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Crusader : Cruiser Tank 1939-1945 (Osprey New Vanguard) [Paperback]

David Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 1995 Osprey New Vanguard (Book 14)
The Covenanter (which never saw active service) and Crusader Cruiser tanks were developed between 1939 and 1940. The Crusader first saw action in the North African desert in June 1941: its speed and sleek design made it a hard target to hit, and the tank was well-respected by the Afrikakorps for its velocity in combat. But its hurried development prior to World War II also made it prone to mechanical failure. This book examines the Covenanter and the many variants of the Crusader tank, detailing the designs, developments and disappointments of these infamous World War II tanks.

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Crusader : Cruiser Tank 1939-1945 (Osprey New Vanguard) + The Matilda Infantry Tank 1938-1945 (Osprey New Vanguard) + Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942-50 (New Vanguard)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (15 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855325128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855325128
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 480,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The design of any new tank is affected by a number of factors, none of them simple and usually inter-related. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and comperhensive 14 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Crusader (which my Grandfather servered in in the Desert) and the lesser known Covenanter Tanks. Whilst the technical analysis, and that of the variants is very detailed, it would have been useful to have more details of the tanks performance in battle (for the Crusader) and what the crews view of it was.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed overview 1 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides an excellent overview of two pretty disastrous tank types. As with all Osprey books it seems a bit too short and wedged into their 48 page format. Given that however David Fletcher includes massive amounts of detail that should satisfy anyone wanting a brief history etc without examining every nut and bolt!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britain's Desert Warrior 11 Dec 2000
By Gerald P. Owens - Published on
David Fletcher, of Britain's Tank Museum, has written a useful, if limited, history of British cruiser tanks in the 1941-43 period. The content is split about evenly between two competing designs, the Crusader and the Covenanter. While the Crusader was Britain's main battle tank in the Western Desert battles against Rommel's Afrika Korps and the Italians, the Covenanter stayed behind in Britain (its cooling system was woefully inadequate). After the Sherman tank became available in large numbers, Crusaders were rebuilt as antiaircraft vehicles and gun tractors, while the Covenanters were scrapped. Aimed mainly at the model builder, this title has all the strengths and weaknesses inherent in Osprey's military booklets. The color drawings of operational vehicles reproducing their camouflage and unit markings are quite useful, but the book's 48 pages are very limiting, particularly since it covers two distinct vehicles. Osprey favors text over photos, and most pictures are small and murky, so you might also want to track down "Tanks in Camera," Mr. Fletcher's hardbound photo essay on the desert war. Thomas Jentz has also done a photo book on the early desert war.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Useful Information, But Lacking in Depth 25 Sep 2010
By Jonathan Lupton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The mechanical characteristics of the Crusader tank are important to understanding the fighting in the Western Desert in World War II. For better or worse, the Crusader was the most numerous British tank in the desert fighting, and served during the heaviest fighting, from mid-1941 through the Tunisian campaign in early 1943.

This title gives some background on the Crusader, but I wanted more. Part of the problem is that the book gives equal attention to the Covenanter, a tank with severe cooling problems that kept it on training duties in Britain's mild climate through the war. To my mind, the Covenanter warrants a page or two at most; the Crusader should be the primary subject. There is also a bizarre typo that claims about 17,000 Covenanters were built; other sources put the total at a more realistic-sounding 1,700.

The author points out that some of the Crusader's notorious reliability problems stemmed from lengthy shipping time. Improper stowage, and attendant exposure to salt water, worsened the tank's problems once it arrived in North Africa's searing heat and ubiquitous dust. In fact, this much-maligned tank had some strengths, including good speed and a tough suspension. Reliability problems were reduced as crews learned the tank's servicing needs. The Crusader III mounted the highly effective 6-pounder gun, although this version did not arrive in North Africa until late summer, 1942, and was hampered by a two-man turret.

Text is readable, albeit in a techno/British style that may seem stilted to some casual American readers. I also would have liked a little more attention to the tanks' predecessors, including the A-13 Mk III and IV series that preceded both designs, and the flawed "cruiser tank" concept. A little more discussion of the two-pounder gun and its tank mounting would have helped, too. Note to Osprey publishers: the Crusader was important enough to warrant a title in the new "duel" series, perhaps up against the Panzer IIIh.

If you know little about the Crusader, this title will give you new information. Illustrations are of good quality. If, like me, you have encountered this tank in many readings, you will add a little to your knowledge, but still have a lot of questions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the tank that helped beat the Afrikakorps 18 Aug 2010
By C. W. Carter - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
No less than two experts on warfare from the past & future (coming from the perspective of mounted fighting troops) validated the combat-worthiness of this excellent British tank. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest once said the key to victory consisted in getting there the first with the most. Wehrmacht General Hasso von Manteuffel described one of the most important qualities of the ideal tank (discussed in an interview after the Second World War) as having superior speed on the battlefield. They could very well have been discussing the foundations of the British Crusader tank. It may not have been the most heavily armed and armored tank of World War Two, but by virtue of the bravery of its crews and the quantity of numbers employed, this tank helped to stall Nazi Germany's southernmost thrust on land against the Allied cause. It's difficult to gain a good overall impression of the war in North Africa during the Second World War without also knowing about the machines that carried out the will of the combatants. This book does a good job in describing what it was like to operate and fight in this too-often maligned British tank. The fact of the matter is, the Crusader made up the majority of numbers of British tanks in North Africa against the Axis forces. The Crusader was an important reason why the Allies won in North Africa. David Fletcher also describes other, lesser-known variants. A very well-done book!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent review of the Covenanter and Crusader tanks 5 Jun 2014
By J. F. Benedetto - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book comprises a very enlightening set of photographs regarding the two British cruiser tank designs -- Covenanter & Crusader -- that developed side-by-side as an outgrowth of the A13 tanks. The book also covers a variety of sub-models of the two tanks, including the trial models of the floating Crusader tank and the Covenanter-based AT/1*amphibious tank. It contains Osprey's usual high level of illustrations and fills a very neat niche in understanding these two WWII British tanks.
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