Before the Birth of the MBT...

...Western Tank Development 1945-1959, from Kagero, via Casemate

Title:  Before the Birth of the MBT

Author: Dick Taylor, MP Robinson

Publisher:  Kagero

ISBN:  978-83-951575-8-5

Number 27 in Kagero's Photosniper series takes on the topic of the MBT, and is set to be the first in a new set of titles on the subject. This looks at the development of the tank after WW2.  The ideal of developing the 'ideal' tank was not accomplished during WW2, perhaps due to the changing technologies and perhaps just the need to get 'something' on the battlefield to counter a specific enemy threat.  With the war over, this new book takes on a journey through tank development by the Western powers, with light, medium and heavy tanks and changes through new technology.

The book concentrates on the trilogy of tank design, Firepower, Protection and Mobility. Balancing these three is a challenge which is difficult to achieve, and during this period up to the end of the 1950s we see how Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and America tried a variety of solutions. In addition to the informative text, the book is packed full of excellent archive photos.  Yes there are pictures of some well known tanks of the time, such as Centurion, the AMX-13, the M-24, M-47 and the M-48 but there are many others as well. Conqueror is one, along with the  French AMX 50 and ARL 44.

With 109 pages in the book, this fills the first 81.  The remainder is filled with 11 pages of Stowage Diagrams (for Centurions and Conquerors), a section of excellent colour images and all rounded off with 5 pages (including the back cover) of useful colour artwork profiles.

This makes for very interesting reading while the photos, all of which have even more useful detail in their captioning, is full of material that I think will interest the tank enthusiast and especially the military modeller. 

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.