Tankograd Missions & Manoeuvres N°7008 Written by Gordon Arthur. Softcover 64 pages.
This is one of the latest books in Series 7000 from Tankograd Publishing, “Missions & Manoeuvres”. Written in English by author Gordon Arthur and translated into German by Jochen Wollert, it has full dual English/German text .
Gordon Arthur is Tankograd’s resident specialist of modern Korean and Japanese armour, and this book complements his other opus on South Korean military vehicles (“REPUBLIC OF KOREA ARMY ROKA - Vehicles of the Modern Korean Army ROKA” also in Tankograd’s 7000 series) to give a global picture of military vehicles currently deployed on the peninsula, South of the 38th parallel.
The book starts with a short background history of the US Army in Korea, with a recap of the main events of the Korean War followed by mini studies on the North Korean threat today and the current situation of the US Army in Korea. It then has a detailed look at the 2nd Infantry Division, including its organizational chart.
The rest of the book follows in photo album fashion, covering US Army vehicles in the field in South Korea. Pictures all have informative, detailed captions in both German and English. Of about 130 photographs in 64 pages, only one is black and white.
The photo coverage starts with wheeled vehicles, first the lighter ones such as HMMWVs (about 4 pages), moving on to gradually bigger and bigger trucks (about 15 pages), then specialized vehicles (2 pages), wheeled armour (4 pages), it then goes on to tracked armour from light to medium, including tracked artillery and armoured recovery vehicles (24 pages), and finally main battle tanks (9 pages). It’s a good mix of military vehicles but obviously armoured vehicles get a bit more attention.
Here’s a detailed list of the vehicles covered :
Photos were all taken in the field and are all very clear and sharp, not only are they great as reference but they are also great photographs by themselves : composition, colours are first rate, and the atmosphere is well captured too, it almost feels like you’re there in those muddy hills north of Seoul! The publisher has taken advantage of this high quality to sometimes print single photos on a full page spread.
Turning the pages, you get many ideas for weathering and marking your models and for dioramas set-ups, as many of those vehicles exist in model form as plastic or resin kits or are available as conversions. For instance, a couple of Stryker photos show very interesting mud/dust patterns on the tyres, not one tyre looking quite the same as the next ! On another photo, a M992A2 is a complex study in mud splatter, dust and rain streaks. Amongst other inspirational pics : an Abrams MBT at a prepared position on a firing range, and another one in three tone camo with a sand coloured mine roller system adaptor fitted, but without the mine rollers themselves.
Frankly I wasn’t expecting too much of this volume initially, as US equipment has been so thoroughly covered in print before, but those photos won me over. It’s truly a fantastic book : I’ve shown it to a couple of modelling friends and while they were skeptic at first, once they had looked through it they both wanted to buy a copy!
Highs: Spectacular photos, unusual subject matter.Lows: Not much, but unarmoured wheeled vehicles get less photos per type on average (sometimes just one pic).Verdict: All in all, a great reference on current US equipment in the field, in a theater that usually gets very little attention and media coverage.