By the mid 1980s, and accelarated by the collapse of the Wasaw Pact, U.S. doctrine underwent a major sea-change. With the creation of CentCom (Central Command) more emphasis began to be placed on Counter-Insurgency and what was to became known as assymetrical warfare. The battlefields of the future were identified as the Middle-East or West Africa rather than the previous threat across the Fulda Gap. With this the vehicles began to evolve - perhaps, most notably with the development of lighter vehicles such as the LAV or the Stryker series. Rapid-dèployment became the watchword.
With this recent book by Tankograd Publishing, all the newer (and in-service) vehicles are listed and illustrated - giving both the modeler and the vehicle enthusiast a 'ready-reference' to what's in service.
Encyclopedia of Modern U. S. Military Tactical Vehicles is written by Carl Schulze. The book, typically with the company's 'one-offs' is in hardback format and has 160 pages. As we've come to expect from Tankograd's other books, there is a great emphasis on images - no less than 416 images are included. Unlike other books by this publishing house, the text is entirely in English. For those who require it for ordering, the book has the ISBN 978-3-93651904-8
The book consists of 14 chapters which are: 01 Introduction
.02 Light Tanks and Main Battle Tanks
.03 Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles and
Armored Personnel Carriers - Tracked
.04 Armored Personnel Carriers - Wheeled
.05 Amphibious Vehicles
.06 Light Trucks
.07 Medium Trucks
.08 Heavy Trucks
.09 Engineer Vehicles and Mine Protected Vehicles
.10 Armored Recovery Vehicles, Cranes and
Material Handling Equipment
.11 Artillery and Air Defence
.12 Special Forces and All-Terrain Vehicles
.13 Miscellaneous Vehicles
.14 Camouflage and Markings
The book in depth
Beginning at the beginning with the introduction, Carl Schulze gives a very concise and informed view of the background to the changes that the U.S. Army's doctrine underwent from the end of the Cold-War to the first deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although only consisting of three pages, it really is one of the best explanations i've seen (although, inevitably truncated) of WHY the U.S. Army has the vehicles it has and how crucial its 'Mission Statement' has been in the development and acquisition of the varied types in its inventory. Something many modelers may choose to ignore but its useful to realize that vehicle design does not originate in any kind of vacuum..
The following chapters (2-13) contain a reasonable amount of text concentrating on evolution of various vehicles. What is particularly useful, is the 'data-file' which accompanies each subject which lists all the variants of the type. Photos are used extensively to illustrate these variants and each chapter begins with a large image of the vehicle.
As someone who is definitely very much on the 'Inexpert' side of U.S. military vehicles of this period, I was surprised at just how many variants exist of the Hummvee (for example) and how many variants would make impressive models. If this was a book done in isolation, it wouldn't be so useful, the fact that Tankograd (amongst others) have published so much material particularly with the three volumes on the HEMTT it then becomes a highly-useful lead-in to more specialized reference.
The final chapter, Camouflage and Markings, is, in my opinion, one of the real highlights of the book. The author explains such areas as bumper markings and the MERDOC scheme in a clear and concise manner. All the text is followed up by several pages of photos which clearly illustrate the various schemes.
The quality of photos is absolutely excellent although bearing in mind just HOW much is covered, the reader can't reasonable expect large photos of all the featured vehicles - the book would probably cost around $1000 and have around 1500 pages... The author has done an excellent job by prioritizing and covering the variants to the absolute best of his abilities.
One of the reasons I have rated this book so highly is that for many, like myself, who have only a working knowledge of the (principal) vehicle types, then it serves as a superb introduction to a very large study area. It also, for those who enjoy finding new modeling subjects, will find plenty of ideas for conversions, updates or even elaborate scratch-builds. For the enthusiast who has a casual interest in U.S. vehicles they'll also get a lot out of it. For those who DON'T model Modern U.S. vehicles, it would be surprising if some project didn't suggest itself...
Very Highly Recommended.
Indoubtedly, in an area as specialized as this i'm not the person most qualified to review this book. However, as the target market for the book might be seen as for those who need an introduction to such a complex area, perhaps, on reflection, I DO fit the criteria...
Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...