- Series: Spearhead (Book 1)
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Zenith Press; 1st edition (January 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0760330492
- ISBN-13: 978-0760330494
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.3 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,240,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II (Spearhead) Paperback – January 18, 2009
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"This book is the first to tell the story of the Tiger tank in battle. With over 100 photographs, the book brings to life the combat service of the German army's independent Tiger tank companies. From the development of a prototype for Hitlers birthday in 1942, to the tank's role at Leningrad, Tunisia, and Kursk, the book follows the fate of this most feared weapon of World War II--till it quite literally ran out of fuel at the Battle of the Bulge. Part of the 'Spearhead' series published by the Zenith Press, this highly informative and lavishly illustrated book chronicles the story of the German Tiger tank during World War II."
"George Forty has created an all-encompassing text that covers the origin and history of the Panzer Kampfwagen VI or Tiger tank and its development into a permier fighting maching during World War II...
"The inclusion of 25 color and 75 black and white photos, 10 maps and diagrams, and a short reference section makes this a book anyone interested in the use of armor in World War II will want to read and add to his library. For the price, you won't find a better or more detailed volume that gives the particulars of the German battalions that employed the famed Tiger tank during World War II."
This book is the first to tell the story of the Tiger tank in battle. With over 100 photographs, it brings to life the combat service of the German army’s independent Tiger tank battallions. Chester Hearn follows the fortunes of one of the most feared weapon of World War II from the development of a prototype for Hitler’s birthday in 1942 to the Battle of the Bulge, where the tank literally ran out of fuel. His account also includes technical descriptions of the Tiger’s main and secondary armament, tables of tactical organization, and engine and drive train specs.
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The photos that are not previously published are very seldom interesting or detailed - there are several museum and restoration photos that look like they came from someone's vacation album. The unit mentions are such bare-bones stuff with almost no new information that it would be an exaggeration to call them histories. The unit mentions do serve to scatter information and photos about so that Africa Tigers appear after mid- and late-model East Front Tigers, and there is no sense of "product development" at any point. The various tables of production numbers, K.St.N. organizations, gun capabilities, and victories claimed are old-hat. The layout provides many pages with incredibly generous outer page margins (2 5/8" or ~6.5 cm) and resultant wasted space. There are several irrelevant or misguided parenthetical inserts such as "Tiger Ancestors" which claims a Pz.Kpfw. I as grandpa to a Tiger II - and leaves large blank spaces in the margin. Sections on Turret Numbering and Unit Insignia are so scanty as to be misleading in the first case and very poorly drawn and erroneous besides in the second. Several maps are basically pointless or more confusing than helpful - none provide scale information. There are factual errors in almost every chapter, including the references. This is a rather Brit-centric book, so if that point of view is the reader's interest, Tiger Tank Battalions in WWII might do - it has the advantage of being written in English rather than being a translation. Otherwise, Tiger Tank Battalions is more nadir than zenith.
It is profusely illustrated and covers in detail the enormous advantages the Tigers had over anything else in the field, but also some of its disadvantages.
Having been for years the director of what is arguably the best tank museum in the world, Forty is uniquely qualified to cover the subject of this book.
Like other 'Spearhead' volumes from Zenith Press, TIGER TANK BATTALIONS IN WORLD WAR II examines development, combat history, equipment and insignia and personnel associated with the weapon or unit along with furnishing a combat assessment, bibliography, etc. The book contains over 100 b&w and color photographs, numerous maps, charts and sidebars.
As borne out in the book, the Tiger was master of the battlefield yet had mechanical feet of clay. Many more Tigers were lost due to breakdowns than enemy action. And while tank aces like Michael Wittmann could gain tactical victories by destroying dozens of enemy AFVs, there were never enough Tigers available to make a strategic difference.
Having purchased several other 'Spearhead' volumes like THE STONEWALL BRIGADE IN THE CIVIL WAR and THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION IN VIETNAM, I had assumed the series dealt with individual units. Given the evidence in hand, that obviously isn't the case.
However I have to say I enjoyed the other volumes more. Because they focused on one unit, the reader got a more detailed, up-close-and-personal understanding of, for instance, the Stonewall Brigade in action. By contrast, Forty's volume surveys a baker's dozen Tiger units. I would have preferred it if he had focused in on one battalion, say the 503rd, and explored that unit's history and personnel.
In any case, TIGER TANK BATTALIONS IN WORLD WAR II is an interesting, authoritative, well-illustrated chronicle of some of the deadliest tank units the Third Reich fielded. Tank afficiandos will want to add George Forty's book to their collection. Recommended.