cover image Camp Colt to Desert Storm: A History of U.S. Armored Forces

Camp Colt to Desert Storm: A History of U.S. Armored Forces

. University Press of Kentucky, $39.95 (633pp) ISBN 978-0-8131-2130-7

No comprehensive account of U.S. armor doctrine, technology and practice has ever been written. This anthology takes a long step toward filling that gap. University of Cincinnati history professor Hoffmann (The Super Sixth) and retired general Starry (Mounted Combat in Vietnam) outline the synergies among political, operational and material factors that shape American approaches to the tank in battle. While the contributors all uphold high intellectual standards, the work would have been improved by a stronger defining concept and firmer editorial control. The Korean War is given almost as much text space as the WWII European theater. The chapters on the Patton, Abrams and Bradley systems focus on design and procurement in mind-numbing administrative detail. These, however, are minor problems in a book that boasts some of the best available analyses of mobile war as practiced by the U.S. At the top of the list is Christopher Gabel's essay on WWII armor operations in Europe, a model for its balanced evaluation of American strengths and weaknesses. Stephen Borque's analysis of armor in Desert Storm is also a masterful operational narrative. In back-to-back chapters, Dale Wilson and Tim Nenninger combine for an overview of American armor from 1917 to 1939. A definitive chronicle in one voice remains to be written, but this edited collection will stand as a valuable resource for military historians. (Sept.)