Chieftain - TankCraft series, number 15

Chieftain - TankCraft series, number 15

ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Robert Jackson is a full-time writer and lecturer, mainly on aerospace and defense issues, and was the defense correspondent for North of England Newspapers. He is the author of more than 60 books on aviation and military subjects, including operational histories on famous aircraft such as the Mustang, Spitfire and Canberra. A former pilot and navigation instructor, he was a squadron leader in the RAF Volunteer Reserve.

The British Chieftan - designed in the late 1950's as the replacement for the out-dated Centurion, was perhaps the best main battle tank in service with NATO during the 1960s and 1970s. It's modern, powerful 120mm rifled main gun and advanced StillBrew armour (named after Colonel Still and John Brewer of MVEE) made it one of the most formidable tanks of it's time. This book is a well-thought out, well-produced, authoritative introduction to the Tank.

Although Chieftan was intended to fight the Soviet Army of Northern Germany, it was the heat and sand of the desert in the Middle-East, that the Chieftan fought it's major battles during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and it proved to be just as effective during the first Gulf War of 1991. Chieftain variants were exported to Iran, Oman, India, Kenya and Nigeria, and it's chassis was adapted to host a variety of tasks including; AVRE, ARV, Bridge-laying and Beach recovery.

This book is an excellent reference source for the model-maker, providing an up to date list of kits available and some first class photos of award winning models by top class modellers. There are also a few pages of artwork showing various colour schemes and each individual section has accompanying photos.

Another top-class book by Robert Jackson. Excellent for both the modeller and military or vehicle historian. Tank Craft series books have a go-to formulae for success, hopefully they'll stick to it. The nine sections start with an all too-brief introduction followed by a Design and Development section. The next two sections cover the Tank in detail and in service, followed by a section entitle Allies and Adversaries. The excellent Camouflage and Markings section is always well received as too is the Model Showcase and Modelling Products sections. The final section is the In Service and In Action section, giving glimpses of how the Tank performed in combat.

Overall, an enjoyable venture into the Chieftain, with excellent detail and pictures. I feel the 64 pages allowed are not enough to cover all variants and export models. I rate this book quite highly because the author's infectious enthusiasm for his subject comes to the fore and it is this method of writing that keeps the reader's attention.

Highly recommended for Historian and Modeller alike, 4/5


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