Reforger 85, Central Guardian...
Title: Reforger 85 Central Guardian
Author: Walter Bohm & Diego Ruiz Palmer
A major NATO Cold War exercise which took place starting in January 1985, Reforger 85 saw a major US Army winter deployment exercise to Europe and the then West Germany, along with units from other NATO allies. This is the subject for this new American Special, number 3039, from Tankograd.
A 64-page soft-cover book filled with not just an interesting account of this significant Cold War era deployment (and in this case, with plenty of snow on the ground, the emphasis on the 'Cold'!). It lasted for about 2 months, split into 3 phases, with the transport of troops and equipment from the US to Europe, the period of the exercise itself, and lastly the return of all the men and equipment to their normal garrisons. The opening pages give all the background and detail of Reforger 85, including the huge numbers of troops and vehicles involved, with an Order of Battle detailing units in both Orange and Blue forces. As with all the text and captions throughout the book, this is provided in both German and English languages. Then we get into the bulk of the story, with each section packed with archive images, some in black & white and the large majority in colour, and all with more detail provided in the detailed captions. It begins with Deployment-3-18 January 1985. Then Orange Attacks, Blue Fights a Delaying Battle 21-25 January. Next comes the Counterattack of Blue Forces 28-31 January before the final element, the Abandonment of Exercise Central Guardian and Redeployment.
The photo collection, much of it undertaken amidst a snow covered countryside, makes for some good looking images with winter camouflage applied to many vehicles, both tanks and trucks. This adds to the interest from the then current MRDC multi-colour camouflage systems which are so different to just plain green, or more recently, sand colours. Early variant Leopards along with both M1 Abrams, M60A1 and M48A5 tanks, engineer equipment, trucks, APCs and so much more of this Cold War era equipment illustrated with excellent detail and clarity. I am sure that it will kindle memories for many ex-servicemen, be of interest for those who study the Cold War but may not even be old enough to remember it, and of course to modellers, who will find lots of inspiration and great detail references in the photos. Another excellent addition to the series from Tankograd.
Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.