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Book Review
Osprey Publishing LTD Battleground – The Greatest Tank Duels In History
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


Tank warfare has been an important part of military conflicts since its introduction on the battlefields of World War I. Designed as a tool of war to help break the stalemate of trench warfare, the tank quickly became a major player in its own right, and has continued to be one on many battlefields up to present day. Over the years, many critical battles were won by the successful use of armor, both by friendly and enemy forces. From World War I to the modern era, the tank continues to be a force to be reckoned with, and will continue to be so on into the future.

Osprey Publications has released Battleground – The Greatest Tank Duels In History edited by Steven J. Zaloga.

the book

The book is a hardback with 368 pages, and includes color and black & white photographs, color and black & white illustrations, color maps, charts, individual profiles and detailed captions.

- Robert Forczyk
- Stephen A. Hart
- Steven J. Zaloga
- Simon Dunstan

- Jim Laurier
- Howard Gerrard
- Peter Bull
- Richard Chasemore
- Griff Wason
- Ian Palmer

- Introduction
- Part I by Robert Forczyk
o T-34 vs Panther: Ukraine 1943
- Part II by Stephen A. Hart
o Tiger vs Sherman Firefly: Normandy 1944
- Part III by Steven J. Zaloga
o M26 Pershing vs T-34-85: Korea 1944
- Part IV by Simon Dunstan
o Centurion vs T-55: Golan Heights 1973
- Part V by Steven J. Zaloga
o M1 Abrams vs T-72: Desert Storm 1991
- Afterword by Steven J. Zaloga
- Bibliography
- Index

Each of the contributing authors has done an excellent job with detailing and discussing the subject that they have written about. The text is well-written, and contains many excellent details about the particular armored vehicles discussed, individual commanders and crewmembers, and the particular battles that the different armor faced each other in. The main battlefields discussed are the Ukraine and Normandy during World War II, the Korean War, the Golan Heights and Operation Desert Storm. The armored vehicles discussed include the Russian T-34, the German Panther and Tiger, the US/British Sherman/Firefly, the US M26 Pershing, the Soviet T-34-85, the British Centurion, the Soviet T-55, the US M1 Abrams and the Soviet T-72. Each tank is well-covered, including capabilities, shortcomings and crews. Anyone interested in tank warfare from World War II through Desert Storm will find this book very informative and interesting.

There are a total of 86 black & white photographs, along with 23 in color. Most of the photographs are well-done, though a few have an out-of-focus look to them, or are too dark. Several are actually stills taken from films of the period, which could account for the poorer quality. One thing that I was particularly appreciative of was that a good majority of the photos are not the same old overused ones that turn up when these tanks are discussed. The photographs provided cover the time frames and specific conflicts very well, and are shown in the correct chronological order. Each author has insured that the correct and relevant photographs of the armor being discussed and compared are included.

There are 38 color illustrations, and 1 black & white one, and all are well-done and nicely-detailed. They cover:

- The Panther through 360 degrees
- The T-34 through 360 degrees
- Inside the Panther
- Inside the T-34
- Panther; through the gunsights
- T-34: through the gunsights
- Combat in the East
- Tank Ambush
- The Tiger through 360 degrees
- The Firefly through 360 degrees
- Inside the Tiger
- Inside the Firefly
- Ammunition types
- Tiger: in the gunsights
- The death of Wittmann
- The T-34-85 through 360 degrees
- The M26 Pershing through 360 degrees
- Inside the T-34-85
- Inside the M26 Pershing
- T-34-85: through the gunsights
- M26 Pershing: through the gunsights
- Duel at Obong-Ni Ridge
- The Centurion Shot Cal through 360 degrees
- Inside the Shot Cal Centurion
- Inside the T-55
- The T-55 through 360 degrees
- Defense of the Purple Line
- Golan Heights: through the gunsights
- The Golan Heights
- The M1A1 Abrams through 360 degrees
- The T-72M1 through 360 degrees
- Iraqi 125mm ammunition
- US 120mm ammunition
- Inside the M1A1 Abrams
- Inside the T-72
- T-72M1: through the gunsights
- M1A1: through the gunsights
- Duel at Median Ridge
- World War II German panzer recruiting poster (black and white)
The accompanying illustrations definitely help the authors cover their particular armored vehicles or battles, not only helping the armor enthusiast by showing the various details under discussion, but also benefiting the military armor modeler.

There are 10 color maps throughout the book and they show operations in:

- Zitadelle and Rumantsyev, July-September 1943
- Operations, September-December 1943
- Strategic situations: August 7, 1944
- Operation Totalize: break-in phase
- Wittmann’s last moves
- The North Korean invasion; June 25-August 4, 1950
- The duel at Obong-Ni Ridge: August 17, 1950
- Assault on the Golan: October 1973
- Attack on Republican Guard Corps by VII Corps: night of February 26 to noon, February 27, 1991
- Team Bandit, 2-70 Armor, Medina Ridge: February 27, 1991
The maps are a welcome addition, as they help show the reader the actions of particular battles. To me this is nice, as it shows you what took place, as opposed to trying to see it in your mind as you read.

There are 23 charts throughout the book that are very well-done, nicely-detailed and provide important and interesting information for the data-minded reader. The material covered includes:

- Medium Tank Prototypes 1938
- Order Of Battle – Soviet Tank & Mechanized Corps in Ukraine 1943 that fought Panther units.
- Order Of Battle – German Panther battalions in Ukraine in 1943
- Table 1: German AFV Losses, August 7-8, According To British Accounts
- Table 2: 1NY Tanks Lost During Night Advance
- Table 3: 1NY Tank Losses During The Battle For Le Petit Ravin
- Table 4: Estimated German Personnel Losses During August 7-8 Battles
- Table 5: 1NY Personnel Casualties During August 7-8
- Table 6: Losses During The August 7-8 Actions Around St-Aignan
- Soviet T-34-85 production
- Soviet postwar medium tank production
- Armor protection comparisons
- Ammunition employed in tank-vs-tank fighting in Korea, 1950
- First-round hit probability in Korean War tank-vs-tank fighting
- Firepower comparison
- Performance characteristics
- US tank postwar inventory, 1945-50
- KNPA tank losses by cause, July-November 1950
- Tempo of T-34-85 losses to US tanks, August-November 1950
- Comparative protective levels
- Soviet 125mm APFSDS ammunition
- Iraqi T-72 units in Kuwait Theater, 1991
- M1 Abrams tank battalions/squadrons, Operation Desert Storm

The authors have provided separate but relevant profiles about key individuals that were involved with the particular battles and incidents covered. I particularly enjoyed this, as it helped single out important figures and their involvement and contribution to individual battles. Another reason I liked the separate profiles is that it makes the figure stand out, as opposed to being lost in the main text of the story.

The separate profiles discussed include:

- Major Karl von Sivers
- Oberfeldwebel Gerhard Brehme
- Leytenant Pavlovich Vasily Bryukhov
- Soviet female tankers
- Otto Carius
- Wilfred Harris
- Michael Wittmann
- Avigdor Kahalani

The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well, providing information such as dates, locations, specific armor identification numbers, actions being shown, etc. The captions also describe the importance of the events and the outcome of the events shown. The illustrations are an important addition to the book, and are not just random generic illustrations used as page fillers.


All in all, I am very impressed with the book. It examines tank warfare during World War II, the Korean War, the Golan Heights and Desert Storm quite well, and in an interesting manner. I personally am not interested in tank warfare after World War II, however, I do find the information provided in this book to be very helpful in comparing tank warfare from it’s infancy to what it has become today. The book will be helpful and interesting to the armor and military enthusiasts, as well as the military armor modeler. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing Ltd. for providing this review copy. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on Armorama when you make your purchase.
Highs: Well-researched, and written with excellent details and captions. Nicely detailed illustrations. Excellent photographs.
Lows: The quality of some of the photographs.
Verdict: This is an excellent reference book that is well-researched, and contains many interesting photographs. It will make a nice addition to anyone’s personal library, and will benefit the military enthusiast.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-551-9
  Suggested Retail: $25.95 US/£20.00 UK/$30.0
  PUBLISHED: Sep 23, 2011

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


Looks like an intensive, informative book at such a good price! Nice write up too! I want one! ~ Jeff
SEP 22, 2011 - 12:01 PM
Not really a big fan of books nowadays being as so much info is available on the web. Plus the cost of just a small Osprey book like their How to Model series is to high to justify the purchase which is a shame. Having said that though I want a copy of this one. I just hope its not the usual exuberant price that they want for books like this in Australia (I'll have to possibly look at an off shore purchase). It looks like its not just a book on technical data and clinical dissection of Battles. I like to read the personal side of the Battles. History is so compelling. Thanks Randy and Bill for Review and Link. PS Have to wait now cause I just noticed the Aussie Dollar has nose dived again against the Greenback. Bloody Yanks (said tongue in cheek and no disrespect intended)
SEP 22, 2011 - 02:12 PM
Thank you Jeff and John for the kind comments. I am glad that my review was of some help to you. It is a very nice book. Thank you getting this posted Bill. Randy
SEP 23, 2011 - 02:17 PM

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