In the latest addition to the successful Images of War series, American tank expert Michael Green brings his encyclopedic knowledge and vast collection of images to bear on the evolution of the Patton tank which, in its many variants, formed the armoured mainstay of the US and many foreign armies for some 40 years.
The early Cold War years saw the need for a more powerful tank than the Sherman and Pershing tanks. The first Patton tanks (M46) were converted Pershings which saw service in Korea. To counter the Soviet military threat, the M47 with a more effective 90mm gun and turret went into mass production. In total 8,576 were produced.
The new M48 entered service in 1953 with the M47s pawned off mainly to NATO allies whose armies were being rebuilt. Despite serious initial deficiencies, over 12,000 gasoline-powered examples (M48A1/A2/A2C) came into service. These were followed by the diesel-powered M48A3 which the US Marine Corps and US Army took to South Vietnam.
In the late 1950s the US Army began fielding the diesel-powered M60 series with its British-designed 105mm gun. By 1982 over 15,000 units had been built in four basic models. Simultaneously the M48A5 Patton tank with the same 105mm gun and diesel engines went into service with US Army Reserve and National Guard and friendly foreign armies.
As this fascinating book reveals, Pattons were made into specialist role vehicles, be they anti-aircraft, flame throwers, recovery or combat engineer. Additionally customer countries, notably Israel, made their own modifications to their M48s which remained in service until the late 1990s. The wealth of superb images makes this fine work particularly attractive to modellers and wargamers.
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