Book Review
RECCE, the eyes and ears of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division
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by: Henk Meerdink [ HENK ]


For a Military unit to be effective it needs to have up to date and accurate information on both the enemy it faces, and the terrain it is advancing in. A Commander needs to constantly update his plans and orders, according to the changing circumstances of the battlefield. Even though modern technology has created various airborne devices that can accurately survey ground objects, there is still no substitute for a pair of Mk I eyeballs to look for, and relay back information about subjects which are often concealed or moving. This gathering of information is the task of the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, and this book gives an insight into the daily live of the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards, the Cavalry Regiment of Wales and the Border Counties.

the book
  • British Special No. 9011
  • Authors: Daniel Nowak & Tim Maetzold
  • 64 Pages
  • Soft Cover
  • 125 Colour Photographs
The book begins with a written history and Order of Battle of the Regiment, over 8 pages, which includes a brief description of the various troops and units that make up the Regiment. The German and English text are printed side-by-side in the familiar Tankograd format. Also included in this first section is a helpful Glossary that explains the myriad of abbreviations that the Army is so fond of.

The second part is the main focus of the book, and contains photos of the various vehicles that are used by all the units of the Regiment. The photographs are extensively captioned, in both German and English, and show all the vehicles 'in action' during various exercises in Germany. The photographs are grouped together in the following small sections, which will be looked at closer below.

  • Support
  • Command Troop
  • Fitters Section
  • Regimental Aid Post
  • Recce Troops
  • Support Troop
  • Guided Weapon Troop
  • Combining Forces
The final part looks at how active deployment of the Regiment in Afghanistan and Iraq has forced the adaption of it's vehicles, and shows some of the new vehicles (such as the Mastiff and the Jackall) that are replacing the Scimitar, which is largely unsuitable for the operations in these theaters.

a closer look

Support 8 pages, 23 photographs. Images of the support vehicles, such as the ubiquitous Land Rover, general cargo and fuel trucks etc. There are also pictures of the various trailers, including a generator. As there is only a single image per vehicle, these are interesting, but of limited use to modellers.

Command Troop 3 pages, 8 photographs. Images of the FV105 Sultan, the command version of the FV103 Spartan. Good images of vehicles on exercise in a forrested area, including a picture of the interior of the rear tent 'extension' with map boards and tables, etc.

Fitters Section 3 pages, 6 photographs. Images of the FV103 Spartan and the FV106Samson recovery vehicles, some in the process of recovering broken down vehicles.

Regimental Aid Post 1 page, 2 photos. Just two images, showing the exterior of the FV104 Samaritan only.

Recce Troops 13 pages, 25 photos. Images of the FV107 Scimitar on exercise, in various states of camouflage, and including a number of vehicles returned from operations in Iraq (Telic), still in Desert camouflage and showing the additional protective panels that were added 'in theatre'.

Support Troop 8 pages, 16 photographs. More images, this time of the FV103 Spartan Armoured Personal Carrier. Despite the main focus of the Support Troop being the demounted Infantry (to be used for close protection in build up areas, or when contact is made with an enemy force) , only two images shows the Infantry in action.

Guided Weapon Troop 4 pages, 11 photographs. The Guided Weapon Troop uses the Javelin ATGW, to provide the Regiment with an Anti Tank capability in case contact with enemy armoured troops is unavoidable. Images of the Troop's FV103 Spartan vehicles, and two images of a demounted Javelin team, and one of a Javelin being 'fired' from the roof hatch.

Combining Forces 3 pages, 6 photographs. Pictures of the FV103 Spartan from the Recce Engineers. As these are primarily used to reconnoiter potential obstacles etc, they are standard vehicles, and the only picture that is engineering 'specific' is a Chieftain AVRE (with Mineplow and Fascine) which is too far back in the picture, and in partial shade, to be of much use for modellers.

Technical Data CVR(T) A simple table giving the major specifications of the Spartan, Sultan, Scimitar, Samson and Samaritan vehicles.

Urgent Operational Requirement 8 pages, 21 photographs. The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan showed that the CVR(T) family of vehicles was often unsuited for the task and environment. This chapter gives an overview of the measurement that were taken to improve the CVR(T) vehicles (like Bar armour and ECM), and shows some of the new vehicles that are fielded, or will be in the future. Again there is generally only a single image per vehicle, limiting it's use as a reference for those wishing to scratch build or convert any of these vehicles.

This is a very interesting book, giving an brief insight into the work of the 'eyes and ears' of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division. The authors give a concise history of the development of the Regiment, and for the number crunchers there are clear tables detailing the Orbat and vehicle park of the Regiment. The photographs show that the authors had wide access during the various exercises, resulting in excellent 'action' photographs of vehicles in various locations, often heavily camouflaged. The majority of the photos are an excellent reference and a superb source of inspiration for modellers who want to finish a model 'camouflaged' and on a base. There are however no real close-ups or walk-arounds, but than that is not really in the remit of this title.

The captions with the photographs are informative, and typically indicate which vehicle is shown, and explain to some extend the scenario of the image. There is no real explanation of the tactics or routines of the Regiment in the text part, so the inclusion of these details in the captions is welcome if very brief.

Highs: Excellent quality photographs.
Lows: Inclusion of 'tactics' or routines would have been most welcome.
Verdict: A superb photographic reference for weathering and presentation of (modern) AFV models. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: British Special No 9011
  PUBLISHED: Jul 14, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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 Henk Meerdink (Henk)

Copyright 2021 text by Henk Meerdink [ HENK ]. All rights reserved.


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