Mobility, Shock, and Firepower: The Emergence of US Army's Armor Branch 1917-1945

by Robert S. Cameron

Book cover for Mobility, Shock, and Firepower: The Emergence of US Army's Armor Branch 1917-1945

Dr. Robert Cameron’s Mobility, Shock, and Firepower: The Emergence of the U.S. Army’s Armor Branch, 1917–1945 captures the multifaceted development of the Armored Force from its inauspicious beginnings in World War I to its fully mature, operational status at the close of World War II. Through analysis of the Armor Branch’s early years, it provides an excellent case study in force transformation. The development of new armor doctrines and organizations to exploit emerging technologies, concepts, and missions is the heart of this work. How that transition was accomplished during the brief space of about twenty years—the accepted duration of a single generation—is a story worthy of careful examination as our Army gropes with managing similar transformations today. In relating the transition of the Armored Force from a tiny tactical organization in 1918 to one of the major components of the U.S. Army in 1944, the author addresses issues that resonate with all military organizations. These include the impact of new technology upon force structure; the influence of theoretical and actual threats on force design; the allocation of resources between current and future needs; and the impact of combat operations upon doctrine, organization, training, and materiel development. Also analyzed are relevant policy debates among senior Army leaders, military intelligence assessments of foreign mechanized trends, and the influence of broader national defense issues. Together, they provide a rich tapestry for a complex, compelling tale.

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