Book Review
Reforger 73 Certain Charge
Reforger 73 Certain Charge exercise, Building up NATO after the Vietnam War
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This introduction is as supplied by Tankograd:
In the autumn of 1973, the US Army executed Exercise REFORGER V between 29 September and 22 November. This was the fifth exercise in the series since the first REFORGER (REturn of FORces to GERmany) had been carried out in 1969. The core of REFORGER V was the field training exercise (FTX) Certain Charge conducted by the US Army and which saw the participation of 51,000 American, German, Canadian and French troops. The context in which REFORGER V took place was very particular. The US operational engagement in the Vietnam War had ended in 1973. US land and air forces were gradually returning home from Southeast Asia and shifting their focus to Europe again. Lessons learned in the Vietnam War were now applied to tactics on European soil.


This offering from Tankograd is a soft backed book of 64 pages. The authors of this offering are Tankograd Publishing regulars ‘Walter Böhm and Diego Ruiz Palmer’. This offering is one of the dual language titles from Tankograd Publishing; there is German on the left of the pages and English on the right side. The book has been printed in a portrait style and I know from experience that the cover is up to the task of protecting the contents with reasonable handling.

The text in this offering is supplied over 10 pages and covers a number of aspects of the Reforger 73 Exercise. We are provided with information on the forces that took part in the exercise and how a large number of these American forces were those returning from Vietnam, which was a very different kind of war. The text provides a short coverage of other exercises that took place in 1973. The units involved in this exercise are covered and perhaps most useful a day by day breakdown of the exercise.

The photographs take up the rest of the title and an aspect I really approve here is that the photographs are all in black and white. I can hear questioning voices as I write this, but black and white images of this period are just so much better than the quality of colour images which usually have a fuzzy dancing before your eyes look about them. The captions that accompany each of these photographs is very well written and researched. They are provided in both German and English and cover what you are looking at, where it is and usually why it is there.

Something that is covered in a couple of photographs here is a tragedy that took place and almost brought the exercise to an abrupt end. An F-4E Phantom of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing of the USAF crashed while performing a strafing run against ground targets killing both crew; not unusual you may think, but this aircraft was flying so low that it actually hit an M113A1, the crew of which were also killed in the incident. There are three photographs of this vehicle in the aftermath of this accident and the thing that surprises me most is that the M113 looks relatively undamaged despite ending up on its roof minus one track.


I am a firm fan of these books from Tankograd Publishing and this one does not disappoint either. It offers a good mix of written information and visual data in an effort to provide as much detail as possible within the limits of the publication. The photographs being in black and white I see as a very big plus due to the questionable quality often seen in colour photographs of the period. The three photographs covering the collision between an F-4 Phantom and an M113 must be the biggest highlight as who would expect a jet aircraft flying that low in an exercise.
Darren Baker takes a look at the Tankograd Publishing offering covering the Reforger 73 Certain Charge exercise, Building up NATO after the Vietnam War.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Nr. 3037
  Suggested Retail: €14.95
  PUBLISHED: Jun 23, 2019

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


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