Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II
Authored by Adam Makos, Narrated by Johnathan McClain
Audiobook, 13 hours and 33 minutes
Published by Random House Audio
The Spearhead was the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division. Specifically, the author follows the story of the Division’s 32rd Armored Regiment and 36th Armored Infantry Regiment as they fought their way across Europe and into Germany. They are the units which were immortalized in the famous newsreel film of the tank duel in Cologne, and the report of that fight from a young war correspondent named Andy Rooney.
The author relies heavily on interviews from the actual participants, and allows the story to unfold in their own words. There are several perspectives from the American side, and even a few from the German. The reader gets a ground-level narrative of armored warfare and combined arms assaults, along with the terrible attrition as units remained in the front lines day after day.
There is no sugar coating the assault on Germany. The American tankers were fighting with inferior equipment, and they knew it. There is open distain for the Sherman tank whose gun could not defeat the frontal armor of many German tanks, and whose armor could not protect the crews from the German’s guns. The Panther was a feared opponent, and could only be defeated if the Shermans were able to survive long enough to maneuver for a side shot. In the last few months one of the American crews was issued a new Pershing which evened the odds, but most of the Regiment finished the war on the Sherman.
The German story is represented as well, from the perspective of Gustav Schaefer, a Panther crewman. The Germans faced a deteriorating war situation against overwhelming odds. Shaefer’s tanks was one of the few which survived to defend Cologne against the American onslaught, the reader is shown the battle for the city from his perspective.
This book is treasure for anyone wanting to study armored warfare on the Western Front. The American way of war is the combined arms assault, the Germans employed a fluid defense in depth. Each battle is the clash of these doctrines in detail from the viewpoint of those involved. This story is well told and engaging, highly recommended.
This is a Polish TKS tankette with a 20mm cannon. The kit is from First to Fight, a Polish company which specializes in Polish and German subjects from the 1939 invasion. Their catalog includes several vehicles which are uncommon or unique in 1/72 scale.
French Light Tank Renault FT US Six Ton Tank M1917
By Witold J. Lawrynowicz
Series: Armor Photo Gallery # 15
Softcover, 72 pages, drawings, and photographs
Published by Model Centrum Progres, January 2006
Dimensions: 8.0 x 11.2 x 0.2 inches
The Renault FT was a French light tank which saw initial service during the First World War. It is notable for introducing what has since become the standard tank configuration – a rotating turret containing the main armament, engine to the rear of the hull, and driver in the front. Over 3,000 were produced in France, with several other nations producing copies of the design. Although obsolete by the standards of WWII, there were several hundred still in service during the Battle of France, and captured examples were retained in Wehrmacht service in secondary roles through the end of the war.
This book is number 15 in the Armor Photo Gallery series and is intended to be a visual reference for modelers. Two-thirds of the pages are devoted to well-captioned full-color photographs of preserved vehicles presented in a walk-around style. There are two tanks presented – a Renault FT in the Musée Royal de l’Armée et d’Histoire Militaire in Brussels and a U.S.-built M1917 which was at the West Point Museum. The two vehicles exhibit a number of construction differences which the captions point out.
Also included are drawings in 1/48 and 1/35 scale, but nothing for 1/72 scale enthusiast. There is a short history of the type and several pages of black-and-white photographs of the tanks in service. I purchased this book at a model show, and was not familiar with the series at the time. These happy little discoveries are one of the best reasons to go to shows, you can always find something you didn’t know you needed! It is a quality publication and judging by what is listed on Amazon, somewhat sought after. Recommended.
The Cunningham T1 was a series of prototype light tanks developed in America. They were modified and rebuilt into a number of configurations, but were never formally adopted by the U.S. Army. These were printed on a Creality printer using a file by “Turenkarn” here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2192170
The figure was converted from a Preisser Luftwaffe pilot.