by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Originally published on:
Model Centrum Progres and Armor PhotoHistory has just released the monograph from Peter Brown that covers the history of the British Cruiser tanks A9 and A10. This is the fifth release in this series and the second that details the history of the British Cruiser tanks, following the earlier publication on the A13 also authored by Peter Brown.
The book is divided into four different sections although there is no actual table of contents that outlines such, but it is really not needed. The first section details the history of the development of the Vickers A9 and A10. This section is 22 pages long with a good narration that moves quickly from drawing board to production contracts through to operational use and eventual withdrawal from active duty use. The details of the actual usage of the vehicle in the field make up the most of this chapter. This section also contains several charts with specifications, war diary entries, census tallies, and war losses. The photos which are plentiful throughout this section are clear and well captioned.
The second section is the Photo Gallery. These include clear photographs of prototype vehicles, conversions, experimental vehicles and modifications. Of course, there are plenty of photographs from the 1940 BEF period including my favorite that seems to show a section of A10s being crewed by French soldiers! As is often the case in a situation like France in 1940 most of the photos from this period are of abandoned or captured vehicles. After this you will find a few pages of photos from training exercises in the UK before wholesale deployment to the Middle East. The final half of this chapter is devoted to the vehicles service in North Africa and in the campaign in Greece.
The third main section of the book is fourteen pages that are all sure to delight the scratch builder or super detailer everywhere. This is the line drawing section of the book which provides 1/35 scale drawings in all four planes of the A9 standard Mark I, with sand shields and without as well as a side view of the close support version. All of this is duplicated for the A10 as well; all four planes, with and without sand shields and the close support version too. After that things get really technical with drawings of the driverís seat, head pad, gear shift controls, lookout and head pad, well you get the picture. Forward compartment stowage, spent cartridge bin, track adjuster and idler wheel, and bottom hull plate, the list goes on and on to include a whooping total of 53 detailed line drawing of different common components and areas of the vehicles.
The book concludes with color plates of ten different vehicles, most with multiple plane views. These include vehicles serving in the BEF, Egypt, Greece, and Libya. The camouflage schemes include a two color BEF vehicle, single color version, Caunter schemes, and the Sudan camouflage version as well.
This is the first book in this series that I have had a chance to take a close look at and I must say I am very impressed. The history provides enough background to give a good feel for the vehicles development and service life, the photo gallery section is loaded with page after page of photos that I had never seen before, the line drawing section is a treasure trove of information for modelers, and the color plates are sure to be helpful to anyone with the Bronco kit or the upcoming Gecko releases.