US Airborne Tanks 1939-1945
by Charles C. Roberts Jr.
This book covers the development and use of airborne tanks. Despite the title, the book covers the period from just after the end of World War I until the 1950s, but the emphasis is on airborne tank development in the U.S. during World War II.
- Format - hardcover
- Page Count - heavyweight, non-glossy paper, 139 pages
- Size - 6.5" x 9.5"
- Photos, images and tables - approximately 200 black and white.
- All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book
The book begins with a discussion of the need for airborne armor and pre-war developments by the U.S., U.K, Russia and Germany. It then moves on to the push for a dedicated, U.S. made airborne tank, the British influence on the design, and the development of the M22 Locust from prototype to production.
The book also covers the two U.S. Army units dedicated to airborne tank operations (151st Airborne Tank Company and the 28th Airborne Tank battalion), why the vehicle was not used during the D-Day landings but was used during the Rhine crossing by the British, and post war use of the vehicle. It ends with coverage of where these vehicles ended up after being decommissioned.
There are numerous photographs and excepts from operating manuals spread through the book. I would estimate that about 70% of the book is images, intermixed with text and long photograph captions.
The coverage of pre-war airborne tank development is particularly interesting. In addition to the tanks themselves, there is extensive coverage in the text of the aircraft used or proposed to transport the vehicles and details on why most of the proposals didn't pan out, including engineering explanations such as the need for the tracks to be spinning at a certain speed upon landing when being suspended from the bottom of glider so that the tank will be travelling at the same speed as the glider when it hits the ground.
Over half of the book is devoted to the M22 Locust tank, and includes a lot of detailed operating manual photographs and images, as well as close up photographs of the vehicle, both inside and out. This book is a great reference for anyone building the model.
There is a whole chapter devoted to the U.S. Army's use of the Locust, with detailed accounts of training and organization. The daily log of the 151st Tank Company from August, 1943 to December, 1944 is included as an appendix.
The book concludes with details on where these vehicles are now. Apparently, many of them were sold off at the end of the war to farmers to use as tractors.
The text is very well written. I found that there was some repetition here and there, suggesting that editing was not a high priority on this project, but the content is first rate. I feel the book is Highly Recommended for anyone who is interested in the use of airborne armor before and during World War II, and especially anyone who wants a very detailed reference of the M22 Locust tank.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review book.
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
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