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The US Army had a unique tactical doctrine during World War II, placing the emphasis for tank fighting on its Tank Destroyer Command whose main early-war vehicle was the M10 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage, based on the reliable M4A2 Sherman tank chassis. This durable and versatile vehicle saw combat service from the North Africa campaign in 1943. By 1944, its gun was not powerful enough and it was rearmed with the new 90 mm gun, becoming the M36 90mm Gun Motor Carriage. This book details one of the only US armoured vehicles capable of dealing with the Panther and Tiger during the Battle of the Bulge.
Although tanks like the Sherman and Panther captured the headlines, the Allies' M10 tank destroyer and the Germans' Sturmgeschütz (StuG) III were the unsung workhorses of the northwest European battlefields of 1944-45. While their mission was not principally fighting one another, their widespread use ensured their frequent encounters, from the Normandy bocage to the rubble-strewn streets of Aachen. The StuG III was the quintessential assault gun: a low-slung, heavily armored, turretless vehicle intended to provide direct-fire support for infantry formations. It was a jack of all trades, being used both for the traditional direct-fire role, but also increasingly for antitank defense; when its armament was improved from a short 75mm gun to the better-known long 75mm gun, it reached its pinnacle and remained largely unchanged from 1943 to 1945. It proved exceptionally valuable in Normandy as its low profile and excellent armament made it a useful infantry support weapon while at the same time it had more than adequate firepower to destroy standard Allied tanks such as the Sherman.The M10 3in Gun Motor Carriage was originally developed as a tank destroyer. It was based on the Sherman tank chassis but with less armor and a more powerful gun. By 1944, however, its 3in gun proved ineffectual against the most thickly armored German tanks such as the Panther and Tiger. As a result, by 1944, the US Army's M10 battalions were usually deployed in support of US infantry divisions to conduct direct-fire support. Essentially, the M10 became the US Army's principal assault gun in the 1944-45 ETO campaign, whether intended for this role or not.Widely deployed in roles their designers had not envisaged, these two armored fighting vehicles clashed repeatedly during the 11-month campaign that saw the Allies advance from Normandy to the heart of the Reich. Fully illustrated with specially commissioned artwork, this is the story of their confrontation at the height of World War II.
The M18 76mm Gun Motor Carriage was developed for the US Army's Tank Destroyer Command. It was the only tank destroyer deployed during World War II actually based on their requirements for speed and firepower. This book examines the development of this vehicle, the controversies over the need for high-speed tank destroyers, and its actual performance during World War II. Special emphasis is placed on examining its performance in its intended mission. Coverage also includes derivative vehicles of the M18 such as the M39 armored utility vehicle.
From the moment that the M4 Sherman had been matched against German Panther and Tiger tanks, the American tank crews had known that their vehicles were outclassed by the opposition. What was needed was a more powerful tank, more heavily armed and armored, that could take-on the powerful German panzers on a more equal footing. Although it took time to develop by the latter months of the war numbers of M26 Pershing tanks were reaching the frontline US armored units. Well armored and with a powerful 90mm gun the Pershing was a match for any tank in the German order of battle.
As armoured warfare tactics matured, mechanised infantry became a key ingredient in what is now called 'combined arms' doctrine. For the US Army of World War 2, the most important technical aspect of infantry mechanisation was the development of the M3 half-track personnel carrier. Steven Zaloga guides the reader through the early 1930s development of the half-track, its first deployment in action in the Philippines in 1941 and its varied and vital role in international deployments since World War 2. This authoritative text also examines the operators of half-tracks and the troops that they carried.
The highly successful 'stop-gap' M3 medium tank was designed in 1941, and as adequate turret casting facilities were not yet ready, the M3 used an unusual armament configuration patterned after a French tank. British lend-lease demands led to the design of a second turret type with the US version called the Lee and the British version the Grant. It could penetrate Panzer armor, and its explosive firepower was excellent for dealing with German anti-tank guns. This book covers the design, development, service and variants of a vehicle that was the backbone of many World War II forces.
The M4 Sherman tank was the mainstay of the Western allies between 1942 and 1945. Fast and modern it was a big success and was transported as far afield as Russia and North Africa. The American Chief of Staff claimed in November 1943 it was 'hailed widely as the best tank on the battlefield today...'. However, by the Normandy invasion of June 1944 this was not the case: the new German heavy tanks such as the Panther and Tiger were completely outclassing the Sherman. This title covers the M4 version armed with the 76 mm gun, examining developments such as the HVSS suspension, using much new archive material.
While the Pacific campaign is not well known as a theater for tank combat, the US Army deployed nearly a third of its tank battalions to the Pacific, and Japan was among the top five tank manufacturers during the war. The obscurity of Pacific tank battles largely hinged on the tactics used in the Pacific theater due to terrain. Tanks were generally used as infantry support weapons, and the terrain precluded the use of tanks in maneuver warfare that might have led to large scale tank-vs.-tank battles. This book begins by surveying the early tank battles in the Pacific between US and Japanese forces, starting with the first encounters in the Philippines in 1941 between US M3 Stuart light tanks and Japanese Type 95 tanks. Tank-vs.-tank action became more common in 1944 as both sides poured larger numbers of tanks into the combat zone. The largest Japanese tank attack of war took place in July 1944 on Saipan, but there were frequent tank encounters in the ensuing months on Guam, and Peleliu. The Philippines saw the largest Japanese tank deployment of the war, with the Japanese sending a tank division to Luzon in 1944. This led to extensive clashes with US army forces, sometimes pitting tank vs. tank, but often a mixture of tanks, infantry anti-tank weapons, and even self-propelled guns. The last two campaigns of the war on Iwo Jima and Okinawa saw tank use on the part of both sides, the Japanese finally concluding that "the fight against the US Army is a fight against his M4 tanks". This book will take a look at the two best tanks of the Pacific campaign. On the American side, the M4A3 Sherman medium tank was used by both the US Army and US Marine Corps. On the Japanese side, the Type 97-kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha was the best tank to see combat. This was a very uneven contest, which is the main reason that in 1944 on Luzon, the Japanese were so reluctant to deploy the Chi-ha against the Sherman and preferred to use them as dug-in pillboxes. The book illustrations will follow the usual Duel pattern with profile illustrations of the Type 97-kai Shinhoto Chi-ha and M4A3, views showing the ammunition of both types, interior illustrations showing the turret layout in both types, and a Battlescene showing the Type 97-kai in combat against US armor.
One of the weaknesses of airmobile forces has always been their vulnerability to enemy armor. Since the 1940s, there have been numerous schemes to field light tanks that could be deployed by parachute or other methods to reinforce paratroopers and other airmobile forces. This book tells the story of the US experience with airmobile tanks, starting with efforts in World War II, notably the M22 Locust airmobile tank. Although not used in combat by the US Army, it was used during Operation Varsity in 1945 by British airborne forces and ended up supporting US paratroopers during this mission on the Rhine river. The book then turns to post-war efforts such as the unique T-92 airborne tank, designed for paratroop drop.The only airborne tank actually manufactured in significant numbers was the M551 Sheridan. The history of this tank provides the focal point of this book, highlighting the difficulties of combining heavy firepower in a chassis light enough for airborne delivery. The book examines its controversial combat debut in Vietnam, and its subsequent combat history in Panama and Operation Desert Storm. It also rounds out the story by examining attempts to replace the Sheridan with other armored vehicles, such as the short-lived M8 MGS and Army LAV programs. From the Trade Paperback edition.
From El Alemein through Sicily, Italy, Normandy, the Ardennes, and Germany, the Allied M7 Priest self-propelled howitzer and its Canadian/British Sexton 25 pdr version became iconic. It was based on the ubiquitous Grant/Sherman tank and was the most widely manufactured vehicle of its type in World War II, being used by all major Allied armies including the US, British, Canadian and Free French forces. Besides covering the basic Priest, this book also deals with the major derivative including the British/Canadian Sexton with 25 pdr, and other US Sherman derivatives such as the M12 155mm GMC. The Priest has been widely kitted over the years including the recent Dragon kits (1/35), two Academy 1/35 kits, an older Italeri 1/35 kit (re-released by Tamiya), and numerous small scale offerings including Matchbox, Italeri, etc. and has been an evergreen modeling subject.
The M8 light armored car was the only significant wheeled combat vehicle used by the US Army in World War II. In conjunction with the lightly armed utility version, the M20, it was the staple of the army's cavalry squadrons for use in reconnaissance and scouting. First entering combat in Italy in 1943, it was widely used throughout the campaign in northwest Europe, though its off-road performance was found to be wanting. This title describes the design and development of the M8, covering the many variants that were produced during World War II and afterwards, along with a comprehensive survey of its operational use.
General George Patton's most controversial campaign was the series of battles in autumn 1944 along the German frontier which centered on the fortified city of Metz. It took nearly four months, from September to December 1944, for Patton's Third Army to capture the Metz-Thionville fortified zone. In part, the problem was logistics. As was the case with the rest of the Allied forces in the European Theatre, supplies were limited until the port of Antwerp could finally be cleared. Also problematic was the weather. The autumn of 1944 was one of the wettest on record, and hardly conducive to the type of mechanized warfare for which Patton was so famous. However at the heart of the problem was the accretion of sophisticated fortifications. Metz had been fortified since ancient times, heavily rebuilt by France in the post-Napoleonic period, modernized by Germany in 1870-1914, and modernized by France during the Maginot effort in 1935-40. The Germans hoped to hold Metz with a thin screen of second-rate troops, counting on the impregnable fortifications. This book covers the entire campaign from beginning to end, offering an unbiased assessment of the success and failures of both the Allied and Axis efforts.
The M3 and M5 Stuart were the most significant light tanks of the US Army, as well as many other allied armies, during World War II. They have proved to be popular modelling subjects ever since, largely due to the large number of kits available in many different scales covering a broad selection of the different variants used. The Stuarts were also painted in a wide range of colourful camouflage schemes, reflecting their widespread service, and this adds to their appeal. This title shows a number of different ways to model this popular tank in 1/35 scale, covering construction, painting and weathering the vehicle.
The Sherman tank was the principal US and Allied tank of World War II with more Shermans manufactured than all German tanks combined. Not only were large numbers manufactured, but there was a very wide range of variants powered by different types of engines, manufactured with different types of hulls, turrets and other details. As a result, a M4A1 tank from the Tunisian campaign in 1942 had nothing in common with a M4A3E8 tank from the 1945 campaign in Germany, even if they shared the same name. Consequently, the Sherman has proven to be an enormously popular modeling subject.Due to the enormity of the subject matter, this book is the first of three planned to deal with this tank and its many variants. It covers the early 75mm Shermans and runs the gamut from the US Army in Tunisia in 1942-43, Italy in 1943-45 and NW Europe in 1945. In so doing, it covers the broadest possible range of variants and details. The builds include:1.M4A1, 2/13th Armored in Tunisia 1942/43. This is mainly 'out of the box', and deals with cleaning up and correcting the popular Dragon kit and painting it in desert colors. 2.M4A3, 6th Armored Division, Battle of the Bulge, January 1945: an intermediate level build, correcting and enhancing the Tamiya kit, and dealing with the issue of assembling aftermarket (separately available add-on components) link-to-link tracks. 3.M4A1, 2nd Armored Division, Sicily 1943. This is actually an earlier version of the M4A1 than the first type (2nd Armored having been the first division with the Sherman); an advanced level project using the Formations resin hull for the proper 'direct vision' early hull. 4.M4, 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, Normandy, July 1944: the 'super'project, including a number of advanced techniques such as swapping the suspension on the Tamiya kit, applying foliage camouflage, building and painting a turret interior and adding figures to the model.The book also showcases a number of other Shermans already built by the author to demonstrate the variety available.
Tank destroyers were the US Army's response to blitzkrieg, and were based around the concept of mounting a large anti-tank gun on a light, fast moving vehicle. They served in the Mediterranean, Pacific, and North-West Europe theatres, and were also supplied to other Allied armies. These vehicles form an attractive modelling subject; their open turrets provide plenty of opportunity for detail work, as demonstrated here by the author in clear step-by-step instructions. Packed with tips and techniques from a leading modeller and Allied armour expert, this title covers the M10, M18, M36, and M39, and features modelling projects in 1/35th and 1/72nd scale.
General Omar Bradley was the premier US Army tactical commander in the European Theater of Operations in 1944-45. A West Point classmate of Dwight Eisenhower, Bradley was the quintessential US field commander of World War II, elevated to high command with little combat experience but a solid track record as a skilled planner and organizer. Bradley was part of a small cadre of highly skilled young officers groomed for higher command in the austere and bankrupt 1930s. Bradley began World War II in creating the new 82nd Division which would go on to fame as one of the US Army's premier airborne divisions. Bradley spent most of the early years of the war in George Patton's shadow, first as an assistant corps commander under Patton in Tunisia in early 1943, then as a corps commander under Patton on Sicily in July 1943. Patton's social blunders pushed him out of contention for the coveted spot leading the First US Army on D-Day, and Bradley's sterling performance on Sicily won him the position.Bradley was at the center of nearly all the major US Army victories in 1944-45 from D-Day through the final push into Germany. After commanding the US First Army in Normandy, Bradley was elevated to the command of the 12th Army Group, which contained the three main American field armies in the autumn of 1944. Along with that combat record came a string of controversies. Bradley's great victories like Operation Cobra in July-August 1944 were brought in to question by more dubious campaigns such as the miserable battles for the Hurtgen forest and the lesser-known Operation Queen in the autumn of 1944. Bradley's greatest blunder, failing to anticipate the German offensive in the Ardennes, was counter-balanced by a vigorous and skilled response which fatally injured the German army in the West. Beyond the performance of the US Army in the ETO, Bradley was also intimately wrapped up in other controversies, especially the internecine squabbles with his British counterpart, Bernard Montgomery.
One of the most decisive months of World War II (1939-1945) was the 30 days between 25 July and 25 August 1944. After the success of the D-Day landings, the Allied forces found themselves bogged down in a bloody stalemate in Normandy. On 25 July General Bradley launched Operation Cobra to break the deadlock. US forces punched a hole in the German frontline and began a spectacular advance. As Patton's Third Army poured into Brittany and raced south to the Loire, the German army was threatened with encirclement. By the end of August German forces in Normandy were utterly destroyed, and the remaining German units in central and southern France were in headlong retreat to the German frontier. In this title Steve Zaloga explains how the breakout from Normandy came about.
Osprey's study of Operation Dragoon, the Allied landings in southern France on August 15, 1944, which was one of the most controversial operations of World War II (1939-1945), leading to deep divides between United States and British planners. The US objective was to threaten the rear of the German armies occupying France by a landing on the eastern French coast and to push rapidly northward towards Lorraine to meet up with Allied forces bursting out of Normandy. Dragoon was a complex operation very similar to the Normandy landings, complete with a US and British airborne assault followed by a naval assault landing. The landings led to a precipitous German retreat from France, authorized by Hitler himself. In September 1944, the US Seventh Army and French First Army reached Lorraine, sealing off any remaining German troops and completing the liberation of the majority of French territory.Popular Osprey author Steve Zaloga tells the story of this operation, from the derisive debates between the Allied commanders to the men who hit the beaches and charged ashore to help liberate occupied France.
In the summer of 1944, plans began for a complex operation to seize a Rhine river bridge at Arnhem in the Netherlands. The American portion of the airborne mission was to employ two divisions of the US XVIII Airborne Corps to seize key terrain features that otherwise might delay the advance of British tanks towards the bridge. The 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions succeeded in their tasks of capturing the vital bridges at Eindhoven at Nijmegen in the face of fierce German resistance. However, the delays caused to the British armored advance, combined with stronger than expected fighting at Arnhem led to the withdrawal of the remnants of the British 1st Airborne Division in one of the Western Allies' most costly defeats of World War II. Contemporary photographs, maps and detailed color artwork complement extensive archival research that reveals the successes of those American airborne missions, largely overshadowed by the failure of the operation as a whole.
Operation Nordwind is one of the lesser known campaigns of World War II (1939-1945), yet one of the more intriguing. Largely overshadowed by the Battle of the Bulge further north, Nordwind was the last great operation by the Waffen-SS Panzer divisions in the west, and the last time the Wehrmacht was on the offensive in the West. The campaign also highlights the difficulties of inter-Allied cooperation between the Americans and the French. This campaign has been extensively treated in German and French accounts, but is not well covered in English.
Operation Pointblank was the code name for the United States Army Air Force's attempt to destroy German fighter capability through the use of daylight strategic bombing in advance of the D-Day landings. Launched in 1943, the operation immediately met with severe problems, most notably the horrible attrition experienced by the US bomber forces. However, with the arrival of the P-51 Mustang, the United States was able to equip the fighters to fly on long-range-bomber escort missions and take the fight to the Luftwaffe in the skies over Germany. This book examines the entire operation from both the Allied and the German perspectives, covering all the main decisions and technological innovations made by both sides in this epic struggle.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Panzer 38(t) provides an in-depth look at one of most little known yet advanced tanks of its day, a Czech vehicle that would become one of Germany's armored workhorses during the early campaigns of World War II. The Munich Agreement in 1938 and the subsequent German annexation of the Czech provinces of Bohemia-Moravia in 1939 put Germany in control of the large Czech armament industry. Among the crown jewels of the industry was the new LT.38 light tank. A very modern design, the LT.38 was among the best tanks in the world at the time, and was just beginning to come into service at the time of the German occupation. Absorbed into the Wehrmacht as the PzKpfw 38(t), it was one of the few foreign designs to remain in production for German service. A handful saw combat in Poland in 1939, but the PzKpfw 38(t)'s main claim to fame was in the Battle of France in 1940 when three German divisions were equipped with the Czech tank, including Rommel's 7th Panzer Division. The PzKpfw 38(t) became one of the key weapons in the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, and was widely used in the campaigns of 1941-42. With the advent of the Soviet T-34 tank, the days of the PzKpfw 38(t) as a battle tank were limited since it was too small to accommodate a larger gun in its turret. Nevertheless, it was rebuilt with larger anti-tank guns in open casemates, and so it had a second life as the basis for many German Panzerjager or tank destroyer designs. Besides the basic LT.38 design, a number of export derivatives were manufactured for a diverse range of customers including Iran and Peru. The PzKpfw 38(t) was also exported to a variety of Germany's allied armies including Hungary and Romania.
This fully illustrated study pits Germany's PzKpfw III tank against France's Somua S 35 in the vast armored battles that opened the campaign.The armor clashes in May 1940 were the biggest the world had yet seen, as the German advances of that period came to epitomize Blitzkrieg. Nonetheless the Wehrmacht's Panzer III was well matched by the French Somua S35; the two representing very different design philosophies and yet ranking among the best designs in the world at the time.
The Battle of France in 1940 involved the first large-scale tank-against-tank battles in history. The massive clashes at Stonne, Hannant, and Gembloux involved hundreds of tanks on both sides, yet have faded from memory due to the enormity of the French defeat. This book examines two of the premier opposing tanks of the Wehrmacht and the French Army, the German PzKpfw IV and the French Char B1 bis. With a complete history of the design, development, and deployment of these armored fighting vehicles, the story of these great battles is brought to life in a highly illustrated format.From the Trade Paperback edition.
As the Allies attempted to break out of Normandy, it quickly became apparent that there would be no easy victory over the Germans, and that every scrap of territory on the way to Berlin would have to be earned through hard fighting. This study concentrates on the ferocious battles between the German Panzer IV and US Sherman that were at the heart of this decisive phase of World War II. The two types were among the most-produced tanks in US and German service and were old enemies - having clashed repeatedly in the Mediterranean theater. Throughout their long service careers, both had seen a succession of technical developments and modifications, as well as an evolution in their intended roles - but both remained at the forefront of the fighting on the Western Front. Written by an expert on armoured warfare, this book invites the reader into the cramped confines of these armoured workhorses, employing vivid technical illustrations alongside archive and contemporary photography to depict the conditions for the crewmen within.