Churchill Tanks. British Army NW Europe 1944-1945. Tank Craft Series

Churchill Tanks. British Army NW Europe 1944-1945. Tank Craft Series

ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
Dennis Oliver is the author of over twenty books on Second World War armoured vehicles. He has contributed many books to the TankCraft series including Tiger I and II Tanks of the German Army and Waffen-SS: Eastern Front 1944; Panther Tanks: German Army and Waffen-SS, Normandy Campaign 1944; and Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer: German Army, Western Europe 1944-1945.

Oliver starts this book in his usual easy-to-read style with an introduction to the birth of Tank Warfare and shows how badly prepared Britain was at the start of WWII. After the retreat a Dunkirk left Britain virtually defenceless, the A22 Churchill rolled off the production line. Due to the haste with which the Tank was built, various technical problems arose and some were never righted by the time D-Day came to the fore! The two main problems were inaccessible track maintenance access and the failure of extractor fans to remove fumes from the fighting compartment. The Churchill was however, highly thought of by it's crews due to it's thick armour and it's ability to climb over the most insurmountable object!

Oliver's introduction includes a pictorial representation of the formation of a tank brigade in 1944 and a table of Tank strengths for each of the units using the Churchill, including the 1st Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers who were equipped with 15 Armoured Recovery Vehicles.

The camouflage and markings section has a number of Royal Engineers tanks, including several showing the 290 mm Petard Spigot mortar, nicknamed the "Flying Dustbin" by it's crews. Churchill were also used as Bridgelayer's and photographic evidence is provided on page 21. The showcase section continues in the same vein, showing, standard tank, Crocodile (Flamethrower), AVRE and Carpetlayer. The products pages contain all of the mentioned plus Bridgelayer, albeit in 1/76 scale. It would be great if we actually get some British Bridgelayers produced in plastic! There also seems to be a good quantity of aftermarket parts available for the Modeller who wants more accuracy.

Oliver continues his usual habit of breaking down the various Brigades equipped with Churchill, including the 1st Assault Brigade, RE. The final two sections deal with the usual Technical Details and Modifications and a series of appendices. The fact that the Churchill went through version 1 - XI plus AVRE, ARV, Bridgelayer, Crocodile, Mine Clearing Lane Charges (MCLC) and Carpet Layer (MkIII TLC) shows that despite it's faults, Churchill was a good all-round tank, admired by crews and commanders alike. The appendices cover the British Regimental system, seniority and a full one page section on camouflage and vehicle markings.

Yet another first class book from the Dennis Oliver stable.

Rated highly at 4.5 out of 5

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