Allied Armor in Normandy
By Yves Buffetaut, illustrated by Jean Restayn
Paperback, 128 pages, heavily illustrated
Published by Casemate, June 2018
Product Dimensions: 7.0 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches
The size and format of Casemate’s “Illustrated” series naturally invites comparison to Osprey’s long-running catalog. Both publishers aim squarely at the modeling / wargaming / history communities with affordable paperback volumes focusing on a specific topic. Both are well illustrated with photographs, artwork, and profiles of the men and vehicles involved. They are also prevented by size from presenting much more than a brief overview of their subjects.
This Casemate volume can be considered to be a cross between an Osprey Campaign book and a New Vanguard vehicle monograph. The first third of the text explains the organization of the American and British model armored divisions. The Breakdown of the Regiments and Battalions comprising each Division is then listed which quickly devolves into a laundry list of units. The remaining two-thirds of the text explains the landings at Normandy and the subsequent Allied Operations culminating in the breakout during Operation Cobra in August 1944.
Interspersed throughout the text are several black and white photographs, which are relatively large and printed clearly. There are also several color illustrations of selected vehicles. These are divided into two-page spreads, each showing three vehicles along with captions and marking details. The vehicles are illustrated in profile and perspective views. There are also brief one-page biographies of several of the commanders involved.
There is little in the way of personal anecdotes or detailed reports of specific actions, outside of summations listing losses at the end of an engagement. This generality carries over to the profile captions – while the type of vehicle and unit is identified, there is no detail provided concerning any actions it may have fought in nor the fate of the vehicle or crew.
The overall impression is of a potpourri of content which never forms a cohesive whole, it simply tries to cover too much material in too little space. The result is a book which jumps around too much to ever establish a flow. Still useful, but could have been better.