Between 1991 and 1995 the world watched in horror as the state of Yugoslavia disintegrated amidst a series of bloody conflicts on a scale not seen in Europe since World War Two. Fuelled by national self-interest and a desire for independence and control of the various territories making up the country, civil war ripped through the provinces of Croatia and Bosnia. The multi ethnic groups of Yugoslavia who had lived side-by-side for many years began to fracture, leading to some of the most brutal and horrific atrocities to take place on European soil. Successive efforts by the UN failed to bring about any substantial peace in the region, and it wasn’t until the 1995 Dayton peace talks, that any progress was made.
Finally on the 20th of December, NATO officially launched Operation “Joint Endeavour,” a mission by The Implementation Force or IFOR whose mission was to provide military assistance and implement the peace agreement. This historic mission was the first ever combat operation of NATO, and the first time NATO forces and forces of nations taking part in the Partnership For Peace deployed together. In all some 35 countries committed troops to the operation.
The latest in Tankograd Publishing’s ‘Missions and Manoeuvres’ series, this book covers the variety of vehicles seen in the IFOR motor pool from all of the different nations involved. The book can be roughly broken down into four main parts:
Multinational Division North
Multinational Division South-West
Multinational Division South-East
Each of these sections is then divided up into sub-sections covering the vehicles of each nation under the command of the Multinational divisions.
The Introduction provides the necessary information and brief background on the conflict for those reading up on this subject for the first time. Unlike some books which provide very minimal information, this one includes a small, yet succinct account of past events with lots of key dates, as well as brief, but highly detailed information of the various previous UN missions. The book then goes on to outline the details of the IFOR mission, providing a superb bullet point list of the military tasks that it was designated to carry out.
Details such as these are perhaps of no major use to the modeller when researching a particular project, but I feel they are necessary and invaluable in giving the reader all of the background information, as well as being able to build up a firm understanding of the specific mission designated to IFOR. It is in this area that I often feel Tankograd books set the standard. Whilst this is certainly primarily a picture reference book, Tankograd have provided plenty enough written detailed information, that, coupled with other sources, will arm the reader with a thorough and useful knowledge of the IFOR operation.
The second sectionm "Multinational Division North,” focuses on the US forces, the Russian Brigade, Turkish Brigade, and the Nordic-Polish Brigade. “Multinational Division South-West” covers the British contingent, along with the Malaysian, Dutch, Canadian and Czech Forces. And finally “Multinational Division South-East” focuses on the French Brigade, Spanish, Moroccan and Italian units. The final few pages cover the GECONIFOR, or German forces, which deployed a number of troops in a supporting role to IFOR.
Each section begins with a small detailed description of the AOR (Area of Responsibility) of each Division, some details of Troop numbers, the composition of these Divisions as well as the details of the equipment they have. Once again the written information provided is highly useful and informative, and the reader will probably have to read back several times to take it all in, as well as remembering the vast number of acronyms listed. It is always a risk that written information can be too much, but here the reader is given just enough details without becoming “bogged down.”
Now we turn to the pictures! As we have come to expect from Tankograd, the pictures are perfect. Foremost however, one must remember this isn’t a “walkaround” type of book; the pictures published here only really show one view of a vehicle. For people wishing to find detailed, all-round pictures of these vehicles, they must look elsewhere. The book is primarily done to give the reader an idea of the variety of vehicles seen during the mission, and to show them in their natural setting. All manner of pictures are provided showing each of the different vehicles deployed. The book really covers a massive variety of AFVs showing everything from American Abrams main battle tanks to Spanish armoured personnel carriers.
All of the 131 photographs are in colour, are very clear and to a high standard. One thing I particularly liked, though this may not be to everyone’s taste, is that most of the pictures are taken during winter months showing many of these vehicles covered in snow or mud. That’s great for diorama builders, or those wishing to see a good study on the weathering of modern vehicles. Each picture has a detailed caption, which provides further information for the reader about the vehicle pictured and the IFOR as a whole.
My only real criticism of the book is it really could be bigger. Such is the variety and mix of different vehicles seen on the IFOR mission, that the subject could cover many, many pages. I can only really say that it would be nicer to see more pictures of some of the vehicles and units less well-covered in other publications, particularly the Russian Brigade (which only has two pages covering it). That said, this book really is superb, the quality of the writing and photographs is first class, and it really is an invaluable reference source for anyone interested in post-war armour, as well as anyone interested in the wars of the Former Yugoslavia. Overall, it’s ideal for modellers and military vehicle enthusiast alike, along with those who are interested in NATO forces.
Highly recommend! And I hope that Tankograd continue to expand their range of superb reference publications.
Highs: Excellent color photographs coupled with informative and detailed written text. Large variety of subjects also shown.Lows: Could be bigger, covering the vehicles in more detail. Verdict: Another superb reference from Tankograd. A must-have for those interested in modern conflicts and modern military vehicles.
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