|TANKOGRAD - GECON-ISAF Wüstentarnung|
A look at the latest from Tankograd on German Desert camouflage schemes!
Desert Camouflage Schemes of the Vehicles of the German ISAF Contingent
Author: Carl Schulze
Softcover; A4, 64 pages
Up until 1983 all Bundeswehr vehicles were painted Olive Green, then a three colour camouflage scheme was introduced across the board. Consisting as it did of green, brown and black it was well suited to European deployments and so the German vehicles deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo were not repainted. In 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks Germany approved the sending of troops to be part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. It soon became clear that rather than help conceal vehicles the traditional colours made them stand out against the arid Afghan landscape and had the additional disadvantage of being heat sinks causing the vehicles to overheat with equipment malfunctions and heat casualties as a result. In 2003 the Bundeswehr introduced a range of field applied temporary camouflage paints to be used in theatre and their use is the subject of this book.
The book follows the usual Tankograd format being A4 with soft covers and 64 pages. The text is written in both English and German and all photos are in colour.
The first thing of note in this book is that on the inside front cover there is a colour chart, not just of the five new temporary colours but also of the three standard ones. For each colour there are three variations shown, new, minimal wear and tear and heavily faded. This is a really useful guide for modellers.
The book proper starts with a history of ISAF and in particular of the German involvement in Afghanistan. All incidents which have resulted in German fatalities (up to the publication obviously) are listed along with details of troops numbers and where the German Contingent have been deployed. There is also a detailed ”snapshot” of the inventory of vehicles being used by the Bundeswehr in 2010 by number and type. Next is a short paragraph covering the introduction of the standard three colour scheme in 1983 along with the ratios the colours should be applied in. Finally the development, approval and introduction of the five temporary colours in covered including how they are packaged and applied. This is done at a unit level and unlike the standard scheme there are no laid down patterns to be followed which results in a great variety of schemes which are the subject of the photographic section of the book.
The photos are sorted by vehicle type and as usual for Tankograd the captions are very detailed, with technical information about the subjects and also pointing peculiarities on the vehicles shown. This ranges from names given to individual vehicles by their crews to weapons mounted or ECM fits.
All the photographs appear to have been taken in early 2011 and so only provide a freeze frame look at the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan, for example the Wiesel was used quite extensively for patrolling in the early days of the German deployment but as it has been withdrawn in favour of mine protected patrol vehicles or more heavily armoured APCs it is not featured in this book. Rather than list all vehicle types covered in the book, there are over 30, I will just point out some of the photos that really caught my eye.
A MB Wolf in sand brown and sand beige camouflage where the colours are so close in tone it’s hard to see the pattern at all along with the words Medevac CH53 in light grey on the sides.
A MB Wolf with the SSA special protection kit in a splinter pattern very similar to that used by Swedish forces.
A Dingo 1 with in sand beige with sand brown and olive green stripes fitted with snow chains.
A series of photos of the Fuchs APC in two versions with various weapon fits. The Fuchs was on the verge of being retired but has proved so successful in Afghanistan it has gone through two upgrade programs and looks likely to remain in service for the foreseeable future.
Marder 1A5 with Barracuda camouflage system installed.
There are also pictures of various plant machinery, cranes, armoured engineer vehicles and recovery vehicles along with trucks fitted with armoured cabs.
This is almost a catalogue of Bundeswehr vehicles. Each one is shown with a varying number of pictures with the Fuchs and Marder being the most heavily featured. It does shown a wide variety of different patterns and that is its most useful feature, it gives the modeller a chance to paint schemes that aren’t out of the instructions and which are a bit different from the norm. The colour guide on the inside cover is invaluable.
My thanks to Justin at Bookworld for the review sample.