bookThe M 48 Main Battle Tank in German Army Service

by Stephan Marx

Tankograd Militarfahrzeug Special No 5011.
Soft cover, A4 size, 64 pages

Review by Peter Brown

American M48 series tanks formed a major part of the armoured strength of the former West German Army or Bundeswehr. The first M48A1 were procured at the end of 1957 and a total of around 1700 were to be bought, mostly M48A2 and M48A2C versions. Initially they were used almost unmodified apart from minor details such as German direction indicators, but they were gradually fitted with German-designed smoke grenade dischargers and infrared searchlights. Finally in the mid-1970s many were upgraded as M 48 A2 G A2 with the British-designed 105mm gun as used on Leopard 1 as well as a new commander's cupola similar to the German tank.

A "Super M48" was developed with new engine, fire control, extra armour and other improvements but not adopted. The end for the M48 came as Leopard 2 was introduced though they soldiered on into the 1990s before finally being taken out of service. Some were passed on to other NATO countries and a small number of chassis rebuilt into mine-clearers, with others ending up as firing range targets.

The full history of this tank in German hands is covered here. Basic development of the original vehicle, German improvements and organisation changes are all described and fully illustrated with photos. There are both official record photos and others showing tanks on exercise. Most are black and white but there are several good colour shots of the G A2 version in three-colour camouflage which will be useful for modellers. Some photos from the original Technical Manual are included with views of the engine, captions point out the development of markings over the period the tank was in service.

Coverage is limited to gun tanks apart from a page on the dozer-equipped tank, the related recovery and bridgelayers are not included. There are however some unusual photos, two of what may be the only M60 in "German service" and two more of tanks with Leopard 2 turrets!

Essential reference for those interested in the M48 or German armour of the post-war era, this is highly recommended as with other publications from Tankograd.

Available from Tankograd 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 November 23, 2005

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