Post WWII main battle tanks for Canada have been limited to the M4A3E8s used in Korea in the 1950s, the Centurion from the 1950s to the 1970s, the Leopard C1 from the 1970s to the early 2000s, the Leopard C2 from the early 2000s to the present day, and now the Leopard 2A6M CAN from mid 2007 top the present day. The Leopard 2A6M adds a significant amount of technology, armour protection, and increased firepower to the Canadian Forces fighting in Afghanistan and for threats well into the future.
The Leopard 2A6M CAN was tailored for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan as lessons were learned during combat with the Taliban. A very unique aspect is that the Canadian tank crews went directly from training on the Leopards in Germany to taking them into combat in Afghanistan. The new Leopards are able to perform very well in the diverse weather and terrain of Afghanistan and have protected the crews from IED and mine strikes.
As with any Canadian AFV in service the Leopard 2A6M has received modifications since rolling track in Afghanistan. These unique additions and modifications will keep a modeller very busy and having good up to date reference material is always critical.
This book takes the reader through all aspects of the deployment of the Canadian Leopard 2A6M in Afghanistan. From providing the historical background in order to understand the need for tanks in Afghanistan to the latest modifications on the tanks it is all included in the book. Carl Schulze does an excellent job of combining historical information, technical information, 1/35 line drawings, overview images, and detailed walkaround images to bring the reader a full perspective of how the tank looks like and operates in Afghanistan.
The book is soft cover with 64 numbered pages. Both German and English text is provided for readers.
The first five pages of German and English text provide valuable information as to how and why Canada has tanks in Afghanistan.
The information is broken down as follows:
•Operation Medusa- Overview of why heavy armour was required in Afghanistan.
•Mani Battle Tanks for the Canadian ISAF Contingent- Overview of the deployment of the Leopard C2.
•A Requirement for New Main Battle Tank- Overview of the limitations of the Leopard C2.
•The Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank- Overview of the technical aspects.
•Modifications for the Afghanistan Deployment- Overview of the initial modifications.
•Slat Armour- Overview of slat armour protection.
•Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System- Overview of technical aspects of the MCS.
•Deployments and First Operations- Overview of first arrival to present day operations
•Ammunition- Overview of ammunition used by Canada in Afghanistan.
The images in the book are broken down into the following:
Pages 7 – 9: Canadian Department of National Defence images showing the initial deployment of the Leopard 2A6M CAN to Afghanistan.
Pages 9 – 19: Overview images of the Leopard 2A6M CANs at Forward Operating Bases or deployed on missions. The images show good details of the wear and tear on both the Barracuda and the slat armour.
Pages 20 – 30: Detailed walkaround style images showing the Barracuda components, the rifle stowage box, the sunshade umbrella, optics, antenna mounts, Electronic Counter Measure stowage boxes, C6 machine gun mounts, turret stowage bin modifications, and the turret slat armour.
Pages 31 – 33: 1/35 line drawings of the Leopard 2A6M CAN with slat armour and the umbrella.
Pages 34 – 43: Detailed walkaround images of turret slat armour mounts and the hull slat armour package. Additional detailed images of the turret stowage, the umbrella, hull Barracuda panels, and a variety of hull fittings are also included.
Pages 44 – 47: Overview and detail images of the engine deck, rear driving camera, powerpack, engine compartment, and back deck tool stowage are provided.
Page 48: A single close-up image of the DM33A2 APFSDS, DM12A2 HEAT MP-T, and M1028 Canister rounds.
Pages 49 – 58: Images specifically dedicated to the Mine Clearance Roller System mounted on the Leopard 2A6M CAN. The images show overviews of the mine rollers mounted, the adapter plate, the unique mounting frame, and walkaround images of the roller details.
Pages 59 – 63: Overview and detail images of the Buffalo ARV 3 based on the German Buffel Bergepanzer 3 Buffel. The images show the ARV 3 in action pulling a Leopard 2A6M CAN powerpack as well as detail images of the weathering and stowage.
Also included in the book are images of the Troop patches made during TF 3-09 for ‘B’ Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). The patches shown include 1st Troop, 3rd Troop, and Maintenance Troop. These patches were custom made in Afghanistan at the now extinct boardwalk shops. The patches were not worn on uniforms and are more symbolic with distinct Troop artwork.
If I was to write a reference and historical book about the Leopard 2A6M CAN this book is how I would want it to look. The book is an excellent resource for modellers interested in this tank. The images are excellent and provide the most up to date overall and detailed look at how the tanks are operating in Afghanistan and the modifications carried out on them. The book is not a complete historical look at the Leopard 2A6M CAN in Afghanistan as there are next to no images of the tanks after deployment and before adding the Barracuda. During the time period between August 2007 and April 2008 the ECM and rifle boxes were added and the hull slat armour was modified by shortening it up. This is understandable given the author’s limited amount of time in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. It would also have been nice to include additional images of the crew personal weapons and the crew helmets and headsets. Credit must be given to Carl Schulze for travelling into a warzone in order to obtain these images for all of the modellers and military enthusiasts sitting at home in safety.
Even with a timeline gap in the images the book is extremely valuable for anyone wanting to build a Canadian Leopard 2A6M CAN. I only hope that Tankograd produces further books dedicated to one type of modern AFV such as the LAV III use in Afghanistan.
Highs: Excellent images, very good written information provided, and a valuable resource for modellers.Lows: Not a complete pictorial account of the Leopard 2A6M CAN in Afghanistan, but pretty close.Verdict: Terrific book on the new Canadian Main Battle Tank in action in Afghanistan.
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