Legends of Warfare ( Ground )
LVT (4) Amtrac
The Most Widely Used Amphibious Tractor of World War II
Here is another interesting new title from prolific author David Doyle, who continues to bring military hardware fans an ever increasing range of titles of interest. This volume examines the most commonly used amphibious tractor of World War II, the LVT (4) Amtrac. These amphibious hybrid land / water craft were hugely important to the Pacific island hopping campaign used to push the Japanese back to their home islands, as well as effective use in river crossings and such during the campaign in the European Theater.
The Legends of Warfare series of books published by Pennsylvania based Schiffer Publishing is an extensive and ever growing line of volumes on the famous and well known machines of war, divided by subject into Ground, Naval and Aviation subjects. These volumes share similar formats and production values, and are modestly priced at just $19.99 USD. Books in this series that I’ve examined were all found to be well worth the modest cost, and were useful additions to the modeler or military history buff’s library
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 112 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - 250+ black and white, and full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of technical / performance specifications, no drawings.
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
Above - the table of contents is short, sweet and simple.
In the 4 page Introduction the author describes the late 1930's evolution of what was originally envisioned as swamp rescue vehicle called the Alligator into an effective fighting vehicle that would see world wide usage in WWII. Following this brief introduction, the book moves into its three chapters, of which the "Detail" chapter is lengthiest by a wide margin.
Above - the opening pages of the "Building the LVT (4) chapter, showing the author's standard format for chapter openings seen in many of his Legends of Warfare titles; concise, well written introductory text, a table or two of general / technical information, a well chosen photo or two complete with very complete captions. In a nutshell, the above image actually depicts the author's strengths in just a single two page spread. Okay, I guess I'm done with this review ( just kidding...)!
Above - as is usual in Mr Doyle's works, plenty of attention is provided to the factory floors and proving grounds, giving a good bit of background information on how the vehicle evolved into it's end product.
Above - another common feature of the author's work in this line of books is the liberal use of full page images, which make it quite easy for eyes of all ages to make out details very clearly.
The "Into Combat" presents the readers with a nice mixed bag of images taken of the LVT(4) in use from its June 1944 debut during the landings on the Pacific island of Saipan, through the end of hostilities in the Pacific, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, etc. There are a few interesting images of flamethrower variants of the LVT(4) in this chapter as well. There are also some great images of the vehicle in use in the ETO, by the Army. Interestingly, MORE LVT(4)s were delivered to the Army than to the Marines ( I wouldn't have guessed that...).
The above image of some optimistic Army engineers seeing just how much they could can stuff into an LVT(4) for a river crossing is a scene that is just screaming to be built as a diorama. I find the image pretty humorous as well. But again, the full page images found in this volume are well chosen!
The largest chapter of the book is the "Detail" chapter, running from page 44 until the end of the book at page 112. This chapter contains all full-color images in sizes ranging from quarter page size up to full page size.
The "Detail" chapter has very extensive coverage of several surviving examples of the LVT(4), with very well composed, crystal clear photographs of virtually all components of the LVT(4). The quality of these images is simply terrific, enabling the reader to see clearly all aspects of the LVT(4).
Above - the great detail images in this chapter include the unique tracks
This volume checks all of the boxes for a typical high quality Legends of Warfare title from this author. Superb text accompanies a terrific selection of period and modern images.
The author does as good a job as anyone in the business, and far better than most with the quality of his photograph captions and general text work. He provides a large amount of information in a clear, concise manner, while retaining "readability".
The images selected for this volume are uniformly high in quality, and are well chosen for their interesting features or content. There is a very nice selection of historical images of wartime use of the LVT(4) in this book, while the "in detail / walk-around style" images fill well over half the pages of this volume, making it a great resource for any looking to build / super detail an LVT(4) model.
This volume of the Legends of Warfare series will be a useful addition to the book case of anyone interested in these hybrid vehicles, the island hopping campaign in the WWII Pacific, or WWII vehicles in general. Another value packed, modestly priced entry in the Legends of Warfare line in my humble opinion!
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd VP Midwest Region
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