On Armor

On Armor

On Armor

On Armor

Synopsis

On Armor tells three important and interconnected stories. The first is a tale of a technology, the second is a history of ideas, and the third is one of organization. Gudmundsson pays particular attention to how armored vehicles were combined with other forces to form an extraordinarily rich variety of units and formations. He also comments on the current and future roles various types of armor will play on the battlefield.

Excerpt

In the past half-century, the number of books published on the subject of armored fighting vehicles has easily exceeded the combined total of those published on all the other arms and services of modern land armies. a query of the catalog of the Library of Congress, for example, reveals 249 post-1945 entries filed under the subject heading of [tanks.] in the same period, only 132 books dealing with artillery (field, fortress, and air defense) and a mere 75 on the subject of infantry were catalogued. Thus, the publication of the first three books of this series, On Infantry, On Air Defense, and On Artillery, could be defended on the simple grounds that they shed some light on dark corners. the writing of yet another book on armor, however, requires some other justification. At the very least, it ought to present a perspective that is substantially different from that contained in the scores of tank books still readily available on the shelves of libraries and bookstores.

The cornerstone of my apologia for this work is its actual subject. On Armor is not just another book about tanks. Rather, it is an attempt to make sense of nearly a hundred years of interplay between the two definitive characteristics of armored fighting vehicles—tactical utility and operational mobility. (The former is the ability to fight. the latter is the ability to rapidly travel over long distances in the absence of significant enemy forces.) To this end, On Armor pays a great deal of attention to those armored vehicles that often get short shrift in books about tanks—armored cars, armored personnel carriers, armored engineer vehicles, tank destroyers, and assault guns. Put another way, rather than viewing other types of armored vehicles as poor relations of the main battle tank, On Armor treats these weapons with the respect that they deserve.

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