... a new book by Steve Zaloga
Title: Armored Victory 1945
Author: Steven Zaloga
Publisher: Stackpole Books
US Army Tank combat in the European Theatre from the Battle of the Bulge to Germany's surrender
This hardcover book from well known author and Military Modelling regular Steve Zaloga is the kind of photo record that is so popular with modellers in particular. It is actually the second of a two-volume set (the first being 'Armoured Attack 1944') covering US Armour in the North West European campaign. This second book takes us on from the Battle of the Bulge, where the first volume stopped, through to the end of the war with Germany, plus a little bit beyond.
With 500 pages this is a thick hardback book with lots for historians and modellers to enjoy. If you have others of Steve's books then some of the photos you will have seen before when he has included them before. The bulk of them however I had not seen before. I don't have the exact count but I'd estimate something in the region of around 2000 photos are included, all well captioned by Steve using his research in addition to the notes from the original photos.
Split into 7 chapters, it starts with 'Crushing the Bulge', so lots of snow bound landscapes and snow camouflaged vehicles. There is a good mix of knocked out equipment, both US and German, along with the advancing US units as they pushed the German units back. Next comes another German offensive, Operation Nordwind where they suffered yet more armour casualties. Chapters 3 and 4 both deal with river crossings, 'Operation Grenade: Over the Roer' and then 'Over the Rhine'. These include things like the pictures of M-26 Dragon Wagons hauling LCMs in readiness for the crossing, and even one carrying an LVT-2 (which I didn't think were used in Europe). Treadway briges feature in a fair few pictures and one of the best selection of photos of the Sherman Calliope that I can recall seeing all in one place. Then also for the crossing, the US units made use of some M4A1 DD Shermans remaining from the Normandy invasion, and they also had some other DDs and some Crabs from the British to help them out. In one of the photos of the DDs, there is a 'training tank' which is a turretless Valentine DD but actually in Europe rather than here in the UK.
Chapter 5 covers thing 'Into Central Germany' and chapter 6 is 'On to Berlin'. Again there are a good number of illstrations of German AFVs mixed in, some destroyed, some simply abandonned. The release of prisoners at prison camps, captured airfields and tank factories/repair facilities and an interesting variety of some of the odder vehicles that the advancing US troops came across when everything was being thrown into last ditch defence measures. The first M24 and M26 tanks in service alongside the many Sherman and Stuart types.
If all that isn't enough, then there are illustrations of varous camouflage finishes, some neat, some not, of what weathering the vehicles were subjected to in the months of winter and spring, stowage equipment, and on Shermans and Stuarts, the addition of applique armour, welded racks and sandbag armour all to give some better protection for the Shermans. In too many pictures we see even that didn't help many of them. Add some of the odd gun mounts the Germans put into action and you get a great variety to have a look at.
The final chapter is 'The Shape of Things to Come'. We often hear about and see models of German 'paper Panzers', ideas that might have been, well this looks at US developments in tanks, cargo carriers, armoured cars and self-propelled artillery. Even the single Super Pershing sent to Europe is included and which is shown resting in a dump towards the end. How about the huge T-84 and T-92 howitzer motor carriages which, along with a few others that are illustrated, never got into action before the war ended.
Overall I'd rate this as another excellent book from Steve and lots of things included that will give the modeller extra information for detailing,
Thanks to Casemate Publishing, the distributors in the UK for our example, it is available now.
For full details on this title, and all other Casemate Publishing titles, please visit the Casemate website.
For ordering outside the US please see here: Casemate UK