Book Review
Vehicles of the British Army of the Rhine in the REFORGER exercises 1975-1991
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


One of the latest releases from Tankograd Publishing covers the British Army of the Rhine in the American REFORGER exercises held between 1975-1991. The British involvement in these exercises is covered from the very minor participation of the early years, to the large scale involvement in later years.


This book consists of 64 pages printed on a good quality paper with a semi gloss finish, bound in a heavy card outer sleeve of roughly A4 size. As with all of the Tankograd books I have seen so far this is a dual language book with German and English text side by side.

The book starts with a brief introduction of British involvement in the REFORGER exercises, and the purpose of the REFORGER exercises. It then proceeds to give brief details of the various REFORGER exercises in which the British took part providing regiment details, locations, and to which force they were assigned.
The following is a list of the REFORGER exercises the British were involved in the years 1975-91:

● 1975 Certain Trek with only 100 British troops involved.
● 1977 Carbon Edge when 300 SAS troops took part.
● 1978 Certain Shield involved Devon and Dorset’s and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon guards.
● 1981 Certain Encounter was supported by 20 Armoured Brigade.
● 1987 Certain Strike had the 4 Armoured Brigade take part.
● 1991 Certain Shield:
▪ Brigade HQ and 210 (24 Airmobile Brigade) Signal Brigade
▪ 1st battalion The Green Howards
▪ 1st Battalion The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment
▪ 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment
▪ 51 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers
▪ 9 Regiment Army Air Corps (657, 672, and 673 Squadron)
▪ Logistics Support Squadron
▪ 24 Airmobile Field Ambulance
▪ 27 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
▪ 150 Provost Company
▪ Royal Military Police

The book contains 83 colour photographs and 39 black and white photographs which depict a large number and variety of vehicles in use by the BAOR over the time period covered, including the motorcycle of the dispatch rider through to the early days of the Challenger 1, plus a fair selection of everything in between.


I am unable to recommend this book for a few reasons. I found myself unable to decide who the book is aimed at mostly due to it trying to cover too many vehicles over a long period of time. There is not enough text, and therefore written information for a person who is interested in these exercises, along with the picture quality, is really showing its age, therefore making it of questionable use to the model maker as reference material.

I will say that there are some very nice pictures of unusual subjects, although there are also pictures with an almost fuzzy quality about them. I believe that in this book the publisher has tried to cover too long a time period, which encompasses too many vehicle types with the pages available. The book does provide inspiration for anyone who builds dioramas, especially if you like using mud.
Highs: A good selection of vehicles are covered that were in use by the BAOR during the REFORGER exercises between 1975- 1991, including some that were not used in large numbers.
Lows: Too few photographs to cover the number of vehicle types used, with some of the pictures looking a little fuzzy. Too little text to make this appealing to a person with an interest in the REFORGER exercises.
Verdict: A good effort which has failed to hit the mark on this occasion.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: No 9012
  Suggested Retail: £13.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 18, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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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.


Hi Darren! I really like reading your reviews for their accuracy and the "no nonsense" evaluation you provide and you do a great job! But with this book I disagree with your conclusion for the following reasons. The main reason being that I believe one should, maybe, look at this book as part of a whole series published about the BOAR and Reforger by Tankograd (Vehicles of the BOAR 1945-79, BOAR The final years, US + German Reforger books). The quality of some pictures are not up to date, but please keep in mind that they are 25 years and older and they are they only ones still available. I would agree with you on the significance as reference material if the photo material would be more recent. Your final comment: " The book does provide inspiration for anyone who builds dioramas, especially if you like using mud." leaves the impression that modelers who like building British tanks from this era can only profit from this book, enhancing their weathering technics, this is just not the case and a little to simplified. Besides having participated in some Reforger Exercises myself, this book does give an accurate account of what the "nice" weather conditions were like, and I think that the author had a though time choosing pictures leaving enough tank left to be identified at all. I read this book as trying to pinpoint certain vehicles and time frames not being it‘s intension, rather the attempt to provide brief overview of the British contribution to the Reforger Exercises in 64 pages, and supplementing the other books from this series. I myself love building some of the Chieftains and Centurions, Stalwarts and Bedfords from this era, being part of a small minority and not building Tigers and Shermans all the time, I am very thankful for books like this one, may not be the best .... but not that bad .... and better than nothing at all ! Cheers Christopher
DEC 03, 2009 - 09:55 AM
Chris I only had this book and the Panzertruppe 2010. I was very disappointed in this book and very impressed with the other, I did not have the benefit of taking the series as a whole and thus came to the conclusion I did. I had to write what I felt to be the truth without being just plain negative, and James can tell you I did struggle with this one where as the other almost wrote itself. I do accept that as a person who took part in some of these exercises that you may/will have an alternate view which I respect.
DEC 03, 2009 - 09:36 PM
Heh Darren! It crossed my mind that having a more immediate access to all new Tankograd books, I look and read them as a ongoing series. As you review the book individually, you can be disappointed when comparing this book other publications. Gathering good reference material from the 70-80‘s is hard enough, and if we are honest we have been spoilt over the last years with very good books and magazines on recent events. So believe me, I do understand your disappointment with this book from your position and you are right to point out that many readers will/might feel the same once they purchased it. Lucky me, I buy mostly all Tankograd books on this subject adding a greater variety to my reference library, and I also know many modelers/reader do not, relying on reviews like yours. So having a honest review (worthy of discussing) is still worth a lot these days, so thankx for giving me the chance to add my thoughts and keep up the good work !!!!! Cheers Christopher PS: Reforger was always fun, as long as others kept trowing tracks, got stuck in mud, slipped into ditches. Best was splashing the grunts racing at high speed trough puddles !
DEC 04, 2009 - 12:19 AM
Chris taking into account that you have the series of books, on the review at the end you will see a tab called "you review this item". As you can give an insight into the Reforger series as a whole it may be worth writing a piece to attach in order that members get a wider view of the subject.
DEC 04, 2009 - 04:04 AM
I have to agree with everything said here! having said that good photo's from around that time are a little harder to get hold of, I too took part in some of those excercises and at least do find the aforementioned publication excellent for diorame ideas and at the same time brings back some memories! Totaly agree with the comment on others throwing tracks LOL!!!
DEC 10, 2009 - 04:23 AM
I like the four books mostly for the background information and pictures. Germany has changed over the decades and living there you don't recognize many changes. This books are valuabel for the "Surrounding" info from the form of the old guide posts (Wood or concrete, not plastic) to the yellow telefone booth or small details like the "Sanobub" flags over a kiosk. Once you see them it's "oh yes" but if asked to describe a 1980s scene I would come up blank initially. And the books show "interesting" scenes. Not combat, little "maneuver fighting" but a lot of "military life". Be it children interacting with the soldiers or AFV parking in front of a sawmill. Nice ideas for a diorama/vignet away from war. Oh and paint shemes. There is MERDC and there is reality and any match seems accidentially. Add in MASTER and some specialised patterns and you get a lot of ideas to "spice up" a otherwise mundane model. It's not the book I pic up for detail information on a vehicle. For that Tankograd published others with more detail shots and drawings. It's a diorama building book. It allows me to answer questions like "how wide was a terciary road in 1980" or "what did a curbstone look like in the 1970s' with little work. It shows me "how did civilians dress back then" and "how did US soldiers REALLY look during an exercise". That's IMHO their real value
DEC 10, 2009 - 08:25 AM
I would like to thank everyone for their comments on this book. I unfortunately found the pictures of poor quality on a lot of occasions, and the information provided was minimal. Because of this I had no choice but to score the book as a stand alone offering, and while I can see the benefit to someone wishing to make a diorama they do not appear to be the target audience.
DEC 10, 2009 - 08:55 AM
[quote]I I unfortunately found the pictures of poor quality on a lot of occasions, and the information provided was minimal. /quote] Hey Darren, I do agree with you there, it is YOUR review, you put your time, mind and effort into it and there is nothing unfortunate about that. Give a book to 5 different people and you get 10 different stories, it‘s food for thought that really counts and look at all the interesting responses you triggered. As my Dad used to say: " if you can‘t convince them, confuse them! " [javascript:PasteSmiley('@:)') Waiting on your next review Cheers Christopher
DEC 10, 2009 - 09:25 AM
I am very pleased to get the feedback on this review, it is unfortunately seldom the case with reviews.
DEC 10, 2009 - 11:01 AM

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