Michael Green
ARRSE Rating
3 Mushroom Heads
This is a large paperback of 220 pages (plus space for notes at the back of the book). As would be expected from Pen & Sword's Images of War series, it is lavishly illustrated with large (half-page) black and white and colour photographs. Its coverage is US main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles 1949-1991. This includes both experimental vehicles and production models, from main battle tanks through medium and light tanks, infantry and cavalry combat vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, amphibious craft, self-propelled guns and howitzers, rocket- and missile-armed vehicles and armoured anti-aircraft vehicles (full- and half-tracked).

To this reader the coverage appears to be comprehensive in scope, leaving depth to other publications. To supplement this, the book provides interesting comparisons with equivalent Soviet equipment. It has a useful foreword and notes to the reader, the main material being divided into four chapters: Early and Late Cold War Tanks (ch 1 and 2 respectively), Armed and Armoured Transports (ch 3) and finally Miscellaneous (ch 4).

Chapter 1 contains 10 pages of text and nearly 40 pages of photographs and subsequent chapters have a similar text to images balance. The text is clearly written and simple to follow. I would probably prefer more text - the extracts of combat reports and descriptions of battle doctrine were interesting - with photographs interspersed rather than text in a block and then a full block of photographs.

Alternatively perhaps there could be cross-references to the photographs in the text. Other books in this series have spent some time setting the military context, and although I appreciate that would be difficult for a book covering more than 40 years of Cold War, I feel it would have made for a richer reading experience.

Very much a tank enthusiast's book, with less in it for the general Cold War reader, it is nonetheless worth a look.

3 stars.

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