Book Review
REFORGER 85 Central Guardian
REFORGER 85 Central Guardian
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This introduction is as supplied by Tankograd:
In January 1985, the US Army conducted a cold-weather, multinational field training exercise (FTX) in West Germany - Central Guardian. This was part of the strategic mobility exercise REturn of FORces to GERmany 85 (REFORGER 85). The aim of REFORGER 85 and Central Guardian was to rehearse the capacity of US Army forces to reinforce Europe and to fight in adverse weather conditions. These operations were to be carried out in operational circumstances simulating wartime conditions as much as possible. FTX Central Guardian involved the participation of 72,521 troops, 6,938 tracked and 16,531 wheeled vehicles, and 611 helicopters. This publication shows in great detail and with many action-packed hitherto unpublished photographs how a winter war between the NATO and the Warsaw Pact would have looked like!


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 9 pages and covers a number of aspects of the Reforger 85 Exercise. We are provided with information on the forces’ that took part in the exercise and provides a running aspect of the exercise progression. The exercise also makes clear that an American force could be flown in on mass to Europe and put fully equipped forces into the field regardless of when required. Anyone who has been to Germany in the winter knows just how cold it can be and operating in these conditions and so no easy task.

The photographs take up the rest of the title and are a mix of colour and black & white. I strongly approve of black & white photographs from this period as they very crisp and pick up great details, the colour photographs from this period tend to be less sharp at best and almost fuzzy in many cases. I am pleased to say that the images provided here are of a very good quality throughout with just a few of the colour images being soft.

The photographs are a nice mix in this publication and I found myself being very pleased with the black & white images of vehicles at the port being unloaded; one picture shows an M48 that has slipped off of a rail carriage and brought to mind 'where's there is blame there's a claim'. The images of vehicles in the field playing war are very pleasing from a modeller’s viewpoint who likes to replicate vehicles in a winter settings, which I do.


I am a firm fan of the books from Tankograd Publishing covering exercises due to what they do provide as regards reference. I accept that the details are not shown at their best and in some cases can be very limited, but these books covering exercises show a broad range of vehicles in their natural environment and this title is no exception. They show that all vehicles have problems with ice and snow as do the crews that crew them. My reason for particularly liking this title is that it depicts winter warfare and so covers a great aspect for the modeller to replicate.
Darren Baker takes a look at a new Tankograd Publishing title covering the REFORGER 85 Central Guardian exercise.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Nr. 3039
  Suggested Retail: €14.95
  PUBLISHED: May 09, 2020

Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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.


Man-o-man, do I ever recall Reforger. Year after year of double, if not triple, shuttle missions flying the C-5 in and out of Germany carrying almost anything you could think about adding to your wartime laundry list. Go home, crew rest, repeat. Although it might be a great book, I've got all the memories I'll ever need to last a couple more lifetimes.
MAY 09, 2020 - 10:38 AM
Great pics and memories...
MAY 09, 2020 - 12:49 PM
Are you saying it caused lots of jetlag or that you just didn't get sleep?
MAY 10, 2020 - 12:17 AM
Are you saying it caused lots of jetlag or that you just didn't get sleep?[/quote] I guess the mundane, repetitive nature of the missions, and very little crew rest, did contribute to my description (jet lag and lack of sleep not withstanding). It's just that flying Reforger missions were not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong...fabulous equipment was loaded and having access to the cargo compartment for walkaround surveillance as part of in-flight duties, made perving on the tanks (and other rolling stock) a big plus.
MAY 10, 2020 - 03:48 AM
Good memories, this REFOGER was held in our area and as boys we have seen a lot of tanks moving through our home town. I would give everything to go back and have a digital camera with me...
MAY 12, 2020 - 03:03 AM

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