Legends of Warfare
Sherman Tank, Vol. 4
The M4A3 Medium Tank in WWII and Korea
Prolific author David Doyle is back with another entry in Schiffer Publishing's extensive Legends of Warfare series, this time out continuing his series of volumes on the Sherman tank. This is the fourth entry in the series, with this book focused on the M4A3 Shermans of WWII and the Korean War. The previous three volumes in this Sherman series have all been favorably reviewed by AMPS.
All books in the Legends of Warfare series have common characteristics and format; physical size, approximate length, and in many cases the layout of presented material. These books are all modestly priced and of very solid value.
The distinctive slab sided M4A3 Shermans first saw combat in the fall of 1944, and were built in much larger numbers than previous models. The effectiveness of the tank was improved greatly with the use of the higher velocity 76mm main gun, and an improved suspension system was introduced with the M4A3E8 ( nicknamed the "Easy Eight" for it's smoother ride ). Interestingly, more Shermans alone were manufactured than the total tank production of Nazi Germany during World War II. The M4A3 went on to serve during the conflict in Korea, and to have a lengthy service life with many armies world-wide.
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 128 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - approximately 240+ black and white, and full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of production data, technical data
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
Above - in addition to the garden variety M3A3, this volume also covers the 105mm armed howitzer variants, the flame thrower versions, and of course the Jumbo assault tank version.
In his brief Introduction, the author covers the origins of the Sherman tank, and discusses the early versions and changes that led to the M4A3, which was the version that carried the US Army through to the end of WWII ( and beyond ). The author does a fine job of relaying this information in a concise and still easily read manner.
Each variant of the M4A3 is thoroughly examined in it's chapter, with the chapters kicking off with a relatively brief block of well written text, and then the eye candy begins. These books are not ONLY photographic studies, but images are the main focus of these volumes.
Above - luckily, there are still quite a few surviving Shermans out there, both in museums and in private collections. This enables good modern photography of these specimens. The author makes full use of well taken modern, full color images of the Sherman in this series of books.
Above - there are a great many "walk around" style images of the M4A3, with good images of the many components that made up the tank. These images are well composed and lit, enabling good examination of what's pictured.
Above - another meticulously restored, privately owned M4A3 that's in spectacular condition.
Photo sizes throughout the volume range from quarter page sized, up to full page sized. Most images are presented in one half page to full page sized. Even the smaller images are sharp, crisp and bright enough to see details clearly.
Above - there are many excellent images of the M4A3's interior. Also, there are several quite informative tables of data to be found throughout the volume.
Of Note - as can also be clearly seen in the above image, the author's caption work is nothing short of terrific. He gives the reader quite a bit of valuable information in a compact, concise manner, while keeping it "readable" and not a jumble of technical jargon. The author takes care to point out areas of special interest in the photographs as well.
Above - as seen in the image above, the author has located many fine images of the lesser seen variants of the M4A3, such as the flamethrower version.
After the examination of the variants of the M4A3, the author shifts gears and presents the reader with the Field Use chapter, almost 40 pages of fascinating world wide images of these tanks in a wide variety of situations and actions. The majority of these images are really good, enabling a good amount of detail to be seen. These images are very well chosen for interest, and quite a few are full page sized for really good examination of detail.
Above - the volume closes with several interesting pages of the M4A3 in the Korean Conflict.
This is another winner in a long line of winners from author David Doyle and Schiffer. This volume, while intended as a part of a set of books on the iconic Sherman tank, is complete and thorough enough to stand on it's own merit if one's interest lay solely with the M3A3 version.
The author's text and caption work is up to his terrifically high usual standards, he conveys a lot of interesting information in a very clear and concise manner. While doing this, the text is never dry or bogged down by too much incomprehensible detail. He always seems to strike the proper balance. The images found in this book are uniformly well selected for visual interest, subject matter, and overall image quality. There is a very nice blend of period images with recently taken photos. The use of a great many full page sized images is a plus in my opinion.
This book is a very well done addition to the author's set of Legends of Warfare Sherman books. The author's website shows another volume in this set ( Vol. 5, on the British M4A4 ) as being on the way, so there will be at least one further book in this set. This set will be quite a valuable reference for Shermaholics once done!
This book, either as a stand alone, or as a part of the bigger set, is a very worthy addition to your reference library.
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy!
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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