This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series and on this occasion looking at the Sherman Tank US Army, North Western Europe, 1944 - 1945. This book as with all of the titles in this series are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models available to replicate the Sherman Tank in US Army service as a scale model.
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver, who is an author that has written a number of books in the Tank craft series and I have begun to look forward to his work. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The North West European Battlefield
The Armoured Division
The Separate Tank Battalions
Camouflage and Markings
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact Detail
The text in this title begins with a short history covering the introduction of the M4 Sherman replacing the M3 lee. Did you know that the name Sherman was given to the M4 by the British? another piece of information is that it is the second most produced tank, it is only beaten by the T-34; there were 50,000 M4 Sherman's produced and that number does not include all of the vehicles produced on the M4 chassis. There are two organisation charts provided covering the set up of units on March 1942 and September 1943.
The section looking at the Armoured units of the US Army continues after the modelling section of this offering. I have to say I am impressed with the number of US Army Armoured units that are covered and the amount of data Dennis Oliver has managed to fit in and provide for the reader. The information provided on the units looks at the formation dates, areas of conflict and in some cases the M4 Sherman type in use. The period black and white photographs in this section and the book generally are great inclusions and the well written captions provide a good deal of information.
A section providing prints covers a fair number of M4 Sherman Tanks is next up. All of the vehicles are shown from the left or right side, but also covers the vehicles from the front and the rear hull panel where it is felt useful information is provided. The prints provide a couple of camouflage patterns used and the units that used them which is a great inclusion.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are a nice mix of models displayed as stand alone models, and a list of these can be seen after this paragraph. The text covering these models is limited and I feel it would have been useful if details on what exactly had been added to the base kits. The section covering the kits available is a reasonable section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies at, but beware what is available changes rapidly. Models in 1/76th, 1/72nd, 1/48th, 1/35th and even 1/56th scale are looked at and covers injection moulded plastic offerings from a good selection of companies mentioned here. The aftermarket providers also get a good level of coverage; I was particularly pleased to see aftermarket tracks covered in plastic, resin and metal.
M4 75mm Crocodile Flamethrower, 739th Tank Battalion, Germany, Spring 1945 in 1/35th scale by Marcos Serra. I was pleased to see some of the work done by the modeller during the making of this model.
M4A1 76mm, 771st Tank Battalion, Germany, April 1945, in 1/35th scale by Dinesh Ned. I like the colour modulation finish on this one and the stowed goodies on the engine deck.
M4A3 75mm Calliope T-34 Rocket Launcher, 12th Armoured Division, March 1945, in 1/35th scale by Marcos Serra. The colour variations are odd, but this seems to be due to the pictures rather than the model. I do like the look of this one as it is an interesting model.
The book comes to a close with a guide to the modifications that took place to the Sherman over the course of the war; it covers small alterations that are hard to spot all the way up to entire hull changes and so should prove useful to the modeller. This results in a very nicely balanced reference title covering a big subject at an affordable cost.
Dennis Oliver has garnered a place with me as a firm favourite due to his writing style and how information is presented to the reader. I like that the author himself recognises his limitations in what he can do with such a large subject in a restricted area; I feel his efforts show that a good approach has been taken and resulted in a pleasing and useful read. I was very pleased to see Sherman's covered that were not all over green along with modifications made to the tank over its service.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering the Sherman Tank US Army, North Western Europe, 1944 - 1945 from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...