Tank Craft 9, Cromwell and Centaur Tanks, British Army and Royal Marines North-West Europe 1944-1945

The Tank Craft series has become very popular with model makers, model engineers and military enthusiasts. No.9 provides an excellent review of the Cromwell and Centaur Tanks and available model kits in the established format of concise text and outstanding art work, with many full colour photographs. Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Tank Craft 9, Cromwell and Centaur Tanks, British Army and Royal Marines 
North-West Europe 1944-1945
FILE: R2709
AUTHOR: Dennis Oliver
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 64
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Armour, gun tank, support tank, British Army, Royal Marines, WWII, 
WW2, World War Two, Second World War, World War 2, beach landings, D-Day, 
Normandy Landings, Liberation of France, invading Germany

ISBN: 978-1-52672-541-7

IMAGE: B2709.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yb7nfspu
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The Tank Craft series has become very popular with model makers, 
model engineers and military enthusiasts. No.9 provides an excellent review of the 
Cromwell and Centaur Tanks and available model kits in the established format of 
concise text and outstanding art work, with many full colour photographs. Highly 
Recommended.

The British Army had a somewhat variable relationship with tanks and armoured formation structures and 
tactics. Having introduced the tank to battle during WWI, the British Army developed a strong addiction 
to 'infantry tanks' as a result of WWI tactics where the objective was to breach static trench defences. The 
slow speed of early tanks made them ideal as mobile pill boxes, moving forward with infantry sheltering 
behind them and clearing German trenches as the tanks rolled through the defence line. The result was that 
British thinking favoured designs that were relatively slow but carried thick armour and guns suitable for 
taking on fixed defences. This produced the Matilda and Valentine tanks used in WWII and these designs 
were well received by the Red Army when numbers of them were delivered via the PQ Arctic convoys. 
The Soviets were of course engaged not only in vast rolling tank battles, where the Soviet T-34 proved so 
effective, but also in vicious trench warfare. In the same way, the British Universal Carrier, which was an 
ultra light open tank, proved popular with the Red Army as a handy and reliable infantry carrier that could 
tow an anti-tank canon. After WWI, British Army officers were the first to appreciate that armour could be
 used in a war of fast movement that would require close cooperation of tactical aircraft and would prevent 
an enemy from digging in for a trench war of attrition. Unfortunately, these creative British tankers failed 
to win over the politicians or the senior Staff officers, but they did inspire French and German officers who 
achieved greater success in winning senior support. 

Not built in sufficient numbers, or fully developed for a lightning war, British tank development did 
produce light, medium and fast cruiser tanks in the run up to WWII. The basic concepts were good, even if 
insufficient funds were given to development and manufacture, so that when the BEF was hit by the 
German advance through Belgium, British tanks were applied in small numbers, scattered across the front, 
making them vulnerable to German tanks that were applied en masse to punch through enemy positions. 
The real lessons were to come in North Africa and the Crusader cruiser tanks demonstrated a number of
 vulnerabilities, most notably a 2 pounder main gun that could not penetrate German armour. This led to 
the specification that was met by the Cromwell and Centaur designs.

The Cromwell was a competent gun tank that offered good mobility and speed, combined with effective 
armour, particularly to the turret and the tank's front, and a 6 pounder 76mm main gun that could defeat 
most German tanks. The Centaur was armed with a short barrel main gun optimised for taking on fixed 
defences. Deep-wading kits were developed for both versions and proved effective in the D-Day landings 
and in river crossings. The American Sherman was delivered to Britain in large numbers and, although 
vulnerable to German anti-tank guns, achieved widespread deployment because it was readily available 
and replaceable. Even so, the Cromwell and Centaur tanks were issued across the British Army and used 
by the Royal Marines.

The author has provided a concise and effective review of the development and deployment of the 
Cromwell and Centaur with description of their employment in battle. The illustrations are well captioned 
and the art work and photography is first rate, much in full colour and large format. This makes the book 
of strong interest to military enthusiasts, but is also ideal for those coming into the topic area with little 
existing knowledge and much to learn. Those who are keen model makers and model engineers with find 
this an important work in their field of interest. The tanks have been well represented by model kit 
manufacturers and well-photographed examples of available kits demonstrate this. As with other Tank 
Craft books, there is a detailed coverage of available products to enhance the standard kits from 
interesting models to exhibition-standard models from small scale to the massive 1/35th scale kits.

An excellent and rewarding book.