Armored Thunderbolt: The Sherman Tank in World War II

Armored Thunderbolt: The Sherman Tank in World War II

by Steven J. Zaloga


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811704243
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Publication date: 09/28/2008
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 270,376
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Steven Zaloga, an internationally recognized military historian, has written numerous books on the vehicles and campaigns of World War II, including Armored Champion (978-0-8117-1437-2), Armored Thunderbolt (978-0-8117-0424-3), Armored Attack 1944 (978-0-8117-0769-5), Armored Victory 1945 (978-0-8117-0771-8), and The Devil’s Garden (978-0-8117-1228-6). He has appeared in programs on PBS and The Military Channel. He lives near Baltimore, Maryland.

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Armored Thunderbolt: The Sherman Tank in World War II 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Largely written as a rebuttal to popular accounts entranced by the legend of the German Tiger and Panther tanks, Zaloga seeks to put the American medium tank programs of World War II back into context, as part of the ebb and flow of a weapons race where tactical circumstances were usually more important than paper performance, typically to the advantage of the M4 Sherman.That said, Zaloga gives a good overview of the institutional issues that left the American forces in the ETO feeling vulnerable to the base-line German weaponry of 1944, such as the demands of crash rearmament, a Bureau of Ordnance lacking much flair for high-performance anti-tank weaponry, and Gen. Leslie McNair's (commander of the U.S. Army Ground Forces) unhealthy obsession with the U.S. Tank Destroyer force (which just so happened to benefit McNair's career arm of the artillery). However, the biggest subtle attitude problem which Zaloga identifies may simply be that the U.S. ground forces, as opposed to the USN or the USAAF, had no real experience with technological weapons races, and so lacked the psychology to appreciate that you're always one step away from losing battle-field dominance.Zaloga doesn't presume to suggest what the alternatives might have been for the U.S. Army tank forces that hit the beach in Normandy in 1944 (though he spends a good bit of time demonstrating how bad most of the other options were), but had there been a little more proactive thinking in the U.S. Army the M4 Shermans in the independent tank battalions assigned to infantry support would have been up-armored early and there would have been at least a sprinkling of tank destroyers armed with the British 17-pounder gun. That would have taken care of the more glaring issues, until the improved machines post-Ardennes offensive made their appearance.Zaloga also dwells on the issues facing the German panzer troops, which included a rapid decline in production quality of those armored vehicles that did survive the Allied air war to make it to the front line. For example, there were apparently more than a few Panthers that suffered from defective armor, a fact that I hadn't been aware of before.