TankCraft 4, Churchill Tanks...


...new from Pen and Sword


Title: TankCraft 4, Churchill Tanks

Author: Dennis Oliver

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52671-088-9

The TankCraft series is coming along nicely, and this time author Dennis Oliver has tackled the Churchill Tank family, specifically with the British Army in North-West Europe, 1944-45.  I think I ought to admit from the outset that I am a bit of a fan of modelling the Churchill thanks largely to those used as 'The Funnies' by 79th Armoured Division for so many varied engineer tasks.

A 64-page soft cover book it follows the pattern established in the three earlier books of the series.  So, after an introduction which includes the Churchill Unit strengths as of June 1944, and the organisation of the British Army Tank Brigade which also includes the four Unit badges plus the arm of service sign and unit numbers of the regiments that made up each one.  That is followed by the story of each of the 4 brigades during the Campaign, and this is well illustrated with appropriate archive photos as well.  One particular page in this section shows in graphic format the make up of the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards on 6th June 1944 and this even includes the individual tank names for each tank in all the individual squadrons.  This section is then followed by 10 pages of excellent colour profiles, which also include plenty of detailed illustrations of the various unit markings.

On page 27 we get to the Modellers Showcase, which include a series of 1/35 models, a Churchill Mk IV by Marcos Serra; a Mk IV AVRE by Sheng Hui; a Churchill Mk VII Crocodile in winter white camouflage by Antonio Martin Tello; a Mk III AVRE is the second by Marcos Serra: a Mk VII by John Tham; and to round off this section, Marcos Serra returns with a Mk IV AVRE fitted with a Type D Carpet layer and wading trunking. Staying with the modellers theme, the next 10 pages survey the various kits that are available in 1/35 and 1/772(and 1/76) along with conversions, accessories and markings.

After that second modellers section we get back to the history and archive photos, as starting from page 49 it gets back to the history of the Army Tank Brigades before we get to the various 'Funnies' used by 1st Assault Brigade, Royal Engineers, part of the 79th Armoured Division.  Then the final few pages deal with the Technical Details and Modifications which detail all the different Churchill variants used in NW Europe before a closing Appendix which gives some nice simple explanations of things like the explanation of 'the Regiment', Seniority, Bridge Classification numbers, Recognition Markings and colours.  The final page gives details of names and contact addresses for the various model and accessory suppliers.  If I may borrow a phrase from the late Sir Bruce Forsyth, 'this is my favourite'.  Good value for money for the Churchill tank modeller, well done Dennis.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.