Tankograd Publishing continues to provide fans of modern armor and military vehicles with an ever expanding range of photographic reference titles. This book, the latest in their Missions and Manoeuvres series, covers the land forces of the Modern Norwegian military.
Since the end of the Cold War, Norway’s defence strategy has gone through a series of major changes and development. From a military designed purely for territorial defence, Norway’s armed forces have adapted into a highly mobile, worldwide deployable NATO force. During the Cold war Norway’s primary role in NATO was the defence of its northern border with Russia, due to its relatively small armed forces compared to some NATO partners such as the USA and UK, Norway would have to rely on their support in the event of an all out East-West confrontation. For this reason both the UK and USA put a great deal of effort into preparing for a rapid deployment to the region, and held regular exercises in Norway during the Cold War.
The end of the Cold War saw defence cuts in Norway and many units disbanded. However over the last 10 years Norway’s armed forces have reorganised into a highly capable and modern force to prepare them for missions abroad in international crisis zones. Norwegian defence policy has changed from one of solely protecting national territory, into being a key international NATO partner. Recent years have seen Norwegian forces deployed to the former Yugoslavia, Darfur and Afghanistan.
This title, written by Clemens Niesner, consists of 64 pages and 132 colour photographs/graphics, 3 of which are printed on the back of the front and back covers. Once again the book contains English and German text. The book opens in typical Tankograd style with all the relevant written information for the reader. In this case the text covers the historical background of the Norwegian armed forces during and after the Cold war. Whilst this isn’t a fully detailed extensive account of the history of Norway’s land forces, there’s plenty enough for a first time reader to get their teeth into.
The details are what really set these books above the rest, and once again here we have extensive information relating to specific dates, particular units of the land forces, as well as a complete run down of the formation of Norway’s land forces. So for anyone reading up on this subject for the first time, there is plenty enough written information, equally for anyone already knowledgeable on the subject, the details in this book will certainly develop their information further. The vast array of different abbreviations can be a little daunting at first, and you will certainly find yourself flicking back and forward re-reading bits of information.
The written introduction is concise, extremely well detailed and well written, and very useful to the reader. Often enough picture books such as these provide limited written information and just dive into the pictures. One of the highlights of the Tankograd books for me is the fact that care and attention has been given to the written text, for without this information the reader will be solely lacking in the basic understanding of Norway’s defence policy and strategy, and the formation of their land forces.
The book then moves straight into the photographs. It should be noted that this title has been written to focus more on the vehicles that exist purely within the Norwegian land forces, as opposed to those seen in other armies worldwide. The photographs are arranged in a logical order, beginning with small support and logistics vehicles, working right the way up to armor and mobile artillery. I will list the main vehicles that are featured in this book, but readers should be aware that greater attention is focused on those vehicles more common in the Norwegian land army, such as the Norwegian M113.
All of the pictures in this title are of a very good quality and are very crisp and clear. There are a number of slightly older pictures of vehicles during exercises in the 80’s and 90’s which are not as crisp as the newer pictures, but are still useful. Most of the vehicles photographed show them from a 3 quarter angle, so in that aspect this isn’t the book for someone looking for walk-around style photographs. Instead the pictures are intended to show the reader the array of vehicles in Norway’s land forces motor pool, as well as show them in their natural surroundings. For anyone wishing to see how military vehicles weather in snowy conditions, then these pictures are particularly good.
Very detailed captions accompany each photograph, and add vastly to the reader’s knowledge of the vehicles and their use in Norway’s land forces. I find these detailed captions to be a real bonus in providing further information, without having page upon page of written text. The one downside I suppose is that it does take up room for further pictures, personally I would rather have the extra information.
This is another superb book from Tankograd, the extensive written information coupled with the high quality photographs makes for an interesting and useful publication for those interested in modern military vehicles. The written text will provide the reader with a general understanding of the organisation and development of Norway’s land forces. Whilst the pictures provide superb photographic reference of the vehicles, and will be an ideal starting pointing for anyone interested in modelling these subjects.
The only real negative I can find with this publication is that it leaves the reader craving for more pictures. These books are intended to provide the reader with some basic information and pictures, and therefore the book does not provide extensive walk around or detail shots of the Norwegian vehicles, which is a shame, but then a book with many more pictures would cost a lot more money. What this book does very well is show the paint schemes and markings of the vehicles in their natural landscape. That coupled with the written information, far outweighs any negatives.
‘Assault’- Journal of Armoured and Heliborne Warfare Vol. 18 (2007) Concord publications ISBN 962-361-136-6
Debay, Yves-‘Armor of the West’ NATO’s AFNORTH & NORTHAG (1992) Concord publications ISBN 962-361-704-6
Neisner, Clemens- ‘Battle Griffin’ Multinational Exercise in the Land of the Vikings (2005) Tankograd publishing
Norwegian Military photos:
Highs: Excellent and well detailed written information and captions, coupled with high quality crisp and clear photographs. A subject not often covered in written form.Lows: At only 64 pages the number of pictures are somewhat limited. Some may find the 3 quarter angle shots somewhat restrictive at showing off the specific vehicle details.Verdict: A highly useful and detailed publication for anyone interested in Nordic armor as well as those who have a more general interest in modern military vehicles. Excellent picture reference for modelers, that perfectly shows off the paint/marking schemes.
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