by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
MMP Books have just released their latest publication by Dick Taylor The Men Inside the Metal, The British AFV Crewman in WW2 -Volume 1. The book has been published by Stratus s.c of Poland and is the fist volume covering British AFV Crewman during WW2.
The purpose of the book is to give a comprehensive overview of British AFV Crewmen during the Second World War. It includes order of dress, equipment used, training and operations. The book is compiled of contemporary photographs and illustrations text and web links.
The book was written by Dick Taylor who should need no introduction and Volume 1 covers Dress and Equipment.
Consisting of 106 pages of text and photographs the book is in A4 style glossy colour format. The book consists of the Introduction, Glossary, Acknowledgements and the following chapters.
Chapter 1 covers uniform items including footwear, headgear, Regimental side caps, helmets, uniforms and dress in the desert and Far East.
Chapter 2 covers Badges and Insignia, including cap badges, collar badges, metal epaulette titles, cloth slip-on epaulette titles, cloth shoulder designations, rank badges, formation badges, good conduct badges, service chevrons and wound stripes, trade and skill-at-arms and proficiency badges.
Chapter 3 covers webbing, personal equipment and miscellaneous items.
Chapter 4 deals with equipment and weapons, vehicle stowage, radio equipment.
The book is laid out in user friendly fashion and the contemporary photographs are supported by line drawings and modern photographs. Chapter 1 provides lots of useful information on tankers uniforms with a good representation of colour photographs that will be useful for the model builder. Plimsolls and Desert Boots (aka Brother Creepers) get a mention which is good to see, and the rational behind footwear is well explained. Head gear is well covered including the 1st and second crash helmets and some good period pictures of British Tank Crews wearing the US M1938 are included.
Particularly useful are the colour pictures of Denim and Pixie tankers suits included in the book, always a talking point for modellers.
In Chapter 2 there are good examples of the marking used on the uniforms, the medal ribbons will be of use to figure painters, something I have always meant to add to my figures. A comprehensive set of formation badges are included in this section as are the more unusual wound and proficiency badges. This is not new material but it is good to have it located in one spot for reference.
Chapter 3 concentrates on the webbing issued to armoured units covering the waist-belt, pistol holster, ammo pouch, shoulder straps and brace attachments, as well as the water bottle and carrier, small pack and large pack with straps. Good example of the various types of pistol holster are given There is a good break down of what was carried in the packs but no photographs of the inside items. Miscellaneous equipment mentioned are binoculars, goggles , sun glasses, watches and gas masks.
Chapter 4 concerns itself with crew equipment and weapons. Map cases and first aid kits also get a mention. Radio equipment concentrates on the type of headphones used, junction boxes and some wiring diagrams. Pistols, Sten and Thompson SMG are all included here as is the Bren gun. There are some nice pictures of Signals Pistols and the 36 Grenade is also included in this section.
The book doesnít contain any startling new information that canít ben gleamed elsewhere but it does concentrate what was specific to the Armoured Troops in one specific place which is a big plus for the book. The texts are well written and expand on the photographs and drawings. On the personal kit I would have liked to have seen examples of what was in the packs, not just mention of same and on the weapons examples of the ammo would believe have helped enhance the presentation of these subjects.
The quality of the book is in line with other MMP publications, to a very high standard and makes for an informative read.
The formation signs are a mix of actual badges and line drawings and I would have preferred if these had been pictures of actual badges although I understand that may not always have been possible.
Overall the book provides a good one stop shop for the subject areas covered in Volume 1. Much may already be known to the experienced modeller but it none the less provides a very useful point of reference for those interested in British Tank Warfare and a very handy reference for the sculptor or figure painter, plus another good reference for the armoured modeller.
Reference is given to where to find original photographs which is always a handy thing to have.