particularly during the Gulf War of course. These do include a few images that show how even a heavy armoured vehicle can be devastated by large, but relatively primitive roadside bombs, or IEDs.
The 227 pages in this book are packed with a very complete and detailed photo coverage of both internal and external features of the evolving Abrams over the years and perfect for the armour modeller as they are all in colour. Definitely recommended.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.