Steven J Zaloga
Reviewed by John Prigent
This is a real treat, not only a wholly new New Vanguard at last but one written with real authority. Steve Zaloga has done us proud here, with a very readable account of the Stuarts' development and US service use.
He starts in fact with the original M1 Combat Car and M2 Light Tank from which the Stuart drew its modified suspension and its original hull. After looking at these and the lessons of the Spanish Civil War he moves on to the development of the M3, its use by 8th Army in North Africa, and the British modifications for desert service. Service in the Philippines and Asia is covered by one page, then the turret and hull changes for successive variants are described in full and followed by a brief section on the HMC experiments which resulted in the M8 HMC. US combat use in Tunisia, the Pacific, and North-West Europe comes next, with brief mention of service in Italy and then the post-War service.
Well-chosen photographs mostly show tanks in service markings rather than the often-seen factory shots. Their captions are very informative and point out differences between tanks which might otherwise be overlooked.
The colour plates are nicely done and cover a variety of schemes, from an M3 of 8 Kings Royal Irish Hussars in the desert in November 1941 to an M5A1 of 601 Tank Destroyer Batallion on the Volturno in Italy, October 1943. General Patton's own M1A1 at Fort Benning in 1941 is here, and very colourful too, and so is an M3A3 fitted by the Yugoslav partisans with a 2cm Flakvierling in place of its turret. I have to admit that I was disappointed by the cutaway plate in this volume, which seems to me not to show enough of the interior - for instance the 37mm shell racks are completely invisible due to the angle chosen.
For all that, this is a super book and I have no hesitation in recommending it highly. Many thanks to Osprey for the review copy.
Review Copyright © 1999 by John