The business of building tanks is not for every nation. It is common that militaries around the world look outside their borders for AFVs and make selections on operational requirements for the present and the future, and of course this is largely based on budget. When a country undertakes developing a domestically produced tank there are plenty of issues to contend with above and beyond the actual design of the tank. The technology must be sourced, the design must be engineered, and the factories to produce the tanks must be available and functioning.
In the 1970s Argentina took on the task of developing an indigenous series of AFVs. This was a monumental task as the last time Argentina developed and produced a tank was in 1943 with the DL-43 that resembled the Sherman. Argentina understood that it desperately needed to replace its aging fleet of Sherman tanks. The result was the decision to design and produce a Medium tank and an associated family of tracked vehicles all based on the same chassis. The only way to do this effectively and in a relatively short timeline was to look to the rest of the world for technology and engineering. Argentina sought out existing German technology and developed it further with the assistance of Thyssen-Henschel and their Marder MICV chassis. In only four short years the prototypes were delivered for testing and the TAM family of vehicles was forged in armour.
Production continued until 1992 with hundreds of TAM tanks being produced. The TAM was offered for export as well to a variety of very eager nations but none of the sales went through due to political pressure from Western governments.
This Tankograd book is a soft-cover A4 format (210mm x 297mm) book with a total of 64 pages. It is part of the Tankograd “International Special” series. There are nine black & white photos and 150 colour photos. The text is presented in both German and English. The authors are Juan Carlos Cicalesi and Santiago Rivas.
The book is broken down into multiple chapters that cover all variants of the TAM.
1. Pages 2-6:
Covers the history and development of the TAM series including the TAM VC, Org of an Army Tank Regiment, TAM VCTP, Org of a Mechanized Infantry Regiment, TAM VCPC, TAM VCCDF and TAM VCCDT, TAM VCA, TAM VCAmun, Org of an Armoured Artillery Group, VCTM, VCRT, VCLC, and unbuilt TAM versions.
2. Pages 7-43:
Covers the TAM VC (Vehiculo de Combate) Medium Tank and includes images and text pertaining to the prototype, operational use, deep fording, tank transport, camouflage patterns, walk around, training accidents, crew uniforms, export trials, mine rollers, and modernization. There are great images in this chapter and you really get to see the TAM training in the variety of terrains encountered in Argentina. It is not hard to make the comparison from the TAM VC turret to the Leopard 1 turret.
3. Pages 44-47:
Cover the TAM VCA (Vehiculo de Combate Artilleria) Self-Propelled Artillery and includes images and text of the VCA on exercises.
4. Pages 47-48:
Covers the TAM VCAmun (Vehiculo de Combate Amunicionador) Ammunition Supply Vehicle and includes several images and text of the VCAmun in the field.
5. Page 49:
Covers the TAM VCCDF (Vehiculo de Combate Centro Director de Feugo) and VCCDT (Vehiculo de Combate Centro Director de Tiro) Fire-Control Vehicles and provides both images and text of these fire control AFVs.
6. Pages 50-51:
Covers the very unique TAM VCLC (Vehiculo de Combate Lanza Cohetes) Rocket Launcher Combat Vehicle and includes images and text of vehicle mounting the Israeli designed LAR-160 multi rocket tubes.
7. Page 52:
Covers the TAM VCPC (Vehiculo de Combate Puesto Comando ( Command Combat Vehicle) and includes several images and text related to this variant.
8. Pages 53-54:
Covers the TAM VCRT (Vehiculo de Combate Recuperador Tanques) Armoued Recovery Vehicle and includes four images and text of the ARV.
9. Pages 55-58:
Covers the TAM VCTM (Vehiculo de Combate Transporte Mortero ) Mortar Transport Combat Vehicle and includes multiple images and text of the 120 mm mortar carrier.
10. Pages 59-64:
Covers the TAM VCTP (Vehiculo de Combate Transporte Personal) Infantry Fighting Vehicle and covers the IFV in the field, during UN tours, and the ambulance version. This is where you truly see the roots back to the Marder MICV with the distinct features of the hull, the 20 mm cannon in the turret and the remote TPA-1 weapon station on the rear upper hull.
If you follow modern armour beyond what you see on TV or mainstream modelling you should know about the TAM series. This is a very unique AFV family and a huge accomplishment for the Argentine military. If you do know about the TAM series this is a great book to have as a reference to see all the variants in one place. It is truly too bad a 1/35 kit has not been produced of the tank or the other vehicles in the series.
The book is well structured with an easy to follow vehicle history within the Argentine Army. The images are crisp and clear and provide excellent depictions of the colour schemes on the various TAMs. Of interest for you historians is that the TAMs were not deployed to the Falklands in 1982 but instead were kept on the mainland. Would they have assisted the Argentine Forces on the island had they been deployed?
Highs: Excellent images throughout the book.Lows: It would have been nice to have included more UN mission images as this was the only operational deployment outside of Argentina.Verdict: Great book that tells the entire TAM story.
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