Bruce Oliver Newsome
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
The British Army finished the First World War with the largest tank force, the best AFVs and a solid doctrine to employ them. The army had the first dedicated Tank regiments and even a band so all was going so well. The immediate post war years were a hopeful time for the Tank Corps albeit some of the cavalry hoped for a continuing rile for the mounted soldier once the unusual static war was over.

By 1939 the initiative had passed to Germany whilst the USSR had garnered a huge advantage from the secret cooperation with Germany over armoured vehicle testing and development in the 1920s and 1930s.

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This book attempts to examine the events in between and to produce a set of conclusions. The area to be covered is huge as western tanks needs to consider other armies as well as the British. The Author does so in some 129 pages , the book is certainly not a detailed examination of interwar tank development throughout the world. Rather it focuses on a particular area of debate and aims to produce a good hypothesis.

Bruce Newsome organises the book in 9 chapters. The first chapter sets the scene for the years before the “Tank” emerges and there are some charming sketches of Leonardo’s mobile forts and the Scottish war carts (strangely omitted from the film Braveheart!). Then passing on to the agricultural tractors of Holt and Hornsby. Further into the book on p57 is reference to the American Army’s ad hoc mechanised units tasked against Pancho Villa .Students of armoured warfare will spot the connection with Patton immediately.

Further chapters start with the British army and move onwards and outwards. The book is well supported with illustrations on non glossy paper. There are also statistical tables on national comparisons etc. Chapter 9 presents the author’s conclusions.

This is a book aimed at serious students of Armoured warfare and might make a good companion to The Dark Age of Tanks (reviewed ARRSE 5 April 2020). Annoyingly for the serious reader there is no index ,however, there is a good list of references. These are of other authors works and not file locations for further research. The book is priced at £16.99 as a paperback and is on Amazon .It is published by Tank Archives Press.

Amazon product 34 tank battalions were authorised and 26 raised by 1918
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