Books that take a critical view of tank effectiveness

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Books that take a critical view of tank effectiveness

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 20 Jan 2020 23:54

Does anyone know of any books or articles that take a critical view of the value of tanks in combat during WW2? It seems like tanks have been mythologized into these all-important vehicles essential for victory in most popular reading material. Are there any authors who seek to demythologize the importance of tanks and offer a critical analysis of their actual value in battle?


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Re: Books that take a critical view of tank effectiveness

Post by Mori » 21 Jan 2020 07:20

Try John Buckley's British armor in the Normandy campaign

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Re: Books that take a critical view of tank effectiveness

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Jan 2020 13:16

In Gunners in Normandy - Townend and Baldwin we have tried to set the record straight about the contribution of anti tank artillery. ;)

Actually most serious analysis of the Second world war should put the contribution of armour into context.

James J Sheehan Professor at Stanford said in a lecture that the history of warfare is one of cruel disappointments and tragic irony. Before WW2 the tank enthusiasts thought that tanks would revolutionise warfare and avoid the bloody battles of attrition of WW1. Tanks did revolutionise the pattern of warfare - as long as the one side lacked enough effective anti tank weapons. Massed tank attacks could open a breach and turn a breakthrough into pursuit. After a couple of years everyone had re-organised their armies to have a balance of anti tank weapons and mobile reserves. Tanks were just another weapon system and warfare in WW2 looked like like much of WW1 - with tanks, anti tank guns and radios.

The Blitzkrieg legend by Karl-Heinz Frieser is a very good (and official Bundeswehr ) analysis of the 1940 campaign. The Germ,an advantage wasn't tanks, alone. It was having mechanised troops that could communicate with each other. French tanks fought alone. Germans hunted in packs. It wasn't the quality of the tank, but the radio that mattered.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 21 Jan 2020 16:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books that take a critical view of tank effectiveness

Post by Cult Icon » 21 Jan 2020 14:42

For a balanced overview and dynamic change within Soviet forces (Dunn and Glantz): Colossus Reborn, Soviet military operational art: In pursuit of Deep battle, Hitler's Nemesis, Stalin's Keys to Victory. Armor was however, proportionately more important in the Red Army because their artillery and air support wasn't as dominant as the Allies.

CW 44-45: I found "Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944" a good deal better than the Buckley books (Monty's Men and British Armour in the Normandy Campaign). It rightfully identifies the artillery as the British Army's most important arm.

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