...a new book from Osprey Publishing
Author: Thomas Anderson
First published in 2013 this is a new paperback edition of this excellent reference book on the Tiger from Thomas Anderson, a well renowned expert on German AFV's of WW2. I'd go so far as to refer to the Tiger as a WW2 'Legend' for not only the reputation it gained at the time, but that the fascination for the tank remains to this day, hence this book will be rightly popular. So many accounts from WW2 refer to German tanks as 'Tigers' in the second half of the war, even when Tigers were not actually present at the time and in that place.
The book is divided into 9 chapters, starting with the Development story and the organisation of Tiger units. Then it goes on to explore the three core factors in the design of any tank, the balance of Mobility, Firepower and Armour (Protection). Then the largest of all of the chapters, the Tiger in Combat, an account of how it performed in action, in the various theatres where it appeared. This move on to the subject of Maintenance. A complex piece of machinery it needed regular maintenance from its' crews to keep a Tiger in service, plus it required a support organisation to recover broken down or combat damaged tanks from the battlefield. Their weight also meant that support equipment, such as gantry cranes to lift off turrets and for recovery operations, up to 4 large 18 ton Sdkfz 9 Famo half-tracks to work together to recover just one tank. This section includes diagrams showing how to recover a tank, even from a river bed, which needed the 4 Famos as well as two more Tigers to help as anchor points for the half-tracks while they winched the target tank out of the river. Even when moving tanks via rail, the heavy, wide combat tracks need to be removed and narrower transport tracks installed.
The final two chapters look at the Tiger 'Under Fire', where it is compared in performance to the main opposition tanks it faced in combat, such as the Russian T-34/85 and IS-3. It is rounded off by a Conclusion, where the author considers the evidence from archives and interviews with surviving veterans to consider whether the various elements of the reputation of the famous Tiger tanks os accurate or not, and provides his own views.
Using archive material, including a variety of facts and figures, data tables, drawings etc along with personal accounts from veterans plus a host of excellent archive photos, many of which have not been seen published outside this book. The number of visitors who travel to see the famous Tiger 131 at the Tank Museum is evidence of how the Tiger remains a fascination for many armour enthusiasts and modellers around the world so I am confident that many will want to add this excellent reference on the Tiger to their bookshelf, especially as it comes very well priced in this paperback edition (RRP is £18.00).
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.