After WWII, there was, naturally enough, a large number of US vehicles left in Europe, a lot of which eventually found their way into Israeli hands during the late '40's and early '50's, as the newly-formed Israeli State acquired vehicles in a desperate attempt to defend themselves. The IDF were masters of adaptation, prolonging the life of these vehicles far beyond normal. After 'Operation Litani' in 1978, many of these halftracks were handed over to the Israeli allies, the South Lebanese Army, who continued to adapt these vehicles and so extend their serviceable lifetimes. The Lebanese Army still apparently has several halftracks in service even today.
Moustafa El-Assad continues his 'Blue Steel' series with this, his second in the series, concentrating on M3 Halftracks in South Lebanon.
In soft back format, the book follows the same format as the first book.... glossy cover, full colour throughout, the book begins by explaining the background of US halftracks in the South Lebanon, and something of their history in brief. The book then begins a photo-assay on halftracks, each photograph being accompanied by an in-depth caption explaining exactly what we're seeing.
Many of the photographs are old, in that they were taken when the vehicles were being used, but that doesn't mean you will have seen them before............ in fact, quite the contrary, these are all from the Authors private collection, and therefore it's very unlikely you'll have seen them anywhere before.
These vehicles have of course, had a hard life, and in some cases it can be difficult to work out if the photograph you're looking at is one of a wreck or still being used! Which is of course, where he captions come in! There are many peculiar variants shown in various states of disrepair, including one fitted with a HIAB crane, a version with a huge field generator, and one with ACAV conversion atop the crew compartment, all of which have the obligatory armoured glass panels fitted to the armoured windscreen cover, presumably by their original IDF owners.
Throughout the book there are also various photographs of M9 halftracks with the rounded armour at their rear, and I suspect one or two others have crept in having been mistaken for M3 halftracks, it's difficult to tell since these vehicles have been chopped and changed so much over their 70 year lifespan!
There are various photographs of the Authors models throughout the book, and these are usually next to photographs of the real vehicles he has represented.
The book ends with a photo-assay around an SLA barracks, which includes a few photographs of various emplacements, but is mostly more photographs of a derelict M3.
I have to say that I'm warming to these middle East armour subjects..........I can feel an urge! With Dragon's new M2 halftrack already out there, and hopefully an M3 on it's way, this book will provide invaluable inspiration, and I'm sure we'll be seeing lot's of completed vehicles at show's over the next couple of years. Very highly recommended!
8.5 x 11 inches
Full colour throughout
140 Colour Photographs
My thanks to Moustafa El-Aseed for the review copy.
Moustafa El-Aseed has produced his second book on armour subjects from the Middle-East, and has come up with another winner! This book is a photo-assay of M3 halftracks as used by the now defunct South Lebanese Army. From detail of some unusual variants to examples of extreme weathering, this book shows it all, and if you have any interest at all in this sphere, then it's a must have!