The publisher has developed from a background of publishing fine books for model engineers and model makers, and books with a specific Polish background. This new title is one of their very fine Green Series histories with a high image content, detailed text and some specially commissioned full colour sketches, of special interest to modellers and armour enthusiasts – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Chieftain, Britain's Flawed Masterpiece, FV4201 Chieftain Main Battle Tank FILE: R2905 AUTHOR: Richard Kent PUBLISHER: MMPBooks BINDING: soft back PAGES: 184 PRICE: £29.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Main Battle Tank, armoured fighting vehicle, gun tank, British Army, Cold War, Rhine Army, Middle East, Arab Israeli Wars, Arab Arab Wars, desert warfare, technology, heritage
IMAGE: B2906.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y2734kba LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The publisher has developed from a background of publishing fine books for model engineers and model makers, and books with a specific Polish background. This new title is one of their very fine Green Series histories with a high image content, detailed text and some specially commissioned full colour sketches, of special interest to modellers and armour enthusiasts – Very Highly Recommended It is interesting to compare this book with a new book on the Chieftain from the Pen and Sword Tank Craft Series. Model and armour enthusiasts will undoubtedly wish to purchase both books because they compliment each other. It is interesting because MMPBooks come from a modelling background and Pen and Sword comes from a solid military history background. In their coverage of this subject they have almost crossed over. Britain has had a somewhat chequered history in the design and development of armour. Britain pioneered the use of infantry tanks during WWI. Their code name for their first armoured vehicles became the internationally popular name for all armoured fighting vehicles. The British perspective was ironically based in Royal Navy perspectives and the tank was seen as a way of neutralizing the trenches of a stagnated war of attrition, with a capability to take on any enemy copies in much the same way as warship engagement. As a result, the classic early British tank with its lozenge shape, tracks running around on each side, armour plate, semaphore signalling and sponson mounted armament had more connection with naval practice than Army preferences. However, the British rapidly learned to deploy tanks in large formations. The French took a different approach with their smaller, faster, machine gun armed Renault tanks. After WWI, many countries began looking at the tank as an important part of any modern army and some very diverse ideas were followed, including tanks with several turrets, various forms of track and suspension and many attempts to develop new tactics. Ironically British and French soldiers proposed the use of armour in a fast moving mechanized all-arms formation, but failed to convince their masters of their ideas which were picked up by the Germans and used to revolutionize land warfare. The British continued their preoccupation with infantry tanks, but also developed faster 'cruiser' tanks and light tanks/tankettes. By the start of WWII, the British Army was equipped with cruiser tanks in very small numbers, excellent infantry tanks, the Matilda, and very useful light armoured vehicles in the form of the Universal Carrier or Brengun Carrier, in slightly better numbers. Overall, the BEF went to France with inadequate numbers of armoured vehicles and the only occasion when they assembled enough tanks at Arras they seriously worried the Germans and caused them severe damage and delay, buying time for the Dunkirk Evacuation. The Matilda tanks proved more than a match for the German tanks and, on this occasion, were used with tactics similar to the German tactics. As WWII progressed, the British continued to produce their own tank designs and excelled in special tanks, or 'funnies', that were designed to undertake engineering tasks and to swim ashore. However, the bombing of British factories, and the need to bring materials in by sea, meant that it was preferable to buy large numbers of US tank designs that were technically less effective than the German armour of the period, but won on numbers. The British also enhanced US tanks by equipping them with swimming capabilities and fitting more powerful guns that could take on the best German tanks. The British also developed tanks that could carry bridging equipment, destroy minefields and take on concrete bunkers, recover damaged tanks for repair and return to battle and a growing range of other tasks. This was done with British designs and by modifying US tanks. In general, Britain kept up with the pace of technology even though they could not produce the numbers of tanks required. Too late for action in WWII, the Centurion proved to be a very advanced and effective design that played an important part in the various hot actions of the Cold War. The Centurion was soon up-gunned from 75mm to 105mm and this new armament, together with its fire control equipment, proved highly successful, was the backbone of British armoured formations and served on both sides in the various Arab-Israeli and Arab-Iranian conflicts. Its main weakness was in combating the heaviest Soviet tanks, for which a 120mm gun was required. Initially, the British Army received a relatively small number of Conqueror tanks that were scattered amongst Centurion formations, with a 120mm gun to take out heavier Soviet armour but, unlike the Centurion, the Conqueror was ponderous and lacked the mobility really required. The Chieftain was developed to take the place of both types, with an advanced 120mm gun and fire control and a number of other pieces of advanced technology. The author has provided a detailed history of the development work that resulted in the Chieftain. It was a design masterpiece although not without flaws, in part because it combined a number of advanced components increasing the potential for teething problems and delays. The text is supported by a large number of fine full colour images that also show some of the related equipment, for example a Stalwart amphibious truck simultaneously refuelling two Chieftain MBTs, and the various special role adaptations of the Chieftain, such as the AVRE. There are also some excellent line drawing and an Appendix for modellers of camouflage patterns with some specially commissioned coloured sketches.