The German Leopard 2A5 Main Battle Tank Development, Technology, and Active Service- Part 1 & 2
Tankograd- Special No. 5075 & 5076
This Tankograd dual volume set provides an excellent overview of everything one needs or wants to know about the Leopard 2A5. The books provide an in-depth view into the development history, deployment and use as well as the groundbreaking technology of this major asset of the modern Panzertruppe. There are a total of 144 pages illustrated with 320 colour photographs, 28 graphics and one five-perspective 1/35 scale drawing. The photography is detailed and crisp- providing excellent reference resources in vivid color. The text and photo captions are split into two columns- one in German and one in English and is quite easy to navigate.
Part I focuses on the development and operational history of the tank, from it's post-war origins to the MBT 70 to the 1st and 2nd generation prototypes, to the 2A4 up through the end of the Cold War. There is an in-depth breakdown of the Combat Capability Improvement Programmes Levels 1, 2, and 3 which resulted in the eventual shift from upgrading the 2A4 to the ultimate goal in November 1995 of the new 2A5. This led to the tank being presented to its first combat unit- the 33rd Armour Battalion. The book continues to spend a good chunk of the book exploring the 33rd fielding the tank and further breaks down this unit's history into companies in essentially photo albums of each of them.
The operational coverage continues with other armour battalions- the 214th, 393rd, 104th, and 393rd- again mainly as photo albums of operations of each. There is a section on KFOR Operations in Kosovo- it's first combat operation when forces from the 33rd and 214th battalions took 28 Leopard 2A5's and joined other NATO forces in crossing the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. The tanks were limited to patrols and deterrence operations- used more so as a show of force and manning checkpoints. Due to decreasing threat levels, they were replaced by 2A4s at the turn of 2000/2001. Part 1 concludes with coverage of the 2A5 at the German Army Training Centre and testing new special camoflage for urban operations. A breakdown of the four tank crew member position descriptions is also included.
Part 2 is the true reference for the technical information and in-depth analysis of all systems and walk-around information. First up is a table of the upgrades from the 2A4 to the 2A5. From there, the devil is in the details. The book is broken down into sections full of information, diagrams, and reference photos to satisfy the most detailed modelers. There is also the aforementioned 1/35 scale plans.
The breakdown includes:
- Hull- includes exterior detail, turret detail, and crew stations
- Chassis- includes side skirt and road wheel details
- Central Hydraulic System
- NBC Protection System
- Fire Warning and Suppression
- Electrical System
- Preheating/Heating System
- Power Pack-- engine details outside and inside the tank
- Sights- including separate sections on EMES Main Sight, FERO Auxiliary Sight, PERI Panoramic Sight
- Fire Control Computer
- Crew Space
- Field Zeroing System
- Armament- including sections on the Main Gun with breech details, Air Defence Machine Gun, and Coaxial Machine Gun
- Smoke Discharger System
- DARKAS Gunfire Simulator, MILES II- Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, MILES 2000, and AGDUS simulators
- Navigation System
- Radio and Intercom
- Deep Fording System
The front and read inside covers of this volume also contain detailed specifications for the tank, listing many of the things contained in the book.
In conclusion, I have found this book to be extremely informative and useful for when I get to building the Leopard I have in the stash. Both volumes have amazing photos and information and are a worthy addition to your reference libraries. Part I is more for those interested in the history of the development and operations of the Leopard 2A5 and the photos provide inspiration for many ideas of vignettes or dioramas to place your completed Leopards in. Part 2 provides a more detailed look into the various areas, externally and internally, that a modeler might look to recreate in building one of these amazing German armor pieces. Something to keep in mind if you have to choose between one of the other, although having both in my library has me itching to move my Meng kit up higher in my "to-build soon" list.
Both parts are Highly Recommended for any modeler or historian of modern German armor.
Thanks goes out to Tankograd Publishing and the AMPS review crew for these books to review.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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