Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
A long-overdue look at the facts, rather than yet another rerun of old myths
on 17 May 2014
Zaloga's work is well-written, enjoyable and well-presented. The photos are excellent and most were new to me - they don't warrant another reviewer's negative criticism. As a long-standing amateur historian, I have long been under the impression that it took five Shermans to knock out a Panther or Tiger (let alone a King Tiger) - it was just as well for the Western Allies (and particularly the British tank forces) that there were five Shermans for every Panther and Tiger . . . this book has opened my eyes to the true facts.
Zaloga starts by pointing out the total lack of experience of tanks in the US at the beginning of WW2 - either from the point of view of the soldiers using them or from the point of view of the manufacturers. Mistakes were made, some of which influenced US armoured warfare for the rest of the war and some odd decisions definitely appear to have been made (but then, the British were no better, or the Russians, for that matter).
The pressure on all concerned in design and production, whether to try to achieve an adequate design now (and produce it by the thousands, in the Sherman's case) or to keep searching for a better tank later is very well described and will be familiar to students of British WW1 tank production.
The matter of the "Ronson/TommyCooker reputation Shermans acquired is well dealt with, and Zaloga's conclusions are well-supported by real facts, not myth.
One caveat - the book is what it says on the cover - a study of the US Army Sherman in WW2. The British influence on the design and development of the Sherman is covered well, but use of the Sherman by British and other non-US armies (including the US Marines) is mentioned only in passing. Zaloga is a prolific author and has covered various related aspects of armoured warfare in other titles.
An excellent study of one of the most important tanks of WW2, which anyone interested in the history of armoured warfare should read.