by Hayward, Mark
Barbarossa Books - UK 2002
£35 Pounds Sterling
I had the pleasure to contribute some photos to this work and had awaited its publication with some impatience. This book represents the first large hardcover AFV title from Barbarossa as well as the first published book from Mark Hayward. I was not disappointed when my copy finally arrived.
This is a fantastic collection of photos supporting a well researched text (using some new archival sources in the UK and elsewhere) covering development, combat use and series production of the Firefly 17 pounder Shermans. Used by the British, Commonwealth and Polish forces in the 1944-45 campaigns in Italy and North West Europe (and procured in small numbers by the US Army) the Sherman Firefly was the belated and effective allied answer to German armoured superiority. Mark Hayward's book includes unit allotment tables, newly commissioned 1:35 scale plans, colour plates and even a well prepared and well executed series of model kit reviews for all those wishing to model British and Commonwealth Fireflies. Photos showing production variations on surviving tanks are included in the same manner as in Barbarossa's titles on the T28 and T35 Soviet tanks.
This book is a very good start for an author who is poised to lead the next generation of British WW2 AFV historians. The author has dispelled some myths here as well as generated important new US Army Firefly research in the USA (which the author makes available as an update file from his website).
A definitive work which I rate highly indeed. This book is well laid out, well illustrated, well written and researched, and even supported by a website holding even more new research that has come to light since this book went to the printer in December! It gets 9 out of 10 and is worth the rather high price.