The Tank Killers

A History of America's World War II Tank Destroyer Force

Harry Yeide

"It involves some tense moments, and these are recorded vividly in this book, including interviews with many TD veterans, plus official reports and documents.” The Tank Killers is the story of the American Tank Destroyer Force in North Africa, Italy, and the European Theatre during World War II.
Publication date:
July 2013
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Language:
English
Illustration :
16 b/w illustrations
Format Available     Quantity Price
Paperback
ISBN : 9781932033809

Dimensions : 240 X 159 cm
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£14.99
eBook (ePub)
ISBN : 9781935149736

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£4.99

Overview
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“It involves some tense moments, and these are recorded vividly in this book, including interviews with many TD veterans, plus official reports and documents.”

The Tank Killers is the story of the American Tank Destroyer Force in North Africa, Italy, and the European Theatre during World War II. The tank destroyer (TD) was a bold-if some would say flawed-answer to the challenge posed by the seemingly unstoppable German blitzkrieg. The TD was conceived to be light and fast enough to outmanoeuvre panzer forces and go where tanks could not. At the same time, the TD would wield the firepower needed to kill any German tank on the battlefield. Indeed, American doctrine stipulated that TDs would fight tanks, while American tanks would concentrate on achieving and exploiting breakthroughs of enemy lines.

The Tank Killers follows the men who fought in the TDs from the formation of the force in 1941 through the victory over the Third Reich in 1945. It is a story of American flexibility and pragmatism in military affairs. Tank destroyers were among the very first units to land in North Africa in 1942. Their first vehicles were ad hoc affairs: Halftracks and weapons carriers with guns no better than those on tanks and thin armour affording the crews considerably less protection. Almost immediately, the crews realised that their doctrine was incomplete. They began adapting to circumstances, along with their partners in the infantry and armoured divisions. By the time that North Africa was in Allied hands, the TD had become a valued tank fighter, assault gun, and artillery piece.

The story continues with the invasion of Italy and finally that of Fortress Europe on 6 June 1944. By now, the brass had decreed that half the force would convert to towed guns, a decision that dogged the affected crews through the end of the war. The TD men encountered increasingly lethal enemies, ever more dangerous panzers that were often vulnerable only to their guns while American tank crews watched in frustration as their rounds bounced harmlessly off the thick German armour. They fought under incredibly diverse conditions that demanded constant modification of tactics. By VE day, the tank destroyer battalions had achieved impressive records, generally with kill/loss rates heavily in their favour. Yet the Army after the war concluded that the concept of a separate TD arm was so fundamentally flawed that not a single battalion existed after November 1946.

The Tank Killers draws heavily on the records of the tank destroyer battalions and the units with which they fought. Veterans of the force add their personal stories.

REVIEWS

In this book, the author recounts the dramatic and sometimes overlooked story of the men in the American Tank Destroyer Battalion. Drawing on official reports and documents, and first hand accounts, the author presents the entire story of the Battalion, from its formation in 1941 through to the final victory in 1945
Britain at War Magazine

This book is a fitting tribute and useful to the general historian and modeller.
Military Modelcraft International

Ever wondered why the M10/18 Tank Destroyers were designed they way they were? Or how they were intended to be used? Well, in this book you will find the answers. Harry Yeide has produced an excellent history of what has been described as ‘The most successful failure in American military history'.
Historic Military Vehicle Forum

It involves some tense moments, and these are recorded vividly in this book, including interviews with many TD veterans, plus official reports and documents.
Military Illustrated

If you have been looking for a good book on United States Army tank destroyers, and missed the earlier hardback edition, then this is it. The book includes some useful appendices; these include brief profiles of all the Tank Destroyer battalions and plenty of valuable references
Tank, The Royal Tank Regiment Journal