The Gun Trucks Vol.1
by Moustafa El-Assad
P.O.Box: 716 Saida Lebanon
146 pages soft cover
Review by Terry Ashley
This new book from by Moustafa El-Assad is volume 1 in a series chronicling the 30 year Lebanon Civil War with this volume covering the period 1976 to 1989 and highlights the use of the many and varied gun trunks used by all faction in the conflict which were armed with whatever heavy weapons the participants could lay their hands on at the time. It is noted in the book the term "technicals" was not used to describe such vehicles in Lebanon with that name originating with the Somali militias and their Land Cruisers in 1991 and has since becoming sort of a generic description for any civilian type vehicle with a weapon mounted in the back.
The soft cover book is in the same format as previous Blue Steel books with 146 pages mostly in black and white but with some colour photos included and has all English text with the photos mostly one to a page with each page spread having the photo on the right side and just the caption on the left page leaving a fair bit of white space while some also have a smaller photo on the left page.
The first few pages give a brief description of the origins of the Civil War, who fought who and the various Militias involved as well as mentioning the many varied military vehicles used by all factions during the conflicts, this excluded the almost endless variety of civilian vehicles pressed into service.
The remainder of the book features the photos of covering the many vehicle types armed usually with a heavy weapon of some type on a rudimentary mounting with those of Soviet origin being the most prominent such as the 12.7mm DUSHKA heavy machine gun, 14.5mm and 23mm AA mountings in both single, twin and quad barrels, the Soviet B-10 recoilless rifle as well as some use of the US M2 cal.50 HBMG and some other weapons such as the 40mm Bofors AA gun.
The photos give a good overall coverage of the various vehicles and rudimentary weapons mountings used as well as many and varied uniforms worn by the various militia members as well as the wide array of slogans painted on the vehicles all in Arabic of course with the captions give English translations.
Trucks are not exclusively covered with a couple of interesting shots of Staghound ACs, one with a Cromwell turret fitted as well as the odd BTR-152, T-55 and M113 and some home made kit such as a UNIMOG truck with armour plating added all around for a basic armoured truck.
Vehicles used by all the militias are included, some being more sophisticated than others as well as a few shots of IDF jeeps after the 1982 invasion.
This first volume in the series is a good overall coverage of the many and varied gun trucks used during the initial years of the civil war. The photos are large enough to show some good detail of the trucks and weapons as well as the crews with many diorama possibilities included in the photos.
Volume 2 will continue the theme into the later years of the Civil War when published.
See the website www.blue-steel.info for ordering details and thanks to Moustafa El-Assad for the review copy.