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Dutch Leopard 1 – Armored Fist of the Dutch Army
A4 Format 80 pages, softback 149 photos and diagrams ISBN: 978-0-9928425-0-5 Price – £15.50/$29.25US
Review by Scratchmod
Although I am not much into building modern vehicle, or the leopard in general I was thrilled to be able to review the PDF version of this book before the printed books are released. Once I started looking over the chapters and lots of color and black and white images, I had to see and read more. The book covers 7 chapters from the early development up to the phasing out of the Royal Dutch Army Leopards, and a glossary at the end of the book. I will try to cover the chapters and their content but won’t go to in depth and spoil the book for the readers, so just an overview if you will. Chapter 1, Early Development This chapter starts with the cold war and requirements for a new tank and into production. We start with some history and back ground on the cold war, starting with the late 40’s and into the 50’s with the threat of the Soviet Union and the need for NATO to come up with a tank that could face those of the Soviet Army. The development of this new Europapanzer , as it was called during its development, started in the 50’s and into the early 60’s with test vehicles being built and tested in 1962. The Porsche design was chosen for this new NATO tank with many improvements made in that time period until the trial testing. The book lists major improvements, the countries participating in the development of the new tank. During the trials stage a batch of 17 tanks took part in an extensive trials with only 3 vehicles not making a long endurance run. Chapter 2, Cheiftain vs Leopard In the chapter you learn about the trials and comparisons of both tanks including comparison tables and all the pros and cons of each tank. Color and black and white photos of the trials and of both tanks are abound in this chapter.
Chapter 4, Firing the gun, combat value of the Leo. This chapter deals with all the technical aspects of the tank main armament, sights and ammo. There is plenty of useful info in this chapter that also include charts on different types of ammo, black and white images of the ammo including cutaway views of the casing and the business end. The chapter discusses training and competition at training areas and a map of NTA Bergen. Again you’ll find lots of color photos of the tank crew loading the tank, ammo storage area and a nice black and white image of a tank during night firing. Chapter 5, Organization and Maintenance This chapter I would say in very useful for modelers in that it show battalion breakdown by vehicle types and numbers, which is helpful when choosing a certain vehicle to build and the markings associated to that tank and unit. The numerous charts and tables show tank battalions and reconnaissance units. There is a survey chart from 1970 – 1993 of the tank battalion and reconnaissance units. My favorite part is the maintenance section at the end of this chapter. The echelon of maintenance is described in full, accompanied by color and black and white photos of tanks in shops undergoing routine maintenance and nice photos of a Powerpack removed and sitting behind its tank. You’ll also see turrets removed, tracks being replaced. At the very end of the chapter is a color photos of a training vehicle which I am sure many will find interesting and perhaps a future conversion project. Chapter 6, Leopard 1V, problems solved. This chapter covers upgrading the Dutch leopards to include additional armor, improved ammunition and renewed fire-control system. Problems were attempted to be resolved, some with success and others not. The chapter goes over costs for upgrading the hundreds of Leo’s to bring them up to standards with improvements. As with the previous chapters this chapter has lots of color photos with the last image being Leo’s on rail cars and showing severe weathering. A good reference image if you plan on making a Leo nice and dirty. Chapter 7, Phasing out As s the life on many tanks, eventually they get phased out as newer tanks are developed and produced. With the end of the cold war and the NATO treaties the Dutch Army was to phase out over 400 of its Leopard 1V tanks. Many of the tanks were sold to other countries such as Greece and Thailand. The Dutch Marine Corps took over some Leo 1V tanks to convert them to BARV tanks for ship-shore duty and as with other countries and phased out tanks, many found new homes as range targets, many still to be found on ranges.
The glossary contains a chart of existing tanks, a technical specification page for the Leopard I and finally an overview of the chapters.
Although I only had a PDF for the review and not an actual book I did enjoy reading this book and especially all the photos and close up reference images. This a definate book to have if you are into the Leopard and like to build models of the Leo.
Special thanks to Mike Shackleton for supplying copy for review.
For more info about this book, prices and to order it, please visit their website at this link below.