In 2006, long before a UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) for a sGeBAF heavy protected recovery vehicle for use with ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) was raised, the bundeswehr had launched a project to procure a geschutztes Berge-und Kranfahrzeug (Gesch BFK, protected recovery vehicle and crane). it was supposed to be able to recover and tow unprotected and protected wheeled vehicles.
The bundeswehr procured the sGeBAF Bison heavy protected recovery vehicle to meet an urgent operational requirement in Germany ESB Einsatzbedingter Sofortbedarf namely ESB ISAF 794 H dated June 2010) of German forces deployed in Afghanistan They needed a modern, powerful, highly mobile, protected recovery vehicle to salvage wheeled vehicles that had broken down due to enemy action, technical failures or accidents in the shortest possible time, and to tow them to the nearest base. To begin with the Germans used vehicles like the bergepanzer 2 A2 armoured recovery vehicle (ARV), the bergepanzer 3 Buffel ARV with fitted crane. However these vehicles could only partially meet some of the demands of implementing a security and reconstruction mission in Afghanistan. Due to the high weight of ARV's and the weight limit on many roads and bridges in the wide parts of the operational area of the Germans -led regional command north (RC N) their use was severely restricted. However the ARV were able to offer the level of protection required for the threat level in the country, as small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks were becoming a daily occurrences from 2007 onwards. In comes the BISON, the bison is based on a Mercedes Benz Actros 4151 AK 8x8 truck chassis. Twelve Bison armoured recovery vehicles were built with the main components of the recovery and towing equipment being a Hiab crane, main winch, auxiliary winch and self recovery winch.
The book goes in to some detail about the truck from engine details to gears and ratio to power output. A whole section of on the protective cab which includes the materials that went into to building it and offering the highest level of protection to the crew. This included a basic construction from plates of rolled homogenous armour steel and protective insulation.
With the Bison heavy protected recovery vehicle, the Bundeswehr has procured a highly modern and flexible vehicle that can recover and tow all unprotected and protected wheeled vehicles in service with the Bundeswehr. The armoured cab offers the crew the best possible protection against ballistic and mine threats. In Afghanistan the Bison has already proven its worth during many missions.
The book goes from the technical and history side of the Bison and moves onto the picture heavy section where it shows the Bison in action, although the first few pages show some of the vehicles that they were using for recovery before the Bison, with some great pictures of the Bergepanzer 2A2.
Actros-A new Heavy Trucks Series. this section gives you some insight into the pedigree of where the Bison came from, a series of pictures shows the 6x6 on desert trials, and another 8x6 heavy equipment transporter tractor. As part of the procurement programme for protected cargo trucks, the Bundeswehr put the armoured Actros 8x8 truck through extensive trials conducted by the WTD 41 test facility in Trier in 2009.
Heavy wrecker recovery of the armoured heavy support vehicle system (AHSVS) truck family under the armoured heavy support vehicle system project, the Canadian armoured forces ordered 97 armoured Actros 8x8 trucks in 2007 for forces deployed in Afghanistan with the ISAF. Among them were five heavy wrecker recovery vehicles. From February 2008 onwards, the AHSVS trucks saw service in southern Afghanistan.
Bison heavy protected recovery vehicle sGeBAF Bison has the task of recovering and towing an ATF Dingo 2A33 protected patrol vehicle. This section of the book is more heavy picture than writing but does show some extraordinary pictures of the Bison in use, some of the pictures are just fantastic including the righting of the an LKW 10 t mil gl truck being put back on its wheels, then being towed off. Further pictures show it doing more recovery work with an over turned ATF Dingo and another LKW truck. At the end of this section are two fantastically detailed pictures of the Bison giving a great walk around type of view.
Operational service in Afghanistan 12th January 2012 at leipzig Halle Airport an sGeBAFF Bison is loaded into an Antonov An-124 Russian transport aircraft of Volga-Dnepr Airlines in January - February 2012, five recovery vehicles was flown to northern Afghanistan.
September 2012 a Bison HPRV (heavy protection recovery vehicle) a damaged Yak protected multi-purpose vehicle. The Yak is attached to the pivoting lifting yoke of the recovery vehicle. A total of five vehicles were used by the German ISAF contingent in Afghanistan between 2012 and 2014. The book then moves on to showing the protected cab in some detail, lots of close up detail showing you inside the cab this gives you various position pictures detailing the driving position as well as crew position. It continues with further close ups all around the front and sides of the Bison truck. It also shows the various lockers in the side compartments listing different recovery hand equipment.
The chassis and all the working gear such as the Hiab, winches, lifting gear, and self recovery winch are all shown in some incredible photographic detail.
Tankograd certainly know how to not just get your attention but also keep it by coming up with some incredible photographic work, some very concise information about the vehicle its location and what it is doing. A large amount of the photos give you an almost walk around type of feel and again gives those interested in soft skins a great deal of knowledge. Would I buy this? Yes I probably would it gives so much scope for dioramas if you are a modeller or if you are into army trucks then this another great title to add to your collection.
Highs: Plenty of information to digest with a huge amount of very good photography work, for reference you cannot beat it Lows: if you are not into recovery vehicles then it will be of little interest to you, my only other low, to the best of my knowledge there is not a kit on the market to represent one of these beasts.Verdict: I am personally growing to like the Tankograd series of books I find them very informative and with the wealth of pictures you cannot go wrong.
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