The Dark Age of Tanks, Britain’s Lost Armour 1945-1970

This is the largely untold story of British tank development through the Cold War. The author provides a comprehensive account of the development program and the designs that never reached the regiments, showing many original and advanced concepts. – Highly Recommended.

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NAME: The Dark Age of Tanks, Britain's Lost Armour 1945-1970
FILE: R3159
AUTHOR: David Lister
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £19.99                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:  Cold War, regional wars, armour, armoured fighting vehicles, armoured 
support vehicles, personnel carriers, guided missiles, gun development, fire control, 
power units, track design.

ISBN: 1-52675-514-9

PAGES: 194
IMAGE: B3159.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y8u8xn4n
DESCRIPTION: This is the largely untold story of British tank development through 
the Cold War. The author provides a comprehensive account of the development 
program and the designs that never reached the regiments, showing many 
original and advanced concepts. – Highly Recommended.

The British economy was almost wrecked at the end of WWII. The many pressures 
on Empire encouraged politicians to think their job was one of managed decline. The 
post-war Labour Government saw itself a a national socialist movement and natural 
ally to Stalin's Soviet Union. This saw attempts to ingratiate themselves with Stalin 
and regard the US more as an potential enemy. A desire to nationalise everything 
caused great confusion, rationing was retained long after it ended in defeated 
Germany and the massive war debts were expanded by disastrous economic policies. 
In that environment it is amazing that any military equipment was designed and built 
and yet the British arms manufacturers continued to innovate and produce leading 
designs, including the highly successful Centurion family of armoured vehicles and 
the Chieftain family. Even the lesser known Conqueror was a success in its intended 
role, providing armoured regiments with a number of heavy gun tanks alongside the 
Centurions to counter heavy Soviet tanks.

The period of the Cold War was a challenging period for tank design because the 
huge number of Soviet tanks on the East German border with West Germany meant
 that any Soviet attack would rapidly move to tactical nuclear warfare to halt the 
Soviet armour. This potential situation demanded the protection of men and 
equipment in the nuclear war zone. Infantry had to be carried in vehicles that could 
provide a level of NBC protection and be capable of moving rapidly across difficult 
terrain to reposition troops during the battle. At the same time guided missiles were 
joining the armoury and that raised questions about the survivability of tanks on a 
modern battlefield. There was a return of interest in infantry tanks and of tanks with 
ever larger guns.

The debate has continued past the period covered by this book and is no closer to real 
solution. Today there is the added dimension of unmanned fighting vehicles, either
 remotely controlled, or given autonomous capabilities, but the start of these 
considerations can be seen in the period covered here so ably by the author. Many 
readers may be surprised by the level of activity during the period covered, as British 
designers sought to push the boundaries and produce some very interesting designs 
that never entered full production and deployment.