Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942-50


David Fletcher and Richard Harley; illustrated by Peter Sarson


Osprey Publishing


$15.95 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, soft cover
ISBN: 1-84176-814-6

This reviewer doesn't see much in the way of information on British tanks, so this one on the Cromwell and its various guises is most welcome. Apparently, the British had a real problem when it came to developing weapons during WWII; at least in the Army. Entrenched generals and manufacturers who were still thinking in terms of WWI seem to have been prevalent and stifled quite a bit of what was produced. To such an extent that the British relied on its Allies, particularly the US, when it came to armored equipment for the army.

The Cromwell is a case in point with a vehicle designed by committee where all the parts were made by smaller companies and then brought together under one roof for final assembly. This meant that if any one supplier had substandard materials, the entire vehicle was compromised. And this was the case for many Cromwell tanks when it came to the armor plating, a rather important part of the vehicle.

Like many machines of war, this tank underwent a bewildering number of modifications, made even more difficult for the uninitiated to follow as often the name of the tank changed after some of these mods. The authors take us through this maze of names and marks, and do a quite credible job of sorting things out.

This is further enhanced by some quality period photos and the superb artwork of the illustrator, Peter Sarson. As 'iffy' as this tank was at the start, it was eventually made into a most credible machine that did its job. It was used post war by a number of countries until replaced by even more modern tanks.

It is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and I'm sure you will agree with me. As with all of Osprey's efforts, this one is highly recommended.

March, 2006

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