Dale E Wilson
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This is a book that is a little like missing pieces in a jigsaw. Whilst being a good account of the birth of American armour, it goes beyond that in its links to the soldiers who fought the battles, and how they developed their ideas, to come to fruition in 1944.

American armour is a limited subject between 1917 and 1920, compared to the rest of the Western front, but this is essentially a very detailed account of the battles of the armoured doughboys. Whilst it does get a little technical, it is not so much that it interrupts the flow of the history. The battles are well documented, giving the whole front strategy before detailing the specific battles. The battles are described in a straightforward reliable historical way, with carefully detailed maps and the staff involved.

It will come as no surprise that a certain officer called Patton is mentioned repeatedly.

Specifically, with respect to tank manufacture, a little different from tank design, this is the best account I have seen. Again, it gives an idea of how the US industrial might can get into action when necessary.

The strategy of using tanks in WW1 is described very effectively, but it more than hints at the future strategies to be used a generation later.

Very recognisable names crop up repeatedly, Patton. Marshall, Eisenhower. Their individual personalities, military ideas and methods are well described, and provide a very valuable insight into the way the US developed their strategy for post-D Day. Whilst Eisenhower and Patton behaved with great courage, their personalities were crucial to the post war and WW2 plans and strategies. Basically, Eisenhower showed his genius for organisation, and Patton threw himself at any objective. Marshall is mentioned less often, but this is an account of armoured warfare, rather than one ignoring Marshall.

If you are interested in Patton, this book is invaluable.

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