Every Army needs realistic training to prepare itself for combat. And whilst repetitive training on Unit level in Barracks will hone the skills of soldiers and make their (inter)actions second nature, to fully prepare for Battle Conditions you need a realistic training area where full combat scenarios can be practised without the hindrance of civilian intervention.
There are large training areas in almost every country that are used by Armies for their training needs ( such as amongst others Salisbury Plain in the U.K., Bergen-Hohne and Hohenfels in Germany and Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland), but due to the population density of Western Europe, non of these can accommodate a full scale, live fire,exercise of an All Arms Armoured Battle Group strength. After the Second World War, the British Army used the vast, and empty, Libyan Desert for itss large scale live fire exercises, but when Colonel Gaddafi took power in 1969 the British Army had to look elsewhere for its training facilities.
The Canadian Army had created one of the largest exercise areas in the Western hemisphere in 1941 when an area around the small village of Medicine Hat was cleared by re-housing the few occupants. Initially used as a test ground for equipment and explosives, it is now a permanent training facility where full live fire combat conditions can be re-created. It has been the permanent home of the British Army Training Unit since the 1970's and each year five full scale exercises are held.
Publisher: Tankograd Publishing.
Author: Carl Schulze.
Pages: 64 pages soft cover.
Photos: 118 Colour Photos.
Text: 13 Pages (German and English).
No: British Special 9008.
A closer look
Unlike most other books, this volume is not divided into different chapters but simply begins with a written history of the BATUS training area and follows that with 118 colour photos of most vehicles that can be found trundling around this part of the Canadian prairie.
The text occupies the first 13 pages, in the familiar style of two columns per page, with the left hand column being the German text and the right hand column the English text. This format takes a little getting used to as it is all to easy when you turn the page, after reading the English column at the bottom right of the page, to carry on reading the German text in the left hand column. If you can read both English and German this can occasionally be a little confusing, but in practise it is not a big problem. This format has a certain necessity when there are illustrations relevant to the text, to avoid having to go back and forth searching for illustrations, but if there are no illustrations (as is the case here) it may be worth considering printing both texts one after the other.
The text explains the training format of the British All Arms Armoured Battle Group in some detail and how this is accommodated at BATUS. A history of the creation of the site, including the origin of the name 'Medicine Man' for the exercises, and its development to today, and some interesting numbers of the logistics involved in the training are also included. The live fire exercises use an impressive amount of ordnance, reflected in part in the annual budget of some £40.000.000.
The photos are superb and show a very wide range of the vehicles used, from Land Rovers, simple Cargo Trucks, to Challenger Tanks during live fire exercise. The vast majority of the vehicles are OPFOR vehicles in the NATO Green and Stone camouflage scheme. Most pictures are full side or three quarter views but there are some interesting pictures showing closer detail of turrets and upper deck stations. The Engineers are not forgotten, and there are photos of most of the (heavy) support and recovery vehicles, including the Trojan AVRE. A very nice inclusion are the photos of the Staff Vehicles and their peculiar colour schemes as well as the bright red Warrior AIFV's.
This is another superb publication from Tankograd. It is primarily of interest to fans of modern British Military hardware but the photographs are a great resource to study both camouflage and weathering of modern Military vehicles because the photos include both clean, dusty, and very muddy vehicles, with a variety of stowage. Very highly recommended.
Highs: Superb quality and range of photographs.Lows: Text format can be confusing.Verdict: Highly recommended
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.