Prior to 1940 the term "Jeep" had been used as U.S. Army slang for new recruits or vehicles, however the World War II "Jeep" went into production in 1941 specifically tied the name to this light military 4x4, arguably making them the oldest four-wheeled drive mass-produced vehicles now known in the U.S. As SUVs. The Jeep became the primary light 4x4 vehicle of the U.S. Army and their Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period.
The first thing you notice about this book is the amount of information on each page! I know they say that picture is worth a thousand words, and for sure these do, but the amount of information in the text really is incredible. The album starts off with an introduction that really gives you an insight into the situation of post-World War I with an area of the middle east known then as Mandatory Palestine where tensions between Arabs and Jews were running high. This is critical in understanding the issues of that area of the world at that time, and how the Jeep became so important.
The photo album/book contains three pictures per page and is numbered, the number then corresponds to text that explains the picture in some detail. The photos albeit period photos are still very good and give you a clear idea into the Jeeps and there use, Jeeps being a common sight in Mandatory Palestine, long before Israel's War of Independence. British forces had them in service in the region during World War II and after.
The book goes onto to show some fascinating pictures, photo eleven caught my eye of an amphibious Jeep GPA driving down a street in Israel during a parade (Israeli Navy falls under the term IDF) Photos 14 and 15 refers to these jeeps being part of a special commando unit called Shu'alei Shimson (Samson's Foxes) otherwise known as the 54th Battalion of the 5th Giv'ati' Brigade.
One of the pictures number 23 has been done with modellers in mind, following the success of the Giv'ati, in Mivtza Yo' av, Jeep number 4079 is shown for the creative markings of some IDF vehicles.
A diorama thought-provoking picture, 28 sees's three Cj-2As, following an armoured car converted from a 15-cwt CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) truck in the Judean Hills, these vehicles belong to the 10th 'Har' el' Brigade. Formerly one of the pre-IDF/Independence PALMACH brigades responsible for the area around Jerusalem.
Another fascinating yet unusual picture shows this Golani MB/GPW overweight on the rear end with the front of it raised considerably but is carrying two mounted machine guns on the front and one on the rear.
With over some 130 black and white pictures showing the Jeep in varying disguises in use with the IDF including pictures of the Jeep converted to carry the M40 106mm recoilless rifle and as with so many of the IDF's vehicles, they were converted locally to this specification.
Some action shots are included which have some good diorama ideas, for anyone that like me like's to make dioramas, this is very useful for reference. Once you get to the end of the black and white pictures you come up to the end section with plenty of coloured pictures some of these also included the walk around pictures showing plenty of close up shots.
Some of the vehicles that are in the older pictures are now exhibited at one of the Israeli museums.
After reading the two volumes of the IDF Sherman-based Mobile-Artillery I was very much looking forward to reading this third offering from Trackpad-Publishing on the IDF and I have to say I was not disappointed. The way the author Tom Gannon writes makes it very easy to follow and digest as well as giving you all the background information, the amount of text is astonishing and literally covers every single picture which is numbered along with the text.
It is one of the best examples I have ever had the pleasure to read and review, I am hoping that this series on the IDF will continue with further titles as I know I for one will be awaiting its realise.
Highs: An outstanding amount of photos of various IDF Jeeps with an equally superb amount of text explaining what it is you are seeing and giving historical information. Lows: Not too many other then it finishes!
Verdict: Highly enjoyable and thoroughly researched, loads of black and white as well as colour pictures that are fantastic reference material, highly recommend.