Sherman Tanks of the British Army & Royal Marines - Normandy 1944. Tank Craft series

Sherman Tanks of the British Army & Royal Marines - Normandy 1944. 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 is one of the most accomplished historical writers of WWII armour. His style is easy to read and his research is first rate. He tells of the 17,000 Shermans arriving in Britain as part of the Lend-lease program with the USA, how the vehicle was initially viewed with scepticism by its crews, and how it came to be one of the most important tanks for the British Army and Royal Marines.

Packed with the expected black and white photos, the book starts with a timeline of events from 6 June until 30 August, when the last German troops crossed the Seine, heralding the end of the battle of Normandy. From there, Oliver takes us to the development of the British Armoured Division system, with an interesting table breaking down the quantities of types of Sherman across the divisions at Normandy.

From a Modeller's point of view, the next section of the book covers the camouflage and marking of the Sherman in the Western European Theatre of Operations. The close up views of formation signs and their explanations are first class and certainly make life easier understanding the tricky world of unit and AOS (Arm of Service) signs.

The model showcase is always my primary source of interest. Like other modellers, I love seeing how others deal with their subjects. The Sherman has always been a favourite of most vehicle modellers and we are dealt a plethora of superbly crafted models, including a highly detailed Sherman V Crab and a REME BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle). As usual, the Modelling Products section remains at it's expected high standard.

Oliver continues in his usual way, depicting units at Brigade level and giving us a glimpse into the Royal Marine Armoured Support Group and those Royal Artillery regiments that used Sherman Artillery Observation Post tanks. (AOP). These AOP tanks had dummy wooden guns and extra radio equipment in the turret. Easily recognisable by the RA formation signs and extra antennae.

The final sections comprise the technical information and variants; and the appendices. The technical side is excellent for those wishing to kit-bash their 4A1 to a VC Firefly or scratchbuilding their own tank!

The appendices cover The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), The Regiment and Seniority and complete page explaining where registration marks, ID marks, Bridge signs and all of the other military paraphernalia. This is definitely an excellent subject for the modeller!

All in all, I would say this is another triumph for the Tank-Craft Series

Highly rated 4.5 out of five

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