Cromwell vs Jagdpanzer IV: Normandy 1944
David R. Higgins is the author of several military history books, including five previous titles for Osprey's Duel series. These include King Tiger vs IS-2 (Duel 37), Mark IV vs A7V (Duel 49), Jagdpanther vs Su-100 (Duel 58), Panzer II vs 7TP (Duel 66), and M48 Patton vs Centurion (Duel 71). David has also authored books for Osprey in the Raid and Combat series. David authored a hardcover book for Casemate in 2010: The Roer Battles: Germany’s Stand at the Westwall, 1944-45. David has been prolific in periodicals, having written nearly 50 articles for magazines such as Strategy & Tactics, Armchair General, World at War and Modern War, and has appeared on television's ‘Greatest Tank Battles'. David attended the Columbus College of Art & Design and received a BFA from Ohio State University. He currently lives in New Albany, Ohio.
Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani, and Edouard Detaille. His illustrations have been featured in at least 66 books. His interests include karate, running, Bible reading, history, and making English longbows. Check out his websites here, his Facebook page, yet another website and or this last website.
Alan Gilliland spent 18 years as the graphics editor of the UK's Daily Telegraph, winning 19 awards in that time. He now writes, illustrates, and publishes fiction (www.ravensquill.com), as well as illustrating for a variety of publishers including Osprey. Check him out at his blog and on his website.
Osprey’s 86th book in the Duel series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. The front cover features two illustrations by Johnny Shumate with the Cromwell on top and a Jagdpanzer IV below. Johnny Shumate also provides the color battle scene painting and the illustrations for the Target Views section. Alan Gilliland provides color 3-view illustrations depicting the A27M Cromwell and the Jagdpanzer IV, their ammunition, along with turret cutaways complete with detailed legends. I counted 50 photographs, 1 in color and 49 black and white, and three color maps.
David R. Higgins opens up with a brief introduction setting the scene for the tank battles to come with the Allied establishment of a beachhead in Normandy on June 6, 1944. June 7, 1944, saw the Cromwell IV tank land and head out to secure the Bayeux region. Germany rushed their reinforcements in which included the latest in tank destroyers, the Jagdpanzer IV. A chronology overview scans from 1921 through January 1945, hitting the high points in the lead-up and development of the Cromwell and Jagdpanzer. David focuses in on the design and development of both weapons, their specifications, and their personnel training over the next three chapters.
The chapter, “The Strategic Situation”, sets the stage for the following chapter, “Combat”. Supported with colored maps that depict the major actions, David R. Higgins addresses the major battles as the Allies pushed into the German defenses. The Allies control of the air supported the ground attack by disrupting the German supply lines and any reinforcements headed west. Unfortunately, the battlefields that the Cromwell faced, dense hedgerows and woods, did not permit it to use its speed and maneuverability to its advantage. The Jagdpanzer IV was Germany’s first true anti-tank AFV and it excelled in that defensive role. Although the Jagdpanzer IV contributed to German tactical successes, their effort was largely to slow down the Allied advance as the Germans withdrew to their own border.
Using many Imperial War Museum photographs, specially commissioned artwork, and battle reports, David R. Higgins is able to relay the Cromwell and Jagdpanzer IV initial duels as the Allies pushed the Germans back to their own borders. The sections include:
- Key to Military Symbols
- Author’s Note
- Design and Development
- A27M Cromwell IV Specifications [Page 13]
- Jagdpanzer IV
- Jagdpanzer IV (L/48) Specifications
- Technical Specifications
- Cromwell Ammunition
- Jagdpanzer IV
- Jagdpanzer IV Ammunition [Page 25]
- Jagdpanzer IV
- Jagdpanzer IV
- The Combatants
- British and Polish Training
- British and Polish Unit Organizations
- Cromwell Turret (Labeled Color cutaway)
- German Training [Page 37]
- Jagdpanzer IV Fighting Compartment (Labeled Color cutaway)
- British and Polish Tactics
- Cromwell Commanders
- John Cloudsley-Thompson
- Jan Maciejowski
- German Tactics
- Jagdpanzer IV Commanders
- Joachim Barth
- Georg Hurdelbrink
- The Strategic Situation
- 10 June 1944
- 7 August 1944
- Operation Perch
- The Jerusalem Crossroads [Page 55]
- The Fight for Tilly-Sur-Seulles
- Cromwell Gunsight (Illustration)
- Jagdpanzer IV Gunsight (Illustration)
- Break-Out from Normandy
- Jagdpanzer IV [Page 74]
While really not being a student of either vehicle, I really enjoyed improving my understanding of the development of the British Cromwell and the German Jagdpanzer IV. One of the main reasons I’m attracted to Osprey’s Duel series is that it provides a broad overview of each vehicle. Additionally, this series provides insight to the training from each side’s perspective and then inserts you into the battle to see how each played their part, from the AFV itself to the crews, and their support elements. If you own one the previous releases in the Duel series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.
My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.