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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Tank- Ken Tout.
An excellent book, chronicling the authors experiences as a gunner in the notoriously inadequate sherman tank. Unlike other similar books, this puts you firmly in the hot seat. Battles are vividly described- from the gunners point of view. The sounds, smells, limited sight and above all the mindbending terror that gripped all tank crews. Undoubtedly the best book i have...
Published on 6 April 2009 by S.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
From the word go I had very mixed feelings about this book. I found the author's style of writing to be very flowery and over descriptive. More in the style of a first novel by a fiction writer than a set of memoirs. In truth, if all the paragraphs of flowery musings were removed the book would be much thinner and more enjoyable. As it transpired I just scanned...
Published 7 months ago by GDD


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Tank- Ken Tout., 6 April 2009
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This review is from: By Tank - D to VE Days (Hardcover)
An excellent book, chronicling the authors experiences as a gunner in the notoriously inadequate sherman tank. Unlike other similar books, this puts you firmly in the hot seat. Battles are vividly described- from the gunners point of view. The sounds, smells, limited sight and above all the mindbending terror that gripped all tank crews. Undoubtedly the best book i have read on the subjet, so good i wrote a review- i can't recommend it highly enough.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This author paints pictures with words, 4 Feb 2009
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Mr. R. E. J. Hyson (Portsmouth, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: By Tank - D to VE Days (Hardcover)
By Tank - D to VE Days
This author really does paint pictures with words! When specific battle sequences are happening he builds up the picture, little by little, until the full drama hits you between the eyes. When describing day to day events, his writing is every bit as interesting (and not, as in many of today's war memoirs, filled with foul language!). To feel as though you are actually there, you must buy this book. Once started, it's difficult to put it down again.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest WWII Combat Memoirs!, 24 April 2009
By 
Dr. K. C. MacDonald (Cambs, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: By Tank - D to VE Days (Hardcover)
I was very happy to discover this memoir - one of the few truly detailed accounts of tank warfare in Europe. It is moved into a league of its own by the poetic soul of the author, who writes with rare perception and insight. For me it ranks with the very best of the Second World War memoirs (e.g. Sajer's Forgotten Soldier and Stiles' Serenade to the Big Bird).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!, 8 April 2012
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This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
As a Military Historian that hadn't read many personal accounts of 'Tankies' during WW2, I couldnt wait to read this book.
It was very well written and I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended account of a true hero's journey during WW2.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true classic, 24 Jan 2010
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Mr. Mark St Grant "WW2BUFF" (SUSSEX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: By Tank - D to VE Days (Hardcover)
one of the best combat books of WW2. The level of detail is amazing.One other reviewer compared this to the Forgotten Soldier in terms of quality and I'm inclined to agree.By Tank into Normandy by Stuart Hills who was in the Sherwood Foresters is well worth a read if you enjoy this, which you will
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 3 May 2014
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GDD (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
From the word go I had very mixed feelings about this book. I found the author's style of writing to be very flowery and over descriptive. More in the style of a first novel by a fiction writer than a set of memoirs. In truth, if all the paragraphs of flowery musings were removed the book would be much thinner and more enjoyable. As it transpired I just scanned quickly through those pieces and concentrated on the actual meat of the prose which was the events which took place between D Day and 25th October 1944 when the author was hospitalised. The book effectively ends there with all after that point reminiscent of an enhanced version of the regimental war diary or someone else's recollections. After all, the author couldn't have written faithfully about events which took place when he wasn't present. I was disappointed that he didn't relate more about his recovery in hospital when he arrived (fortuitously) in Hereford, his own home town.

The book is still valuable in my opinion because it was written by a trooper (later lance corporal) in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Most memoirs one gets to read these days are by officers and they have a different feel about them. Ken Tout goes into detail about his colleagues; how they prepared food and ate, what temporary accommodation was like or how it felt bivvying up in the field beside one's own tank. As a former tank crewman, and junior rank, I found much I could personally relate to. His descriptions about the manifold actions he was involved in are a superb read and it is my opinion that everyone would recognise the fear and horror he felt when his own tank was struck by munitions from the Germans and he had to bale out as the tank caught fire. His description of conditions inside the vehicle when in contact with the enemy for extremely periods, sometimes in excess of 24 hours, is excellent. The smells of cordite, sweat and human waste.

The Yeomanry weren't professional soldiers. They were territorials and conscripts. It is fundamental to the book that these men became so good at their jobs and how they were trained up to the standards of other regiments in the Royal Armoured Corps after relinquishing their horses, much like the regular cavalry largely had to do in the couple of years prior to the war. The men of the Northants Yeomanry became as good as any of their contemporaries and were highly regarded by their infantry, especially the battalion from the Black Watch who spent so much time with them across France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

So, criticism of writing style to one side, I would still say this book is a must for any historian, enthusiast or anyone teaching about the horrors of armoured warfare and how the Royal Armoured Corps were put in the invidious position of engaging an enemy who they knew had tanks and guns able to knock out their poorly armoured Sherman tanks. They still did their duty and only on one occasion does Ken Tout describe a situation where a trooper refused an order from his superior and had to be forced at gunpoint to carry out his duties.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable history, 13 Feb 2011
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This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
This book is by far easily the best account of the fighting in Normandy and onwards that I have read to date.(And I've read more than a few!). The style of writing is more like a novel told from the point of view of the men taking part,and creates the atmosphere that these events are happening now as the story is told.OK,so at one point the author perpetuates the myth that the Sherman burst into flames due to hits in its engine (instead of its ammunition). Most tankers even today,although highly trained in the operation of their vehicle remain mostly ignorant of its technical details. I have spoken to an Isreali tank commander who was convinced that the chains hanging from his tank turret were to deflect high velocity AP,whereas in fact they were intended to predetonate RPG rounds and would have little or no effect on AP shells. So although the author gets this bit wrong, he is still giving a true account as this would have been his opinion at the time,and witnesses to the ammunition fires that caused the most losses would have been few and far between for obvious reasons. With this in mind,I would say that this book is the most accurate portrayal of the fighting "at the sharp end" that I have ever come across. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. Excellent.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life And Death Of Tank Crews, 20 Mar 2011
This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
I have read many books about the war at and under the sea,in the air and on the ground but this is the first book that i can remember written by a member of a tank crew.you would think that life must be a bit safer going to war surrounded by steel.however this is not the case.Bearing in mind that 5 Sherman tanks were destroyed for every Tiger.The tanks were also subject to attack by the lethal 88mm self propelling guns,and at the same time by their own air forces.If you were a tank commander you risked being killed by a sniper as soon as you put your head out of the turret.If a shell landed in the wrong case the tank became a tommy cooker as the Germans called them.Tout describes the grim fate of many of his commrades and enemy in graphic detail.You can but marvel at the courage of the crews that manned the tanks knowing that at any minute they might be incinerated.People today take their freedom too lightly forgetting about the sacrifices made by these brave men.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 21 May 2012
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This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
If you want to understand what it was like to be part of a crew of a Sherman tank, then this excellent descriptive diary account will certainly help. A vivid and eloquent portrayal of tank warfare.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Northamptonshire Yeomanry In World War Two., 13 Mar 2012
By 
Tony S/F. (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
This review is from: By Tank: D to VE Days (Paperback)
Ken Tout's book 'By Tank; D to VE Days' is a most graphic account of the horrors of tank warfare with The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC). The reader is taken right into actual battles from the Normandy beaches, through death-trap bocage fields, against impossible odds and terrible conditions. The Northamtonshire Yeomanry were part of the RAC. but most of the Second Northants. Yeomanry, including my Uncle Jack, were wiped out in one assault however the First Northants were successful in their night assault soon after. No detail of their suffering or gritty heroism is spared. A year later Germany was vanquished and the rest is history. By comparison modern warfare is but a minor skirmish though the dead and injured are the same home grown heroes.
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By Tank: D to VE Days
By Tank: D to VE Days by Ken Tout (Paperback - 29 Oct 2010)
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