M113 in the Bundeswehr Part 3
Publisher : Verlag Jochen Vollert Tankograd
Authors : Clemens Niesner / Peter Blume
This volume is the third of a series of four dealing with all the German variants of the US made M113. It comes in the usual 64-page format with 88 color photographs, 23 black and white photographs and scale drawings. The texts and photographs captions are both in German and English. This volume only deals with Artillery variants.
The Germans were very active in customizing the M113 to fit their tactical requirements and these artillery variants are an excellent proof of this. So at first sight most of them are recognizable from their US counterparts due to the different superstructure they feature. This volume is divided into 6 chapters following an introduction which is common to the various volumes of the series. Each chapter covers a different variant with its historical background followed by numerous pictures with some close-ups.
Chapter 1 Green Archer Mortar and Artillery Location Radar Vehicle
The Green Archer was the first specialized variant of the M113 in the Bundeswehr. It was in service from 1967 until mid 1990s. This chapter gives you 15 pictures (7 being black and white) with 2 of the top deck. The vehicles on the pictures are sporting either the OliveGelb camouflage or the NATO three-tone one. This helps the reader to spot some minor evolutions brought to the vehicle during its service life.
Chapter 2 M113 Artillery Observation Post Vehicle
This observation vehicle entered service in 1982. It did not benefit from the combat improvement program and was thus phased out in 2003. This chapter gives 26 pictures of which 2 only are black and white. There are also 5 close-ups of the roof arrangement complemented by a clear picture of the whole roof. These will prove very useful for those wanting to tackle this variant. Finally 3 pictures show the inside of the rear compartment. Most of the pictures cover the original variant. Nonetheless, the Beobachtung Artillerie M113 A1 G A0 later variant which is recognizable thanks to its front stowage basket is represented in some photographs.
Chapter 3 M113 A1 G ABRA/RATAC Radar Carrier
This variant used a radar to detect and track mobile targets and observe artillery fires. It entered service in 1976 and is close to the end of its operational life. This chapter features 26 photographs. Taken from various angles, they clearly show the features of this variant of which the erectable Radar mast. The black and white pictures cover the M113 A1 G variant while the color photographs depict the more recent M113 A2 EFT GE A0 variant. A 6-view 1/35th scale plan is provided for this late version.
Chapter 4 M113 Artillery Fire Control Vehicle
This variant was developed to follow the introduction of the M109 SPH in 1966. But the first M113 FCV only arrived in artillery units in 1978. The last vehicles were phased out in 2007. This chapter displays 24 pictures of this variant with only one black and white showing the top of the vehicle. Three photographs cover the rear compartment and the various computerized systems. Four close-ups show details of the latest variant, the M113 A1 EFT GA A0, with the antenna mast moved onto the roof. For those who like winter camouflaged vehicles, three pictures will provide them with modeling ideas.
Chapter 5 M113 Artillery Computer Network Carrier
Replacing the M113 FCV, this variant entered service in 2000 initially in the battalions equipped with the Panzerhaubitze 2000 SPH. If the ADLER FCS upgrading process is still on going, the M113 carrier does not have a suitable replacement so far. So this variant is likely to last still a long time in the Bundeswehr service. 14 color photographs cover this variant. Unfortunately no close-ups is available for the modelers. Anyway, an interesting picture shows the engine removed for a maintenance testing.
Chapter 6 M113 Flash Ranging Vehicle
Based on a technique rooted in the WWI, this artillery gun flash detection and ranging system was introduced in 1979 and only disbanded in 1993. This particular vehicle acting as a counter-battery detection vehicle is only covered in two black and white photographs plus an inlet showing the flash sensor. So even if this chapter is interesting from a historical point of view, it won’t be that useful from a modeling point of view.
This third volume in the German M113 series is well balanced between each variant that are covered. The number of photographs is sufficient to have a good idea of each vehicle. However, from a modeler point of view, there is not enough close-ups to help scratch building or detailing the vehicle featured in the volume. The addition of a 1/35th scale drawing for the RATAC carrier is great. Supplemental drawings for the other variants would have been greatly appreciated.