Osprey- Kurdish Armor Against ISIS
New Vanguard # 299
Authors: Ed Nash & Alaric Searle
Illustrator: Irene Cano Rodriguez
Paperback, 48 pages with just under 50 color photographs, maps, and full color artwork
In the latest volume in their New Vanguard series, we get a look at one of the more fascinating campaigns in modern history- with the brutal jihadis of ISIS matched against an improvised force based on the Kurdish YPG (later the SDF or Syrian Democratic Forces). What is really interesting about this short book are the various improvised vehicles used-- some originally from Syrian Army pools and captured ISIS vehicles, while others are homemade AFVs based on truck or digger mechanicals or duskas, which are Kurdish versions of the technical. Here is a look at the contents:
One of the two authors was a British volunteer who fought with the Kurds and has some interesting insights into the engagements. The book is filled with color artwork showing the construction and use of these ragtag AFVs that took part in the war against "Daesh" and their involvement in some of the major battles like Kobane, Manbij, and Raqqa. After a brief introduction of the major players in the conflict- the YPG/YPJ, ISIS, and the SDF, we get a brief overview of the improvised AFVs, including tanks, armored cars, armored support vehicles, and APCs. There is some coverage of the women involved in the fight as well.
Improvised tanks based on caterpillar bulldozers and diggers
The next section looks at AFVs that have been provided or captured from foreign sources, including Soviet and US based vehicles. A section of the "technicals" follows and looks at the various weapons mounted including heavy machine guns, cannons, and recoilless rifles and multiple rocket launchers.
From there, we get through a brief look at unit structure and tactics. The book concludes with some brief summaries of some of the major engagements in the YPG/SDF war against ISIS. I found the book to be a quick read, but feel I learned quite a bit I did not know about the various struggles between these two sides in Syria. It was insightful how they were able to cobble together what they had on hand into effective fighting vehicles that could deal such damage onto ISIS forces. Some of the photos in the book show some outright crazy looking designs and they would be some challenging scratch-built projects to reproduce to be sure. I might have to pick up a Bulldozer D9 kit and give one of these a go...
Highly Recommended for anyone interested in the war in Syria from 2014-2019.
Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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