American Armor in the Pacific
This latest in the Casemate Illustrated series explores American armor during the Pacific Campaign of WWII, from 1942-45. During this period, there were more than 20 major tank battles and/or operations where tanks provided heavy fire support to infantry units. These operations include the Battle of Tarawa and the Bougainville Campaign.
Relying heavily on first-person accounts, American Armor in the Pacific gives a detailed discussion on American and Japanese armored forces – including their development, equipment, capabilities, organization, and orders of battle, strategies, and comparative tactics.
Air War on the Eastern Front
June 1941: Having conquered most of Western Europe, Adolf Hitler turned his attention towards the vast Soviet Union. Disregarding his Non-Aggression Pact with Joseph Stalin, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, a full-scale invasion of the Soviet homeland … aimed squarely at Moscow.
In the skies over Russia, the battle-hardened airmen of the Luftwaffe made short work of the Red Air Force during opening days of Barbarossa. To make matters worse, Stalin had executed many of his best pilots during the perennial “purges” of the 1930s. Thus, much of the Red Air Force was destroyed on the ground before meeting the Luftwaffe in the skies. By 1944, however, the Soviet airmen had regained the initiative and fervently wrested air superiority from the now-ailing Axis Powers.
September 1944: With the Allies closing in on the Rhine, Adolf Hitler orders a counterattack on General Patton’s Third Army in France. Near the small town of Arracourt, France, elements of the US 4th Armored Division met the grizzled veterans of the 5th Panzer Army in combat. Atop their M4 Shermans, American tank crews squared off against the technologically superior Mark V Panther tanks of the Wermacht. Yet through a combination of superior tactics, leadership, teamwork, and small-unit initiative, the outnumbered American forces won a decisive victory against the 5th Panzer Army.
The Battle of Arracourt was the US Army’s largest tank battle until the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944. It helped pave the way for the final Allied assault into Germany, and showed how tactical ingenuity and adaptive leadership can overcome an enemy’s superior size or technological strength.