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The T-26 was the first major Soviet armour program of the 1930s, beginning as a license-built version of the British Vickers 6-ton export tank. Although the T-26 retained the basic Vickers hull and suspension, the Red Army began to make extensive changes to the turret and armament, starting with the addition of a 45mm tank gun in 1933. The T-26 was built in larger numbers than any other tank prior to World War II. Indeed, more T-26 tanks were manufactured than the combined tank production of Germany, France, Britain, and the United States in 1931Â?40. This book surveys the development of the T-26 as well as its combat record in the Spanish Civil War, the war in China, the border wars with Poland and Finland in 1939Â?40, and the disastrous battles of 1941 during Operation Barbarossa.
The super-heavy tanks of World War II are heirs to the siege machine tradition Â? a means of breaking the deadlock of ground combat. As a class of fighting vehicle, they began with the World War I concept of the search for a 'breakthrough' tank, designed to cross enemy lines. It is not surprising that the breakthrough tank projects of the period prior to World War II took place in the armies that suffered the most casualties of the Great War (Russia, France, Germany). All of the principal Axis and Allied nations eventually initiated super-heavy development projects, with increasingly heavy armor and armament. Much as the casualties of World War I prompted the original breakthrough tank developments, as Germany found itself on the defensive, with diminishing operational prospects and an increasingly desperate leadership, so too did its focus turn to the super-heavy tanks that could turn the tide back in their favor.
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.
The tanks used during the Spanish Civil War are not often examined in any great detail, and are often labeled as little more than test vehicles in a convenient proving ground before World War II. But, with groundbreaking research, armor expert Steven J Zaloga has taken a fresh look at the tanks deployed in Spain, examining how future tanks and armored tactics were shaped and honed by the crews' experiences, and how Germany was able to benefit from these lessons while their Soviet opponents were not. Based on recently uncovered records of Soviet tankers in Spain and rare archival accounts, this book describes the various tanks deployed in Spain, including the PzKpfw I and the T-26.
Entering service in the early 1960s, the M60 tank was in production for 23 years and formed the backbone of US Army and Marine armoured units during the Cold War. Over 15,000 were built in four basic models: the M60, M60A1, M60A2, and the M60A3. Although the M60 had been phased out of US Army service by the time Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, M60s were amongst the first Allied tanks to enter Kuwait City with the US Marines. This book examines the design and deployment of the M60, a very widely used vehicle that is still in service today.
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.
This title offers a detailed study of a successful but little-known German tank of World War II, the Panzer 38(t). Germany's annexation of Czech provinces in 1938 gave it control of the large Czech armament industry, one of the jewels of which was the very modern LT 38 tank. The type was fully integrated into the Wehrmacht as the Panzer 38(t), becoming one of the few foreign designs to continue in production for the Wehrmacht. It was an important element in the 1940 battle of France, and its most famous use was in the hands of Rommel's 7.Panzer Division. The Panzer 38(t) became one of the key weapons in the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, and was widely used in the Eastern Front campaigns of 1941?42. This illustrated study gives a uniquely detailed account of the technical history and combat record of one of the most successful early World War II tanks.
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