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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Forgotten Tank and Guns of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s

I ordered a number of books from Amazon at the same time, and as they have become available, they have been delivered. The latest is David Lister's FORGOTTEN TANKS AND GUNS OF THE 1920s, 1930s AND 1940s.


The book feels like a collection of separate articles, and therefore lends itself more to being something one dips into rather than reads from cover to cover. That is not to say that it is not an interesting book to read; it is ... but it does not feel as if it has a narrative running though it.

The book is split into twelve chapters:
  • Chapter 1: Lurking in the Jungle ... which looks at the Japanese heavy tanks that were designed or that never went into series production.
  • Chapter 2: Battle Wing ... which looks at the Carden-Baynes airborne light tank/glider and how British tanks were eventually delivered to the battlefield by glider.
  • Chapter 3: From the Sea, through the Blood to the Green fields beyond ... which looks at various British amphibious armoured vehicle designs, including the AT-1, which to my untutored eye looked very like a Crusader tank turret atop the hull of a Buffalo amphibious tracked vehicle.
  • Chapter 4: You Disston my Tank? ... which looks at various armoured tractors, including the Disston tanks supplied to Afghanistan.
  • Chapter 5: The Smoking Gun ... which looks at the development of the British 'close support' tank concept.
  • Chapter 6: Hail Hydran! ... which looks at the work of Lewis Motley, the chief designer of Motley products, who designed a tank destroyer based on a Universal Carrier chassis that was armed with four(!) 6-pounder gun barrels that were pre-loaded and discared after being fired AND the Motley rocket gun!
  • Chapter 7: The Cambridge Camal ... which looks at the development of the Cambridge Projectile, a lightweight shell designed to be used in the Camal (Cambridge Aluminium) infantry gun.
  • Chapter 8: Schwimmpanzer 36
  • Chapter 9: Recoil Control ... which looks at development of the the Galliot muzzle break, which was trialled in 1941 on 6-pounder anti-tank guns mounted on a Renault UE armoured carrier and a Lorraine 37L armoured carrier, and later fitted to a 32-pounder gun mounted in the nose of a de Havilland Mosquito FB XVIII (Tsetse) fighter-bomber!
  • Chapter 10: The Soldierless Tank ... which looks at various British attempts to produce a radio-controlled tank.
  • Chapter 11: The Secret Life of the Infantry Tank ... which looks at the various one-man tankettes designed and built by Giffard le Quesne Martel and the A11 Infantry Tank (Matilda Mk.1).
  • Chapter 12: The Tanks without a War... which looks at the fail postwar bureaucratic attempt to write a history of British tank development up to 1939. It includes an attempt to explain how the 'cruiser' tank concept came about, and the muddled thinking that led to some tanks being referred to as 'battlecruisers', 'heavy cruisers', 'cruisers', and 'light cruisers' ... sometimes simultaneously! It also covers the background to the A6, A7, A8, A14, and A16 tanks designs, the attempts to find a suitable tank engine and air-cooled tank machine gun, a visit by British officers to Russia to observe tank exercises, and a hilarious (and failed) German project to help their soldiers understand British humour!

FORGOTTEN TANKS AND GUNS OF THE 1920s, 1930s AND 1940s was written by David Lister, edited by Paul Charlton, and published in 2018 by Pen & Sword Military (ISBN 978 1 52671 453 4).

10 comments:

  1. Bit of a spelling gaffe in the sentence following the ellipsis and just before the bullet list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr Pavone,

      My mind was obviously wandering ... do doubt because, at the time, I was sitting in our conservatory whilst the adult birds were feeding their young in our garden.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. Ah yes! BIRDS! You were thinking of birds. Ha ha!

      Delete
    3. Mr. Pavone,

      I could not possibly comment ...

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Sounds an interesting read and, having never heard of the Disston tank, have just Googled it and amazed that quite a few are still in Afghanistan in reasonable condition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve J.,

      There were a lot of things in the book that I’d never come across before ... including the Disston tank.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. Looks an interesting book- will pick it up. Always been interested in experimental technology in a 'show your working out in maths class' way. I find it illuminates the progress and process of military thought.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    Replies
    1. Pete.,

      I have another book on order that looks at post-war British tank development. I understand that it includes information about some of the experimental AFVs built using CENTURION and CONQUEROR chassis and components.

      I’ll be writing a review of the book ... when it arrives.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Just when I thought I had heard almost everything there was to be said about WWII tanks etc .. in from left field comes this .. brilliant .. opposite to the German "Super Tanks" that never off the drawing board

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    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      When I bought this book, I wasn’t sure that I’d find in very interesting, but it turned out to be far better than I expected, and it’s one that I’ll dip into again and again in the future.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete