Home > Reviews > Modern > Special Ops Volume 30: Coalition Forces in Iraq 2


Special Ops Volume 30: Coalition Forces in Iraq 2

by Carl Schulze and Yves Debay



Published by Concord Publications. Soft covers, 8.5 x 11-inches, 64 pages, 204 color photographs and four charts. Price: TBD.

Part two in Concord’s continuing coverage of the on-going war in Iraq is divided into five chapters.

1. Task Force “Iron Horse”, 4th Infantry Division in the Sunni Triangle (Debay).
2. Stryker Brigade in Iraq (Schulze).
3. “Old Ironsides” in Baghdad (Debay).
4. Along the Convoy Routes (Debay).
5. Multinational Division South East (Schulze).

Chapter 1 follows the exploits of the US 4th Infantry Division as they seek to pacify perhaps the most militant part of Iraq, the notorious “Sunni Triangle”. The text is a mixture of incident reports, a description of the Division and its sub-units and details of some of its operations. There is a sidebar giving a brief history of the Division since its formation in the early 20th century, another on the dangers that face correspondents and another consisting of an order-of-battle chart for the Division and its attached support units. A final sidebar details the tribulations of the two authors as they belatedly attempt to get photos of an M1A2 under operational conditions. The photos in this chapter depict vehicles typical for this unit, with the emphases on the Bradley IFV. This includes a single photo depicting a Bradley with full add-on armor blocks over the appliqué plates. Other photos depict M1A1s, Hummers and M113s. Captions are mostly well done and generally informative. However, the caption of an M1A1 on page seven states that it has a co-axial .50 cal. machine gun and that the flat panels on either side of the turret front plates are “gas warning panels”. In both cases that is not correct; it’s a 7.62mm machine gun and the panel is part of the CIP identification system. One would think that the authors, both experienced in the field of military photojournalism, certainly know better than that.

Chapter 2 is devoted entirely to the first fully-deployed Stryker IBCT (Interim Brigade Combat Team) unit, that of the 3rd Brigade, US 2nd Infantry Division. The text details the concept behind the fielding of such units, their organization and the equipment used by them. So, coverage of the M1126 Stryker ICV and its specialized stable-mates, the M1127 RV (Reconnaissance Vehicle), M1129 MC (Mortar Carrier), M1130 CV (Command Vehicle), M1131 FSV (Fire Support Vehicle), M1132 ESV (Engineer Squad Vehicle), M1133 MEV (Medical Evacuation Vehicle), M1134 ATGMV (Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle) and M1135 NBCRV (NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle) is quite extensive. In fact, the only Stryker derivative not covered is the M1128 MGS (Mobile Gun System), since it is still being developed. The Strykers are depicted in operational environments and all of them are equipped with the so-called “Slad Armor” bar/frames to ward off hand-held anti-armor weapons such as the RPG-7. As this is the first generally available set of photos of this new AFV, in my opinion, the rest of the book’s pages could be blank, and I’d still be quite satisfied that I’d gotten value fro money spent!

Chapter 3 is a relatively short section on operations of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad. It features an assortment of Hummers in various colors and configurations, including up-armored versions with shielded weapons rings. There is the odd Bradley and M113 variant as well as photos of foot soldiers on patrol.

Chapter 4 deals with typical convoy protection operations and again, the Hummer in various guises is featured. Also seen are versions of the M113, HEMMETTs, 5-ton trucks (some with improvised armor) and M1117 Guardian MP vehicles. For good measure, there are a number of photos of destroyed and abandoned Iraqi AFVs and ordnance, as well as a Polish helicopter with a mixed Polish/USMC ANGLICO team, on the ground.

Chapter 5 deals with the UK-led Multinational Division South East. Aside from UK Challengers, Warriors, Land Rover “Snatch” 4x4s and Scimitars, there are also photos of various other 4x4s, ATVs and AFVs from Italian, Danish, Romanian and Portuguese units. RAF and Royal Navy aerial assets are also represented by Lynx, Chinook and Sea King helicopters.

In general, the photographs are very well done and will reward the modeler who carefully examines them for various features, especially stowage and markings. Likewise, the text is generally well done with few errors of fact. For instance on page 21, the USAF C-5 Galaxy transport is designated C-5Y (as in Yankee). This is a version that I have never heard of; there only being a C-5A and C-5B, as far as I know. The charts include specification tables for the Stryker IAV in its Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) configuration, as well as orders-of-battle for the US 4th Infantry Division, US 1st Armored Division and UK units committed to what they call Operation Telic III in December of 2003. All of this info is quite useful.

So, yet again, Concord and its team of photojournalists have given AFV and figure modelers first-class visual inspiration, and all at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended.

Concord Publications are available from retail and mail order shops, or from the publisher at: www.concord-publications.com.