Review by Martin Koenigsberg
Just finished my 97th Book Review of the Year!!
At first glance, the Military history buff might question this title- surely the British Valentine Tank was an infantry support tank while the German Panzer III was a medium battle tank? Isn’t this a false opposition? The author, Bruce Oliver Newsome, an expert on Valentine’s history, shows us that this 1941-1943 period was a time when the Valentine was the main British Armor contribution to the war effort, as the American Sherman became the main tank the allies used- and the venerable Panzer III design was ending its main role for the Nazi war machine. Their face-off in North Africa was the end of the early war period- and did provide lessons for later armored confrontations between Allies and Axis. In this book, in the Osprey “Duel” series, the tanks are compared and then evaluated in a couple of battles to give the reader a look at a key time of the war. The Valentine, developed as an independent venture by the Vickers company, proved to be a valuable stop-gap for the British Army- and the Soviets who would end up the main users of this type. Produced in the UK and Canada, it was adequately armoured, but lacked punch, with a 40mm AT gun on its early versions. The German Panzer III had powered the early Blitzkrieg campaigns -but was topping out carrying the 50mm AT Gun, already getting obsolescent. These battles in North Africa found the Allies learning to use their armor- while the Germans were still the more adept armored force- but now unable to deliver knockout blows. Both the tanks’ chassis would now be more useful as bases for up-gunned vehicles, the Pz III as the StuG III with its 75mm gun, the Valentine as the “Bishop” with a 25pder howitzer and the “Archer” with its lethal 17pder AT gun. Learning more about these two tanks and how they performed in action helps in understanding the development of armored warfare in the larger WWII. There are no adult themes or graphic injury passages, so this is a good book for a Junior Reader over 11/12 years old. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, the intended audience, this book is quite useful. The Gamer looks closer at two pivotal tanks in WWII- and their use in battle- particularly the battles covered in the book with maps and diagrams. The Modeler gets a lot of pics and technical information that will help with the diorama and build development. The Military Enthusiast will benefit from a closer look at two particular tanks from the war and a campaign, post Alamein North Africa, that often gets short shrift. The general reader may find this book a little bit too focused, but the Military History buff will be entertained and informed.#WhatAreYouReading #BookReviews #20thCenturyHistory #MilitaryHistory #BritishImperialHistory #NaziHistory #GermanHistory #AfricanHistory #TunisianCampaign #ArmouredWarfare #WWIIHistory #SWWHistory #WWII #SWW #WargameResearch #ValentineInfantryTankVsPanzerIII #NorthAfrica1941to43 #BruceOliverNewsomePhD #DuelSeries132 #OspreyPublishing #Valentine #PzIII #8thArmy #2pderAT #50mmAT #FlamesOfWar #CoC #BoltAction #WorldWarIIWargaming