Reforger 87, Certain Strike...
...new from Tankograd, via Bookworld
Title: Reforger 87, Certain Strike
Author: Walter Bohm & Diego Ruiz Palmer
A new American Special from Tankograd, number 3029 in the series, and this another that goes back to the days of the Cold War. Exercise Certain Strike took place in Germany in September 1987. Not the first Reforger (REturn of FORces to GERmany) as they were conducted on an annual basis, but is did involves the largest number of troops being deployed from the continental USA to Europe to take part in the exercise, some 31,000. This was also the first of these exercises to be carried out in the NORTHAG area of Northern Germany, rather than the Central region used for previous exercises.
The opening 10 pages provide plenty of background, detailing the planning, the aims and the NATO forces involved in the exercise, and this is given on both German and English language, and a map of the region where it all happened. These US troops were to use equipment already in Europe, kept in readiness at POMCUS (Prepositioned Overseas Material Configured in Unit Sets) depots. As well as 35,000 US troops, the total of 78,000 involved included West Germany (19,000), Netherlands (11,100), UK (7,000), Belgium (6,000) and France (200). Their equipment included 20,000 wheeled vehicles and 2,200 tracked. So very much a major exercise to test the NATO respose to a potential invasion from the Warsaw Pact.
After the text explanation and details of the exercise we get to the separate sections which are filled with photos, mainly in colour, though with a small number in black and white. The first deals with the collection of the heavy equipment from the POMCUS depots, and this illustrates the variety of camouflage colours at the time, with some US equipment still in the multi-colour MERDC schemes along with plain overall green, and the early Hummers deployed in the newer NATO Green/Brown/Black patterns. This is followed by Reconnaissance Operations by Orange Force, with West German Leopard 2s along with the 8-wheel Spahpanzer 2 Luchs along with an interesting variety of Belgian Army armour. Next comes the Blue Force offensive which includes River Crossing operations, and there are some excellent pictures in here, all with both German and English captions. It goes on to cover the remaining elements of the exercise and we see a good mix of vehicles, with British Challenger I, US Abrams and Bradley, Leopard 1 and 2, M60s and a variety of lighter vehicles as well.
It will be a good reminder I suspect for those who once took part in these huge exercises while for the modeller the detail of colours and stowage of such an interesting mix of equipment will I suspect be a particular attraction. Another fine addition to the Tankograd series.
Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.