Originally the German assault gun was designed as an infantry support weapon, but the changing conditions of the battlefields of the Second World War forced it to adapt to perform a number of different roles, most importantly as a tank destroyer, although the infantry support role was never wholly discarded. If the much-glamorised Panzer divisions were the sword of the German army then the assault gun and tank destroyer units were its shield. As the Panzers' grip on the battlefield began to fail, though, it was left to the assault gun and tank destroyer crews to take up the burden.
Bryan Perrett was born in 1934 and educated at Liverpool College. He served in the Royal Armoured Corps, the 17th/21st Lancers, Westminster Dragoons and the Royal Tank Regiment, and was awarded the Territorial Decoration. During the Falklands and Gulf wars, he worked as defence correspondent for the Liverpool Echo. A highly successful author, Bryan is married and lives in Lancashire.