Images of War – M1 Abrams
Pen and Sword Military 2019
Reviewed by Phillip Herbert
This new offering from Pen & Swords excellent Images of War series of books focus’ on one of the most iconic main battle tanks of the last forty years the M1 Abrams.
The book follows the same format as others in the series that focus on a single vehicle type in so much as it has more content at over 200 pages than usual for these books and as it covers a modern vehicle most of the photographs are in colour instead of the usual black and white images.
Following an introduction outlining the US Army’s requirement in the mid 1960’s to replace the older M60 main battle tank to counter the advances in Soviet tank technology the book is set out over eight chapters covering the vehicles development and entry into service in the mid 1980’s through to its successful deployments to Iraq and other parts of the world from the early 1990’s through to the present day.
There are chapters focusing on the three main marks of the tank with other’s focusing on other equipment like dozer blades, mine clearing ploughs and rollers. Also covered are the upgraded external armour systems used on the combat engineers Assault Breacher version of the tank that has no main gun fitted in the turret.
Throughout this book the level of detail is exceptional with almost every inch of the external surface the M1 having photographed. There are also useful close up pictures of the engines that have been removed from the hulls.
While for most wargamers this level of detail may be of limited use, those who build in 1/48 and 1/56 scales designed for 28 mm miniatures it will be extremely useful, but given the ever increasing interest in “what if” World War Three wargames and the ever increasing desire to produce even more detailed and unique vehicles even in the smallest scales this book will be extremely popular.
If I have one criticism of this book it would be that almost all of the photographs show the M1 in its desert colours used in the Middle East from 1991 onwards with very few in either the camouflage used by the US Army at home and in Europe or by the US Marine Corps but this is a minor thing in an otherwise excellent book that would in no way deter me as model maker and wargamer from adding it to my own library.