by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
Afghanistan is a witness to the statement that war never changes. It is a place of conflict and combat since the antique days with many trying to claim it as their own; from Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Soviet Union and finally the Taliban. By 2001 the NATO answered with the International Security Assistance Force ISAF to provide security and stability operations. This publication offers the reader the full range of vehicles fielded by Task Force Helmand in 2011. Protected patrol vehicles, armored reconnaissance vehicles and armored infantry fighting vehicles, you name it. To show the full extent of the TF Helmands motor-pool, also present are logistic vehicles, engineer equipment, mobile artillery systems and helicopters.
About the book
This release is the latest title of Tankograd Publishings British series. Task Force Helmand Vehicles of the British ISAF forces in Afghanistan is a soft-cover book with the (now standard) 64 pages with dual language text in German and English. There are 130 full color photographs with the vehicles in good angles and visible details. All of the pictures are clearly depicted and of adequate size, so no detail is distorted. The paper is a thick, glossy kind and stands up to all modeling purposes as a workbench reference book. A special note is given by the author Carl Schulze about the photographs. To maintain OPSEC a number of sensitive information such as the armor protection, RCIED ECM systems, vehicle interiors, sensitive weapon systems or SF equipment are not shown in the book. This is perfectly reasonable and doesnt diminish the quality of the contents.
The first chapter is the only text chapter with no images. It is divided into several segments:
Armed presence with the start of 2001, NATO led the response to UNs actions with the formation of ISAF to provide security and stability operations in Afghanistan, as well support and organization of Afghan national military and police forces. By 2006, ISAF took over the entire Afghanistan area, now with more than 130 000 deployed soldiers from a number of allied countries.
History of combat operations in Afghanistan UK had military presence in Afghanistan since three Anglo-Afghan wars in the late 19th and early 20th century. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, UK Special Forces trained the Mujahedeen.
Regional Command (South) is responsible for the implementation of ISAF missions in Daikondi, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Uruzgan and Zabul. UK provided a brigade sized element called Task Force Helmand with 16 allied nations working together in dealing with the Taliban. Now days the TF Helmand places its effort in 3 districts Lashkar Gar, Nahr-e Saraj and Nad-e Ali.
British forces in Afghanistan numbers of deployed soldiers by 2011 were over 9500. The tours are usually of six months for each Brigade in which the latest 2011 Operation Herrick 14 will be led by 20 Armoured Brigade.
TF Helmand Structure the Task Force is structured into a Lashkar Gar HQ, 5 battle groups deployed to FOBs, patrol bases and checkpoints, and a number of support and logistic structures.
Joint Force Support basically takes care of the all other aspects of in-theater operations; financial issues, cultural advisors, medical help, interpreters, detainees, maintaining infrastructure, vehicle maintenance, Camp Bastion security etc.
RAF based at Camp Bastion are over 2000 troops which is the logistic hub for British forces. Also present are USMC units and Danish forces. Tornado Gr.4, MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, C-130 aircraft, Sea King and Chinook transport and (C)SAR helicopters are some of the aircraft deployed used by TF Helmand.
Operations & Casualties with large operations such as the largest up to day, Operation Moshtarak, the ISAF gained valued ground against the Taliban, expelling them from parts of the country not dominated by ISAF until then. A large number of coalition personnel were injured by IED attacks with (officially) more than 377 casualties in the 5 year period (2006-2011) and several hundred injured.
Vehicle Fleet originally not many protected vehicles were deployed. Land Rover WMIKs and Pinzgauer 4x4s were available as well as few armored Saxon and Snatch vehicles. Those werent adequate to deal with the IED threats, so a number of up-armored vehicle began to enter the theater of combat ops such as the Mastiff, Ridgeback, Jackal Husky, Land Rover Snatch Vixen etc.
Urgent Operational Requirements
The vehicles depicted in the book are divided into the following segments:
Light Wheeled Vehicles:
Yamaha Grizzly 450 IRS quad bike; featured with 2 photos
Springer FOB retrieval vehicle; featured with 2 photos designed to move supplies from landing zones.
Land Rover 90 TUL XD, TUM HS, Snatch; featured with 4 photos (each version single photo), latest versions under the Vixen programme offer IED and mine protection.
Pinzgauer TUM HD; featured with a single photo, more than 50 versions employed, not used for patrols due to the lack of ballistic protection.
Vector LPPV (Light Protected Patrol Vehicle); featured with a single photo, stopgap measure until the arrival of MRAP vehicles.
Jackal 1, 2 High Mobility Weapons Platform; featured with 7 photos, used for patrols, fire support, convoy protection, recce missions. Direct replacement for LR Wolf WMIKs.
Coyote TSV (Tactical Support Vehicle); featured with 2 photos, used to support Jackal vehicles and SF patrols.
Panther CLV (Command & Liaison Vehicle); featured with 2 photos, based on the Iveco LMV
Husky TSV-M; featured with 4 photos, direct replacement for the Pinzgauer and the Vector LPPV used for transport, patrols and convoy escort.
Ridgeback PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle); featured with 3 photos, based on the Cougar 4x4 MRAP, used as a troop carrier for patrols and convoy escort or battlefield ambulance.
Mastiff 1, 2, 3 PPV; featured with 6 photos, based on the Cougar 6x6 MRAP, used as a troop carrier for patrols and convoy escort, comms or ECM/EOD vehicle.
Wolfhound TSV-H; featured with 3 photos, used for deployment of MP K9 units, EOD or artillery tractors.
Reconnaissance Vehicles and Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles:
Warthog Armored All-Terrain Vehicle; featured with 7 photos, direct replacement for the Viking series of vehicles, used as troop carrier, command vehicle, ambulance and recovery vehicle.
FV103 Spartan 235 CVR(T); featured with 4 photos, armed reconnaissance asset.
FV105 Sultan 235 CVR(T); featured with 1 photo.
FV106 Samson 235 CVR(T); featured with 2 photos, armed recovery vehicle.
FV107 Scimitar 235 CVR(T); featured with 4 photos, armed reconnaissance asset, upgraded under Urgent Operational Requirements.
Warrior MCV (Mechanized Combat Vehicle) TES-H (Theatre Entry Standard - Heavy); featured with 4 photos, entire family of vehicle upgraded with Chobham passive armor, bar armor, mine protection, RCIED ECM and air-condition.
Warrior MRV-R (Mechanized Recovery Vehicle Repair); featured with 4 photos
DAF Leyland T-244 4-ton truck; featured with 1 photo, used for on-base transport tasks.
DAF Leyland T-244 AFDV (Air-portable Fuel Dispensing Vehicle); featured with 1 photo, used as mobile pump station for aircrafts.
Leyland MMLC (Medium Mobility Load Carrier); featured with 1 photo, on-base logistics vehicle.
Foden IMMLC (Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier) DROPS (Demountable Rack Off-loading and Pick-up System); featured with 1 photo.
MAN SV(C) (Support Vehicle Cargo) family (Tanker, Recovery, EPLS); featured with 14 photos.
Oshkosh CST-F (Close Support Tanker Fuel), TAR (Tactical Aircraft Refueller), HET (Heavy Equipment Tractor); featured with 8 photos.
Volvo FL12 Self Loading Dump Truck; featured with 1 photo.
SLDT-P (Self Loading Dump Truck Protected); featured with 1 photo, based on the Iveco 8x8 Trakker chassis, replacement for the Volvo FL12.
Terex AC35T Medium 4x4 crane; featured with 1 photo.
Bridging 90 GSB (General Support Bridge) with ABLE (Automotive Bridge Launching Equipment)
LWT(P) Light Wheeled Tractor Protected; featured with 1 photo.
Case 721 CXT MWP (Medium Wheeled Tractor); featured with2 photos.
ULWT(P) (Ultra Light Wheeled Tractor Protected); featured with 1 photo.
Talon 4 route clearance robot; featured with 1 photo.
Dragon Runner bomb disposal robot; featured with 1 photo.
HMEE (High Mobility Engineer Excavator); featured with 2 photos, manufactured by JCB, used to clear obstacles, fill in craters and conduct plant work.
Buffalo 2 MP/CV Rummage (Mine Protected/ Clearance Vehicle); featured with 3 photos, heavily protected armored vehicle equipped with an articulated robot arm for IED investigation.
Land Rover Snatch Mira UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle); featured with 1 photo, unmanned vehicle based on the Land Rover series of vehicles, used to deploy an ground penetrating radar.
Trojan AVRE (Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers); featured with 4 photos, used for breaching IED fields, excavating, recovery, obstacle clearing. Up-armored with passive add-on armor.
JCB 524-50 Telehandler; featured with 1 photo, handles, stacks and transports pallets and ISO containers.
Kalmar Sisu high speed forklift; featured with 1 photo.
Kalmar RT240 RTCH (Rough Terrain Container Handler); featured with 1 photo, used for lifting, moving and stacking ISO containers.
COBRA (Counter Battery Radar); featured with1 photo.
MAMBA (Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar); featured with1 photo.
M270B1 GMLRS, RRV; featured with 6 photos, multiple rocket launcher that provides deep-fire precision capability. Contains of a Carrier Vehicle, Launcher/Loader module, 2 rocket pods.
L118A1 Light Guns 105mm howitzer; featured with 1 photo, primary artillery fire support.
Bv206 ATVLC (All-Terrain Vehicle Load Carrier); featured with 1 photo.
Lynx Mk.9A; featured with 1 photo, light utility helicopter, used for CAS, recon and armed escort roles.
Sea King Mk.4 , Mk.7; featured with 2 photos, airborne early warning and surveillance, transport helicopter.
Apache AH Mk.1; featured with 1 photo, British version of AH-64D Longbow Apache combat helicopter.
Merlin HC Mk.3; featured with 1 photo, all-weather, day/night multi-role medium support helicopter.
Chinook HC2; featured with 1 photo, prime heavy-lift helicopter.
The more I see Tankograds books, the more I like them. This is not a deep-research book, providing background, analysis, detailed chapters on a single subject but a great reference book. The amazing thing about this book is the amount of info crammed in such a small space. The photos are great (especially since modern UK reference stuff is harder to find than US equipment) and can be used for modeling purposes since there are a lot of kits featured in this book available. Do not make the mistake of thinking since there is not a lot of main text this book is not useful. The captions provide a wealth of information for each vehicle. The thing I think could have been improved is the aircraft section, which doesnt have a lot of pictures, but since this segment is easily available on the internet I dont consider this to be an omission. I wish there were pictures of the SF vehicles, but as any other sensible person I understand the need for OPSEC on current equipment used in real life. If youre interested in UK vehicles, or if you wish to update your knowledge on the ever-changing variants this is the book to get.