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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable memoir from a veteran.
Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II is an unusual addition to the growing pile of memoirs being published as WW II veterans age and then die. It is not written by a soldier who was in the thick of combat and has brave tales to tell, nor is it the story of someone in command, explaining and justifying his decisions. Instead,...
Published on 18 Dec 1998

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy with caution
If like me you have a strong holistic interest in WWII history and you buy a lot of books from publishers such as Fedorowics, Heimdal, Historie & collections, and Panzer Tracts ect you will find too many issues with this book to take it seriously.
I don't doubt the credentials of its author but the book has far too many glaring inaccuracies and suspect claims to keep...
Published on 9 Nov 2009 by Dean Allison


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable memoir from a veteran., 18 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II is an unusual addition to the growing pile of memoirs being published as WW II veterans age and then die. It is not written by a soldier who was in the thick of combat and has brave tales to tell, nor is it the story of someone in command, explaining and justifying his decisions. Instead, Cooper was a junior officer in charge of vehicle maintenance for the 3rd Armored Division as it fought its way from Normandy to Central Germany. He was always right behind the front lines, but seldom in combat, though frequently exposed to sniper and artillery fire. The main revelation of Death Traps is obvious from its title: the famous M4 Sherman tank which was the mainstay of American armor during the war was completely inadequate when facing German tanks. American commanders, especially Gen. Patton, chose to continue producing the Sherman even when they knew it could not face German tanks and antitank guns, and American tank crews paid a heavy price for this mistake. Cooper has done his homework. Unlike many war memoirs, he has spent time reading the general histories in recent years, and gets the background information right when he discusses the pursuit across France, the invasion of Germany, and the Battle of the Bulge. But the most important thing here is the details: how the Sherman worked, how maintenance was carried out under harsh conditions, and, especially, what happened when a high-velocity 75 mm or 88 mm shell hit an M4.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight to armored warfare, 16 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
From reading this book I felt that Mr. Cooper provided little known facts regarding the entire spectrum of armored warfare. By relating his experience as an Ordance Officer in the United States Army during WWII, Mr. Cooper describes the organization, development, and deployment strategies of armored divisions from Normandy to the outskirts of Berlin. Cooper also details the design and development of the M-4 Sherman Tank, which was unfortunately dictated by politics. The inferiority of the Sherman Tank as compared to the German Panzers was also outlined in detail. Mr. Cooper also discusses little known facts regarding the developmnet of the M-26 Pershing and "Super Pershing". I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in WWII.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy with caution, 9 Nov 2009
By 
Dean Allison (Durham UK) - See all my reviews
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If like me you have a strong holistic interest in WWII history and you buy a lot of books from publishers such as Fedorowics, Heimdal, Historie & collections, and Panzer Tracts ect you will find too many issues with this book to take it seriously.
I don't doubt the credentials of its author but the book has far too many glaring inaccuracies and suspect claims to keep me interested until the end.
Typical post war commercial mass-market library book fodder of interest only to those who already have a one sided and blinkered understanding of WWII.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Collection of Ground Level Retrospectives, 2 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
Belton Cooper's story embodies the "GI Joe" Perspective. His candor, though somewhat biased at times, is to be admired. Mr. Cooper advises the reader that his recollections and opinions are basically his own. Mr. Cooper provides a number of insightful and heroic tales equal in breadth to Martin Middlebrook's "Arnhem 1944" The near tragic counter battery incident and massacre of American bombers were two of the best ground level stories available to the general public in recent years. The book is quite a valuable reference tool for the serious military historian. The only significant criticism is directed towards the editing. The publisher should have assisted Mr. Cooper (who is admirably a first time writer) perhaps in better organizing tactical reference maps and explaining army corp level operations. The publisher, like many others in the past, egregiously misidentifies photographs. For example, General Maurice Rose was not killed in action on March 30, 1944. Third Armor wasn't even on the continent at the time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, refreshing look at armored warfare of WW II., 1 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
An outstanding book, and a refreshing look at WW II. Belton Cooper has provided us with a refreshing new look at the classic armored warfare of WW II in Western Europe. As a junior ordnance (maintenance officer) with the 3rd Armored Division "Spearhead", 1LT Cooper had a tremendous vantage point. His duties required him to spend his days immediately behind the front line battle coordinating repairs and accounting for combat losses. He spent his nights driving through potentially enemy territory to the Division's Maintenance Battalion in the rear to locate replacement vehicles, repaired vehicles and crews. Although not a front line soldier, 1LT Cooper was frequently in the thick of battle with the 3rd AD and or running a gauntlet of sniper fire and artillery in his jeep. He clearly details how armored vehicle recovery and maintenance was performed either at the front or in the rear. Of particular interest to me was his description of the Ordnance Corps' role in training the replacement tank crews, and essentially commanding these vehicles and crews until they were turned over to the combat units at the front. This practice is what we today call Weapons System Replacement Operations. He also describes other logistical efforts in supplying a fast moving armored division with fuel and ammunition. Most importantly, Cooper describes the shortcomings of the American M4 Sherman Tank. The M4 was outgunned by and insufficiently armored in comparison to the German Mark IV, V and VI tanks it faced. Cooper describes in excellent detail the 3rd Armored Division's use of combined arms and air power to compensate for the M4's weaknesses. Cooper weaves his tale in a style similar to Stephen Ambrose's style with one exception. Where Ambrose describes the war from many common men's viewpoints, "Death Traps" is one common man's viewpoint. It is full of poignant stories, of American soldiers, German soldiers as well as the French, Belgian and German civilians he encountered. "Death Traps" is an excellent book and shows another side of World War II. If you are looking for a new perspective on World War II in Europe, 1944-45, "Death Traps" is the book for you. This is a must read for any professional soldier or military historian.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, absorbing -- excellent, 27 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
I read this book because I was curious to know what happened to a tank crew when the tank was knocked out. Now I know. Mostly they died horrible deaths by getting blown to pieces or incinerated. They died by the tens of thousands because they fought in rolling boxes that might as well have been built out of cardboard for all the protection they afforded against Panther and Tiger tanks. The inexcusable loss of these brave men because of the inadequacy of their equipment is an important story which needed to be told. The book also tells the story of the bravery and superhuman efforts of the armored divisions 'ordnance and maintenance crews. It was astonishing how quickly a severely battle damaged tank could be retrieved, repaired and put back in the line. If not for this effort, the war may well have been lost. My auto mechanic should read this book. I sincerely hope this book is very successful. Death Traps belongs on the shelf of every public library in America.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fills an information niche in WW2 armor, 4 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (Hardcover)
Mr. Cooper tells a war story from a different aspect - an officer who has to "pick up the pieces" after the battle. The Ordnance personnel in an armored division had to supply new vehicles, repair damaged ones, and do field modifications. Not as glamorous as driving the tanks, but absolutely essential if a unit is going to keep going. Not just a technical history of the tanks, the book centers on the impressions of a young man, just out of engineering school, who finds himself in the middle of a war, keeping the tanks supplied and running, while often exposed to extreme danger himself. Essential reading for any student of the U.S. Army in Europe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 15 Sep 2013
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Awesome,from an american point of view,good read,hard to put down.Good first hand account.Please read and submit your own comments,cheers,word and buy it
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5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to the bravery of the GI's of World War 2, 11 Sep 2013
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You may, like me, have wondered long and hard at the losses born by so many people involved in World War 2 and how finely-balanced were the factors that led eventually to victory for the Allies and the freedom we know today.
Needless tragedy and loss-of-life were commonplace.
This is the story of the American Armoured Fighting Soldier throughout the campaign to invade Germany during 1944 and 1945. The losses they incurred are hard to imagine, as is their willingness to keep going when their chances of survival were poor. One cannot question their bravery; their teamwork; their unwillingness to admit defeat. The dash for each successive military objective was not made in ignorance of their chances of survival; these young men understood what lay before them and still they went forward. They demonstrated such bravery as we cannot claim to understand; and they did so for the benefit of all humanity; as our soldiers continue to do today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best book from ww2 for ages., 31 Aug 2013
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I can't recommend this book enough for people who are in too tanks ,well written and to the point a great eye opener to the flaws of allied armour in ww2,and the great effort of the men in the maintenance divisions to keep them rolling.
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