ARMOR ATTACKS by John F. Antal


The Tank Platoon
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 During the 1960's, programmed instruction was voguish in commercial and institutional as well as educational circles. Antal, a major in the US Army, makes a martial equivalent of this technique the centerpiece of a gimmicky text that's as much manual as novel. Following detailed briefings on the Abrams tank and allied matters, the author introduces young Second Lieutenant Sam Jaeger. Posted to the Middle East, where America is engaged in desert warfare with an unidentified foe, Jaeger is given command of an armor platoon that's a key element in a battalion opposed by a motorized rifle division. In due course, our hero's outfit is assigned to attack hostile forces whose position is uncertain, and Jaeger must draft operational orders for his troops. At this point, Antal's narrative begins to fragment, taking on the character of a decision tree. At various stages, readers must exercise one of the several options open to the rookie officer and proceed to the sections disclosing the outcomes of their joint decision. Those who pick the correct passages through the author's tactical thicket are rewarded by the intelligence that their choices as proxies helped Jaeger win the day and earn a battlefield promotion to captain, plus a Silver Star. By contrast, failure to show initiative and to heed a superior's intent results not only in suppositious death or capture but also an invitation to try again. As Antal makes abundantly clear in his twisty, hard-boiled plotlines, armed conflict can prove terribly unforgiving of mistakes. A professionally correct bang-you're-dead exercise whose appeal seems limited to armchair strategists, gaming buffs, and, possibly, the Soldier of Fortune crowd. The didactic drill includes realistic maps, diagrams, tables, and line drawings throughout.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-89141-383-9
Page count: 362pp
Publisher: Presidio/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1991