by Bob Carruthers & Sinclair McLay,
South Yorkshire, England: Pen and Sword, 2013. Pp. 316.
. $12.99. ISBN: 1908538619
is a novel byCanadian writer/editors Carruthers and McLay, who have have capitalized upon a series of semi-autobiographical vignettes from Ritter von Krauss to capture the drama of armored warfare on the Russian Front in World War II.
The protagonist of the story, SS Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Hans von Schroif, leads the German equivalent of the usual clichéd and eclectic World War II squad of soldiers in 1942-43 Russia as they come to grips with superior Soviet tanks and struggle to field an answer. Carruthers and McLay detail the operational strengths and weaknesses of various tank models such as the
PzKpfw IV and the starring PzKpfw VI Tiger, as well as the T-34 and KV-1. They also richly illustrate the special relationship that often exists among tank crew members, in extensive and realistic detail amid a story of spies, industrial espionage, and power politics in a totalitarian regime. A strong sense of history, particularly that of the Third Reich, will assist the reader as he navigates references to the rote Kapelle, the Abwehr, and even Hitler’s birthday.
This tale gives the reader a strong sense of what combined arms warfare at the Kampfgruppe (battalion task force) level is like. Carruthers and McLay ably weave key historical events into the action, if at times a little too conveniently – but no more so than Tom Clancy does. Tiger Command! carries on in the tradition of
Martin Caiden’s Last Dogfight or John Wesley Rawles’ Patriots, in that the narrative occasionally takes a backseat to the tactical explanations or the technical terms, but still entertains.
n interesting foray into WWII fiction from the point of view of an SS tank crew that is technical enough to satisfy purists and entertaining enough to retain generalists. An earlier tale of von Schroif’s crew, Into the Gates of Hell - StuG Command '41, is also available.
Jim Mc Carthy is a retired Infantry officer and avid history buff who works as a senior military analyst contracted to the Department of the Army.