bookGECON-ISAF The Vehicles of the Modern German Army in Afghanistan

By Gert Burkert-Opitz & Clemens Niesner

Tankograd Missions & Manoeuvres No 7001.
Soft cover, A4 size, 64 pages

Review by Peter Brown

The operations of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan are very much overshadowed by events in Iraq and there may be many who are not aware than Germany is among those nations who have troops in the area. This book helps redress the balance however. The introductory chapter sets the scene by describing the setting up of ISAF in late 2001 and the part taken by German units including details of their casualties. Getting troops and equipment to the area is a major logistical exercise as each and everything has to be flown in. The German contingent or GERCON is stationed in the far North-Eastern area of Afghanistan along the border with Tadjikistan and the locality may be described uninviting to those used to a Western lifestyle. Hot and dusty in summer and cold in winter, the vehicles GERCON operate there are not specially adapted to local conditions.

Coverage as the title says is of the vehicles used by German units, apart from two photos and those cases where the camera has caught troops on or around the vehicles the personnel of GECON are not covered. The many colour photos show a wide range of types in use, from various forms of the light Wolf 4x4s through different classes of medium and heavy trucks up to the big eight wheeled FlKfz 8000 airport fire trucks. Though many are unmodified, several trucks are fitted with add-on armour protection around the cabs. Use is also made of the Transportpanzer Fuchs 6x6 APC and the smaller Dingo and Mungo 4x4 armoured carriers. Because of the force's peacekeeping role, heavy armour is not used but the light Wiesel tracked airborne vehicle is deployed in 20mm cannon and TOW missile variants.

The is also good coverage of several types of supporting vehicles which are not usually seen. This includes mobile cranes. material handlers, earth movers and even road rollers. There is a surprisingly wide range of colour schemes used, many come in the usual NATO-style green-brown-black but we also have plain green, a locally-applied three-colour desert pattern, overall sand plus white and even red. Most are seen with a coating of local dust in varying amounts.

Well up to the usual high standards of other Tankograd books, this is a good addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in the Bundeswehr or modern armies or operations in general.

Available from Tankograd Militarfahrzeug distributors. For more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created 2 July 2005

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