The end of hostilities in World War Two saw the British armed forces with a lot of different trucks scattered across the globe, many of these vehicles after six years of conflict were only fit for scrap. One of the issues the British forces had struggled with during the war, was the logistics of keeping a huge number of different trucks operational in the field, the spares for so many different vehicles could only be justified by the fact that we were at war. Following the end of World War Two the British Military began to look for trucks that could be multi-purposed and so reducing the quantity of spares needed and easing the logistics of keeping the huge fleet running. Truck designers in a race to provide what was required began producing vehicles that varied greatly, this race could be said to be the golden age of truck design.
Tankograd Publishing has released a hard backed book covering the British Military Trucks of the Cold War and written by Les Freathy. The book is very nicely finished and presented with 183 glossy pages for you to peruse and read. The text in this title is presented completely in English and is very well written, by well written I mean that it is free of any obvious text issues such as spelling mistakes and is easy to read. The paper used is a very good quality semi gloss offering, and this should provide you with many enjoyable years of flicking through the pages looking for specific vehicles or just reading for enjoyment.
The book starts with a section covering the trucks of World War One and Two, this is by no means intended as full coverage of the vehicles, but is used to explain the issues the military suffered with the huge variation in vehicles in service. I found this section an enjoyable read as I had not considered the logistics nightmare of so many vehicle types in service at the same time, and of course you need to remember that mechanics had to know how to work on all of these vehicles to keep them on the road. Another thing to consider is that these running repairs did not take place in a workshop and so a very basic toolkit would be all that was at hand. The images in this section are in black and white, for the most part they are of good quality, but this is the only section where some blurry images have been used.
The book then moves onto the post war vehicles, and looks at how the military in the short term had to make do with World War 2 vintage vehicles, at least until the FV series of vehicles began to filter through to units. The problem with the FV series of vehicles was that they were too expensive in some cases; a good example of this is the Austin Champ, a vehicle comparable to the Land Rover, but the engine alone cost the same price as an entire Land Rover. So with shrinking budgets the FV series of vehicles was drastically cut in number and diversity. The FV series did however produce some truly inspirational vehicles in truck design.
This title then looks at the vehicles produced by truck designers for the FV series, the companies are listed alphabetically as follows.
Of these I believe only Land Rover and Ford survive and neither of them produce and design trucks in the UK today. Sadly it would appear that there are no trucks designed and built in the UK today, which is a sad state of affairs.
The photographs that accompany the various sections in this title are for the most part very good throughout, they are by and large black and white images, but there is a section at the very end of this title offering a selection of colour images. A very small number of the black and white images are fuzzy, but that does not detract from the quality and value of this book. The colour photographs in this title have been selected very well by Tankograd Publishing, as they are very clear for photographs of the period; Colour pictures from the 1970’s and even 80’s tend to make my eyes dance about as if looking at one of the magic pictures that show 3D images, this is due to them nearly always being slightly fuzzy.
Another very good plus point in Tankograd Publishing’s favour is that they always offer excellent captions with their images. The result of this is that the reader always knows what they are looking at, and in many cases allows placement of the vehicle. The other good point about this from a modellers stand point is that it aids greatly when weathering a model and making it look realistic.
Just prior to the section providing colour photographs, there are three short sections covering German vehicles, miscellaneous vehicles and trailers. The first of these covers German manufactured vehicles that were put to use by British forces based in Germany only. The second covers vehicles from a number of countries used by the British forces, most notably are those vehicles purchased from the US such as the Honest John missile launcher. Lastly is the short section on trailers, surprisingly I found this an interesting section, mainly because it offers so many options from making a soft skinned vehicle look very different, as such I feel this is an excellent inclusion in the book.
Tankograd Publishing has never disappointed me with their hard backed books, and this title is no different. British post war trucks is not an area that holds the interest of modellers to the same degree as a main battle tank, but without these vehicles, the army does not move, the soldiers do not get fed and the weapons systems have no ammunition. It is with that in mind that I highly recommend this title to all of you, its mix of vehicles provides a very broad range of possible displays alongside the armoured fighting machines we all enjoy making so much.
Highs: A great mix of vehicles that made up the back bone of the British Army and a very good section on the trailers used.Lows: Some of the images are a little fuzzy/out of focus, but this applies to a very limited number.Verdict: A book that is well worth picking up for the shear number of vehicles, the rolls they performed and the time period covered.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...