Written by Clemens Niesner and Peter Blume, this Tankograd volume is the third of a series of four dealing with all the German variants of the US made M113. As usual the texts and photographs captions are both in German and English. This volume only deals with Artillery variants. The Germans were very active in customizing the M113 to fit their tactical requirements and these artillery variants are excellent proof of this. So at first sight most of them are recognizable from their US counterparts due to the different superstructures they feature.
This volume is divided into 6 chapters following an introduction which is common to the various volumes of the series. Each chapter covers a different variant with its historical background followed by numerous pictures with some close-ups.
Chapter 1 Green Archer Mortar and Artillery Location Radar Vehicle
The Green Archer was the first specialized variant of the M113 in the Bundewehr. It was in service from 1967 until mid 1990s. This chapter gives you 15 pictures (7 being black and white) with 2 of the top deck. The vehicle pictured are sporting either the OliveGrun camouflage or the NATO three-tone scheme. This helps the reader to spot some opf the minor evolutions brought to the vehicle during its service life.
Chapter 2 M113 Artillery Observation Post Vehicle
This observation vehicle entered service in 1982. It did not benefit from the combat improvement programme and was thus phased out in 2003. This chapter gives 26 pictures, all but two in color. There are also 5 close-ups of the roof arrangement complemented by a clear picture of the whole roof. These will prove very useful for those wanting to tackle this variant. Finally three pictures show the inside of the rear compartment. Most of the pictures cover the original variant. Nonetheless, the Beobachtung Artillerie M113 A1 G A0 later variant which is recognizable thanks to its front stowage basket is represented in some photographs.
Chapter 3 M113 A1 G ABRA/RATAC Radar Carrier
This variant used a radar to detect and track mobile targets and observe artillery fires. It entered service in 1976 and is close to the end of its operational life. This chapter features twenty six photographs. Taken from various angles, they clearly show the features of this variant of which the erectable radar mast. The black and white pictures cover the M113 A1 G variant while the color photographs depict the more recent M113 A2 EFT GE A0 variant. A 6-view 1/35th scale plan is provided for this late version.
Chapter 4 M113 Artillery Fire Control Vehicle
This variant was developed to follow the introduction of the M109 SPH in 1966. But the first M113 FCV only arrived in artillery units in 1978. The last vehicles were phased out in 2007. This chapter displays twenty four pictures of this variant with only one black and white showing the top of the vehicle. Three photographs cover the rear compartment and the various computerized systems. Four close-ups show details of the latest variant, the M113 A1 EFT GA A0, with the antenna mast moved onto the roof. For those who like winter camouflaged vehicles, three pictures will provide them with modelling ideas.
Chapter 5 M113 Artillery Computer Network Carrier
Replacing the M113 FCV, this variant entered service in 2000 initially in the battalions equipped with the Panzerhaubitze 2000 SPH. If the ADLER FCS upgrading process is still on going, the M113 carrier does not have a suitable replacement so far. So this variant is likely to last still a long time in the Bundeswehr service. Fourteen color photographs cover this variant. Unfortunately no close-ups are available for modelers. Anyway, an interesting picture shows the engine removed for a maintenance testing.
Chapter 6 M113 Flash Ranging Vehicle
Based on a technique rooted in the WWI, this artillery gun flash detection and ranging system was introduced in 1979 and remained in service until 1993.
This particular vehicle which acts as a counter-battery detection vehicle is only covered in two black and white photographs plus an inset showing the flash sensor. So even if this chapter is interesting from a historical point of view, it won’t be that useful from a modelling point of view.
This third volume in the German M113 series is well balanced between each variant that is covered. The number of photographs is sufficient to give the reader a good overview of each vehicle. However, from a modeller's point of view, there are not enough close-ups to help scratch-building or detailing the vehicles featured in the volume. The addition of a 1/35th scale drawing for the RATAC carrier is great. Supplemental drawings for the other variants would have been greatly appreciated.
Highs: A comprehensive study of the Bundeswehr M113 artillery variants.Lows: A frustrating lack of close-up views. The single 1/35th scale drawing.Verdict: Those who like the M113 and/or the artillery vehicles will be pleased by this volume. In my opinion, it is not oriented enough toward modeling. However it can be recommended and is worth reading.
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About Olivier Carneau (bison126) FROM: CORREZE, FRANCE
I have been in the hobby for years and I'm still learning.
As a modeler, I only build 1/35 modern military vehicles, mainly armored ones.
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