When I received a copy of Panther Tanks to look at, I also ask for a copy of a similar publication on Churchill tanks, partly because I had little knowledge of them and partly because I think I will be modelling some in 1/300 scale later this year. I was sent a copy of Dennis Oliver’s “Churchill Tanks – British Army North-West Europe 1944-1945.”
The Churchill was beset with many mechanical problems, brought about by being rushed into production. It was a difficult tank to maintain but its strength was its versatility. The technical section of the book discusses this versatility well outlining the different marks and usage of the vehicle. Not as effective in tank-on-tank combat as the SHerman, it was the versatility of the vehicle that was its greatest strength.
Design of these tanks was commenced in 1939 with the vehicle originally designated the A20, becoming the Churchill as it entered production. Following from the A11, the Matilda and the Valentine, the Churchill was the 4th of the Infantry Tanks developed by the British to fit within the initial British belief in the way war would run (tanks support infantry and breakthroughs exploited by cavalry).
The book itself is short, some 64 pages only but contains a background of the Churchill tank, details of its use operationally, some great photographs and best of all for the modeller, models! The book contains the following chapters:
- The Army Tank Brigades
- Camouflage and Markings
- Model Showcase
- Modelling Products
- 1st Assault Brigade, Royal Engineers
- Technical Details and Modifications
- Product Contact List
This book is primarily written for the modeller and is part of Pen & Sword Books, Tank Craft Range and as such the modelling, detailing and camouflage information is extensive. Oliver presents 12 pages of colour and markings and information of 10 tanks. He then illustrates with colour photographs, builds of 1/35 scale vehicles from different modellers and manufacturers, some from the box others with conversion kits added. The modellers are from different countries and the models are superb.
Oliver then goes on the survey the model kits available and lists in:
- 1/35 scale – Dragon Models,Tamiya, Italeri
- 1/56 – Italeri
- 2/48 – Tamiya
- 1/76 1/72 – Arifix, Italeri, Revell, Zvezda
- 1/100 – Zvezda
For the modeller or the wargamer, this is a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf. Colour details are excellent and accurate as are the marking details. I am looking now for both my glue for the model sitting on my workbench as well as hunting around for the wargame vehicles for my late British Army – at least to be targets for the previously mentioned Panthers. Highly recommended and best of all, on sale currently.
Churchill Tanks – British Army, North-west Europe 1944-45
By Dennis Oliver
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Tank Craft
Published: 4th September 2017
Recommended for the modeller and the wargamer and best of all, this publication is currently on sale at Pen and Sword Books (January 2017).