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Armoured Warfare in the British Army 1939-1945 (Hardback)

Military > Tanks WWII

By Richard Taylor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Find, Fix and Strike
Pages: 360
Illustrations: 100 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399081030
Published: 4th October 2022

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The second volume in Dick Taylor’s three-volume illustrated history of the evolution of armoured manoeuvre warfare in the British army covers the period of the Second World War, in which the tank came of age and developed into the principal land weapon of decision. He describes how, during the first half of the war, the British army came close to disaster from the armoured warfare perspective and how the bitter lessons of failure were learned in time to deliver success in 1944 and 1945.

As well as providing a fascinating overview of the tactical use of armour during the main campaigns, he considers such much-neglected aspects as the role of training and organization, officer selection and recruitment, and the mechanization of other arms. His wide-ranging book also features extensive, well-laid-out tables giving key information about British armour during this period.

This expert account quotes heavily from the vivid recollections of soldiers who served in armour, and is not afraid to criticize as well as praise.

As featured on World War II Today

WW2 Today

"This expert account quotes heavily from the vivid recollections of soldiers who served in armour, and is not afraid to criticize as well as praise."

Pillbox Study Group - Loopholes, Number 86

...profusely illustrated with bw photographs, with various tables and a series of useful appendices. With extensive end notes and a helpful bibliography and list of sources. £25. In this, the second of the author’s three volumes charting the evolution of armoured warfare in the British Army, he provides a remarkably comprehensive overview of the development of armour and armoured warfare during the Second World War and, as such, from the official historian of the Royal Armoured Corps it would be hard to better. For a nation which between the Wars invested so little in tanks and the development of armoured warfare and, as the author remarks, “ entered the new world war with something of an apology for an armoured army” there was much to do to catch up. The War Office only confirmed the requirement for a much expanded tank force as late as July 1939 and Dick Taylor charts the rapid expansion in men and equipment and the development of doctrine, equipment design and tactics against the backdrop of brutally honest assessments of the lessons being learned on the battlefield. By way of an aide memoire he also includes a series of excellent tables showing unit by unit summaries of where each armoured regiment served during the War and, where appropriate, when they were raised or converted and when they were disbanded. I sense the biggest challenge faced by the author in tackling this extremely broad subject was as much to decide what to leave out of his narrative as what to include. After a lifetime as a professional “tankie” ( only a professional soldier would refer to AFV Communications as “Wiggly Amps!” ) what is especially valuable is Dick Taylor’s feel for his subject, for his personal insights and for his obvious empathy for the men who served under armour through some of the most brutal fighting of the War. Dick Taylor does very well not to lose the balance between coverage of men, machines, higher level policy, strategy and doctrine and low level unit structures, training, tactics and the impact of armour in the major campaigns which he summarises theatre by theatre. For those seeking to delve deeper there are helpful endnotes and a useful bibliography and list of sources although I note there are no references at all to primary source material which some may consider a weakness. In less than 400 pages Armoured Warfare in the British Army 1939-1945 is a fascinating and lively read and provides an excellent overview of this complex subject for the general reader and will, no doubt, also prove to be a useful primer for all who may wish to delve deeper into various aspects of the subject. Highly recommended.

Brigadier Clive Elderton CBE, Chairman The Military Historical Society

Dick Taylor's absorbing book, on the use of British amour during WW11 is a page turner.
Written from a Trooper's perspective, it breathes atmosphere to the story. The story spans Operation Torch, when the 6th Armoured Brigade [Welsh Guards] carried out a sea-borne landing on the Tunisian coast. Some units fought Greece and Italy,
This is the second of Dick Taylors three volume history ,of the growing importance of tank warfare, which came of age during the second world war. He began his career in the British Army, not yet sixteen, as a Junior Trooper, later served with 3RTR and 2RTR, initially as tank commander, he was commissioned in 2000, served in all the hot spots in Europe, northern Ireland. Afghanistan and South Sudan. He left the regular army as a lieutenant Colonel.

Richard Gough - Historian, writer, author of the Escape from Singapore, The jungle was Red, Outpost of the Empire, SOE Singapore 1941-42. Waiting publication Tony Poe, CIA Paramilitary in SE Asia.

I would urge anyone with an interest in the British army during World War II and specifically armoured warfare, give serious consideration to this title and others in the series.

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Armorama

Armoured Warfare in the British Army 1939-1945 is a fascinating and lively read and provides an excellent overview of this complex subject for the general reader and will, no doubt, also prove to be a useful primer for all who may wish to delve deeper into various aspects of the subject. Highly recommended.

Military Historical Society

An enjoyable book, very well written and a book I have learned a lot from told from a neutral perspective.

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The History Fella

This is a book to settle down with for a good read or to use as a reference on armoured actions in World War Two.

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Clash of Steel

Well worth buying if old tanks are your thing!

4 out of 5

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

An amazing amount of factual information about British armour during the 2nd world war is contained in Dick Taylor's brilliant book. Not just for military history enthusiasts.

Books Monthly

About Richard Taylor

Dick Taylor started his service in the British Army at the tender age of sixteen as a Junior Trooper at the Junior Leaders Regiment Royal Armoured Corps in Bovington. After completing training he served with 3RTR and 2RTR. As well as being a tank commander, he was a specialist in tank gunnery. He was commissioned as a captain in 2000 into 1RTR and left the regular army as a lieutenant colonel in 2013, although he has since been mobilized for operational service three times for tours overseas. During his long career he completed fifteen operational deployments to various hot spots including three tours of Afghanistan, two to Iraq, as well as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. He is the official historian of the Royal Armoured Corps, has an avid interest in modern and military history and writes military history books for a hobby. His most recent publication is The Second World War Tank Crisis: The Fall and Rise of British Armour 1919-1945.

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