Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 14 August 2014
This series of books continues to provide what is, for me at least, the best possible grounding into the specifics of each subject covered. In this instance, the publishers have tackled the subject of French Tanks from WW2 in two editions and this (the second) covers Cavalry Tanks and AFVs. Though never a ‘cavalry man’ myself, I did once command a Scout Car on duty in Northern Ireland and also later served with a Cavalry Regiment and have been ‘locked down inside’ during simulated NBC attacks. Whereas, therefore, my experience might be described as the bare minimum, I do have a little (very little!) from my past service on which to draw when studying the work. Having said that, I found it absolutely fascinating!
The work commences with an appreciation of ‘Early Efforts at Cavalry Mechanisation’ which provides a great introduction. This is followed by three major chapters - each with as number of sub-headings as follows; (1) The Weygand Reforms; (Renault AMR 33, Renault AMR 35, Renault AMC, Somua S35, Hotchkiss H35, Hotchkiss H39, Panhard AMD 35 and Cavalry Mechanisation). (2) French Tanks and the 1940 Campaign; (Technical assessment and the turret problem, the Radio Gap, Legends of the Campaign, Tank Strength May 1940, the 1930s Arms Race and Cumulative Tank Production 1931-40 and French Tank Deployment May 1940). (3) French Tanks after the 1940 Armistice; (Cavalry AMDs in Colonies September 1939, Operation Exporter, Operation Torch and Tank Development in Vichy France). The book then concludes with Further Reading and Index.
From the above, the reader will gain a full appreciation of the subject although, (having missed it!) I did think I should have read the aforementioned earlier work first. Nevertheless, this is a full appraisal of the vehicles covered and one which will be most useful to those studying the subject.
Once again, no praise is too high for the outstanding artwork which sets this series of books apart from anything else. Eleven of the vehicles are carefully produced in original livery, side profile with numerous regimental motifs shown either on the tank/AFV or separately alongside. Across pages 20-21 there is a complete cutaway sectional diagram of the Somua S35. Elsewhere we find line drawings of these vehicles including some which show the crew on board in their operational positions. In addition there is an excellent selection of historic photographs alongside a small number of more recent (colour) images of vehicles which have been carefully preserved.
All things considered, another excellent introduction to the subject.
British army major (retired)