The latest issue of Tankograds quarterly ‘Militär Fahrzeug’ journal series continues to cover an ever varying and obscure range of military vehicle subjects.
For those unfamiliar with Militär Fahrzeug, this 64 page journal style publication, published four times a year covers latest military vehicle developments from across the world, as well as general articles about various military vehicles and developments from the last century. Often, the content primarily covers post WWII subjects, all manner of subjects have been covered in this series, the case in this issue being anything from desert camouflage schemes for the Leopard 2 to Reichswehr dummy tanks.
Although published in German, English summary text is provided as well as English picture captions. As with all Tankograd books, the picture quality is high, matched with detailed written analysis and information.
The main criticism that I always level at these type of journals, is that whilst the variety of material published is interesting, it won’t appeal to everyone. Therefore I often feel people may shy away from spending almost 10 euros on a book for only a handful of articles that may interest them. One solution to this is Tankograd could consider offering individual articles to purchase from their website.
At the same time, it does have to be said though; the books often contain articles on subjects rarely seen in any other publications and provides the reader with information and pictures on subjects perhaps considered too obscure to fill an entire book. It is for this reason alone that I feel this series fulfills a very useful purpose to both the modeller and military vehicle enthusiast.
Here is a summary of this issues main content, along with some details of each article.
This article looks at the various desert camouflage colours applied to Leopard 2 main battle tanks. The article features 22 high quality colour photographs of both three quarter shots of the Leopards as well as close up pictures of various details of the tanks. In addition to the photos, there is extensive written information in German and English summary in the back of the publication, as well as detailed bilingual captions for the photographs providing yet more detailed technical information. The article examines a variety of different desert schemes on German, Danish and Dutch Leopards, and further pictures of a Chilean 2A4 and two pictures of the 2A6CDN operating in Afghanistan. This is an excellent article which offers excellent photographic reference for some more unusual Leopard camouflage schemes, the pictures are of the highest quality and show off the camo schemes to good effect, whilst the written information, which is somewhat brief in the English summary, provides the necessary background information.
Tank Recovery Demonstration:
A two page photo feature showing a recovery demonstration of a German Leopard 1A1A1 by a Bergpanzer 3 ARV at the School of Military Logistics in Germany. 8 colour photographs along with a brief written caption. These interesting photos should provide excellent diorama reference, particularly for anyone wishing to model the unusual scene of an upturned Leopard 1.
Hitherto Unknown Reichswehr Dummy Tank:
A two page article which looks at the BMW type 303/309 Reichswehr dummy tank which was used for training purposes by the Reichswehr in the inter war period. Five black and white photographs are provided which provide some nice shots of this rare vehicle, although the photos are sadly a little grainy due to their age and don’t really show any of the vehicles details very well. The real highlight of this article has to be the written text, which provides very detailed historical and technical information about these odd little vehicles.
Exercise Hold Fast 1960:
A six page feature detailing the autumn exercise held by various NATO forces in Germany in 1960. 12 black and white photographs are provided which show a variety of the forces involved, although primarily the photographs are of West German forces and offer a rare look at some of West Germany’s military vehicle’s including the M42 Duster. As with many of the articles which cover military exercises in the various Militär Fahrzeug issues, written detailed information about the units involved is provided along with some historical and contextual information. Detailed photo captions offer further information for the reader. Certainly a great little article which offers a useful insight into early NATO manoeuvres.
This four page article covers the U.S Army’s latest Humvee shop equipment maintenance truck, now fitted on the M1151A2 chassis. 9 high quality colour photographs are provided which show the vehicle during training exercises possibly in Germany. Of particular interest is that the vehicles are painted in single tone desert tan, which certainly makes for an interesting sight on the muddy grassy training ground terrain. The photographs afford a good view of the tool storage body on the rear of the vehicle and will be useful reference for anyone thinking about scratchbuilding this interesting looking vehicle. My only gripe is that a simple technical diagram with some dimensions would have been a very useful addition to the article. The written summary provides brief but highly detailed technical information, which is further added to by the photo captions.
East German Army IS-II Heavy Tanks:
An article which perfectly illustrates the diversity and obscurity of subjects covered in Militär Fahrzeug, this one focusing on ex-Russian IS-II Heavy tanks in use with the East German NVA, which until I read this didn’t even know where used by the NVA. This article which includes 11 black and white archive photographs is the perfect reference for anyone wishing to model a more obscure looking IS-II to the standard Russian green battle of Berlin tanks we always see. The quality of the old black and white photo’s is very good, and despite their obvious age they show these tanks to good effect in training scenario’s, as well as two shots showing shot up range targets. Once again detailed written captions accompany each photo which provides details about which units used these tanks and the different variants used. The written summary provides brief historical information.
NM189 Armoured Recovery Vehicle:
This brief 5 page article covers the Norwegian NM189 Pioneer Panzer, and includes 8 large colour photographs. Quality of pictures is very good and very crisp, except for the last picture which looks like it was taken on a mobile phone (I’m sure it wasn’t) but the quality is lacking and it’s quite blurred. All pictures are standard three quarter shots, and show this interesting vehicle out in the field. Written captions and summary provide technical details.
Veicolo Da Montagna 3x3-:
If the East German IS-II’s were obscure, then this vehicle is downright odd looking, and this article is the first time I’ve ever read about this strange looking Italian Alpini vehicle. Clearly not a subject about which an entire book could be written, thus its appearance in Militär Fahrzeug is ideal. Six pages and 19 colour and black and white pictures detail this strange looking tracked trike for the Italian Alpini troops. The pictures are a mix of archive shots, technical diagrams and colour photos of a restored example. The written captions and summary add the necessary technical information and historical background.
The main feature article of this issue of Militär Fahrzeug details over 9 pages on Portugal’s domestically produced Chaimite 4x4 armoured vehicle. The article provides extensive technical and historical information on this seldom seen, but highly successful, Portuguese wheeled armoured vehicle which was initially based on the V-100. The English summary is massive and provides a wealth of historical and developmental information as well as the highly detailed technical information which really sets these articles apart from other publications. Each picture is captioned with further written information and analysis. There are 19 black and white and colour photographs which show the vehicle during development stage, manufacture, on training manoeuvres as well as out in the field in Kosovo in 1996. The more modern photographs are of a very high quality, while some of the older ones are a little rougher, but still useful never the less. The only thing lacking is once again some simple technical and dimensional diagrams which would greatly aid any modeller wishing to scratch build or convert one of these vehicles.
Bulgarian BMP-23 AIFV:
The last of the main articles focuses on the Bulgarian BMP-23 which is a design specific to the Bulgarian armed forces. The article includes 10 high quality colour photographs showing both close up details and standard 3 quarter shots, all the pictures highlight the various details of the vehicle to good effect and will be most useful for anyone interested in Eastern European armor, or seeking to build a model of this vehicle. The text which is written by renowned author Ralph Zwilling offers detailed technical information, and once again all photos are accompanied by captions. There is also a large picture of the BMP-23 on the back cover of this Militär Fahrzeug issue.
In addition to these main articles are a number of smaller 1 page features in the back of the book which cover a few more obscure topics and draw on old archive photographs. There is one page about the English Vickers II in Soviet service, and two photo pages detailing the Allis-Chalmers HD16M earth mover and the WWII era German Neubaufahrzeug tank, as well as a two page spread on various vehicles that have gone into use with foreign armies over the years (such as Syrian panzers, Italian Pershings, etc.).
This is another very interesting issue of Militär Fahrzeug with an ever eclectic mix of subjects covered. The quality of photographs and writing is very good, and while it’s a shame the text isn’t fully translated into English, the summary does provide adequate information for those who don’t understand German.
Of course all the articles won’t appeal to everyone and its mainly post war subjects that are covered so this is definitely geared more towards the post war armor fan, however I think you would be hard pressed not to find something in this issue which doesn’t interest you. Equally I find it very useful to have articles about more obscure subjects and topics which wouldn’t usually be covered in larger or more mainstream publications.
Highs: Diverse subjects which are covered, and wouldn't usually appear in larger, more main stream publications. Quality of the writing and photographs published.Lows: The extreme diversity of articles may put some people off if only one, or a few, subjects interest them.Verdict: Another very good issue of the highly popular and diverse Militär Fahrzeug magazine, which as ever provides a truly eclectic mix of subjects.