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This is the definitive study of British light tanks of the Second World War. The author draws upon a vast and comprehensive body of archival information and research to explore their technical characteristics and combat performance. The title focuses largely on the very widely used Mark VI, but also covers all the variants that preceded it. The type was truly ubiquitous, equipping the British Army in France, the Western Desert regions, Norway, Sumatra, Persia and India. This book chronicles various experiments and improvisations carried out on the design of these tanks. It ends with coverage of the final model, the Mark VIC, and details of the experimental Lloyd airborne light tank of 1942, which has a number of features in common with the better-known Vickers-Armstrongs designs. Augmented by original photographs and technical drawings, this title is essential for anybody interested in the development of British armoured vehicles.
The Matilda was the principal British infantry tank in the early years of World War II. It served with the BEF in France and later in North Africa, where it earned the title 'Queen of the Desert'. Outclassed by increasingly powerful German anti-tank weapons, it still remained a power in the South-East Pacific, and was kept in service until the end of the war by Australian forces. In this title, David Fletcher deals with Marks I to V. Development and operational history are discussed, along with service in other countries, including Germany and Russia. Numerous variants are also covered, including the prototype 'Hedgehog' bunker-busting weapon.
The advent of combined arms operations in World War II created the need for specialized armored vehicles. In the case of amphibious attacks, the issue arose of how best to land tanks on a beach. Although a variety of specialized landing craft were developed, the Dieppe raid in 1942 encouraged the development of tanks that could be deployed from further off-shore to limit the vulnerability of the LCT craft. The deep-wading equipment that they developed was first used during Operation Husky on Sicily in July 1943, and subsequently for Operations Avalanche (Salerno, September 1943), Shingle (Anzio, January 1944) and Overlord (Normandy, June 1944). The US-manufactured DD tanks were used during Overlord by both US and British forces, and again in 1945 during the Rhine crossings. Initially, developments in the Pacific Theater were separate from those in Europe. The Marines learned from the Tarawa landings in 1943 that unprepared tanks could not be safely landed even in shallow water. DD tanks were never seriously considered for the Pacific, so other solutions were sought. A detailed study of specialized US amphibious tanks, this is a title that will appeal to those interested in both Pacific and European Theaters, modellers and collectors.
The Italian army, unlike those of the British and French, did not use tanks in combat during World War I and, by November 1918, only one training unit equipped with French Schneider and Renault tanks had been formed. Consequently, during the 1920s the Italian army had just one single tank type in its armoured inventory – the Fiat 3000. Only in 1927 was the first tank unit formed as a branch of the infantry and not as an independent organization, while the cavalry rejected the idea of both tanks and armoured cars and decided to stand by the use of horses for its mounted units. Between 1933 and March 1939, a further 2,724 CV 33 / L 3 tanks were built, 1,216 of which were exported all over the world. By the time Italy entered the war in June 1940, the army had 1,284 light tanks, 855 of which were in combat units, including three armoured divisions. Variants of the CV 33 / L 3 tanks included flame-throwers, bridge-layers, recovery vehicles, and a radio command tank. Some L 3 tanks were still in use in 1945, by both the Germans and the German-allied Italian units of the Repubblica Sociale.
When British soldiers charged across the Somme in September 1916 they were accompanied by a new and astonishing weapon – the tank. After a stuttering start armoured behemoths such as the Mark IV, Mark V and Whippet played a crucial role in bringing World War I to an end. Marking the centenary of their battlefield debut, this comprehensive volume traces the design and development of the famous British invention during World War I and the increasingly tense years of the 1920s and 30s, from the first crude but revolutionary prototype to the ever-more sophisticated designs of later years. Bolstered by historic photographs and stunning illustrations, author David Fletcher brings us the thrilling history behind the early British battle tanks.
A detailed study of Italy's long-ignored tank force Explores the intersection of technology, war, and society in Mussolini's Italy Second only to Germany in number of tank divisions, first to create an armored corps Though overshadowed by Germany's more famous Afrika Korps, Italian tanks formed a large part of the Axis armored force that the Allies confronted--and ultimately defeated--in North Africa in the early years of World War II. Those tanks were the product of two decades of debate and development as the Italian military struggled to produce a modern, mechanized army in the aftermath of World War I. For a time, Italy stood near the front of the world's tank forces--but once war came, Mussolini's iron arm failed as an effective military force. This is the story of its rise and fall.
The sequel to French Tanks of World War II (1), this title focuses primarily on France's cavalry armored vehicles, including the light reconnaissance tanks such as the AMR and AMC families, the famous Somua S.35 cavalry tanks and the extensive array of armored half-track and armored cars used by the French cavalry. Specific attention is also paid to tanks considered important from a numerical standpoint such as the Hotchkiss H-35/H-39 series. Featuring specially commissioned profile artwork, photographs and illustrations, French Tanks of World War II (2) provides detailed insight into the background and design of these tank types and presents a brief, yet thorough assessment of their performance during the Battle of France.

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