by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Originally published on:
Introduction Tank Zone is one among many of magazines created by the French publishing group, Histoire & Collections. Tank Zoneís focus is on the history and employment of the vehicles used by different armies over the past one hundred years. If you are looking for articles about building the latest offering from Dragon or Tasca you wonít find it here; but youíre in luck because H & C also publishes Steel Masters and several others that deal with just that aspect of the modeling history.
Contents This magazine contains 7 articles spread across 82 pages. Despite the name being in English the magazine is written in French, but the photographs and illustrations are universal. This is the 15th issue of Tank Zone that Histoire and Collections has published on a bi-monthly schedule.
Each of the articles is accompanied by a generous assortment of photographs, many new to me as well as several that I have seen in various publications over the years. Every article, save one, had color illustrations, and many had color maps, to go along with the photographs and text. The illustrations are all top notch profile style pieces done by artists Jean Restayn and Christophe Camillote.
I will try to give a brief overview of each of the articles rather than a long winded description that would probably be mistranslated anyhow!
Article 1 The first article, the one that lacks any illustrations, is an 8 page history of the German 280mm Bruno series of cannons. The article covers the period from the series first use in 1917 up until the end of WWII. Of particular interest to me was the discussion of the diplomatic wrangling over the disposition of the guns following the Armistice.
Article 2 One of the larger entries revolves around the drive of the French 1st and 5th Armored Divisions into Austria in April and May of 1945. The article terms the push as the chevauchee into Austria, a word I like much better, that translates loosely as a cavalry raid or ride, generally when you have cut yourself of from your base in order to maintain freedom of movement reminiscent of the long raids of Edward the Black Prince in the Hundred Yearís War. Enough of the history lesson, the article is fourteen pages long and is filled with illustrations and photographs, about half of which are from private collections and new to me.
Article 3 The largest article in the magazine is a long nineteen page piece on the North Vietnamese 1972 Easter Offensive. The article, which is geared more to the order of battle of North Vietnamese forces, covers most of the fighting from the opening offensive phase of the battle around Quang Tri and the Dong Ha bridge to the defensive fighting around Hue and the efforts of ARVN forces throughout the summer to push the PAVN back to their start lines. The article is, as you would expect, lavishly illustrated with maps, period photos, and profile renderings of PAVN vehicles. It is labeled as a 2 part article, so perhaps a more extensive coverage of ARVN equipment, tactics, and order of battle is to come in a future edition.
the balance Other pieces include a fine article on the M-12 that includes the normal photographs and profiles as well as a nice 1/35 scale four view plan of the M-12. Also, a very nicely done article on the Afrika Korps counterattack in front of Tunis in December, 1942. This piece is noteworthy in the included maps and order of battle for both sides in the battle. As well as these other articles include a nice piece on the Sd. Kfz. 251/22 German halftrack that mounted the 75mm antitank gun. While the articles focus is on the development and production it does include a short section on the limited combat career of the vehicle. Finally, a somewhat neglected area of study, the Red Ball Express is given itís due with lots of nice photos, profile illustrations of a goodly amount of the vehicles, and a decent order of battle for the units involved.
Conclusion: Another great offering from the fellows at Histoire and Collections. The photography, profiles, and insets make it a worthy magazine to have on your shelf even if French is not your strongest language.