Books Marines Military Science Fiction

Steel Gauntlet – Panzer not convincing

Steel GauntletSteel Gauntlet (Starfist, #3) but David Sherman, Dan Cragg
My rating: 8 out of 10 stars

After the resource-rich planet Diamunde is seized by the armed forces of industrialist Marston St. Cyr, the Confederation Marines face their most desperate battles yet against the mechanized forces of the bloody usurper. Promised a walkover by military planners, instead the Marines must run a gauntlet of steel, with weaponry three hundred years out of date.

This is another good book in the Starfist series. It continues to follow the men in the 34th FIST marine unit and, as before, does a wonderful job of doing so. The characters are interesting and the battles are well written.

The book blurb is a wee bit misleading though in stating that the marines must use “weaponry three hundred years out of date”. You might get the impression that the marines, for some bizarre reason, didn’t get the modern weapons they should have had. This is not the case. They’re using “out of date” weaponry because the enemy is using “out of date” weaponry for which modern weaponry is ineffective. The latter, I found somewhat surprising.

This brings me to the one gripe I have about the book. It’s depiction of the history of armor (tanks) in the future is not really believable for me personally. It talks about the “last” battle tank being huge and only being able to drive on 20% of the surface of the earth (pretty much only on paved roads). I do not think anyone would actually build such a silly thing.

In the book armored vehicles became obsolete 300 years ago. I do not find that very believable either. From several of the passages and descriptions in this book I get the feeling that David Sherman’s marine background shows through with a, not so slight, negative attitude against other military branches. In this case the armored combat units.

But then, maybe I’m a wee bit biased as well since I spent quite some time driving around in those tin cans in the Swedish military (and loved every minute of it :-)).

In any case, the book is very good and the issue with tanks is only a minor one.

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