Following the collapse the Warsaw Pact and dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic has become a member of NATO and its army has been transformed into an all-professional force intended both to defend its sovereign territory and participate in foreign deployments either with NATO or the EU. Two new publications from Tankograd Publishing (the 1st part reviewed separately) cover the new Czech Army with its eclectic range of equipment ranging from the standard Warsaw Pact gear to newly-purchased equipment from other European countries. As befits a country with a history of the manufacture of heavy equipment, there are many indigenous vehicles and some unique conversions serving alongside them.
A short introduction covers the training areas and current missions of the Czech Army, and outlines its intended modernisation programme; like all arms procurement programmes, it has suffered problems, particularly with the Pandur II wheeled APC. The remainder of the 64 page book is devoted to 132 previously unpublished colour photographs of equipment, mainly photographed in the field, described with informative captions. Photographs are always of the entire vehicle, there are no close-up detail views. The book is dual German/English text throughout, in line with most of Tankograd Publications’ productions, with the English translations reflecting the German text well. This part covers artillery and support units, including engineer and logistics. Rather than list everything shown in each section, I’ve only summarised the highlights below.
Units covered in this volume include: 13th Artillery Brigade
Artillery support is supplied by the Dana wheeled 152mm self-propelled gun and the RM vz.70, which mounts the rocket tubes of the Soviet BM21 Grad on a Tatra chassis. These are backed up by a range of reconnaissance and observation vehicles based on the chassis of the BMP, including a ground-surveillance radar mounted on an extended chassis with 7 road wheels. An extensive range of soft support vehicles is also shown, including Land Rovers, UAZ jeeps and minibuses and a variety of Tatra and Praga lorries. Most of theses are painted in the Czech seasonal camouflage described in the first book. 601st Special Forces Group:
This is largely equipped with Land Rover Defender 110s, which look a little unusual fitted with PKB and DShKM machine guns and AGS-17 grenade launchers. Some of the photos were taken in Afghanistan, where the unit also operated M1025 HMMWVs, though there is only one photo of that type. 15th Engineer Rescue Brigade:
The range of vehicles operated by this unit has to be seen to be believed! – anything from decontamination to earth moving via heavy cranes and bridging equipment. There’s even a bizarre-looking fire-fighting tank, the SPOT-55. Equipment is sourced all over the place and includes Czech and Soviet designs and even JCBs and Caterpillar earth movers. 14th Logistic Brigade:
Far more conventionally-equipped with container carrying lorries, fuel tankers and tank-transporters. Again most of the vehicles are of Czech origin, apart from the converted T-72s and BMPs used as recovery vehicles. 26th Command, Control and Surveillance Brigade:
In contrast, this unit is equipped with old Warsaw Pact era equipment mounted on Soviet KrAZ, ZiL and URAL lorries. 25th Air-Defence Missile Brigade
Again largely consisting of old equipment, with old Warsaw Pact stalwarts like the 2K12 Kub (SA-6), 9K35M Strela 10M (SA-13) and 9A33M3 Osa AKM (SA-8). The supporting radars and guidance systems are of similar origin. Future procurement plans:
These are a continuation of current practice, with softskins produced by indigenous makers, mainly Tatra, and armoured vehicles bought abroad. The Steyr Pandur II 8x8 wheeled APC has apparently suffered problems during testing and purchase has been held up until these are resolved.
As with the first part, the content is very wide-ranging and shows vehicles that don’t get much coverage elsewhere. Hopefully these two books will find a wide readership, even though their subject-matter might be a little obscure.
Logistics and Supply
Radar and Electronic Warfare
Command and Surveillance
Modernisation – Future Purchases
Thanks to Tankograd Publications for providing the review copy.
Highs: Excellent standard of photography and wide range of coverage, with lots of obscure and unusual equipment shown. Dual German/English textLows: Support vehicles of the Czech Army may be too obscure a subject for some. No detail shots.Verdict: Tankograd Publishing have a reputation for producing excellent quality work and this is no exception. There is plenty of material for inspiring conversions/scratchbuilding inside.
Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About David Maynard (Drader) FROM: WALES, UNITED KINGDOM
From south Wales originally, I became an archaeologist by chance and have continued being one for about 20 years. Which is a lot of mud shifted. The nursing home where I was born is now part of the Celtic Manor and, by a nice bit of irony, I did the archaeology for several of their golf courses. I h...