Tanks, 100 Years of Evolution...

...a book from Osprey Publishing

Title: Tanks, 100 Years of Evolution

Author: Richard Ogorkiewicz

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-2981-8

The evolution of the tank is a fascinating story and this is told by an author directly involved with the business of armoured vehicles for many years.  Professor Richard Ogorkiewicz has been involved with advisory boards for the Ministry of Defence, advised countries on 5 continents and between 1972 and 2006, a lecturer at the Defence Academy (what was the Royal Military College of Science) at Shrivenham.  First published back in 2015, Osprey have now brought us this new paperback edition.

The Tank has come a long way since those early machines that were built to help break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front during WW1.  Starting with the story of those early days, not only did the technology have to develop, but so did the tactics of how to use tanks, and of course how to counter them.  Over the years there have been developments that led to some commentators saying the day of the tank was over, as anti-tank weapons improved and then the use of small portable missiles as well.  As he explains, so the technology of the tank has evolved to cope with these things.

The book is spread across 12 chapters which explains the evolution of the tank.  Starting with those early developments and its' impact on the battlefields of WW1, then on to a Post-War Anticlimax, where plans for multi-turreted tanks and light tankettes proved to be dead-ends.  Chapter 5 examines Britain's Lead and Failings, then Tank Development in Europe and America before the Creation of the Armoured Forces and the Panzers and their Second World War opponents.  There were great advances in tank design and technology during WW2 and that leads into the Cold War's Five Dominant Countries (France, Germany, USA, Russia and the UK).  There are many users of tanks though, so next he considers those countries On the Peripheries of the Major Powers before getting to Asia Catches Up and an Epilogue that provides a useful look at where we are today.  Add some informative appendices, which consider the vital balances of tank design, between firepower, protection and mobility and just how these have developed over the years.

There are a couple of groups of photos, illustrating tanks from the early days right through to the present day.  The heart of it though is a well informed text, and from a man lucky enough over the years to have met and discussed the subject with a number of well known armour pioneers.  Well worth reading for anyone with an interest in the subject of the tank, as a significant battlefield system since it first introduced back in WW1.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin