Special Ops, Volume 31
by Juan Pablo Lasterra Antunano,
Yves Debay, Pellumb Z. Nili, Alberto Scarpitta & Carl Schulze
Concord Publications, ISBN 962-361-096-3. Price: unavailable.
The first article, “The Spanish Army Green Berets, Mando de Operaciones
Especiales (MOE)”, by Mr. Antunano, contains 57 photos. The coverage
is devoted to the men and their uniforms, weapons and equipment. Furthermore,
there is s segment of photos that depict the members of this unit on a
night-time special operations training mission. Indeed, there is a great
variety of weapons to be seen, many of which are rather uncommon. There
are a few photos of Cougar helicopters, as well as a Spanish Navy submarine,
taken during training ops. The text explains the organization, training
and weapons of this unit, as well as providing details of a little-known
operation undertaken by these troops to oust Moroccan invaders from a
tiny Mediterranean island in July of 2002.
“Gainful Sword 2003, Dutch and Polish Air Cavalry in Action”,
by Mr. Schulze, consists of 55 photos. This particular article is perhaps
the most useful of the lot as it contains photos of not only men and their
weapons and equipment, but also various helicopters, special-purpose vehicles
and AFVs. There are photos of Chinook, Apache, Cougar, Mi-8 and W3W helicopters,
as well as Patria wheeled APCs and Marder 1A3 IFVs. Other unique types
such as the Dutch airborne LSV multi-role wheeled vehicle, Honda Quads
and even SA-8 SAM support vehicles are shown. The text details the multi-national
exercise and includes sidebars detailing the Dutch and Polish units involved.
”Italian Rangers”, by Mr. Scarpitta, comprises 26 photos
and one chart. This brief article covers the men, their weapons and equipment
in various training scenarios. The bulk of the photos depict mountain
operations, while the text describes such things as the organization of
the unit and its training and troop selection processes.
“Amphibious Ops in Co-operative Partner 2003”, by Mr. Debay,
includes 43 photos. The stars of this piece are the Ukrainian Marines
and their BTR-80 wheeled amphibious APCs, BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles
and Mi-17 helicopters. There is also a very intriguing photo showing weapons
for underwater use. Also profiled are Marines from Turkey and Greece,
accompanied by HUMVEES. The HUMVEES are, as always, equipped with various
weapons, including the Milan ATGW. A very interesting photo shows that
when the Milan is fired, the missile goes one way and its launch container
flies away in the opposite direction. Never mind the back-blast; watch
out for the flying container. I wonder what engineer thought up that one!
“Balkan Elite, Albania’s RENEA Counter-Terrorist Force”,
by Mr. Nili, is made up of 16 photos. This final article in this book
details the anti-terrorist forces of Albania, with photos of operatives
in black Ninja suits on training ops. What is the most interesting is
the text, which details the apparently frequent use of this unit in what
appears to be a rather unstable country.
Overall, the entire book provides a wealth of interesting reference photos
for the modeler of modern figures, with the emphases on the unusual. The
vehicle and helicopter coverage adds further value to a very reasonably
priced and well presented book.
Frank V. De Sisto
Concord Publications are available from retail and mail order shops,
or from the publisher at: www.concord-publications.com.