The Valentine was unusual, as unlike most British tanks to see service during World War Two it began life as a private venture - that is, it was t designed to War Office specification. Yet, the Valentine had the highest production numbers of any wartime British tank, and arguably the most variations. A total of over 8000 Valentines was produced in fewer than 11 variants. The Valentine tank received its baptism of fire with the British 8th Army in Operation Crusader in North Africa during July 1941, just the beginning of a long career, as they would eventually take part in combat in both the European and Pacific Theatres. After the war, Valentines served as late as 1960 and saw action with the armed forces of Canada, the Soviet Union, Poland, Australia and New Zealand.
Author Dick Taylor is a serving British Army officer with wide experience of tank operations, and a history degree. He has written many popular books on British tanks, and has drawn on official and private sources to produce this comprehensive book.