Land Craft #1 The Jeep
|Pen & Sword|
|$22.95 from Casemate|
64 pages, softcover, 150 illustrations
So successful is Pen & Sword's Tank Craft series that they have embarked on a series for soft skins. Not surprisingly, the kick-off vehicle is the Jeep. This vehicle is considered one of the five 'weapons' that helped the Allies to win WWII. According to George Patton, it is also the #1 German secret weapon as it killed more soldiers than the enemy. Well, I don't know about that, but it makes for an interesting quote.
The development of the Jeep is fraught with politics as seems to be the case for most US military vehicles. Designed and developed by the American Bantam company, the vehicle we now call the Jeep was the winner in a competition between it, Ford and Willys. However, the government decided to step in and basically took the contract away from Bantam. The end result was very few solely Bantam built Jeeps with the majority built by Ford with others built by Willys.
The reason given for this was the American Bantam did not have the production capacity of the other two (this is true) and due to the coming war, it was decided that Ford would be the main producer. However, Ford did not get to use their engine as the Willys version was superior to all three. American Bantam had to be consoled with building parts and trailers.
In line with books in the Tank Craft series we get a nice historical background (actually a bit more than normal) along with the variants produced and some of the operational history of the vehicle. There are also a goodly number of color profiles as well as a fairly good sized modeling section that provides built models and information on kits and accessories.
As a closing observation, the author seems to leave the impression that were it not for the British the vehicle would have never been built. His rationale is the fact that American Bantam also built the Austin 7 under license and so had this not happened they'd not have had the expertise and tooling for the Jeep. You decide.
These sorts of books where you have a mixture of history, camouflage and models are becoming more and more the norm. This one is well done, and those who liked the tank series will like this one as well.
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