Book Review
US Marine Corps Tanks
Osprey Publishing LTD US Marine Corps Tanks Of World War II
  • move

by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


This is a review of the Osprey Publishing Ltd book US Marine Corps Tanks of World War II by author Steven J. Zaloga and illustrator Richard Chasemore.

** During World War II, the US Marine Corps formed six tank battalions that battled through the harsh conditions of the Pacific Theater. Using the same basic tanks as the US Army, notably the M3 and M5A1 light tanks and the M4 Sherman medium tank, the Marines developed both technical and tactical innovations to make them more effective in the fight against the Japanese. Deep-wading equipment, flamethrower tanks, and even wooden armor all became part of the Marine arsenal.**

** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released US Marine Corps Tanks Of World War II as Number 186 in their New Vanguard series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-560-1. As the title states, the book covers US Marine Corps Tanks Of World War II.

the contents

- Introduction
- Early Marine Armor
- Into Combat
- Marine Medium Tanks
- Operation Flintlock: The Marshall Islands
- Marine Flamethrower Tanks
- The Mariana: June-July 1944
- Operation Stalemate: Peleliu, September 1944
- Preparations For Attacking The Inner Ring
- Operation Detachment: Iwo Jima
- Operation Iceberg: Okinawa
- Further Reading
o Unpublished Government Reports
o Articles
o Books
- Index

the text

The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of US Marine Corps tanks of World War II. No spelling or grammatical errors were noted. Zaloga has gone to great lengths to research the various tanks used by the United States Marine Corps during World War II and provides a very well written and accurate history of them. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order and are well written. Zaloga covers and discusses several subjects such as early Marine armour, the medium tanks used by the Marines and also discusses the Marine Corps armour use in various island campaigns such as Operation Flintlock in the Marshall Islands, and Operation Iceberg on Okinawa.

He discusses very well the actions of both the American and Japanese tanks crews and covers things such as entire campaigns down to very specific events in various battles such as tank movements and actions and outcomes and also includes actual military summaries written after the battles had been fought. Anyone interested in the United States Marine Corps, World War Two tank warfare between American and Japanese armor, the island hopping campaigns of World War Two and military history in general will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.

the photographs

There are a total of 45 black and white photographs. The majority of the photographs are great and will help the military modeller as well as the armour enthusiasts well. However there are some that have an out of focus look to them, some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. Several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that was appreciated with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused photographs that tend to turn up. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs.

Zaloga has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are just of armour and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent detail oriented photographs that will help out the detail oriented military modeller to great lengths. These include nice shots of bolt patterns, storage, add on armour, antenna placement and other such details. One photograph that would also interest the detail oriented modeller is of a M4A3 Sherman tank on Page 34 that has additional wooden armour added and of particular interest, penny nails added to the exterior side of the crew hatches as standoff protection against satchel charges. Many of the photographs could assist the diorama modeller for inspiration for many projects due to the wealth of details they contain.

the colour illustrations

There are 12 colour illustrations by illustrator Richard Chasemore that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:

- M2A4 Light Tank, Marine 1st Tank Battalion, Guadalcanal, 1942
- M3A1 Light Tank, Tank Company, 4th Marines, Emirau Island, Bismarck Archipelago, March 1944
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Company C, Imac Tank Battalion, Tarawa, November 1943
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Company C, 4th Tank Battalion, Roi-Namur, Kwajaein Atoll,, February 1944
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Company B, Marine 4th Tank Battalion, Saipan, June 1944
- M4A3 Medium Tank, Company B, Marine 4th Tank Battalion, Iwo Jima, February 1945
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Tank Company 4th Marines, Guam, July 1944
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, Peleliu, September 1944
- M4A2 Medium Tank, Company A, 3rd Tank Battalion, Iwo Jima, February 1945
- M4A3 Medium Tank, Company A, 4th Tank Battalion, Iwo Jima, February 1945
- M4A3, 5th Tank battalion, Iwo Jima, February 1943
- M4A3 Medium Tank, 6th Tank Battalion, Okinawa, June 1945
There is also one black and white illustration provided that is from a Japanese anti-tank tactics manual that was captured on Saipan. The illustration shows where various types of explosives should be placed on armour to disable or destroy it. The manual was originally prepared by Japanese troops stationed in Manchuria facing the Soviet Union and shows an illustration of a Russian BT-5 tank.

There is one informational chart provided that is well done, nicely detailed and covers:

- Marine Tank Combat Actions 1942-1945

the captions

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. No spelling or grammatical errors as were noticed. They detail things such as the specific type of tank shown, its location, crewmember names, tank names such as “King Kong” and “Davy Jones”, the date of the photograph the operation that the tank is taking part in, and they also point various field modifications that have been made to the specific vehicle shown such as planks and logs being added for additional protection for the tanks and their crews.

This book was provided to the reviewer by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


All in all the book was very impressive. It examines the US Marine Corps tanks of World War II very well. The reviewer would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to their personal library nor would they hesitate to recommend this book to others.


Tanks of World War II
Duncan Crow
Exeter Books

The Great Tanks
Chris Ellis and Peter Chamberlain

An Illustrated History Of Fighting Vehicles
Armin Halle/Carlo Demand
Crescent Books

Osprey web site:

Amazon web site with an inside search of this title:
Highs: Well researched, written, and detailed text and captions. Nicely detailed illustrations and useful photographs
Lows: The quality of some of the photographs. No color photographs
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of WWII Marine Corps armor that is well researched and written.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-560-1
  Suggested Retail: US $17.95 / UK £9.99 / CA
  PUBLISHED: Mar 06, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move