bookModern German Army Armoured Engineer Vehicles

Stefan Marx

Tankograd Militarfahrzeug Special No 5008.
Soft cover, A4 size, 64 pages

Review by Peter Brown

Good engineer support allows natural obstacles or man-made to be overcome in an attack while an enemy's advance can be slowed or even stopped by your own side's efforts. A lot can be accomplished with simple tools, lots of manpower and lots of time, but military operations usually need engineer work to be done quickly which means recourse to mechanical aids. Much can be done with civilian machines, but operating under fire from small arms or artillery means some form of protection. Germany has developed a range of specialised equipment to allow its military engineers to operate in the field.

The first engineer vehicles of the Bundeswehr were tanks fitted with dozer blades. As the tanks at the time were American, this meant M47 and M48 vehicles with the appropriate units. Some of the latter having their main guns removed as specialised engineer vehicles were introduced. Two series of these have been developed using the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 chassis.

Pionierpanzer 1 used the basic Leopard 1 chassis with a fixed superstructure, permanently fitted dozer blade and traversing arm and could easily be mistaken for the recovery version. Its equipment was very different, as well as engineer tools it had a large auger for drilling holes. This is covered here with photos and 1/35 five-view plans.

Even more specialised were the Gepanzerter Pioniermaschinen. This used the Leopard 1 chassis but with large earth-moving arms not unlike those seen on construction excavators. Two designs were proposed, one with two arms and another with a larger single unit, but the type was not adopted. Photos show them being demonstrated along with 1/87 plans of the second version.

The concept of the large earthmover was revived with the Pionierpanzer 2 which was based on the Leopard 2. This is called DACHS and is a very capable machine. It is shown using B&W and colour photos including service in Bosnia, there are plenty of close-ups and five-view 1/35 plans for anyone who wants to model one.

Mines are a big problem for armies and for those civilians living in areas where large minefields have been laid. Some solutions are described here. One is the Kieler which uses cast-off M48 tank chassis with a new superstructure carrying a flail unit which can be swung back over the hull when not in operation. Coverage includes in-action shots and detail photos but no plans. Other systems were developed for Leopard 1, one in Germany using a plough backed up by a rocket-laid explosive hose, and one in Norway using flails but neither has been adopted.

As well as these major systems, the book also includes shorter sections and photos of ploughs and dozers on Leopard 1 and the specialised pioneer versions in non-German use, as well as a look at prototype third-generation vehicles and systems to clear mines in post-conflict areas using Leopard 1 chassis.

Overall a fascinating subject well covered. These should present serious modellers with something very different as well as several challengers. Available from Tankograd Militarfahrzeug distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks go to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created 11 May 2005

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Book Reviews / Tankograd Militärfahrzeug