Book Review
Tank Wrecks
Tank Wrecks on the Western Front 1940 – 1945
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This book covering Tank Wrecks on the Western Front 1940 – 1945 is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subjects’ mostly in photographs and so offers a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information.

The following portion of the review is as provided by Pen and Sword:
Early in the Second World War in Western Europe the German victors regularly photographed and posed with destroyed or abandoned Allied armour. During their invasion of France the Germans left 4,500 smashed French tanks in their wake, and these were a popular subject for their photographs. Then, when the tide of the war turned against them in 1944-5, their wrecked and burnt-out panzers were photographed by the victorious Allies during the key battles for Normandy and the Ardennes. These wartime photographers created an extraordinary record of the many thousands of tank wrecks that littered the battlefields, and Anthony Tucker-Jones has selected a fascinating visual guide to the fate of the numerous types of tank employed by the American, British, French and German armies throughout the conflict.

All the principal tanks are represented – Renaults, Matildas, Churchills, Shermans, Panzer IVs, Panthers and Tigers along with many others – so the book gives an insight into the rapid development of tank design during the war. It also shows how vulnerable these armoured vehicles were – and how lethal they could be for their crews – when they were hit by anti-tank guns and air attacks.

Tank Wrecks of the Western Front will be absorbing reading and reference for anyone who is interested in the history of armoured warfare, and it will be a useful visual guide for modellers.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book titled ‘Tank Wrecks on the Western Front 1940 - 1945' has been authored by Anthony Tucker-Jones; Anthony Tucker-Jones has authored a huge number of titles in this series , but he does not restrict his work to this series and is worth looking up. The contents of this title are provided over 130 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Introduction – Blitzkrieg and Beyond
Chapter 1 – Hotchkiss
Chapter 2 – Renault 35/40
Chapter 3 – French Heavies
Chapter 4 – Vickers Mk VI and Matilda
Chapter 5 – Churchill
Chapter 6 – Sherman
Chapter 7 – Panzer I, II and III
Chapter 8 – Panzer IV
Chapter 9 – Panther
Chapter 10 – Tiger I and II

Some of the most interesting models from a visual appeal point of view are those of damaged, destroyed and abandoned vehicles. Some modellers do a fantastic job of replicating this aspect of armour and in my case usually have me looking and drinking in all of the details provided by the modeller, but in order to get it right you do need good reference to work from due to the exposed elements that are usually hidden. This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Image at War series provides a look at a good number of vehicles that served with both the Allies and the Axis forces during the whole of World War 2.

The text provided in the book is minimal really consisting of a short dedicated introduction and then followed by dedicated introductory passages on the specific vehicle types covered. The information is as you would expect concise and to the point as written information is not the main aim of this book or the series generally but with that said the books do provide a good base from which the modeller can progress from. In addition to the dedicated text each of the photographs are also provided with a caption of various depth from the author, but in many cases there is some great titbits for the modeller to pick up on.

This series of books excel in their main purpose and that is to provide the reader with visual information and the title is no exception as you are provided with period photographs of the armour from both sides of the conflict in the field. The French are well covered with good coverage of the armour in use by them at the start of the war and that if used better should have seen the war come to a rapid close in France’s favour. The British and Commonwealth armour is another well covered aspect of this title with armour from the whole war getting looked at. The American Forces are a little restricted here with the Sherman being the only main coverage, but there are a few other vehicles depicted. The Germans get in good coverage as regards the tanks used through the war but I would have liked to see some of the anti tank armour in the mix.

Looking at the images as a whole it is my opinion that the Germans by far get the better coverage as regards the interests of the modeller looking for battle damaged armour; this is because when looking at the photographs of Allied armour taken by German troops most of it seems to be in pretty good condition as regards battle damage and so it provides good reference for vehicles with little and in some cases no obvious damage at first glance.

I have given some thought on this aspect and in the case of the early war period I believe the German weapons were not as powerful when it came to penetration and destruction and there were so many options for troops that they chose least damaged examples for their hero photographs. Now move along to the German armour and we see a much greater level of destruction in many cases and in my opinion hold a greater level of attraction for modellers looking to model destruction on the battlefield.


This title as part of the Images at War series offers some excellent visual reference on battlefield destruction, but I would have liked to have seen images of Allied armour that had taken more of a hit or showed obvious damage; I also have to accept that the author is restricted to what he is able to find and present to the viewer with information on the specific image. The German armour made this book for me and dragged me into spending far more time looking at the images than I had intended for the purposes for a review.
Darren Baker takes a look at another release in the Images at War series published by pen and Sword, this time the title is ‘Tank Wrecks on the Western Front 1940 - 1945'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526741547
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 15, 2019

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Looks like another great collection of photos.
NOV 15, 2019 - 12:14 PM

Click image to enlarge
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