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Men Inside the Metal: Volume 2

The British AFV Crewman in WW2

Green • 2014
Autor(zy)Dick Taylor
Data wydania2014-10-06
Nr katalogowy4116
KategoriaSold Out KategoriaWyprzedana
FormatA4, 124 stron (124 w kolorze)
Cena119.00 PLN Cena24.99 GBP

This book, the second volume in a series of two, completes the story of the uniforms and equipment of British and Commonwealth tank and AFV crews, 1939-1945. The evolution of uniforms, and the variations in actual use on all fronts, are described and illustrated, as is the personal equipment of AFV crews. The advantages and drawbacks of all the designs are discussed, in the context of actual front-line operational experience.

Illustrated with many photos and drawings, covering all uniform variations and equipment. Volume 2 also contains information on regimental insignia.

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  • Armorama.com • 2015-06-08

    by: Brian O'Donoghue [ BRIAN638 ]

    Originally published on:



    This is Dick Taylors eighth book for Mushroom Model Publications his first series of books dealt with the colours and schemes seen on British AFVs. This second series of books deals with something more important The Men Inside The Metal, this review deals with the second volume. The vehicle crew is an exceptionally important part of the fighting machine a tank can be repaired and replaced a crew needs to be trained. Once trained a vehicle crew becomes almost a single organic fixture were each person relies upon the other making a single crew a highly effective unit. This second volume deals with the units, the crew and living and fighting in an armoured vehicle.


    • Chapter 1 – Individual Regimental Insignia
    The British Regimental system can seem complicated and confusing, throughout the second world war units were created, disbanded and converted adding to the confusion. This lengthy chapter deals with the individual regiments including the RAC regiments, Household Cavalry, armoured battalions of the Foot Guards along with AFV crews of the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, Royal Horse Artillery, Reconnaissance Corps and Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Each of the separate entries includes details on cap badges, shoulder insignia and regimental headdress if applicable. There is a great deal of information it is short and concise. This will give the reader the opportunity the means to research individual units in greater depth.

    • Chapter 2 – The Crewman
    The chapter deals with the training process which appears to have included plenty of drill. The responsibilities of the crew are also covered within this chapter and there are a number of helpful and surprising insights. There a number of high quality period photographs within this chapter that show repairs and maintenance that will be very useful for the armour modeller. 

    • Chapter 3 – Living On An Armoured Fighting Vehicle
    AFVs may move across the battlefield but they can either move tactically or non-tactically, tactical movement includes the choices the commander may face operating partially out of the confines of the vehicle. The rest of the chapter deals with the business of living in an AFV including resting, sleeping and the complexities of sharing a fourteen man ration pack with a five man crew.

    • Biography and References
    The biography and references comprise of three pages of various sources that list official publications along with books. The book list will enable the reader to source further books by conducting a search online. Some of them are still current releases while other titles will need a rather extensive search. 


    Yet another fine book from Dick Taylor and Mushroom Model Publications one of the many highlights through out his book is the extra information. Dick has included a number of photographic references for the Imperial War museum archive, this enables the reader to search for and find additional images.
  • http://zigerasticathemodeller.blogspot.co.uk • 2015-03-27

    This is the second in this two-part series by Dick Taylor and, as predicted in my review of the first volume, together the two volumes represent the definitive discussion on this topic. I can't imagine how anyone could produce a further publication which will improve upon these works, whether in terms of pure reference value, the research which has gone into them, or the specialist knowledge which shines through on every page.

    Again, period photographs are used throughout, along with hundreds of colours illustrations, modern photographs of equipment, badges, etc, and images of modern day re-enactors. As far as I'm aware the result is a unique combination in which, for instance, a particular unit's cap badge, shoulder titles, and coloured side-cap might appear on the same page as photographs of these items in use. Since these various badges and pieces of kit often evolved over time, or involved considerable differences between units, this is an invaluable source of reference for anyone with an interest in these units.

    The book follows a very logical structure, with the bulk of the text, more than 80 pages, devoted to a unit-by-unit analysis of regimental insignia. Regiments are listed in order of seniority which, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of this issue will recall, bears no resemblance to the age of the regiment. As a result the Household Cavalry, the Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards, each of them able to claim a long lineage going back centuries, is followed by the Royal Armoured Corps. I confess I don't begin to understand the reasoning behind this ranking of regiments but it seems to me that Taylor would have been entering a diplomatic minefield in not following this structure so he has taken the sensible course.

    In addition to the RAC and the various cavalry regiments, each of the regular battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment, the numerous militia and yeomanry units which were used in the armoured role, the territorial battalions of the RTR, Guards units which converted to armour and even the infantry units which converted to RAC regiments are discussed at length. This latter would have been invaluable to me in 2013 when I gave a paper on 148 RAC's experiences in Normandy.

    This section concludes with a discussion of airborne, reconnaissance, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and REME units which took on armoured roles. Detail is rich throughout, with the fascinating section on the Reconnaissance Corps being particularly well illustrated, including a chart covering the many sub-units of this Corps.

    The second chapter covers the Crewman, including the 'training of the tank soldier' and crew responsibilities. This includes a number of photographs which I've never seen reproduced elsewhere and while there are many personal accounts of training and life as a crew member I can't think of any similar synthesis of these experiences in one place.

    The final chapter looks at life on an AFV, including such issues as washing and cleaning, relaxing, and food and drink. On the face of it these are mere mundanities, but actually to this social historian they are the stuff of the lived experience and are endlessly interesting. Tanks are not built for comfort and keeping oneself clean in the desert or amid the mud of winter in northern Europe presents interesting challenges. As for the observation that from June 1944 to April 1945 British forces in northern Europe consumed 33,878,000,000 cigarettes, at the same time as working their way through more than 50 million pints of bottled beer, well there are entire books to be written about the issues raised by this evidence.

    On it's own, then, this book is an invaluable source, but when combined with the first volume the series as a whole is a triumph.


  • IPMS UK Magazine 01/2015 • 2015-03-27

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