The Second World War Tank Crisis (ePub)
The Fall and Rise of British Armour, 1919–1945
British Second World War tanks performed so badly that it is difficult to bring to mind any other British weapon of the period that provokes such a strong sense of failure. Unfortunately, many of the accusations appear to be true – British tanks were in many ways a disgrace. But why was Britain, the country that invented them, consistently unable to field tanks of the required quality or quantity throughout the conflict? This perceived failure has taken on the status of a myth, but, like all myths, it should not be accepted at face value – it should be questioned and analysed. And that is what Dick Taylor does in this closely researched and absorbing study.
He looks at the flaws in British financial policy, tank doctrine, design, production and development before and throughout the war years which often had fatal consequences for the crews who were sent to fight and to be ‘murdered’ in ‘mechanical abortions’. Their direct experience of the shortcomings of these machines is an important element of the story. He also considers how British tanks compared to those of the opposition and contrasts tank production for the army with the production of aircraft for the RAF during the same period.
His clear-sighted account goes on to explain how, later in the conflict, British tank design improved to the point where their tanks were in many ways superior to those of the Americans and Germans and how they then produced the Centurion which was one of the best main battle tanks of the post-war era.
"(The Second World War Tank Crisis") is well researched and authoritative. It stands comparison with the works of David Fletcher and Richard Ogorkiewicz, two of the most respected tank historians….Dick Taylor is very clear that the Ministry of Supply, responsible for tank design and production, always played second fiddle to the Ministry of Aircraft Production .Bombing (both defence and offence) was given undue importance in pre-war defence planning and this distortion endured throughout the war. The effects on tank development are well documented here. It's a telling coincidence that this book was published at the same time as the latest volume by Greg Baughen of his history of the RAF: "RAF at the Crossroads" (also from Pen & Sword). The books are complementary and worth reading together.Amazon UK Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sue Hawthorne
A compelling in depth look at the failings and subsequent turn-around of the WWII British tanks. Having heard tales of the tank's poor performance it was an interesting and detailed account of the sequence of events. Very informative and enlightening. Thank you Lt Col Dick Taylor for your investigation into the history of British tanks. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity!
It's a good read and is well supported with many quotes of those who saw through the smoke and helped forge the success of the Centurion, the best of the best.Gary Wenko, Japanese Aviation
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, David Fleshbourne
Excellent book, as an armchair historian I was aware that British tanks in the early part of the second world war were woeful, but did not know the reasons why.
This book both informs and provides the reasons why. Lt Col Taylor has written a detailed, interesting but easy read into how both the British Army in its doctrine and the incompetence of government caused Britain to go to war with tanks not fit for purpose, and after Dunkirk with very few left.
The book also covers briefly German and American tank design, manufacture and purpose compared to the British design.
The book also through it's detailed look at British tank design and manufacture explains how we learnt lessons and managed to develop by the end of the war one of the best tanks in the world at that time. (the Centurion)
An excellent read for anyone with an interest in world war 2 tanks, or an interest in how Britain's design and manufactured military equipment in the second world war. A soldier is only as good as the equipment he uses, this valuable book explains how British tank crewmen received their equipment.