Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review: Marines Under Armor: The Marine Corps and the Armored Fighting Vehicle, 1916-2000 by Kenneth W. Estes

Marines Under Armor is a history of the development, procurement and use of armor by the United States Marine Corps. Estes traces the origin of armor doctrine and use in the Marines from after the first world war through the end of the twentieth century. Between the world wars the Marines were trying to define their role in the US military and as part of that development the adoption of armor was discussed. As the book relates, the Marines initially tried to procure armor designed to their own unique requirements, but slashed budgets and the lack of a formal operational doctrine eventually drove the Corps to adopt the armored fighting vehicle types of the US Army prior to and during WW2. With the acceptance of the task of amphibious assaults against fortified beaches, the Marines did adopt unique designs such as the armored amphibious tractor. After WW2, during Korea, Vietnam and through to the Gulf War, the Marines maintained the policy of mostly using the same main battle tanks as the US Army. However, the Marines did uniquely adopt the LAV (Light Armored Vehicle) and also continued to develop the amphibious assault vehicle.

The book is more of a scholarly study with a minimum of combat stories and personal tales. A good part of the time we read about congressional hearings and doctrine development, budget concerns and organizational makeups. For the serious student of Marine armor this is a must get book, for the more casual reader this might be too tough a read to enjoy.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

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