by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II by author Steven J. Zaloga and illustrator Henry Morshead.
body of the text
** Tanks landed by specialized craft were vital to amphibious landings, but the 1942 Dieppe raid highlighted the vulnerability of these craft and prompted the development of amphibious tanks that could be deployed from further off-shore. In Europe, the US Army introduced the Duplex Drive (DD) tank based on the British design, but its perceived vulnerability led to the development of deep-wading systems which were first used in Sicily in 1943, and subsequently for the landings at Salerno, Anzio and Normandy. DD tanks were used on D-Day by both US and British forces, and again during the Rhine crossings. In the Pacific, developments were initially separate from those in Europe, although unified systems were eventually introduced. After the Tarawa landings, the Marines realized that unprepared tanks could not be safely landed even in shallow water, and developed their own versions of the deep-wading system. DD tanks were never seriously considered for the Pacific Theater, so other solutions were sought, including the conversion of amtracs into amphibious tanks and the construction of pontoon systems for conventional tanks. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II as Number 192 in their New Vanguard series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white and colour photographs, black and white and colour illustrations, cutaway view artwork and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-636-3. As the title states, the book covers US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II.
- Early American Amphibious Tanks
- Operation Torch
- Operation Husky
- Operation Overlord
- The Duplex Drive Tank
- Other Specialized Amphibious Tanks for D-Day
- The D-Day Assault
- Utah Beach
- Operation Dragoon
- Pacific Theater Of Operations
- The Ritchie Project
- The T6 Device At Okinawa
- River-Crossing Tanks
- Further Reading
The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of US Amphibious Tanks of World War II. Steven J. Zaloga has gone to great lengths to research the various amphibious tanks designed, tested and used by the United States during World War II and provides a very well written and accurate history of them. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order and are well written. Zaloga covers and discusses several subjects such as early amphibious armor projects, amphibious armor used in combat such as on D-Day and the landings on Saipan and the results of the amphibious armor as well as the successes, mistakes and failures. Also included in the test are quotes such as from the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 166th Infantry during D-Day who stated, “They shot the hell out of the Germans and got the hell shot out of them” in regards to the amphibious tanks. Anyone interested in the United States armor and amphibious armor and amphibious prototypes and projects, World War II European and Pacific beach landings and river crossings, and military history in general will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 33 black and white photographs and 2 colour photographs featured in this volume. The majority of the photographs are great and will help the military modeller as well as the armour enthusiasts well. However there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused photographs that tend to turn up. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs. Zaloga has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are of amphibious armour and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent detail oriented photographs that will help out the detail minded military modeller to great lengths. These include nice shots of the various devices used to make the tanks amphibious, bolt patterns, gear and tool storage, serial and unit numbers, battle damage, crew uniforms and other such details. There are many such detailed photographs throughout the book. Many of the photographs could also be a wealth of inspiration to the diorama modeller for inspiration for many projects due to the details they contain. My favorite photograph shown is on page 45 as well as on the front cover. It shows a M4A1 Sherman secured between two DUKW amphibious trucks as a “DUKW Wet Ferry” for a river crossing. Although it was never used in a combat situation I think it would make an interesting modelling project, especially in a diorama setting.
Some of the various vehicles, landing craft, armor, amphibious armour and amphibious armour projects and prototypes shown and discussed are:
- Combined Wheel, Caterpillar and Self-propelled Floating Type 75mm Gun Motor Carriage Model 1922
- Marmon-Herrington CTL-3 light tank
- T10 Light Tank (Amphibian)
- T2 Tank Recovery Vehicle
- M4A1 Sherman
- M4A2 Sherman
- M4A3 Sherman
- T88 105mm HMC assault gun
- M3A5 medium tank
- M3 light tank
- M3 hull with a M2A4 turret
- DUKW amphibious truck
- LCT (A) landing craft
- M8 ammo trailer
- Caterpillar bulldozers
- LSM landing craft
- LSD (Landing Ship Dock)
Some of the various amphibious tank projects, kits and devices shown and discussed are the:
- Boat Rig A
- Blue Freeze kit
- British Straussler Apparatus
- DY Device
- Yagow Device
- T-O Tank Fording Kit
- MT-S Stack Fording Kit
- MT-1 Adapter Fording Kit
- Berg Device
- T6 Device
- Ritchie Project river-crossing kit
- Hale Device
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 10 colour illustrations by illustrator Henry Morshead that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- M5 Light Tank, 70th Tank Battalion, Operation Torch, Morocco, November 1942
- M4A1 Medium Tank, HQ CO., 68th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, Operation Husky, Sicily, July 1943
- Duplex Drive (DD) Sherman
- CO. B, 743rd Tank Battalion, Dog White Sector, Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944
- M4A1, CO. A, 741st Tank Battalion, Fox Green Sector, Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944
- T6 Device, US Army 711th Tank Battalion, Operation Iceberg, Okinawa, April 1945
- M4A2 Medium Tank, CO. A, Marine 3rd Tank Battalion, Guam, July 1944
- M3A5 Medium Tank, CO. A, 193rd Tank Battalion, Butaritari Island, Makin Atoll, November 20, 1943
- T6 Device, Marine 6th Tank Battalion, Operation Iceberg, Okinawa, April 1, 1945
- T6 Device, Marine 6th Tank Battalion, Operation Iceberg, Red Beach-1, Okinawa, April 1, 1945
There are also two black and white illustrations provided that show the Hale Device (flotation device) attached to a US tank. The Hale Device consisted of a pair of pontoons held in a container of the sides of the tank which could be inflated for river crossings and propelled by outboard motors. The two illustrations show the Hale Device:
- In the stowed position on the tank’s side
- In the deployed position on the tank’s side
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are no maps included in this volume. Personally I would like to have seen maps of the various operations discussed to provide the reader a visual aid showing allied and axis locations and the movements and actions taken by the amphibious tanks.
the informational charts
There are no informational charts included in this volume.
The captions are well written, very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. They detail things such as the specific type of tank shown, its location, tank names such as “Donald Duck”, “Cobra”, “Lightning” and “Fireball”, the date of the photograph, the operation that the tank is taking part in, and they also point out the various modifications that have been made to the specific vehicle shown in regards to making it an amphibious tank. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It examines the US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II very well. With its wealth of detailed photographs and captions this book will appeal to the military vehicle modeller, scratch-builder, detail modeller, diorama modeller, and military vehicle and armour enthusiast and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. Osprey Publishing continues to release many great titles such as this one and I would have no hesitation to add more of their books to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
Tanks of World War II
The Great Tanks
Chris Ellis and Peter Chamberlain
An Illustrated History Of Fighting Vehicles
Armin Halle/Carlo Demand
Osprey web site:
Amazon web site with an inside search of this title:
http://www.amazon.com/Amphibious-Tanks-World-War-Vanguard/dp/1849086362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348529114&sr=8-1&keywords=US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II
Take a look at the Kindle Edition at the Amazon web site:
http://www.amazon.com/Amphibious-Tanks-World-Vanguard-ebook/dp/B008IU9I98/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348529114&sr=8-2&keywords=US Amphibious Tanks Of World War II