...The Bruckenlegepanzer I Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge of the Modern German Army, from Tankograd


Title: Biber

Author: Ralph Zwilling

Publisher: Tankograd

A recent release from German publisher Tankograd, with Militarfahzeug Special No 5078, on the subject of the Biber 1 Bridge-layer. It replaced the US built M48 Scissor Bridge system which the Bundeswehr had used since the early 1960s. After trials, a new bridge-layer based on the Leopard 1 was built in West Germany, with a bridge system which slides forward, giving a much lower profile for the vehicle on the battlefield. Over 100 of the new Leopard based bridge-layer were built, and apparently 35 remain in service today.

This new Special gives us the background/development story and goes on to provide a very detailed coverage of the vehicle itself (inside and out), along with the bridge itself, and the support vehicles.

We get to see it in service, including Bundeswehr graphics of how the bridge is laid. It goes on with sections tackling the Hull, Driver's and Commander's Stations, Radio & Intercom System, NBS Protection System, Chassis, Power Pack, Smoke Grenade, Bridge-laying System, Hydraulics, Front Support Blade, Bridge, Cantilever Launch Arm, Crew and the Support Section, with MAN trucks, low loaders and spare bridging sections.

The text and captions throughout the 64-pages is in both English and German and as well as the graphics already mentioned, there are 1/35 scale plans, a unit organisation chart, all accompanied by 142 top quality colour images. Ideal colour and camouflage references for modellers (Revell do a good 1/72 scale model) and an interesting item of engineer equipment that any armour enthusiast should find interesting.

Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.