This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series looks at the Sherman Tanks in use with the British Army and Royal Marines. These books are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models and items available to replicate the Sherman Tank as a scale model.
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver, who is an author whose efforts I have looked at a lot recently. This is a soft backed with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The Normandy Battlefield
The Armoured Divisions
Camouflage and Markings
The Armoured Brigades
The Royal Artillery
The Royal Marines Armoured Support Group
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact List
The text in this title starts at the front with a breakdown of the Sherman tank coming to the UK as part of the Lend Lease Programme starting in 1942 and resulting in 17,000 Shermanís going into British/Commonwealth hands over the course of World War 2. I was surprised that the text indicates that the Name Sherman was given to the tank as a replacement of Swallow that was the original codename. The text then goes on to provide a breakdown of major events from D-Day through to the 30th August 1944.
As a modeller I was particularly pleased to see a breakdown chart of which Sherman tank types served with who during the period covered. Another interesting read was the information on the Firefly tanks that I had not realised were issued to all units as late as the week before D-Day and as the war progressed at least two of these capable tanks were issued to each unit. The section covering the Divisions that participated is a nice addition that while short I found interesting to read. The text is interspersed with black and white period photographs that provide a nice break during the read to peruse.
The text covering the units is broken in that it stops to cover the image plates of the Sherman and also the areas looking at the models and aftermarket items available before starting again after them. These write ups on the units should be of interest to the modeller who likes to get there models in the right settings and with the correct units. The last section proper as I think of it, looks at the War Department markings on British/Commonwealth armour and where these markings should be placed or sought out if looking at an image. The images it is worth saying again are well chosen and do a good job of putting the Sherman tank on show and the captions that accompany these photographs are excellent being both well written and very informative.
Before reaching the modelling section of the title the reader is presented with a nice selection of colour plates covering the Sherman tank from one side, front and rear. A nice inclusion here is the unit markings that have been put front and centre and so are great inclusions for the modeller. Another nice aspect of these drawings is that the author has covered a nice selection of different Sherman tanks. The only thing I would have liked to see was some vehicles that were different as regards colour, a sea of Olive Drab is depressing even if it was the designated colour; I am sure that must be something different out there.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are stand alone only and a list of these can be seen after this chapter. These will be of some use to the modeller when it comes to building and finishing models depending on each individualís ability. The close up images of some areas of the finished model will provide the modeller with some ideas about weathering areas and making detail pop. The section covering the kits available is a great section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies at. Models in 1/72nd, 1/48th and 1/35th scales and covers injection moulded plastic offerings. The author on this occasion has restricted the company products covered to the most recent offerings from the likes of Dragon, Tamiya and Taska/Asuka; this is a conscious decision in order to avoid pointing modellers at the very old models that require a lot of work to bring up to a decent standard. The Tamiya kits covered are the 1/48th scale releases and the re-boxing of the Tasca product. A good effort has been made to cover the aftermarket covering the major areas of conversion, upgrade, correction, tracks and barrels. I do not believe it would have been possible to cover all of the aftermarket where the Sherman is concerned and I am happy that most of the larger outlets were covered.
Sherman VC Firefly by John Tham in 1/35th scale
Sherman V, 2nd Battery, Royal Marine Armoured Support Group by Marcos Serra in 1/35th scale
Sherman II, 44th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, 4th Armoured Brigade by Shin Oikawa in 1/35th scale
Sherman VC Firefly, 3rd Count of London Yeomanry, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division by Shin Oikawa
Sherman V CRAB, 1st Lothians and Border Horse, 30th Armoured Brigade, 79th Armoured Division by Antonia Martin Tello in 1/35th scale
Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV), Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers by Sheng Hui in 1/35th scale
This is a great addition to the range of books covering tanks and authored by Dennis Oliver has made a stunning offering with this title considering the amount of space he had available and he has authored a title that all modellers should make space for in their library. This particular offering is the one I have enjoyed the most so far both in terms of content and the written sections. I learnt things about the Sherman that I have never heard before and it is aspects like that I find most interesting as a reader, while the sections on models and reference generally appeal to me as a modeller. As I have said before a great effort at providing a book that offers something for all and provides the modeller with a bit of everything they need to know their subject.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering Sherman Tanks British Army and Royal Marines, Normandy Campaign 1944 from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...