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Tanks of the Second World War... from Pen and Sword

Title: Tanks of the Second World War

Author: Thomas Anderson

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-4735-932-6

Thomas Anderson is a well known author, particularly on German armour of WW2, though in this case he has widened his subject to cover the development of the tank from its' origins in WW1, development in the inter-war years and then a focus on WW2, leading to a final element featuring the post-war development of the modern Main Battle Tank (MBT).  This new edition from Pen and Sword is a translation of the book from the original German, in which is was first published back in 2014.

The first chapter looks at 'Genesis: The Armoured Vehicle over the Millenia', which looks at the early development of the tank and WW1.  This is followed by 'The Inter War Period'', which breaks down into a number of sub-sections tackling the different developments that took place country by country.  This period saw the work on small 'tankettes' as well as the larger, multi-turreted heavy tanks.  It also includes the early designs by Christie in the USA, which influenced later designs in both the UK and Russia.

Then comes the largest individual section of the book, 'Tanks in Action, the 1930s'.  This starts with Japan's war in Manchuria, the Italian move for colonies in East Africa and the Spanish Civil War before getting to the start of WW2 and of course moving through the war years of the 1940s.  The development and use of a great variety of tanks are all covered.  It also considers how effective they all were.  For most there is also a data table giving Armament, Crew, Frontal Armour, Weight, Engine output, Top Speed, Engine/Weight ratio, Ground Pressure, Range and the total number of the type built.  The whole book is heavily illustrated and the bulk of these archive photos have not been published before, and all come with informative captions.  Many have details that modellers will particularly like and some offer some excellent diorama ideas as well.

The closing section is 'Prospect: The Long Road to the Main Battle Tank'.  This tackles the developments that followed WW2 by the different countries, - USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and West Germany.  It makes for a very comprehensive examination of the tank, particulary in WW2 itself, and provides a fine set of photo references as well.


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