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Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II [Kindle Edition]

Steven Zaloga
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

  • Hundreds of photos, including many never published before with riveting accounts of armored warfare in World War II
  • Compares the Sherman to other tanks, including the Panther and Tiger
  • Author is a world-renowned expert on the Sherman tank and American armor

    Some tank crews referred to the American M4 Sherman tank as a "death trap." Others, like Gen. George Patton, believed that the Sherman helped win World War II. So which was it: death trap or war winner? Armor expert Steven Zaloga answers that question by recounting the Sherman's combat history. Focusing on Northwest Europe (but also including a chapter on the Pacific), Zaloga follows the Sherman into action on D-Day, among the Normandy hedgerows, during Patton?s race across France, in the great tank battle at Arracourt in September 1944, at the Battle of the Bulge, across the Rhine, and in the Ruhr pocket in 1945.

  • Editorial Reviews


    "Zaloga is THE expert on the development of the Sherman tank. . . . This should be your first choice for a concise and accurate history of this most influential of war machines." (Military Modelcraft International 2010-04-01)

    "You don't have to be a history enthusiast or have a specialty in armored fighting vehicles to enjoy this book!" (Mark Terjeson World War II History 2011-05-06)

    From the Publisher

    400 b/w photos

    Product Details

    • File Size: 29383 KB
    • Print Length: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Stackpole Books; Spi edition (October 10, 2008)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0094B19K6
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,852 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.8 out of 5 stars
    4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Organizational History October 20, 2008
    This is a superb book on the Sherman Tank that - amazingly - covers much new ground. It accomplishes this by not focussing on technical development as RP Hunnicutt's Sherman "bible" (and most other Sherman books)do. Instead, it's a history of how the various organizations within the US Army created the Sherman, why they made the design decisions they did, how combat effective the Sherman was as a result, and how development proceeded (or didn't) as a result of that experience.

    Unlike many writers of amour (sorry - armor!) books, Zaloga is not just a vehicle enthusiast. He's a real historian who has been conducting original research in various archives and other primary sources for three decades now. So, when he discusses the preference of Gen McNair and the Army Ground Forces for proven designs or the tendency of the Ordnance Department to waste time on pointless but interesting technical developments, he supports his argument with specific detail and extensive quotations from period correspondence.

    When it comes to evaluating the Sherman's combat performance, Zaloga provides a lot of statistal data from the operational research that was conducted by the US and Britain during and shortly after the war. The facts will surprise even those who think they are Sherman experts.

    Before purchasing the book I was concerned it would focus solely on US Army Shermans (as implied by the sub-title). In fact it includes a chapter on US Marine use in the Pacific as well as good coverage of British and Commonwealth Sherman developments and experiences. Contemporary Soviet and German armour developments and attitudes are also summarized. All this provides a very useful context for the Sherman story, and the book would be poorer without it.
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    44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of Steve Zaloga's best books yet April 18, 2009
    By Keith
    I met Steve at a military symposium in New York City in 1991 when I came down as an instructor from West Point to give a presentation on German World War II armaments production. Steve was in the audience and we shared ideas on the walk back to the train station.

    I have read most of Steve's historical works and his understanding of the technology and issues surrounding World War II armored development is unmatched by few in the military history field. This book represents the first time someone has pulled together the entire story of the M4 Sherman tank's technology and production developments, doctrine, fielding,and combat experience in a single volume. It is a complex story that addresses the many personalities, opposing concepts, bitter debate, innovation and expedients surrounding the Sherman tank's compressed World War II service.

    Steve handles that story masterfully, particularly the debate between LTG McNair's "battle need" (today what we call requirements-based procurement), MG Bruce's high-speed tank destroyer concept, and LTG Dever's more perceptive view that the "best enemy of the tank is another tank." Steve also explains the difficulty faced by the U.S. Army in meeting the demand for tanks to fight in environments around the world, be reliable, be simple to operate, and that could be produced in large numbers for the U.S. Army and all of its allies. The entire requirement was compressed into a three-year time span where technical intelligence of German Army developments lagged American production by months.

    Steve, building on his previously published research, assembles supporting technical documentation of Sherman tank production, fielding, and deployed strength for the first time in one book.
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    36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    This book excels by not just re-hashing the technical details of the M4 versus it's opponents, but by providing much invaluable 'soft' information that was every bit as important -- and perhaps more so -- than the technical details.

    The author provides background information on how the Sherman was created and how the design changed - or did not change - over time. Shortcomings of both the Sherman and the Panther are covered in some depth. The author also touches on bureaucratic issues, metallurgy, training, crew experience, reliability (and the causes for reliability issues), availability of spares, ammunition, mission of the tank (tank versus tank, infantry support), the focus on the US Tank Destroyer concept, and many, many other relevant and interesting issues.

    A large part of the book contrasts the Sherman against the German Panther. When you look at only the technical specifications, the Panther appears to be a vastly superior weapon to the Sherman. However, the book looks into detail at issues that exacerbated the Panther's problems, blunting it's technical edge, and the things that mitigated the Sherman's shortcomings, and made it 'work' better than the specifications would otherwise indicate.

    While I consider myself very knowledgeable on WWII armor, I learned a great deal from this book. If you want to learn more about some of the 'soft' -- but very important -- issues that affect armor performance beyond the technical specifications, I feel that money spent on this book is money well spent.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative
    Not done with it yet but this history of the development and deployment of the M4 Sherman was interesting and informative without being tedious and boring.
    Published 1 month ago by Michael O. McCrady
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books both historically and graphically presented...
    One of the best books both historically and graphically presented about American Armor, especially in Europe during WW2. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Tiborious Maximus
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history on the M4 Sherman Tank
    Not just for the wargamer and modeler. This is a superb mix of combat history and technical data. Mr. Zaloga has written the go to reference book on the Sherman Tank. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Dale Petroff
    5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that provides an insightful look into the plight ...
    A great book that provides an insightful look into the plight of the Sherman tank in the second world war.
    Published 4 months ago by Scott Nemec
    5.0 out of 5 stars east 5 stars
    Mr. Zaloga's work on the Sherman M4 is a easy 5 stars. For you "gear heads" (like myself) interested in detailed info on the Sherman's engine/drive train will be a bit... Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Ruel Elliott
    5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, comprehensive look at the decisions, mind set and...
    Excellent, fact based evaluation of the M-4 Sherman tank. A fascinating, comprehensive look at the state of our armored forces in 1941 and the decisions that led to the... Read more
    Published 5 months ago by s
    5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
    Awesome very good reference material for modelers! Well done!
    Published 5 months ago by Michael L.
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great Book or DVD
    Published 5 months ago by Michael A. Scouten
    5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Out There On The M4 Medium
    Everything you need to know about the M4 from a very trustworty and reliable author.
    It goes through the development of tanks before it(even from WWI) to give a better... Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Brendon
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Well written and informative
    Published 6 months ago by la975
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author

    Steven Zaloga is a senior analyst for Teal Group Corp., an aerospace consulting firm. His professional specialization is the commercial and technological aspects of the international trade in missiles, precision guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. He also serves as an adjunct staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank.

    Mr. Zaloga has published numerous books and articles on military technology and military history. His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Polish, Czech, Romanian, and Russian. He has been a special correspondent for "Jane's Intelligence Review" and is on the executive board of the "Journal of Slavic Military Studies". From 1987 through 1992, he was the writer/director for Video Ordnance Inc., preparing their TV series "Firepower" that aired on The Discovery Channel in the US.

    Mr. Zaloga was born in 1952 and received his BA in history from Union College, Schenectady, NY. He received an MA in history from Columbia University specializing in modern East European history, and did graduate research and language study at Uniwersitet Jagiellonski in Krakow, Poland.

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