Military forces around the world were quick to see the advantages of railways in warfare, whether for the rapid deployment of men or the movement of heavy equipment like artillery. From this realization, it was a short step to making the train a potent weapon in its own right—a mobile fort or a battleship on rails. Armed and armored, they became the first practical self-propelled war machines. As demonstrated in the American Civil War, these trains were able to make a significant contribution to battlefield success.
Thereafter, almost every belligerent nation with a railway system made some use of armored rolling stock, ranging from low-intensity colonial policing to the massive employment of armored trains during the Russian Civil War. Although they were somewhat eclipsed as frontline weapons by the development of the tank and other armored fighting vehicles, armored trains retained a role as late as the civil wars in the former republic of Yugoslavia.
This truly encyclopedic book covers, country by country, the range of fighting equipment that rode the rails over nearly two centuries. While this book outlines the place of armored trains in the evolution of warfare, it concentrates on details of their design through a vast array of photographs and the author’s meticulous drawings.