Although much has been written about the Panzer III, little attention has been given to the equally prominent Valentine tank. This work compares the respective strengths and weaknesses of these iconic tanks, which frequently went head-to-head in brutal battles across Europe, Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. It documents the upgrades made to each AFV type over three years, as up-gunned and up-armoured variants – ever more lethal, ever more survivable – arrived in North Africa.
Dr Bruce Newsome explores the two tanks' encounters, from the first Valentine vs Panzer III clashes in 1941, to the Axis drive into Egypt, and on to the Tunisian fighting of 1942–1943. Colour artworks include profile, weaponry and gunsight, and battlescene views of both tanks, while maps chart the campaigns in which they met. Each AVF's performance is also covered, along with their technical details, design evolution, and crew histories.
After repulsing the German counter-attack at Salerno in September 1943, the US Fifth Army and British Eighth Army advanced up the Italian Peninsula. By October, the Allied armies had reached the Volturno Line, forcing a critical decision in German strategy: a prolonged defence would be conducted in southern Italy, contesting the Allied advance using the complex terrain features. By mid-November, the two Allied armies were approaching the German defensive lines along the Garigliano and the Sangro rivers. Here, US 5th Army would attack through the Mignano gap towards San Pietro Infine, while British Eighth Army would seize Ortona on the Adriatic coast and Orsogna. A brutal struggle ensued, with the German defenders attempting to hold their positions. The fighting at Ortona in particular (labelled a 'mini Stalingrad') would be particularly grueling for the Canadian forces involved.
This fascinating work focuses on several little-known battles fought in Italy following the German withdrawal from the Salerno bridgehead and from Taranto. Maps and diagrams present an easy to follow overview of the multiple operations of this complex campaign. The forces of the opposing sides (including American, German, Canadian, New Zealand and British troops), and the three decisive battles fought in late 1943, are brought vividly to life in period photos and superb battlescene artworks.