As a beginner both to the world of Armoured Modelling and to the world of Book Reviews, I set myself some expectations as to what I thought the book might contain and what I thought I might want it to contain. (see conclusion)
The front cover identified the subject clearly with a good graphical cutaway of the vehicle in question to get me interested. The back cover ‘blurb’ quickly told me that this book would provide more than just a reference for the ‘Cromwell’ we perceived in our minds. It also highlighted that the book contained ‘Full colour artwork, Unrivalled detail, Cutaway artwork and Photographs’.
Genesis Cavalier described
Gun & turret
Engine, transmission & suspension
observation post tank
Armoured recovery vehicle
enter Rolls Royce
Cruiser Mark VIII A27M Cromwell
Cruiser Mark VIII A27L Centaur
the guns marks & types
going west trials & tribulations
Cromwell in Action Wartime variants and Specialist Vehicles
Command & control
Armoured recovery tanks
A30 Avenger SP2
Comet 1 Armoured maintenance Vehicle
conclusion Bibliography Colour Plate Commentary Index
Some comments on the content page. Why use the academic word Genesis when a simple word like Background would be clearer? Cavalier Described and Cavalier Production left me scratching my head when The Beginning or Original Design would more suit the text and Production Organisation would much better replace Cavalier Production. If the reader didn’t know ‘Cavalier’ was a make of tank to start with these headings would confuse the reader. Having overcome that initial problem let’s move on to the contents of the book.
what does it say?
The book gives a clear and logical lead into the design and production of the early models whilst at the same time including the thinking and obstacles encountered during that period, which affected both production and design.
The text maps the development of the tank from its background, early beginning, through to the wide range of war time variants and specialised vehicles up to its final days as The Comet. Giving the reader many useful reference tables along the way such as:
‘Cromwell Family Production Totals 1944–45’
‘Cromwell Family Marks and Types’
‘Cromwell Family WD Numbers and Manufactures’
‘21 Army Group and Allied Units Operating Cromwell Family AFVS, 1944-1945’
‘Cavalier, Centaur, Cromwell and Comet Hull Types, Cavaliers, Centaur and Riveted Cromwells’
'Post WW2 Cromwell Re-working Programmes’
‘Cromwell Family Overseas Deliveries and Sales 1943 – 1972’
Throughout the text there are many excellent photographs to provide clarity and reference and the book also contains a number of first class graphical illustrations of vehicles associated with various units showing painting and vehicle markings which would be useful to modellers. These are cross referenced to the Colour Plate Commentary found on page 45 which gives further detailed information on these particular vehicles.
In addition in the centre of the book is an illustration of cutaway artwork showing the interior organisation of the tank. My only comment here would be that I traced No 28 on the illustration (Commanders Seat) and the line led me to what I think is the MG Gunners Seat? Perhaps I need new glasses.
The book also comments of the performance of the main tanks featured, which I felt was very useful and also on most if not all of the variants such as Centaur III AA, Centaur Dozer and Cromwell AVR I.
Written by David Fletcher, currently the Historian at the Bovington Tank Museum, and Richard C Harley, who has studied the Cromwell Tank Family for 25 years gives the reader a clear understanding of the level of knowledge that the book contains. Peter Sarson provided the excellent illustrations.
Did this book meet my expectations of what I thought it might contain. The simple answer is yes it did, in fact it went much further. The Cromwell Family has many ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and this book will clearly assist anyone wishing to sort out the family tree. Excellent photographs, illustrations and tables of reference will assist any historian or would be modeller.
Made up of 48 pages this book is concise and easy to read and refer back to and it contains reference to further reading material and related subjects which is always useful. I don’t know the cost but if reasonably priced I would suggest that this would make a useful reference to any person interested in this particular vehicle.
Finally and most importantly, did I learn anything from the book – yes it’s packed with useful data and information. I would have no hesitation in recommending this book as essential reading for Cromwell fans and as a very useful reference source for those who are interested in this vehicle.
My thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample.
The book outlines the development of the Cromwell family of tanks from the built up history starting before 1942 until the final developments in the 1950’s. Although titled ‘Cromwell Cruiser Tank what you get is a condensed history of the ‘Cruiser Tank’ covering its development in its many guises and roles.
About Alan McNeilly (AlanL) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...