I have to admit that to date I have made so few WWII U.S. kits that you could most likely count them on one hand and not need the thumb, and for that reason I’m not particularly well versed in who did what, where, and when whilst waving the Stars and Bars. It is however that very fact that makes me appreciate just how good this book is.
Usually I would ask someone who had a keen interest in a particular area to do the review of something with which I was unfamiliar, but I sat down to read this book one night and realised just why sometimes the review should be done by someone totally in the dark to start with. Because when I put this down I felt like I knew so much more than I did when I picked it up. I also now really want to build an M3 Gun Motor Carriage.
The main coverage in this book is around the battles that took place in mid-February 1943 which are probably better known as the Battles of Kasserine Pass. My knowledge of the U.S. in WWII may be limited but even I knew that Kasserine Pass was where the U.S. Army recieved their first very bloody nose, one that resulted in a big rethink of tactics. Though this is the focus the initial reading gives a very good background as to the disposition and thinking of the U.S. armoured forces in Tunisia as well as a very good breakdown of how the various units were made up and their chain of command etc.
Interestingly the photos used throughout this book are all photos that were taken by the German victors of the various wrecks that littered the field in the aftermath of the battles of 14th and 15th of February 1943. This gives a facinating insight into the battle, far different from the usual collection of photos of vehicles in quiet periods. The photos are all very well reproduced and contain a wealth of reference material for modellers, aided by some excellent captioning which tries where possible to identify each tank and point out interesting features in the image.
The centre of the book provides four pages of colour illustrations with a fifth page of the same being found on the outside back cover. These use the vehicles found in the photographs to depict their various markings together with insets of all the various unit markings. These are very handy as I never realied the extent to which U.S. tankers personalised their tank with a name. It seems that almost all ( if not endeed all ) tanks carried a name similar to those used by U.S. Bomber crews ( just without the nose art ).
I found this to be not just informative from a modellers point of view but a daamn good read as well. It’s not a challenging one as the book is 34 pages all told and two thirds of it is photos and captions but I still found it to be a good evenings read and came away from it feeling not just that I knew more than I did before I started, but from a modelling point of view much more confident about tackling a Sherman which to date I’ve found about as daunting as doing Tiger Is and getting them right.
If you’re a fan of U.S. armour this should be a must have, if you just want to know more about U.S. armour in Tunisia then this is also a good start. Highly recommended.
Author : Claude Gillono ( with Leife Hulbert )Publisher : Oliver Publishing Group ( www.oliverpublishinggroup.com)
Pages : 34 containing B&W Photos and colour artwork plates Binding : Softcover Size : 212mm x 297mm ISBN : 978-0-9806593-1-3
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