Review: Tank Killers
- Published: 01 May 2010 01 May 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
This book covers the US tank destroyer battalions from the early planning and development in the US in 1940 through their first actions in North Africa, where the they were among the first to land, over Italy and finally in northwestern Europe, ending with the decision to disband the tank destroyer arm in 1946. It covers the changes in both tactics and equipment as they grew more experienced in the art of war and faced increasingly powerful German tanks as well as how they worked with the other allied forces, in particular the US armored divisions.
It also discusses some of the strange decisions made by the War Department, such as the decision to have half the forces convert from mobile guns to towed guns during the war.
It includes two appendixes, one listing the tank destroyer battalions used per campaign and one providing brief unit histories of all the battalions. It includes 16 pages with photos, a few maps, a two-page glossary and 20 pages with footnotes.
The book is well written and fact filled, the author also draws heavily on the unit records and the veterans. This is mainly a good thing, but at times claims from such sources needs to be verified, the author points out obvious errors in them at times (for example when gunners of A/602d Tank Destroyer Battalion claimed 8 destroyed Tiger tanks in an area where no such tanks saw any action) but it would be nice to see the claims compared by the losses reported by the opposing forces.
On the downside there is a lack of information on the forces opposing the tank destroyers in many cases, making it harder to compare the information with other sources focusing on the German units.
I would like to have seen at least some basic technical details on the various US vehicles mentioned in the book to help the reader get a better understanding of the effect the different vehicles used had on the fighting.
This is to my knowledge the only book dealing with the US tank destroyer units from the early stages of development until the end of the war and it is also well written and researched, so I recommend it to those interested in an overview of these units.
(Reviewed by Marcus Wendel)