British Battle Tanks

World War I to 1939

By David Fletcher

Osprey Publishing, 2016

If you want someone to write a book about tanks, David Fletcher is the man for the job. Former historian at the Tank Museum, he was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to the history of armoured warfare. Not only did Osprey secure Fletcher to write the book, but they teamed up with the Tank Museum to produce a fine looking publication that benefits hugely from the museum’s collection of images.

Ten chapters cover the history of the tank from its genesis through to the beginning of the Second World War. Fletcher provides a detailed account of the early development, from the Number One Lincoln Machine and Little Willie through to Big Willie, or Mother. The difficulties of designing an effective fighting machine are considered, as well as the construction process. Separate chapters detail the Mark IV and Mark V, the Whippet, and wartime prototypes. Fletcher provides a huge amount of detail on the differences between the models, the design features, conditions for the crew, and how the tanks fared on active service.

The final third of the book covers the developments that occurred between the two world wars – although confusingly, despite the book’s title, the chapter on light tanks does cover the Second World War.

Beautifully produced, there are pictures aplenty to illustrate the text; not just photos but illustrations and cutaway diagrams that will be familiar to readers of Osprey publications. I suspect that all except the most serious tank buffs will learn something new from this book.

Buy this book from Amazon here:
British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939