Toward the end of World War II, newspapers revealed what American soldiers had discovered months before – when Sherman tanks tried to slug it out with the heavier German Panzers, they came out second best. Historical argument has it that the hidebound conservatives of the Army effectively blocked the introduction of superior fighting vehicles based on their tactical dogmas that tank destroyers – not tanks – should fight German armor. “Faint Praise” disagrees with this notion, and instead reveals that problems in tank development resulted from a complicated and often confusing mélange of technology, doctrine, combat experience, intelligence, and personalities. Further, it dispels the myth that soldiers were pleading for a better armed Sherman throughout the war. The demand for big guns did not start until mid-1944, leaving little time for a technological solution to Panzer-killing. Using new, fascinating sources and a fresh look at some old ones, “Faint Praise” considers the full spectrum of historically relevant facts, from technological capabilities to operational history, to provide a new answer to the tank question of World War II.
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