Published: 17 March 2021
Publisher: Dead Reckoning
Series: Stand Alone
Format Read: Physical Copy from the Publisher
From the bloody battle for Normandy to the Nazi heartland, from war’s end to the killing fields of Korea, the men of the British Army’s Royal Tank Regiment fight battle after battle against terrible odds. Whether outnumbered or outgunned, the Tankies soldier on–as their motto would have it, “From Mud, Through Blood, to the Green Fields Beyond.”
After D-Day the largely untried Allied armies meet their seasoned German counterparts on the killing grounds of Bocage country. As Panzers and SS units turn the French hedgerows into a slaughterhouse, a lone British tank crew struggles to rejoin their squadron. Their only hope lies in their commander, Corporal Stiles–but does even this wily old trooper stand a chance against the infamous Tiger?
Newly promoted but just as angry, Sergeant Stiles enters the battle for Germany in command of a Sherman Firefly–capable of taking out any tank thus far encountered. Unfortunately, the enemy have a new tank of their own, the mighty “King Tiger,” with twice the firepower of the original. As Stiles and his men join the Allied advance into the Nazi homeland, they find worse horrors than Tigers lurking in the German twilight.
Six years later, as massed Chinese armies descend on UN forces defending South Korea, a British infantry brigade digs in amidst the hills of the Imjin River sector. With them are the Centurion tanks of the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, including WWII veteran Sergeant Stiles. But Stiles is a man haunted by the horrors of his past, and when the Communist offensive smashes into the tiny British force, he must battle his own demons along with the enemy’s might.
This graphic novel was sent to me for free from the publisher in return for an honest review. The fact that it was free has in no way or shape altered my views in the review that follows. I would like to extend a big thank you to Jacqline Barnes of Naval Institute Press for reaching out to me in regards to reviewing this novel.
Tankies has been on my TBR list for the past couple of months and managed to slip past everytime as I got bogged down with other books that took my attention away. While Milou and I had a week holiday at the strart of September, I took it with me on holiday, I am ashamed to say that I never got to reading it then, but picked it up within the last couple of weeks. When I eventually sat down to give it a go, I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was.
We follow tank commander Stiles, at the start of the novel a fill in for the previous comander who unfortunately gets his head blown clean off from enemy fire. Stiles has a mission to get from point A to B and there is no amount of wet behind the ears soldiers that are going to keep him from reaching his goal. Tankies takes a look at certain key elements during a number of wars, the challenges that the tank crews faced, the many problems they faced in regards to enemy technology being more supperior as well as add in a few things not many people know about certain events, by not many I mean those that could not give a damn about all the wars that have gone before. I have immense respect for the survivors of all the wars contained within the pages of Tankies and without. War is an ugly human element that I think both Enis and Esquerra captured within the pages of this novel. They surely did not hold back from showing the ugly side of things, be it a blown of head or a soldier that became lodged between the tracks of the tank Stiles was comandeering. While I am not familiar with the actual accent that Stiles had (him being a Geordie?) I had some difficulty in understanding what he was on about, but then as soon as I had it through that it was basically what Terry Pratchett might have based his NacMac Feagle tribe off of (that and I guess some Scotish flair as well…) it became more and more easier and by the end of the novel I was just hoping that Garth would not be killing the man off, thankfully that does not happen.
One of my favorite stories in this work is the cat and mouse Stiles plays with a German “King Tiger” tank. Only learning afterwards of the travesties the Allieds had regarding the supperior armour of the Germans while they themselve had tanks ill disposed of to take out these “Tigers”. Truely had my socks blown of to learn that an event that takes place could have happened in real life. But all the stories contained within were great and they all fit together to tell one overall narrative which was great.
I am happy with what I got with Tankies. I do enjoy learning more about more wars fought in previous generations. We have a lot to be thankful for regarding certain aspects of that evil human condition of wishing ill will on others. We all suffer it still on a daily basis, but not nearly as bad as the people had back in the day. Tankies fit right in with a walking event Milou and I did over the weekend, that commemorated Opperation Pegasus. Operation Pegasus was a military operation carried out on the Lower Rhine near the village of Renkum, close to Arnhem in the Netherlands. Overnight on 22–23 October 1944, the Allies successfully evacuated a large group of men trapped in German occupied territory who had been in hiding since the Battle of Arnhem. Tankies fit so well into the scenery for me and everywhere I looked I saw history around me. It was quite profound. If there is one thing the Dutch do well, it’s commemorating these events each year. They celebrate the fact that they are free because of the valiant efforst of all the men and women that gave their lives for a better tomorrow. I am glad to be able to do so in the small way I take part every year.
Art wise I was happy. I think the late Carlos Esquerra left a well drawn graphic behind. I did not know that Esquerra also had a hand in the Judge Dredd comics, I am now sad to have learned of his passing, but I am glad that I have more graphic novels by him that I still have to read. He sure has left a great legacy of art behind him. Garth Enis on the other hand has been more read by my and it was great to see how he worked lesser known facts pertaining to the wars into his fictional creation. I was wondering if Stiles or any of the people that feature in the graphic were either real or drew inspiration from certain people and I was happy how it took me to the end of the book to answer those questions. There was a lot of afterword to read through and Enis also touched down on the bases of where a certain story line idea came from.
Tankies was a well rounded read for me personally. I am happy that I got the chance to read this. It got a 4 out of 5 stars from me on GR. I would highly recommend people that get a kick out of war graphical novels to try this one. Stiles might grow on you the same way he did on me. Even through all the grittyness of all the war there were a few clever light hearted comments made trough out the novel that made me chuckle while I did not feel it was being disrespectful towards the parties involved in the real events.
Till next time.