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5540, Special Ops Vol.40. With articles by: Carl Schulze, Yves Debay, Sören Sünkler and Alberto Scarpitta. Soft covers, A4 size, 64 pages. Contains 212 color photos, Orders-of-Battle tables and vehicle specifications. ISBN 962-361-134-X.
The latest issue in the series, sub-titled the “Journal of the Elite Forces & SWAT Units”, covers some current combat activities as well as some training exercises. The first two articles will be of particular interest since they feature quite a bit of coverage of various AFVs; the third article gives modest coverage of AFVs, while the last is devoted almost entirely to troops and their equipment.
“Operation Telic VIII, The British Army in Iraq”, features 89 color photos and is authored by Carl Schulze. It features high quality images of several units from the UK as deployed in Iraq. The coverage of the Warrior IFV and some of its variants, as well as Challenger II is noteworthy, especially since the latest versions, with full appliqué armor and bar armor, are shown. Several types of Land Rover as well as other soft-skins and AFVs are also covered as are a variety of rotary wing aircraft. And, of course, the various soldiers themselves are seen in combat gear. The text is especially noteworthy for the clear way in which it reports on the daily travails of British Soldiers and their relationship with some of the local personnel. Likewise, many of the sub-units the author visited are profiled and there are several side-bars detailing the structure of the force. Brief technical descriptions of Warrior and Challenger II are also provided, featuring the most up-to-date information generally available.
The next article also deals with ongoing operations against terrorists in Afghanistan and is entitled, “Operation Athena, Canadians in Afghanistan”. It consists of 45 color photos and is authored by Sören Sünkler. Photos cover the latest Canadian LAV-III as well as the earlier Coyote and Bison. Other types, such as the mine-resistant Nyala and various soft-skins are also depicted, as are some robotic explosive ordnance disposal vehicles. The text describes the current status of the Canadian armed forces, with the emphases on their world-wide deployments in peace-keeping and stabilization deployments; the current operation is covered in some detail. The photo captions are also very extensive and quite informative.
“Colibri XL, Forty Years of Franco-German Military Cooperation”, features 51 color photos by noted correspondent Yves Debay. This article provides an extended snap-shot of a Franco-German airmobile operation to simulate an NEO, or Non-combatant Evacuation Operation that takes place within a fictionalized scenario. Aside from airborne troops and their transports (CH-53, C-160, UH-1 and Puma), a number of vehicle types, including variations of the German Weisel and the French EBL and ERC-90 are given coverage. New items such as the tiny Auverland A3 light-weight all-terrain wheeled vehicle are also seen.
The final article covers the “185th Airborne Target Acquisition Regiment Falgore”, using 27 color photos and reportage by Alberto Scarpitta. The text begins by giving a broad overview of the reorganization efforts that are transforming Italy’s army, and then segues into the details of this particular unit. Details of the various target acquisition and designation systems are also given priority within the text. The photos cover a great variety of men and their equipment, ordnance, vehicles and aircraft; all are accompanied by extensive captions.
Overall, this latest issue presents quite a variety of subject matter, much of which will be of use to modelers who paint modern figurines (although I doubt there are many available from manufacturers, which is a pity…). However, the lengthy coverage of several current AFVs, some of which are available in kit form, will make this latest volume quite useful as a reference.
Frank V. “Curly Stooge” De Sisto
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
Concord Publications are available from retail and mail order shops, or from the publisher at: www.concord-publications.com.