by Lawrence M. Kaplan
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2018. Pp. xii, 290+.
Illus., maps, diagr., tables, appends., notes, biblio., index. $35.00. ISBN: 0813176042
America’s First Tank Actions
Kaplan, command historian for the U.S. Army Cyber Command and author of a history of the 30th Division in the Great War, an excellent biography of Homer Lea, and many other works, has created an anthology of first hand accounts of the American tank corps in World War I.
This work consists of over 80 letters, after action reports, news and magazine accounts, citations for decorations, and the like. These were written by several score soldiers, journalists, and others. Prominent in the collection are six letters among the “contributors” being then Col. George S. Patton, Jr., who commanded 1st Provisional Tank Brigade during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and at the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, until he was seriously wounded and saw no further combat service in the war.
These documents constitute the raw materials of history. They also offer often excellent snap shots not only of the combat experience of the Tank Corps, but insights into the problems with the relatively primitive technology available, and the evolution of the Army’s thinking on the proper ways to organize and employ tanks at the time.
Pershing’s Tankers, a volume in the AUSA Books series, is a valuable read for the serious student of the history of mechanized forces, but is less likely to prove useful for the casual reader, though it does include some interesting battle pieces.
Note: Pershing’s Tankers is also available in several e-editions