Home > Reviews > Britain > Osprey Publishing BRITISH BATTLE TANKS British Made Tanks of World War II by David Fletcher

BRITISH BATTLE TANKS – US Made Tanks of World War II

Osprey Publishing

by David Fletcher and Steven J. Zaloga

Reviewed by Al Bowie



Osprey Publishing
British Made Tanks of World War II
by David Fletcher and Steven J Zaloga



Media and Contents:

Hard Cover; 250 pages.


GBP£25 plus shipping available online from Osprey Publishing's website

Review Type:

First Read


Covers all the major US tanks and AFVs used by th British during WWII. Well supported by photos and colour plates


A compendium of previous titles.


I cannot recommend this enough particularly as it is a one stop title on US armour used by the British Army of WWII at a bargain price



David Fletcher MBE is well known to anyone with an interest in British AFV. He has added tremendously to the available knowledge pool on British AFVs . Osprey have teamed David Fletcher with Steven J Zaloga, one of the most prolific and respected authors in the field of armoured warfare and weapons to present the third in the series on British tanks, albeit of US manufacture. This follows the two previous titles covering WWI to 1939 and WWII of British manufacture.

After the debacle in France with the BEF having to leave behind almost all of its heavy equipment, the British Army was desperate for heavy military hardware and turned to the USA to supply AFVs and equipment of its own designs. However, the US were against this for many reasons and offered to increase production of its own designs which initially were not liked by British crews for a number of reasons such as crew ergonomics, limited range etc. As desperate as they were, they bought US designs and in some cases such as the M3 Medium Grant proposed limited changes of the design to better suit battlefield conditions. Very quickly they came to appreciate the rugged simplicity and reliability of the designs and orders were increased and accepted with enthusiasm. With the adopting of the Lend Lease Act the quantity of supply increased exponentially and as the British armoured forces used these in combat their feedback improved the designs and made them more battleworthy.

The US supplied initially light tanks to the British but soon these were followed by the M3 and M4 Mediums, tank destroyers and SP guns. As the US had no suitable tank to fulfil the Infantry tank role or the heavy tank role, the British continued to develop their line of Infantry tanks culminating in the Churchill - or it might be argued the Centurion.
The book is a hardback and like others in the series a compendium of previous titles covering the US tanks used by the British during the war including the British modifications to these such as the Sherman Crab, DD and Firefly. It contains the following chapters:

  • M3 Light Tank – Stuart
  • M3 Medium Tank – Grant & Lee
  • M4 Medium Tank – Sherman
  • Firefly – the 17 pounder Sherman
  • Sherman Duplex Drive – DD
  • Sherman Crab Flail tank
  • Other American built Tanks
  • Staghound Armoured Car
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

If one is familiar with Osprey’s Vanguard and New Vanguard Range then you will be familiar with the format and style. Each chapter is more or less a new Vanguard title with all the photos and artwork of the originals. Like previous titles there is a lot of new and bridging information on subjects not previously titled by Osprey.

This compendium packs a lot into its 250 odd  pages and will not disappoint anyone with an interest in the US tanks in British service or the History of Armoured warfare.
As with all David Fletcher and Steve Zaloga titles that I have read, this title is well backed by good research and is in an easily readable style of writing that will satisfy the novice and pedant alike. This is not the be-all-and-end-all reference on the subjects but may be considered an excellent overview or primer on the subject until more in depth studies become available.

This title offers excellent value for money and offers valuable reference for the modeller, historian and armour enthusiast. Its colour plates are all preserved from the original titles and it also offers the benefit of a hard cover and additional plates.

The authors are acknowledged specialists in WWII armour and have used this to the readers advantage providing a quality but budget priced reference on such an important subject in the history of armoured warfare.

I cannot recommend this enough particularly as it is a one stop title on US armour used by the British Army of WWII at a bargain price.

Available online from Osprey Publishing and specialty book shops worldwide  www.ospreypublishing.com