Home > Reviews > Britain > Swimming Shermans, Sherman DD amphibious tank of World War II, by David Fletcher, Osprey Publishing Ltd

Swimming Shermans
Sherman DD amphibious tank of World War II

Reviewed by John Prigent


Publisher and Title New Vanguard 123, Swimming Shermans, Sherman DD amphibious tank of World War II, by David Fletcher, illustrated by Tony Bryan, Osprey Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1-84176-683-5
Media and Contents: 48 pages
Price: US Price: $15.95, UK Price: £9.50, available online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Good coverage of history; supported by tables, photos and artwork; excellent reference for modellers
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Swimming ShermansThis is an excellent book, and despite its title not confined to the DD (Duplex Drive) Shermans.

It actually begins with some notes on the prewar British ideas on how a tank could be made amphibious, culminating in the 17 Ton Lighter that was tested in 1941. Nicholas Straussler came up with the idea of adding pontoons to each side of a tank, which was tested and found workable but then replaced by his concept of putting a collapsible waterproof screen around the tank. He was provided with a Tetrarch to modify with this screen and a propellor, and after successful tests in 1941 the go-ahead was given for further development.

The Valentine was selected, and after more successful tests this version of the DD was put into production. In all 595 were built, based on several Marks of the gun tank, but it seems that only two ever saw action. Most were instead used for training, with the Sherman replacing them in the active service role. The Sherman was chosen in 1943, but before then ideas for both Cromwell and Churchill DD tanks had been looked at and found impracticable due to the development time they would need.

All this fascinating development history takes only 20 pages, with most of the remainder of the book devoted to combat operations in WW2 and the limited postwar experiments. DD operations on D-Day are of course described in detail, and following this there’s a section on the improvements made following that operation.

Then come descriptions of lesser-known DD operations in the Scheldt Estuary, on the Mark Canal near Breda, in the Rhine crossings, on the Elbe and in Italy.

A good selection photographs is backed up by very good plates, and there’s information in the text to help identify user units, at least on D-Day, by the Sherman types they used and their styles of markings.

All of this is invaluable for modellers as well as for tank enthusiasts.

Highly recommended!

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample