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BAOR - The Final Years - Vehicles of the British Army of the Rhine 1980 – 1994
Publisher : Tankograd Publishing
Author: Peter Blume
Series: British Special 9006
Price: 14.95 Euros
Softcover; A4, 68 pages

General

This book from Tankograd is of excellent quality with just one photograph in black and white that’s the very first one at the beginning of section 3; all remaining 137 are in colour. This 64-page book as the cover says chronicles the final reorganisation of the BAOR and its disbandment at the end of the Cold War. The book is divided into eight sections the first two gives you the ORBAT from 1981 to 1990, you then get a vehicles in action section, and the remaining five elements cover the formations of the BAOR.

Book Contents

The British Army of the Rhine from the 1980s
The End of the Cold War and the Disbandment of the BAOR
BAOR Vehicles in Action
Royal Armoured Corps
The Infantry
Royal Artillery
The Corps of Royal Engineers
Army Air Corps

The British Army of the Rhine from the 1980s

Here we have a small paragraph laying out the comprehensive reorganisation and modernisation of the BAOR from 1981 to 1983 explaining a little about its restructure and re-equipment, with the new Challenger 1 main battle tank to the SA80 assault rifle. Then we have the ORBAT of the BAOR from 1981 to 1983 it lists the Headquarters’ British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), the 1st Armoured Division, 2nd Armoured Division, 3rd Armoured Division, 4th Armoured Division, 5th Field Force. Then we get the ORBAT of BAOR from 1983 to 1990, a small paragraph explains the restructure of the Divisions of the BAOR completing this section is a list of units of the I Corps of the BAOR in 1986.

The End of the Cold War and the Disbandment of the BAOR

By the end of 1989 the politics of the situation in Europe brought an end to the Cold War, and with the fall of the Iron Curtain in Berlin and the two Germanys reunification, saw the start of the unravelling of the Warsaw Pact forces. This section continues with the reaction of the British Government and the position, which NATO found itself in, and the steps the British Government undertook to reduce the size of the BAOR and to its final demise. Completing this section after the disbandment of the BAOR in 1994 we have a list of remaining British Army Forces in Germany.

BAOR Vehicles in Action

This is the first section of 23 pages, and 59 pictures and captions, which is solely a pictorial account of vehicles of the BAOR in action. Starting with the only black and white picture in the book page 9, it’s of a Chieftain MK5 in 1994. This is just some of the different types you get in this section Chieftain Mk II, Challenger 1, M107 self-propelled gun, FV510 Warrior, FV102, FV104, FV432, FV439, Spartan MCT, Saxon, Ferret’s, Light Strike Vehicle, the ubiquitous Land Rover, Bedford trucks, Leyland DAF, Foden, and finely the Scammell Crusader. Lots of modelling potential here.

Royal Armoured Corps

This 12-page section starts by explaining the structure of the Royal Armoured Corps from 1984 through to 1986, listing manpower vehicles and unit organisation. You then get 10-pages of pictures from different exercises of the time. This is just some of the types you will find in this section Chieftain MkII, Chieftain ARRV, Challenger 1, Challenger CRARRV, FV721 Fox, FV102 Striker, FV103 Spartan, FV 105 Sultan, FV106 Samson, FV107 Scimitar; these pictures just encourage you to model a wealth of detail.

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The Infantry

This is a 7-page section, it starts with laying out the structure of the Mechanised infantry battalions within the brigades of the armoured divisions, from the 1980s through to the 1990s it covers unit organisation and the vehicles used through this time period. We then have 6-pages of pictures, there are two nice pictures of FV 432 with 30mm Rarden turrets, then we have FV512 Warriors, FV512 Warrior MCRV, FV103 Spartan MCT, and finely the AT105 Saxon.

Royal Artillery

This is a 5-page section; the opening paragraphs explain the set up of the Artillery Division of the BAOR through the 1980s and 1990s, covering units and equipment used. The remaining four pages are all pictures, there are some interesting snaps here that I will mention of US equipment we used, first the BAOR’s nuclear component was the MGM-52 Lance a US product fired from an M752, the vehicle in the picture is its carrier a M688, next is a M113 converted to carry the Rapier. The last two are a M548 Armoured Carrier with special crane equipment used to transport the Rapier missile and finally the M578 armoured recovery vehicle was equipped with a crane.

The Corps of Royal Engineers

This is a 7-page section; a small intro explains the setup of the engineer forces of the BAOR its organisation and equipment used, the rest of the section has some excellent pictures of bridging equipment FV 4205 Chieftain AVLB’s, FV4204 Chieftain AVRE (with Maxi-pipe fascines) FV 180 CET, Centurion Mk5 AVRE, M2 Alligator, and finally the FV 432 minelayer. Just what the modeller needs for inspiration.

Army Air Corps

The final section is the shortest with just 2-pages to its name, it explains the unit organisation and equipment used by the BAOR in the 1980s, there are just three pictures a SA342 Gazelle reconnaissance helicopter, a Lynx Mk7 anti-tank helicopter, and last of all a Chinook HC2 lifting a Land Rover109 and light trailer as an external load.

Conclusion

Tankograd have produced a very nice brief history of the BAOR and illustrated it very well, they give you just enough information to make you want to find out more, a well-organised book from Peter Blume. If you model British subjects like I try to do this book will come in very handy, as the pictures will inspire some nice dioramas.

I would like to thank Tankograd and Vinnie for letting me review this excellent book.

For full details on these and all Tankograd titles, please see their website: Tankograd