Special Ops, Volume 35 Special:
by Yves Debay and Gordon Arthur
Concord Publications, ISBN 962-361-116-1. Price: unavailable.
While the Iraqi front of the War on Terror is in the daily headlines
around the world, less attention is being paid to the Afghanistan front,
probably due to its relative quiescence. This latest volume in this series
gives an update on operations in this perpetually war-ravaged nation.
Gordon Arthur uses US DOD-supplied images to chronicle the overall campaign
in “Operation Enduring Freedom, US Forces in Afghanistan 2001-2005”.
His article contains 80 color photos depicting many different aspects
of the war as it is being waged. The photos themselves are of good-to-excellent
quality and a tribute to the skills of US military photographers. They
depict soldiers and Marines on patrol and interacting with the local citizens.
Ground vehicles depicted include the ubiquitous HMMWVs and 5-ton trucks
as well as the M119A1 light-weight 105mm howitzer. Aircraft include CH-47,
UH-60, AH-64 and AH-1W helicopters, as well as RQ-1 Predator UAVs. Afghani
troops and material are also depicted in training. The text chronicles
the campaign from September 2001, through early 2005, while the captions
ably describe the photographs. There are also a few vignettes (obviously
from US military sources, as they present a very positive image) describing
civil affairs-type operations.
Always seen where the “heat” is, the intrepid Yves Debay
completes this issue with three articles. His first, “Tropic Lightning
in Afghanistan, the 25th Infantry Division in the War on Terror”,
contains 39 color photos. These cover troops on patrol accompanied by
HMMWVs, as well as a number of aircraft types including (unusually for
this theater of operations) an EA-6B Prowler ECM aircraft, A-10A, C-130
and CH-47 helicopter. There is detailed coverage of a sniper team to include
a new, modernized version of the M14/M21 sniper’s rifle, as well
as the M24 and 12.7mm Barrett M82 (which in one caption is designated
Next from Mr. Debay is an article on coalition troops entitled “Battlegroups
of the Kabul Multinational Brigade”. It contains 71 color photos,
which depict the men and machines of Croatia, Belgium, Bulgaria, France,
Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands and Norway. Vehicles range from un-armored
wheeled types up through Pandur and BTR-80 APCs, to the rather formidable
CV-90 tracked MICV. Aircraft include Dutch AH-64 Apaches and S-70 Blackhawks.
The final article covers “Italians in Afghanistan, Col Moschin
& Superga”, and contains 38 color photos. These depict the Italians
in action and in training, using Land Rover Defenders and Iveco LAVs.
In general, Mr. Debay’s text is informative, if a bit opinionated.
There are a number of typographic errors spread throughout, which would
indicate that the series editor needs to take a closer look at what passes
over his desk, especially since the English language may not be the native
tongue of a particular author.
Otherwise, this is an excellent photo reference for figure painters and
vehicle modelers, at quite an affordable price.
Frank De Sisto
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books
for Concord Publications. The reader may wish to take this into consideration.
For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing
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