At the start of the new year I read an excellent book; 'By Tank Into Normandy' by Stuart Hills. Hills was a Tank Commander in the Nottingham Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (practically a local regiment to wear I live), fighting from D-Day through to the end of the war. The Sherwood Rangers were an independent tank regiment, attached wherever needed, so saw action throughout the war and with a number of other units, including the US 82nd Airborne as part of Market Garden, as well as numerous British and Commonwealth units.
It's not a long book by any means, but as a first hand account makes for a fascinating read. It's not a book that delves into grand strategy or large-scale actions, but does give an excellent account of small-unit actions at company and platoon level, and the effect of combat on those who took part.
The bravery of the young men who time and again got into tanks knowing what could happen to them, and the randomness of the losses is very affecting, but particular mention must be made of the unit's padre, and amazing man who took it upon himself to personally recover every lost tanker and see to their burial, because he didn't think the crews should have to see what could happen to them and then have to get back into a tank and face combat again.
From a wargaming perspective it certainly brings a new perspective. The actions described are often of a scale that would make for interesting scenarios, and are often accompanied by sketch maps of the action. It also contradicts some things that many games and rules seem to encourage.
One thing that comes across strongly, in contrast to what most of our games would suggest, is how rare tank on tank combat was. It's some time after D-Day before he first recounts a meeting with another tank; most of the combat the regiment see is supporting infantry units and, rather than their big fear being Tigers and Panthers, it's threat of an infantryman in a hedgerow with a Panzerfaust that pre-occupies the tank crews.
The other is the frequency with which the tanks would plaster the landscape with HE 'just in case'. On the table we have a 'god-like' view, and many rules encourage this by having all fire as direct fire. It's interesting that Kampfgruppe Normandy splits suppressive fire and Direct Fire, which requires a spotting test first.
All in all, a good read and recommended. The only drawback is that at full RRP (£8.99) it's pretty pricey for what you get. Not quality, just length. However I picked mine up for much less in a small bookshop, and there are plenty of cheaper options on Amazon.