White Rhino '89...

...a Last Hurrah, from Tankograd


Title: White Rhino 89

Publisher: Tankograd

Author: Walter Bohm

This is Tankograd's British Special No. 9028 and covers 'a Last Hurrah', the last large-scale exercise of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division before the end of the Cold War.  It took place in West Germany over an area of some 7.500 square km, between 7 and 25 September, 1989. Within the overall exercise there were two sub-exercises in the southern sectors, named Rat Rhino and Stag Rhino.

The sheer number of troops and pieces of equipment indicate not just the scale but also the inherent complexity of such a major undertaking.  As usual with this series, the first few pages of text provide the detail and story of the exercise, along with appropriate facts and figures, and these are provided in both German and English languages.  This dual language content continues throughout all the photo captions which fill the rest of the 64 pages of this softcover book.

The bulk of the book is made up of the fine collection of colour photos which illustrate the men and the equipment in service at that time.  These do include Challenger I and the then new Warrior IFV but there are also Ferrets, a mix of FV 432 variants, the Bedford MJ trucks, Stalwart, Land Rovers, Scammell Commanders, Puma and Gazelle helicopters and as well as Chieftain ARV and AVLB some late mark Chieftain MBTs as well.

As there were over 11,000 troops involved I am sure there will be a lot of ex-servicemen who will enjoy reading this one and with photos that will no doubt bring back many memories.  The photos are also of great interest to modellers not just for the vehicles themselves and the crew stowage when out in the field but not only in the countryside but also operating within the distinctive buildings of German towns and villages.  One photo in particular caught my attention as it sees a combination that you might not consider modelling.  In the course of Rat Rhino, we see a Challenger 1 (with no track guards) being loaded on board a US Oshkosh M911 C-HET with M747 semi-trailer.  Considering the new Oshkosh kit from Meng, this could be a really interesting combination.

Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.