Title: Fallen Sentinel – Australian Tanks in World War II

Author: Beale, Peter

Condition: Mint

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 2011

ISBN: 9781921941023

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket  – 314 pages

Comments: Fallen Sentinel tells the story of Australian tanks in World War II, a dismal tale for both tankman and taxpayer.

Against the backdrop of the sweeping conquest of Western Europe by Hitler’s mighty Panzer Divisions, the Australian Government, cash-strapped and resource poor, attempted to field its own tank force to do battle with the Axis forces.

Three armoured divisions were created — and all three disbanded before they had seen action. In what became a prodigious waste of time, material, and human endeavour, sixty-six Australian cruiser tanks were produced — the Sentinel tank — none of which would ever take the field of battle. Those Australian tank units that were belatedly committed to the conflict fought courageously in their British Matilda tanks, although never in more than battalion strength — a far cry from the massed charge of the Panzer.

This is a book that portrays governments under pressure and the bureaucratic bungles that saw opportunities lost and precious resources squandered. Fallen Sentinel presents a careful dissection of government process in the crucible of war, a rare gem in an age when most wartime histories focus on the front-line soldier. This is an account of War Cabinet deliberation at a time when every decision affected the lives of Australian men, women and children. The stakes could not have been higher: failure may well have left the nation to the mercy of a foreign power.

Peter Beale presents a damning indictment of the frailty of government under pressure, a bureaucracy in crisis and the extraordinary failure of government process at the highest level. Modern-day governments would do well to heed the lessons of this book.