CM November 17, 
1995. Vol. II, Number 5

image Dragons of Steel.

John F. Wallace, MC.
Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing House, 1995. 267pp, paper, $19.95.
ISBN 1-896182-04-0.

Subject Headings:
Canada-Armed Forces-Armored troops-History-20th century.
Mechanization, Military-Canada-History-20th century.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by J.R. Cordon.


For the next two days, the LSH, having remounted their tanks, supported 12 CIB crossing the Naviglio. 5 CAR also working out of its tanks took on patrolling activities as well as carrying out the occasional artillery type of tank shoot. To its south, tanks from 9 CAR were split between assisting the 2CIB and 11 CIB as they moved up to the Senio. The BCD contribution to 2 CIB had been instrumental in holding off enemy counter attacks and enlarging that brigade's bridgehead. 2 CAR, in tanks, continued supporting the 5th Armoured Division's two infantry brigade's advance towards the Senio.

map Written by a decorated World War Two tank commander, Dragons of Steel is a highly detailed account of the history of Canadian tanks, from their early days in World War One, through the inter-war years, to their eventual triumph in the Second World War. The book contains a wealth of information, and many maps and photographs. The author has drawn upon his own personal experiences in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, and has an impressive background as an historian.

In order to cover this colourful period of history in a relatively brief space (267 pages), the author has elected to look at the big picture most of the time. Readers who are looking for anecdotal accounts or in-depth character studies will be disappointed. At times, especially in the reporting events of WW II, the book seems to fall to the level of describing a series of acronyms moving about on a relatively blank map, and fighting, or supporting, other acronyms. The prose in these chapters is dense and somewhat dry, relieved only by occasional references to events that sound very intriguing, but leave the reader wishing for more.


Dragons of Steel contains a large number of photographs, many of them showing obscure, Canadian-designed vehicles. These pictures will be of interest to aficionados of military history. Less welcome are the many maps. Some are of poor, hand-sketched quality, and there are even a few glaring spelling mistakes on them.

Despite its shortcomings,Dragons of Steel covers a neglected subject of military history from a unique, Canadian perspective, and is especially informative on the pre- Second World War years. While it is probably too dry for the student with a casual interest, anyone doing serious research on the subject will find it a valuable resource.

Recommended with reservations.

J.R. Cordon teaches history at D.A. Morrison School in Toronto.

Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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