Up until the early 1940’s, the U.S. Army was dependent upon the horse when it came to moving either men or machinery, as was the case with most armies throughout the World. However, something new was needed, and after many revisions, tests, cutbacks, and red tape, the Jeep as we know it today, was born.
This subject is particularly important to me, as the area that I’ve called home for the last 42 years played an important part in the history of the early development of this machine.
In Butler, Pennsylvania, just a few miles from my home, early versions of the Jeep were developed and tested by the American Bantam Car Company. Although Willy’s eventually dominated in the competition between Bantam, Willy’s, and Ford, there were still memorable advancements made by Bantams, very close to my back door.
Format: 9.75 x 7.25 inches, 48 pages, 48 Black and White photographs and illustrations, 15 full colour digital plates.
Date published: 10 December 2005
II. JEEP ORIGINS Jeep or Peep?
III. THE JEEP AT WAR International use
IV. JEEP VARIANTS Amphibious Jeeps, Lightweight Jeeps, Communication Jeeps, Machine Gun Armed Jeeps, Gun Armed Jeeps, Rocket Jeeps, Armored Jeeps, Super Jeeps, Tracked Jeeps, Flying Jeeps, Jeep Copies, Jeep Accessories
V. FURTHER READING
VI. COLOR PLATE COMMENTARY
This new volume from Osprey really packs a ton of information into a small package. It’s hard to imagine that such a topic as this could be covered well in such a small publication, but between the efforts of the author, Steven J. Zaloga, and the illustrator, Hugh Johnson, they do just that!
It’s filled with invaluable technical information about this indispensable vehicle of WWII.
From the introduction at the beginning, to the very final words on the rear cover, there is not one bit of wasted space in this book, and every page holds plenty of information. I can see this book becoming an important reference guide for the modeller, as many different variants of the jeep are covered here (and some are really wild!). With clear photographs and supporting text for each variant covered. Although the balance of the illustrations are in black and white, there are eight full pages of digitally produced colour plates to help the reader visualize these variants. Included in these plates is a fantastic two-page cut-away illustration of a Willy’s Jeep, detailing and describing all of the parts using the correct nomenclature. Numerous charts of technical data appear throughout the pages, including production charts, detail changes, lend-lease foreign shipments, U.S. Army registration numbers, and much more.
A listing of many helpful and excellent Jeep related books is also included, as well as a complete breakdown and explanation of this books colour plates.
author and Illustrator
Steven J. Zaloga, hailing from the state of Maryland in the USA, was born in 1952. He received his BA in History from Union College, then onto his MA from Columbia University. Steven has written and published many books and articles about modern military technology, specializing in armored vehicle development. He has also written extensively about the American Armed Forces.
Hugh Johnson, of Middlesex, in the UK, illustrates this book. Hugh is an extremely talented digital illustrator. His most recent work besides this volume can be seen in Osprey’s “T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944-2004”, in the New Vanguard series. His digital illustrations I find amazing.
I have to say that I like the way this book reads. If you are looking for a handy, quick reference that covers the basics of many of the Jeep variants, then by all means, buy this book. As I have said earlier, there’s a lot of information packed in these pages, but there is not a lot of space discussing each variant, as that would require a far lager book! Basically what Osprey tries to do with this series is to pack a lot of pertinent information into a small reference manual, and in this I think they have succeeded. The photographs are clear, although they are all in black and white photography, but most will be of use to the modeller. The colour plates are a bonus, but I think that a walk-around photo display would have improved this books usefulness. This fact notwithstanding, I still recommend it.
Many thanks to Sheeba Madan, Osprey
Publishing, New York, for providing this review sample.
References: Farley, John, “The Standardized War-time Jeep 1941-45”, Jeep World, (2002
Scott, Graham, “Essential Military Jeep”, Bayview Books, (1996). www.olivedrab.com