...Missions and Manoeuvres No 7030, new from Tankograd
Title: Finland's Maavoimat
Author: Clemens Niesner
The mix of vehicle types in use with the modern Finnish military is one I knew little about and I found this new Tankograd title to be particularly interesting in discovering more about that variety. The fascination comes from the mix of Russian built equipment alongside others from Western manufacturers in Germany and the US, along with some Scandinavian vehicles as well. As is common with the Tankgrad series, all text and photo captions is provided in both German and English languages.
The first 10 pages are text, explaining the history of the Finnish Ground forces since WW2 and how they have evolved over the years. Maintaining their independence, sandwiched between Sweden and Russia has been a key elements over the years, though apparently there is more of a leaning towards finally joining NATO though that is now certain at present. The rest of the 64 page book is made up from their common format of excellent quality colour photos of the various vehicle types, all with informative dual language captions.
The sections are organised in a logical sequence, starting with Motorcycles, Quads, Cars and Trucks that are a real mix, with 6-wheel rather than 4-wheel 'Quads' and a mix of Land Rovers, Toyota Hilux, assorted Mercedes types, Zil-131 and a variety of Sisu trucks, a Finnish truck manufacturer I'd not known of before reading this one. Heavy transporters include both Scania and Mercedes tractor units. Next is Air Defence and again there is a mix with Swedish and Norwegian missiles systems alongside other Russian made systems. They are also the one country to field the Marksman turreted gun system, fitted now to the Leopard II hull.
That leads into Wheeled Armour which is yet another mixture. The RG32M serves alongside a 6x6 Finnish manufactured 6x6 Sisu XA-180, an amphibious APC looking very much like the German built Fuchs, which replaced their old BTR-60PBs. They also have a modern 8x8, the Patria XA-360 AMV. The following section looks at Engineers, and these vehicles include a Sisu RA-140 Mine flail, T-55 with KMT-5M mine rollers, and a number of BLG-60M2, the T-55 based scissor bridgelayer, which like many other bit of kit illustrate in the book, came from ex-East German Army (NVA) stocks. These are supplemented with Leopard 2A4 tanks fitted with the Israeli built Urdan mine roller equipment, along with Leopard 2R engineer variants and even Czech built VT-55A ARVs. Large bridgelayers include both Leopard 2A4 hulls fitted with MAN built Leguan bridges, which are also carried on a rather futuristic looking Sisu 10x10 truck. Artillery comes next and more of a mix with both Western and Russian built systems side by side. Russian built 2S1 as well as some RM-70/85 Rocket launchers are both from ex-NVA stocks while some MLRS launchers were bought from Denmark. Oversnow vehicles not surprisingly are Hagglunds types. Moving on to Tracked Armour there are MT-LB as well as the larger MT-LBu artillery command vehicles as well as BTR-50s still in service along with both BMP-1 and BMP-2 and the CV9030 AIFV. It is all rounded off with MBTs, and these are a mix of Leopard 2A4FIN and more recently, Leopard 2A6FIN.
A fascinating mix of equipment all working together, plus they are in their own quite distinctive camouflage schemes and largely pictured operating in the snow and the heavily forested areas of the Finnish landscape.
Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.