by: Darren Baker [ ]
Much has been published about the quantum-leap technology of the Leopard 2A5 and recently about the state-of-the-art Leopard 2A7. Yet in the meantime the Leopard 2A6 main battle tank has developed into the most versatile and furthest modernised family of vehicles of the whole Leopard fleet. Aside from its main variant, the 2A6, improved versions such as the 2A6A1, 2A6M, 2A6MA1 and 2A6M have been fielded and make this family the most advanced technology carrier of the modern Panzertruppe. In unprecedented detail this publication shows the tank‘s development, technology, variants and active use. In two volumes with a total of 140 pages, 311 colour photos, 21 graphics and no less than three 1/35th scale drawings it permits the closest look on modern German main battle tank technology ever published.
Introduction supplied by Tankograd Publishing.
Tankograd Publishing has released two titles covering the Leopard A6, one of these concentrates on the development, description and technology, the other covers Leopards in action and variants 2A6A1 / 2A6M / 2A6MA1 /2A6M . The books are supplied in Tankograd Publishing’s duel language format, German text on the left and English text on the right of the page.
The title covering the development, description and technology has 80 pages of good quality glossy paper that do an excellent job of presenting the content to the reader. This title begins with a short history of how the Leopard 1 came into being and its progression through to the 2A6 version. The various advancements in the Leopard design covered in the title are accompanied with photographs and as always Tankograd supplies excellent captions in both German and English.
This title then concentrates on the 2A6 proper and provides the information in the aspect of the reference books that Tankograd excels at, the walkaround. This title having more pages than is usual for titles in this series has meant that Tankograd Publishing has taken this aspect a step further, we are now provided with text covering the various elements that make up the Leopard 2A6. The walkaround begins with a look at the hull of the vehicle and provides the reader with 48 full colour photographs and includes 9 photographs of the hull interior which includes a tank with its turret removed. As expected the captions do a great job of pointing out aspects the reader should take note of. Also included here are 2 graphics covering the various sections of the tank.
Next up sees the chassis covered with 20 photographs, these are very well detailed images covering every aspect of the chassis that I would look for. 4 of these photographs cover the chassis of a heavily stripped down vehicle that reveal areas not usually seen by anyone other than a mechanic. Also present in this area are 2 1/35th scale side views of the Leopard 2A6.
The next areas covered are a series of short sections looking at the:
Central Hydraulic System
NBC Protection System
Fire Warning and Suppression
These sections are all provided with a short text introduction and at least 3 photographs with good captions in English and German. Also provided with some of these sections are colour diagrams that help the reader greatly in their understanding of some technical aspects. In amongst these sections is the first of the 1/35th scale drawings covering both sides, front, rear and top of the vehicle; I know how much modellers like to have these scale drawings to refer to when working on a model.
The power pack of the Leopard 2A6 gets its own section with 10 photographs present. One photograph that caught and held my eye was one showing the underside of the engine and is an angle I cannot recall having seen before. According to the text an engine can be changed in the field in a few minutes due to very few cables needing to be connected and quick connectors being used.
The last sizeable section of this title covers the turret in considerable detail. The section starts with a written introduction covering the turret before moving onto the images. There are 20 photographs covering the turret and one that caught my eye is of a turret on a stand after being removed from the vehicle and the add on armour having been removed and so exposing the older turret shape with which we are all familiar.
The section on the turret is followed by a series of short sections that concentrate on specifics of the turret, these are:
EMES Main Sight
FERO Auxiliary Sight
PERI Panoramic Sight
Fire Control Computer
Field Zeroing System
Air Defence Machine Gun
Coaxial Machine Gun
Smoke Discharger System
DARKAS Gunfire Simulator
Radio and Intercom
All of these sections are accompanied by text and a series of photographs.
The second book covering Leopards in action and variants 2A6A1 / 2A6M / 2A6MA1 /2A6M is thinner title of 56 pages of the same high quality paper. This title is more of a photographic reference title and a great partner of the first title. Most of the book is taken up with photographs of the various Leopard 2A6’s mentioned on the cover, but what makes this special for me is the effort that has gone into clearly pointing out what identifies one version from another; in many cases these changes are very minimal from an exterior viewpoint. I am very pleased with how much information is included in the captions that are supplied with each photograph.
There are 2 five way 1/35th scale drawings included in this title which I know will please the modeller with a Leopard 2A6 on the bench. The two scale drawings cover a Leopard 2A6M and Leopard 2A6M . The last few pages of the book provide technical data on the Leopard 2 and a look at the men and woman who crew these tanks in peace time and war should it occur.
Having looked at these two titles from Tankograd Publishing I would be very hard pushed to decide which one to buy, fortunately only costing €14.95 each means that it is not unrealistic to consider the purchase of both titles together. As regards lows on these offerings from Tankograd, I can honestly say that there is nothing I feel that should or should not be in these titles and so I am very happy with the books.