Pictorial History of the US 3rd Armored Division in WW2
...from Pen & Sword
Title: Pictorial History of the US 3rd Armored Division in WW2
Author: Darren Neely
Publisher: Pen & Sword
This new 306-page hardback book is a large collection of photos which illustrate the story of the US 3rd Armoured Division, the 'Spearhead Division' covering their progress from their arrival in NW Europe in late June 1944, through to the end of the war in Germany in 1945. As explained in the Introduction, it was one of only 2 'heavy' US armoured divisions deployed in Europe. This designation meant that it had 2 complete armoured regiments, each with 3 tank battalions along with an armoured infantry regiment.
Split into 4 chapters, each of which is introduced by a few pages of text to set the scene, and each accompanied by a set of appropriate photos, adding up to several hundred archive images which give a chronological sequence of the journey of the one division as it made its' way across NW Europe in the final part of WW2. Chapter 1 deals with their landing in Normandy and their tough introduction to the war, confined in the hedgerows of Normandy and the eventual breakout and route across the Seine and on to liberate towns as they went. Chapter 2 looks at their arrival at the borders of Germany, and further fighting to cross the defences of the Westwall, the Siegfried Line. Even then, once into Germany itself, they were diverted to help deal with the crisis of the fighting in the snow of the Ardennes which takes up chapter 3. With that out of the way, the final chapter takes us through their experiences crossing the Rhine and closing out the war in Germany. The well captioned photos throughout the book have so much to grab our interest. Some have been published already but most I had not seen before. They illustrate so many different facets of the story. They include the changes in weather, the confines of fighting in the hedgerows of Normandy to the various towns and cities of Western Europe. There are plenty showing the soldiers who made up the units of the division, along with their own equipment, some in use and others knocked out and clearly showing the clear results of how death in combat was so very real for both sides. Add others showing captured or knocked out German equipment and there is plenty of detail in here for the historian of the period, and for the modeller. In the later stages the division received new equipment in service, including both the M24 Chaffee and the M26 Pershing. Add all the other variety of equipment shown, such as treadway bridges, recovery vehicles and so much more.
There are lots of facets to the photos in this book which do a fine job of taking us through the journey of this strong armoured division in its' WW2 combat history in Europe. Not only that of the men of the division, but the equipment they used and their impact on the war, including the liberation of civilians and POWs, as well as the capture of enemy POWs as the war came to a close. A fine collection of archive images, well put together.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.