Book Review: French Tanks of the Great War

October 27, 2019

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Getting lately finished guiding a WW1 battlefield tour in France and Belgium, I discovered myself curious to understand more about the facts of French tank development and repair. We are utilized to seeing and listening to the British tanks, however it was really in france they Renault Foot-17 light tank that will set the way forward for modern tank development. It I discovered was Tim Gale’s “French Tanks within the Great War” past both development and combat utilisation of the three mixers saw French service (the Schneider, the St. Chamond, and also the Foot-17). The developmental story isn’t technical within this book – it’s focused rather around the logistic and business growth and development of the tank service (the “Special Artillery”). The technical development is included, although not in much detail.

In which the book is packed with detail is incorporated in the combat good reputation for the tanks. In the Nivelle Offensive in 1917 with the finish from the war, Gale describes those things from the tank units deployed to every major unit. These details comes make up the original after-action reports from the French military archives, and it is packed with details, frequently lower towards the actions of person tanks. What we should see from this can be a quite interesting evolution of French tank doctrine, from the shaky start when no-you any experience of the use of tanks (so when an undesirable performance might have jeopardized their whole existence) towards the fall or 1918 when the skill of tank employment (that was really the skill of combined arms operation, including infantry, tanks, aircraft, and artillery together) really was coalescing like a proven doctrine.

The ties to small arms are  a bit slim, however the book does discuss German anti-tank weaponry and tactics, such as the deployment in 1918 from the tankgewehr AT rifles. For me, the knowledge of tanks is important to some proper well-rounded knowledge of ww 1, however this is certainly not really a book heavy on small arms information. For that cost, though (around $20 on Amazon . com during the time of this writing), it’s a insightful information and that i would certainly recommend it.

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