US Airborne Tanks 1939-1945
...from Frontline Books
Title: US Airborne Tanks 1939-1945
Author: Charles C Roberts Jr
Publisher: Frontline Books
This new 329-page hardback takes a close look at the development and service story of the M22 Locust, a US Light Tank created to accompany airborne forces into action and provide them with some level of armour support once they get on the ground. The story of the Locust is split across 4 chapters and is well illustrated throughout.
It starts with background to the idea of an armoured vehicle to accompany parachute forces, with ideas from Walter Christie for a tank that had a flying wing to lift what would have to be a light tank, or slinging one from the underside of a powered aircraft, such as as the Russians tried. That was the aim that the US military was aiming for, and hence the substantial lifting points on the production Locusts. The contract was put out to tender, and it was the Marmon-Herrington design which was selected. One of the issues throughout was how to land the land, without destroying it in the process. The British solution, for the Tetrarch, was to use a glider. We see the German and Japanese glider designs, along with the American CG-10, though that one never saw service. The detail and design of the Locust is well covered, and a lot of very detailed illustrations taken from the original vehicle manual. Then it goes on to tell us about the US 151st Airborne Tank Company, an organisation which carried out exercises in the US but which was not deployed. It was the British Airborne forces who took the M22 Locust to war, landing them in Hamilcar gliders as part of the Rhine crossing, Operation Varsity, and their contribution is featured. Finally it considers what happened to the remaining examples after the war was over, many having their armament removed and being used as agricultural tractors. There are some examples left in museums, I know I have seen them at the Tank Museum, Bovington, at the Bastogne Barracks museum in Belgium and the US Armour museum at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA.
An interesting read, period context and a level of detail which will please modellers and AFV enthusiasts alike.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our copy.