At the outset, I have to admit to knowing virtually nothing about the Modern Dutch Army although I did, on a few occasions, encounter their personnel during N.A.T.O. exercises in the 1980s which had more to do with Bier Gartens than academic discussions about equipment types.
However, going through this book, a lot of the equipment is pretty familiar - particularly the American and British-supplied vehicles along with the various versions of the Leopard and the AMX-13....
As the title suggests, this book is more about documenting the vehicles of the Dutch Army rather than a treatise on Dutch government policy over 30 years so, that at least, gives me a fighting chance of reviewing it in a reasonably coherent manner...
The Book in Brief
Nederlandse Troepen - Vehicles of the Royal Netherlands Army in Germany 1963-2006 is one of Tankograd Publishing's latest titles. Following the company's usual format of books in this series, 64 pages with 116 colour, 23 black&white photos and 4 graphics. The book is written by Peter Blume whose photos make up the majority of the images.
The dominant theme in this (and every other Tankograd book) is that primarily they are photo collections. With the format they have established, the emphasis is in covering as many vehicles as possible or showing as many images of a single vehicle type in a variety of different situations. They acheive this by using a maximum of three, occasionally two and sometimes only one image per page. This allows the subject(s) to be captured in detail and avoids these ridiculous images (in other publisher's books) which require the need of a magnifying glass... A brief History Dutch statiioning of troops in Germany began in 1963 as a means of strengthening N.A.T.O. with a complete Corps (6 active Brigades). This translated to 34,000 permanently deployed troops with the availabilty of a further 53,000 in case of crisis. The Vehicles Covered: As reflected in the book, the Dutch Army has used a wide variety of equipment since it's Post-War re-establishment. The majority of the AFVs were French, British or American, the majority of their soft-skins being Dutch with the addition of vehicles such as the Land Rover or the U.S. M38.
There are literally too many vehicle types to cover completely but to give a 'taster' of what can be seen in the book, here are some of the those included:
Centurion Mk II
Leopard (I, & II)
CA-1 'Cheetah' (similar to German 'Gepard')
M-31 'Honest John' Rocket Launcher Quality of Images: As I mentioned previously, the publishers have limited the number of photos on each page. This allows for good sized-images and the quality is excellent. Even the black and white images have been re-scanned and show impressive detail. The majority of the photos are, naturally enough, in color, and these are truly excellent. Structure: Although not 'formally' sub-divided with chapter headings, there is a logical (though not immediately obvious) structure to the book. The first section (black and white photos) has a variety of different subjects on each page, only when the color section begins does the structure become apparent - firstly a broad 'chronological' sub-division along with images grouped according to type. Later on, the more modern equipment begins to appear with the YPRs supplanting the M113s and eight pages covering a variety of soft-skins such as the Land Rover and the MAN tank transporter (amongst others). The structure does follow a logic although perhaps it could have done differently? The text: The introduction is informative but the real interest, for the modeler, will lie in the captions of the photos. These are informative when they have to be - brief when not much detail is needed.
It's a book which will should the Modern AFV modeler considerable pause for thought. Although many of the vehicles are unavailable in kit form, there are sufficient interesting kits out there to do something a little different. The quality of the book is excellent and apart from a minor gripe about a more logical structure, it's a good attempt to tie together information and images of a long-standing member of N.A.T.O.. Again, Tankograd is 'filling the gaps' in documentation at an impressive rate...
The Dutch Army has used a very representative selection of vehicles in the post WWII period. From the M4 Sherman to the Leopard and with a variety of nationally produced variants of U.S. vehicles, giving the modeler a variety of interesting subjects. However, it hasn't been a terribly-well documented area of reference. This new book from Tankograd Publishing should give many ideas...
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...