by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Valentine Infantry Tank, 1938 - 1945 by author Bruce Oliver Newsome, Ph.D and illustrator Henry Morshead.
** The valentine began life in the late 1930s as a stop-gap tank to rearm the run-down British Army, but its main qualities – ease of building and a reliable drivetrain – were so important to the war effort that by 1945 more Valentines and their derivatives had been built than any other British tank. **
** Britain and Canada built Valentines in their thousands. They saw combat in North Africa with the Eighth Army, on the Eastern Front in Soviet service, from India to Burma, from new Zealand to Guadalcanal, and across northwest Europe after D-Day. The Valentine platform spawned the successful Archer tank destroyer, the amphibious DD tank, and almost every type of engineering variant imaginable – as well as the prototype Valiant assault tank, which became an exemplar of how not to design a tank. Covering the 11 marks of the Valentine tank and all of its derivatives, and researched from original primary sources, this is a superbly detailed technical history of arguably the most important British tank of the war. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Valentine Infantry Tank, 1938 - 1945 by author Bruce Oliver Newsome, Ph.D as Number 233 in their New Vanguard series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, full color artwork, informational charts, and detailed captions. It has a 2016 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-1375-6. As the title states, the book discusses the design, development, operation and history of the Valentine Infantry Tank during the years of 1938 through 1945 during World War II.
- Design And Development
- From A10 to Valentine
- New engines and gearboxes
- Upgunned Valentines and self-propelled guns
- The Valiant (A38)
- British use
- Canadian Valentines
- New Zealand use
- Soviet use
- Self-propelled guns
- Amphibious Valentines
- Other Variants
- Anti-mine flail
- Further Reading
As one would expect the book discusses the Valentine Infantry Tank and its variants from the years of 1938 through 1945 during World War II. The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed and covers all aspects of the Valentine Infantry Tank and its variants from the years of 1938 through 1945 during World War II nicely and with great depth. The text goes into great detail in all areas as outlined in the contents section which is listed above. Each subject mentioned in the introduction is well detailed down to the smallest detail. Newsome provides great detail for the Valentine(s) starting with the design and development, the individuals involved, dates, production numbers and the locations where they were manufactured, specifications such as engine types and who made them, military units that received them and their locations, flaws in design such as poor fields of vision through the vision ports and problems with the location of the gear shift and associated problems, etc. As I read through the text it was easy to see that author Newsome spent a great deal of time painstakingly researching and collecting information on the titled area in regards to the Valentine and its variants. After reading through the volume I could not think of any subject in regards to the Valentine Infantry Tank and its variants from the years of 1938 through 1945 during World War II that was not covered in great detail in an easy to read, nicely flowing and understandable manner. I personally feel that anyone that reads this book will find themselves well informed about the British Valentine tank. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 40 black and white photographs featured in this volume. There are no color photographs featured. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are a few that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. However this is typical for this period of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that the majority of the photographs are around 70 years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book and provide a visual guide for the actions described in the book. Author Bruce Oliver Newsome stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the Valentine and its variants during the 1938-1945 World War II time frame and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. I haven’t seen a majority of the featured photographs before and I was pleased with this. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs as opposed to the same old over used photographs that many books tend to contain. The included photographs will prove valuable to the armor and diorama modelers as well as anyone interested in British armor and World War II.
Some of the Valentines and its variants shown:
- Valentine I
- Valentine II
- Valentine III
- Valentine VI
- Valentine IX
- Valentine X
- Valentine XI
- PWD/AEC flamethrower tank with armored fuel tank trailer
- CSRD flamethrower tank
- Bridgelayer ‘30’
- Scorpion mine flail
Other photographs that I found to be particularly interesting:
- British Matilda II
- A Bren gun mounted in the ‘Lakeman’ mounting
- A Valentine I towing a British Cruiser IV
- A British 6-pounder gun removed from its towed carriage and mounted on a Valentine I
- Valentine V fitted with DD flotation devices
- A British M10 Tank Destroyer
- A close-up photograph detailing the Archer’s turret roof
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 7 color illustration plates by illustrator Henry Morshead that are very well done and nicely detailed.
The color illustrations are of:
A. 1. Valentine I, 3rd Troop, ‘A’ Squadron, 1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, 20TH Armoured Brigade, 6th Armoured Division, in England, 1941.
- Left side and front views of the tank.
2. Valentine III, 2nd Troop, ‘C’ Squadron, 17th/21st Lancers, in Tunisia, December 1942.
- Left side view of the tank.
B. 1. Valentine IX of 50th Royal Tank Regiment, in Tunisia, March 1943
- Left side view of the tank.
2. Valentine XI of 2ND Anti-tank Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, in Germany, February 1945.
- Left side and front views of the tank.
C. Valentine IIs of 23rd Armoured brigade Attack Ruweist Ridge, Egypt. 22 July 1942
This plate shows Valentines in combat. (See attached)
D. 1. Valentine VI at the Canadian Armour School at Borden Camp, Canada, in 1942.
- Left side, front and rear views of the tank.
2. Valentine VI, Soviet 139th Tank Battalion, 146th Tank Brigade, in Russia, 1942.
- Left side view of the tank.
E. 1. Archer (SP 17-Pounder), 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery, 15th (Scottish) Division, in Germany, February 1945.
- Right side, front and rear views of the SP. (See attached)
2. Bishop (SP 25-Pounder Gun), 142nd (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Field Regiment (SP) Royal Artillery, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, in Sicily, July 1943.
- Left side view of the SP. (See attached)
F. Valentine IV
This illustration shows a cut-a-way view of a Valentine IV with a key with 40 individual items pointed out and identified.
G. Valentine IIs of 146th RAC Attack Donbaik in Burma – the only British Tank Action in the Far East in 1943.
This illustration shows Valentine IIs in a combat scene in a rice patty.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are 5 informational charts provided in this volume. They are:
- Design and Development of the Valentine. Some of the information listed is:
- External main armament differentiation
- Coaxial machine-gun
- Turret front, sides and rear
- Crewmen in fighting compartment
- Engine compartment
- Production. The numbers and types produced by the various manufacturers are listed. The manufacturers listed are:
- Birmingham railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCWC)
- Canadian pacific Railway Company
- Ruston & Hornsby
- Orders and deliveries of Valentines and derivatives.
- Supplies of Valentines and derivatives to the USSR, by period and type.
- Specifications of Valentines and derivatives as of April 14, 1939.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. The captions themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detail what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to what was done afterword and by who. They cover things such as the units shown, the various type of Valentine displayed as well as dates, locations and other such pertinent information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It details the Valentine Infantry Tank and its variants well and in depth. This volume will be of great use to the armor and diorama modeler as well as the World War II enthusiast and historian. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing LTD titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Worlds Tanks and Fighting Vehicles
Christopher F. Foss
Chartwell Books, Inc.
Tanks of World War II
An Illustrated History Of Fighting Vehicles
Illustrated By Carlo Demand
Allied Armor in World War II
Weapons Book, No 15
Ballantine’s Illustrated History of World War II
Tanks Of World War II
Self-Propelled Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft Guns
WW2 Fact Files
Peter Chamberlain and John Milsom
Arco Publishing Company, Inc.
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