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A total of eleven British armoured divisions were formed during the 1939-1945 war but, as this highly informative book reveals, just eight saw action.
In 1940 only 1st Armoured Division faced the German blitzkrieg and it was in the North African desert that armoured divisions came into their own. The terrain was ideal and six such divisions of Eighth Army fought Rommel's Panzers into submission. Three were disbanded prior to the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The campaign from D-Day onwards saw the Guards Armoured, 7th Armoured (the Desert Rats), 11th and Percy Hobart's 79th Armoured Division in the thick of the action.
Of particular interest are the men who commanded these elite formations and the way their characters contributed to the outcome of operations. While some, such as Dick McCreery, went onto greater heights, others did not make the grade; the stakes were high. A number, such as 'Pip' Roberts, were just perfectly suited in the role.
Written by a leading military historian, this book describes many fascinating aspects of armoured warfare from its uncertain beginnings, through the development of tactics and the evolving tank design. Due to British deficiencies, reliance had to be placed on US Grants and Shermans, with the Comet coming late and the Centurion too late.
The combination of gripping historical narrative and well researched fact make this an invaluable and highly readable work on the contribution of British Armoured Divisions to victory in the Second World War.
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