William E. Hiestand, Allied Tanks at El Alamein 1942 (Osprey, 2023)
The desert war in WWII turned at a place called El Alamein in late 1942. Pivotal to that battle were the tanks of the Allied 8th Army. In this short but illuminating book, William Hiestand surveys those vehicles that won through despite some major technical and operational problems.
Hiestand opens with the evolution of British armoured warfare doctrine that came unstuck when Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps arrived in the desert. The British were blighted at almost all levels, and it was only when Montgomery arrived in August 1942 that effective reforms took place to make the Allies more operationally coherent and cohesive. By October, the British were ready to attack. Hiestand gives the order of battle and works his way through the technical aspects and modifications of the various British tanks. With that set up, Hiestand narrates the campaign that devastated Rommel’s Panzerarmee, though many of the Allied problems remained and would not be fixed until Normandy.
Even by Osprey standards, this is a slim volume at 46 pages of text, but it is informative, and the photographs and colour plates are of the usual high Osprey standard. Hiestand’s book on Allied tanks will provide a useful supplement to more in-depth works on this pivotal battle and pique the interest of wargamers and modellers.