This latest book in Tankograd Publishing’s British Special 9000 series, covers the British army’s famous APC, the FV432. The book looks in detail at the history and development of one of Britain’s most successful APC designs, and provides extensive photographic reference of the vehicles’ service life, as well as some detailing on specialist and modified vehicles in the FV432 family.
Authored by Rob Griffin, who is also writing the forthcoming ‘FV432 Variants’ from Tankograd Publishing, the book is 64 pages long and features the standard duel German/English text.
The FV432 produced by GKN Sankey is the most common vehicle from the FV430 series of vehicles, all of which share the same basic chassis and running gear. Development and production of the FV432 armored personnel carrier began in the early 1960’s following many earlier failed attempts to produce a standardised APC.
The first vehicles to enter service were the MK1 series in 1963 followed by the MK2 in 1965. The FV432 remarkably remains in service today, with the MK3 being the latest version, vehicles operating in Iraq and Afghanistan have been equipped with reactive armor arrays as well as IED jamming equipment and air conditioning units.
The FV432’s easily recognisable appearance often earned it the description of nothing more than a box on tracks, which fundamentally it is. MK 1 vehicles were fitted with a Rolls-Royce B81 engine, which were later replaced with a K60 No.4 MK4F multi fuel engine which is located in the forward left side (facing forward) of the hull next to the drivers position. The rear of the hull is given over entirely to the troop compartment, which can carry ten fully equipped infantrymen sitting opposite each other on simple benches. The sponson on each side provides space for stowing equipment, as well as the NBC fan control equipment mounted on the right forward position. Two fuel cells are mounted on the rear left and right side of the troop compartment.
The driver sits in the forward position next to the engine compartment, while the commander sits directly behind, vision for the driver is provided by a No.33 MK1 day sight, while the commander has three No.32 daytime sights mounted in a cupola above his position. The crew and troops are protected by armor plate varying in thickness from 6-15mm. Basic vehicle armament consists of a 7.62mm L7A2 GPMG mounted on the commanders cupola, two banks of three smoke dischargers are mounted on either side of the front hull.
The FV432 has seen extensive service within the British army, from its faithful service with forces operating in Germany during the cold war, during the 1991 Gulf war, peace-keeping in Bosnia and right through to its recent use in Iraq and Afghanistan, the FV432 continues to play a key role within the British armed forces.
As we would now expect from Tankograd Publishing, this is a high quality book and an incredibly useful addition to any fan of modern British armor. The detail and written information provided is incredibly extensive, whilst the photographs provide the ideal reference material on this vehicle and give one of the most in-depth and extensive accounts of the FV432 to date.
The first thirteen pages are given over entirely to written text (although bilingual text means each page contains both German and English columns) Written information is crucial in any reference book and this is certainly one of the big positives in all Tankograd publications. Extensive development and historical information is provided, detailing the background to the FV432 series as well as its various predecessors and early post war APC attempts. Fully detailed technical information is also provided, giving the reader a good broad knowledge on areas such as basic vehicle layout, all the differences between different marks and other such details. The written information is not over the top and provides just enough detailed and concise information without being too excessive. The text is well written and evidently well researched based on information direct from GKN Sankey as well as, no doubt, many other detailed sources.
Written sections are as follows:
• Converted tanks
• CT20 Oxford carrier
• FV300 series
• FV400 series
• U.S. Developments
• The FV420 series
• FV420 technology
• End of the FV420 project
• A new start
• Five layouts
• Production and in service life
• FV432 technology
• Running gear and hull
• NBC protection
• Vehicle exterior
• Drivers hatch
• Commanders hatch and mortar hatch
• Troop compartment
• Steering, engine and transmission
• A never ending story
The photographs are, of course, the main focus of this book and once again Tankograd hit the mark. In total there are 105 colour and 28 black and white photographs, some of which are archive photographs, others direct from GKN Sankey and the rest from private collections. The layout follows a basic structure, detailing the early prototypes and FV400/420 series vehicles first, then the MK1/1 vehicles, MK2/1 vehicles and finally pages 40 to 64 cover special purpose FV432 vehicles. Basic photographic contents is as follows:
The quality of the photographs is very good as we have come to expect from Tankograd, with excellent shots provided of a variety of vehicles in different settings. Inevitably, with a vehicle that has been in use for over 40 years there is a mix of relatively new photos as well as slightly older ones, but I didn’t find any major issues with the quality of the older pictures. Whilst a few were a little grainy and slightly blurred, they still provide good reference of the 432 in the field. The more modern pictures however are first rate. The one major criticism I would level at the photographs in this book is that there aren’t enough detail pictures. There is a section provided which offers 15 detail pictures, but I felt that there could have been many more ‘walk-around’ style pictures offered, particularly of the interior and certainly some shots of the engine and engine bay. The majority of the photographs in the book are three quarter shots showing 432’s during training and out in the field, so they do provide excellent reference of the vehicle in its natural environment, but I just felt a few more close up details shots would have improved the book that bit more.
Overall, this is a first rate publication focusing on a subject which has been neglected for too long. The quality of written and photographic reference provided in this book is of the highest standard and should prove to be an invaluable reference material for anyone interested in this classic British APC, as well as for modellers building either the Cromwell or Accurate Armor kits.
The one criticism I level at this book is the lack of more detail photographs of the 432, in particular more shots of the interior which would have been most useful in detailing the Cromwell and AA kits. Any company has to weigh up the photographs they use and of course they can’t be expected to publish every single photograph that exists of a 432, but I felt that a few more close up shots would have been easy to obtain and would been a great help for the modeller. Never the less, this is another superb publication from Tankograd, now I can’t wait to get my hands on the follow up book.
Highs: First publication to provide a fully detailed and pictorial reference on the FV432. Excellent quality pictures and written reference information.Lows: Not enough close up detail shots, particularly of the interiorVerdict: Another fantastic publication from Tankograd who continues to provide first class reference on subjects not previously covered in book form.
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