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

The development of tanks and guns continued after WWI and this new book provides a fascinating selection of designs from the 1920s to the 1940s. The early tanks of WWI were lumbering mobile pill boxes. This book bridges the designs between the first tanks and the armoured fighting vehicles of WWII . – Highly Recommended

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NAME: Forgotten Tanks and Guns of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s
FILE: R2762
AUTHOR: David Lister
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 130
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Tanks, armoured vehicles, tracked vehicles, light tanks, medium tanks, 
heavy tanks, guns, rocket guns, technology.

ISBN: 1-52671-453-1

IMAGE: B2762.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ya7v7oyb
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The development of tanks and guns continued after WWI and 
this new book provides a fascinating selection of designs from the 1920s to the 
1940s.  The early tanks of WWI were lumbering mobile pill boxes. This book 
bridges the designs between the first tanks and the armoured fighting vehicles 
of WWII . -  Highly Recommended

The first tanks were revolutionary even though their reliability left much to be desired. The objective 
was to produce a system that could withstand machine gun fire, move through barbed wire and across 
trenches, providing a shield for the infantry following behind. That meant that there was no great benefit 
in building vehicles that could travel much faster than walking speed and no great incentive to be 
manoeurable because they were really only expected to travel forward. They did need to be able to fire 
ahead and to both sides. The British Mark V was the classic design with guns mounted on either side in 
naval sponsons. The 'male' tanks carried two cannon and machine guns in the sponsons and the 'female' 
tanks carried only machine guns, perfectly adequate to fire on enemy trenches and along enemy trenches 
as they moved across the trench line. Tracks provided the means to negotiated mud, spreading the ground 
pressure of the heavy steel construction. To bridge the wider trenches, heavy timber and fascines were 
carried on top of the tank to fill the void over which the tank then crossed.

Light tanks were also built with machine guns that had a narrow field of fire although in theory they were 
intended to form the new cavalry, spreading out through the trench breaches made by the heavy tanks and 
providing ground reconnaissance. That made greater speed and manoeuvrability desirable but did not require 
much fire power.

After WWI designers tried a much wider range of designs as the concept of mobile warfare developed and 
trench warfare was considered something to avoid. This required a vehicle that was faster and able to travel 
reliably across a range of terrain, including a need to cross rivers. Armour had to be thicker to defeat the 
growing number of anti-armour guns. A heavier and more flexible canon was required to take on enemy 
tanks and fortifications. This was to produce the classic armoured fighting vehicle with a single heavy 
cannon mounted in a turret that could traverse through 360 degrees, a machine gun to take on infantry and 
then a machine gun or light canon to take on aircraft. Getting there produced false starts and diversions 
down blind development alleys. It also encouraged innovative new designs for guns that could produce 
greater power at lighter weights or higher rates of fire. 

The period between the two world wars was also a time of financial shortages and that encouraged 
attempts to produce more armour at lower cost. The half track was development that was intended to 
produce a range of vehicles at lower cost and complexity, as was the light tank. However, there were
 also developments, such as Christie suspension, that promised much faster armoured vehicles of larger 
sizes, and the turret became the popular mounting for the main gun. There were also large tanks with 
multiple guns in multiple turrets.

This diversity has been charted by the author in a very interesting book with good illustration that will 
appeal to military enthusiasts and those developing an interest in land warfare.