It is perhaps useful to say at the outset that although it's NOT out of print this book, it can sometimes be a little difficult to track it down. This review was done with the intention of suggesting a good visual source for the vehicle 'In-Action' rather than simply the technical side. With what has been already announced from both Trumpeterand DML, along with the first 'trickle' of AM material, now seems like as good a time as any to begin stockpiling data on a VERY complex subject indeed and, in the process, to look at the possibilities that these kits are offering for a variety of variants, color schemes and some very interesting diorama possibilities.
U.S. Halftracks in Combat 1941-45, Armor at War Series # 7031, is published by Concord Publishing and written by Steven J. Zaloga with color plates by Arkadiusz Wróbel. For those of you who require it is has the ISBN 962-361-654-6. The book consists of 72 pages with the first four pages consisting of the author's (brief) overview of the development history. The remainder of the book consists of black and white images along with eight pages of full-color plates (two vehicles per page) covering a variety of variants beginning with an interesting illustration of Patton's M3 Command vehicle at the Desert Training Center.
As the format of Concord's books is fairly uniform, and, as not everyone will be familiar with their format, perhaps a short explanation is required... To allow more space for the 'important' bits, chapter sub-divisions are done by a line of bold text across the top of the first page of the section so, logically, we begin with the first section: Preparing for War - 1941-42. This section provides a number of training images of the H/T on maneuvers in the U.S. along with some images of some variants taken from the Technical Manuals. This section is useful to get a clear, uninterrupted view of the vehicles without crew gear which are well chosen to present the 'official' layout of the vehicle. Notable in this section, are the photos taken from above. Combat in North Africa 1942-43: There are some very interesting images in this section, not least of which are some good photos of the T28E1 and several photos of M3s captured by the Germans. Another vehicle covered in this section, is the 75mm Gun Motor Carriage. The Italian Campaign: Sicily and Beyond, 1943-44: What emerges from this section are some interesting images of some of the color schemes used in this theater of war. Needless to say, there are a number of interesting variants in a variety of situations, the M16 is shown in some detail along with ambulances and the 'standard' APC. Normandy and the Campaign for France 1944: the third section, presents a series of images of much 'drabber' H/Ts although still with interesting variants. Once again, the modeler will obtain much valuable data regarding areas such as stowage along with some good diorama ideas. The Battle of the Bulge. December 1944-January 1945: Following on from the French Campaign, the variants are essentially the same, but even more projects begin to suggest themselves - whitewashed vehicles (in a variety of finishes), vehicles camouflaged using white sheets and vehicles covered in snow are just some of the many ideas in this chapter. The Campaign In Germany 1945: In this, the penultimate chapter, once again, there are some highly useful photos. Included amongst them, are some images of M3s loaded up with all the gear combat infantrymen would attach to their vehicles. Half-Tracks in the Pacific: Is the last chapter. Once again, other possibilities are presented with USMC vehicles in a variety of theaters.
Once again, the hand of the 'editor' becomes a touch apparent. The logical approach may well have been to have published a series of books on the Half-Track: Mediterranean, NW Europe and the Pacific. Not that the book is unsatisfying - it isn't, but some more images within particular theaters would have been VERY welcome indeed. In general, the quality of the images is good, but in some cases they would welcome being re-screened as some of them are a little on the dark side. What does work very well, is Mr. Zaloga's captions with the images. These are very informative indeed and a superb complement to an already excellent book. This is, at the end of the day, a superbly useful book a good indication of this is wanting more material of this quality. Considering the use of the Half-Track and its many variants, surely now, with 'H/T fever' beginning, now would be a good time for Concord to consider their options?
It would seem logical, that with the release of Dragon Models' M2 Half-track and the tantalizing promise of more variants from Trumpeter, that the careful modeller would be beginning to build up their reference material on a truly fascinating subject - U.S. Armored halftracks. This book is a superb collection of black and white images of the Halftrack in its natural environment - the battlefield.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAńA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...