Tankograd Publishing has long been known for the quality of their reference publications. They have maintained their high quality with this new release, the 5th the Tankograd American Special 3000 series. The series currently consists of seven titles and three of the seven titles cover the HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) family of vehicles. Brothers of HEMTT PLS-LVS is the third publication from the HEMTT series with the first two American Special No. 3003 HEMTT- Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck
and American Special No. 3004 Armored HEMTT
previously reviewed here on Armorama. This new book covers the PLS family (used by U.S. Army units) and the LVS family (used by the U.S. Marine Corp) family of vehicles in extensive detail.
Brothers of HEMTT PLS-VLS is a soft bound publication authored by Carl Schulze who also authored the two previous HEMTT books in this series as well. The front and rear covers are printed on heavy stock with a glossy finish and illustrations. The book is bilingual consisting of German and English text/captions. The book has 64 pages that are printed on heavy paper with a glossy finish and contains 120 color photographs with six line illustrations that are done in 1/72nd scale. The six line drawings illustrate some overall dimensions of each system. The illustrations represent the following variants:
M1075 Palletized Load System side view
M1075 Palletized Load System with Container Handling Unit and 20-foot Container side view
M1075 Palletized Load System with Forward Repair System side view
M1075 Palletized Load System with M5 Concrete Mobile Mixer Module side view
M1075 Palletized Load System with M6 Dump Body Module side view
M1075 Palletized Load System with M4 Bituminous Distributor Module side view
The assortment of illustrations are all of high quality and clarity. The author has done a good job of visually representing both development vehicles and vehicles currently in use. Several operational areas are represented in the photographs consisting of images from training areas in Europe, SFOR units in Bosnia, KFOR units in Kosovo, and a significant number of the photos coming from various areas of Iraq. There are roughly 41 photographs showing various armored configurations (if you count the field expedient armor applied by troops during 2003 and 2004 commonly referred to as “hill-billy” armor). All three color schemes used by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are represented in the photographs. They are overall forest green, overall desert tan, and the NATO 3-color scheme. There are some photos that show vehicles with a combination of components in a combination of colors. For example, there are photos of NATO 3-color vehicles with desert tan armored cabs.
The book is broken down into two main topics. The first part of the book discusses the U.S. Marine Corps LVS-Logistics Vehicle System. Pages 2 through 26 are devoted to the LVS while the second part of the book discusses the U.S. Army PLS-Palletized Load System covered on pages 27 through 64.
LVS-Logistics Vehicle System:
The section covering the LVS is broken down into 11 sub-chapters of text covering 7 pages (pages 2 through 9). Logistic Vehicle System describes the current LVS capabilities and requirements within the Marine Corp, Twister and Dragon Wagon covers development of the LVS from 1964 to 1970,
Heavy Trucks for the U.S.M.C. covers development and procurement of the LVS from 1970 to anticipated completion of purchasing contracts in 2012.
Mk48 Power Unit, Front, 12-1/2Ton, Logistic Vehicle System discusses the basic LVS system in detail and includes information on weapon mounting options, engine configuration, electrical system specifications, drive system detail, etc. Mk48A1 and IRON provides information covering minor upgrades to basic Mk48 LVS and the Inspect and Repair Only and as Necessary program (IRON). Mk14/14A1 MOD 0 Trailer, Powered 22-1/2 Ton, Container Hauler 4x4 includes information covering the rear body unit used for transporting containers, shelters and mission modules.
Mk15/15A1 MOD 0 Trailer, Powered Wrecker/Recovery, 4x4 covers the wrecker variant of the LVS and Mk16/16A1 MOD 0 Trailer, Powered, Fifth Wheel Semi-trailer, Adapter, 4x4 deals with the Semi-trailer rear body unit that when combined with the Mk48 becomes a tractor truck. Mk17/17A1 MOD 0 Trailer, Powered, 20-Ton, Drop-side, Cargo, With Crane, 4x4 covers the cargo bed configuration with drop sides and a Material Handling Crane (MHC). Mk18/18A1 MOD 0 Trailer, Powered, Ribbon Bridge/Container Hauler, 4x4 describes the configuration that enables transport of the Standard Ribbon Bridge, Mk-2S Bridge Erection Boats on a boat cradle, and ISO Containers up to a length of 20 feet. Add-on Armor for LVS in Iraq rounds things out and covers the application of various armor suites on the LVS from the Spring of 2004 to the present day.
Pages 10 through 26 consists of photographs of various configurations of the LVS and there are two to three photographs per page.
PLS-Palletized Load System:
The section covering the PLS is broken down into 12 sub-chapters of text covering 10 pages of text (pages 27 through 36). Palletized Load System Technology describes the current PLS capabilities, available weapon configurations, NBC system details, Engine configuration, electrical system specifications, drive system details, etc. The Load Handling System covers the system that lifts and pulls the various cargo components and mission modules onto the PLS chassis while Palletized Load System Trailer discusses the three axle trailer that was specifically designed for use with the M1074 and M1075 PLS trucks.
PLS Enhancement Program discusses the program initiated in the 1990’s to further increase the capabilities of the PLS system. M1077/A1, M1, M3 CROP and M3A1 CROP flatracks discusses the several different types of flatracks that are used. Container Handling Unit discusses the configuration that enables the PLS to load and haul 20-foot ISO containers.
Engineer Mission Module System discusses the various modules that are in service, on trial, or under development for use by Engineer units including the M4 PLS Bituminous Distributor Module, M5 PLS Concrete Mobile Mixer Module, M6 PLS Dump Body Module, and XM10 PLS Water Distributor Module.
M7 Forward Repair System discusses the flatrack based vehicle maintenance workshop. XM203 Re-supply Module discusses an ammunition re-supply module for use with the Crusader self-propelled howitzer program. Modular Fuel Farm Modular Fuel System discusses the Modular Fuel System. M1975 Dry Support Bridge Launcher discusses the launching system for the M18 Dry Support Bridge Launcher and Operations and add-on armor kits- discusses PLS operations from IFOR in 1996 to current day operations and the evolution of add-on armor kits and currently produced factory armor configurations.
Pages 37 through 64 consists of photographs of various PLS configurations and there are two to five pages of photographs on each page.
The author has done an incredible job of compiling a broad range of information on both the LVS and PLS. The book is a simple to understand and easy to read reference for what could easily be an overwhelmingly detailed presentation. You are given enough information to understand the history behind each system and its operational configurations without drowning you in technical phrases and acronyms. Almost all photographs in both sections are “in-action” type photograph and will also be highly useful as a model reference. If you are wanting a highly detailed, technical discussion of the LVS-PLS, this book is not for you. If you want to develop a general knowledge of the LVS-PLS variants of the HEMTT family and get an excellent photographic presentation that illustrates the operational use of both systems, you can’t go wrong with this book. In my opinion, the photos in this book are a gold mine for modeling reference of two obscure systems and worth the price of the book by themselves.