book Blue Steel 2
M3 Halftracks in South Lebanon
by Moustafa El-Assad
P.O.Box: 716 Saida Lebanon

74 pages soft cover

Review by Terry Ashley
Following on from Blue Steel 1 covering the T55 in South Lebanon is this second volume on the M3 Halftracks in South Lebanon and again is in the same soft cover format similar to Concord reference books.

Blue Steel 2 has 74 pages mostly in colour with the English text restricted to the 2 page introduction and the picture captions with the emphasis on the photos.
These are mostly larger semi-close-up shots with just two photos per page, a few pages have just one large photo and few with three making the photos large enough to see the details quite well.

The Halftracks featured are all Israeli or ex Israeli M3 Halftracks in SLA service plus there are shots of M5/M9 Halftracks identified by the flat profile front mudguards and rounded rear corners with many of the vehicles are in various states of disrepair but still showing many useful details. These Halftracks were re-engined with the GM 6V53 diesel power plants which increased the vehicle range and resulted in a new exhaust system being fitted as well as new Driver’s instrument panel and a large air filter located on the passenger side of the cab.

There are many interior shots from various angles clearly showing the larger instrument panel and air cleaner to good advantage and will be very useful for modellers building any of these Halftracks from the Tamiya kit.

Other typical IDF modifications such as the .30cal ball mounting on the passenger side of the windscreen and armoured covers for the radiators and various fittings are again shown in numerous photos from different angles giving plenty of detail.

6 pages are devoted to photos of the Fitter version with a large HIAB Crane mounted on the right passenger side and while a few shots are of an all but destroyed vehicle others show another vehicle in better condition and there is one photo showing the interior crane mounting post which is more than useful for anyone building a model of the Fitter.

There are quite a few interior shots showing different versions and again will be very useful for modellers as well as a few shots of the new GM engines in the open engine bays to provide more useful photos.

The next 14 pages cover the ACAV modifications which have a large raised armoured roof added over the rear compartment with a turret mounted on the top, this initially was similar the M113 ACAV turret but later a large box was added with the large armoured glass windows typical of IDF vehicles. As well as the exterior shots there are also some useful interior shots showing the seats and storage layouts.

Included are photos of an ACAV model built by the Author which compliment the photos well and again will be very useful for modellers wanting to build this model.

While most of the photos show disabled vehicles there are also a few shots of SLA Halftracks on active service plus a short section “Inside an SLA Barracks” showing some of the fortifications typical of these outposts.

This is a very useful book for anyone interested in the Halftracks of the IDF and SLA with the many interior shots especially of the updated Driver’s compartment offering many excellent details and while most of the vehicles are in various states of disrepair there are still plenty of details shown.

The sections on the Fitter and ACAV again provide some useful details of these versions for anyone building models of these as well as providing good coverage for anyone who is just interested in the subject.

Highly recommended.

Sample pages

See the website for ordering details and thanks to Moustafa El-Assad for the review copy.

Page created January 14, 2007

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