Images of War series, M1 Abrams Tank

Images of War series, M1 Abrams Tank

ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Images of War series - M1 Abrams Tank. Book review by Smeghead

Author: Michael Green. ISBN: 978 1 747383 423 1

Since entering service with the U.S. Army in 1980, the M1 Abrams Tank in all of it's various versions has proved itself to be one of the best Main Battle Tanks (KITs) in the world with a combination of mobility, firepower and protection. These design features allowed the M1 Abrams series tanks based in Western Europe during the Cold War to be an effective deterrent against the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact.

The M1 Abrams combat effectiveness has been convincingly demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, completely dominating the Soviet designed tanks of the Iraqi Army. During the post-2003 insurgency, the M1 Abrams Tank series evolved into highly effective urban assault vehicles.

The latest versions of the M1 Abrams Tank is the yardstick by which most of it's competitors are measured and is likely to remain so for many years to come. It's impressive performance has led other nations including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Australia and Egypt to purchase various versions of the tank.

Author Michael Green is a freelance writer, researcher and photographer. He specialises in military subject and has written and co-written over 100 books in the genre. He has written extensively for Pen and Sword Books - Images of War series, including The Patton tank; Cold War Warrior; Russian Armour in WW2 and Armoured Warfare in the Vietnam War. This book contains a selection of the author's comprehensive collection of photos that trace the factors that brought the M1 Abrams Tank series from the drawing board to the battleground. The book is well-researched and highlights the design features that have made the M1 Abrams the dominant force in any tank battle.

From a model-maker's point of view, there are many excellent colour photos, both internal and external plus views showing internal storage, crew positioning and firing mechanisms. There are also some excellent line drawings showing hull structural features, gunners position, fire control system components plus other crew positions. There is a wealth of information regarding colour schemes from desert to temperate. There are also unit markings displayed and explanations of modifications made and pending. There is also a section devoted to variants of the tank such as Mine Rollers, Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge, Grizzly Combat Mobility Vehicle (scrapped after cost overruns), Assault Breached Vehicle, (ABV - USMC only) and an introduction to the Tank Urban Survivability Kit (TUSK). Crew protection is also considered with close up views of the Improved Commander's Weapon System (ICWS) and the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System (CROWS).

The ammunition used and carried on the M1 Abrams is dealt with in a single chapter, giving a good insight into the main types of rounds used. Each round is shown in colour and a diagram gives information on the load and type of target the round is used for. There is also a line drawing giving an indication how the round works when fired.

I was very impressed with this book. For a layman like myself, this is an eye-opener showing just how complicated tank warfare has become in a little under 100 years. The book is well-written without any of the flag-waving jingoism one normally finds with our cousins across the water.

As a model-maker's resource, I think it would be invaluable to anyone building any of the versions of the M1 Abrams. I would certainly recommend it to them. It is also very interesting from a military historian's point of view, depicting as it does, the development of one of the finest tanks in the world. Finally, as one curious in military vehicles, it does much to explain a lot of the myths attached to modern tanks. One hopes the author deals with the Challenger family in the same way.

Rating: Highly Recommended 5 out of 5


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