The Challenger 2 tank has gained a number of followers in modelling circles; most likely due to its very successful participation in the 2nd Gulf Conflict where only one tank was lost due to a blue on blue incident. Another aspect that draws the attention of modellers are the number of additions and changes that have come and gone since its inception; things such as slat armour give the tank a whole a new look as do the added armour packages and that before you even mention possibly the most famous Challenger 2 'Megatron'. Haynes has now turned their attention to the Challenger 2 and produced one of their manual on this now great tank.
This offering from Haynes is written by Dick Taylor. The book is presented in a portrait style as is the norm for Haynes. This is a hard backed offering with a print on the front that will be easily recognised by anyone who has picked up one of the car or bike manuals when attempting vehicle repairs. This offering from Haynes has 188 pages of good quality glossy paper that I know from experience is long lasting and hard wearing.
The contents of this title are well laid out at the start of the title as follows: Acknowledgements Forward Introduction
- Lt Gen Sir Robert Hayman-Joyce Design and Development
- MBT 80
- The Vickers Mk 7
- Replacing Chieftain - the options
- Replacing Chieftain - the Soviet threat
- Birth of a tank
- Foreign options
- Proving the capability
- Challenger 2 family tree
- Challenger 2 development time line Anatomy of Challenger 2
- General description
- Transmission and steering
- Tracks and suspension
- Starting the main engine
- Fittings and ancillaries
- Turret and armament safety features
- Ergonomics Challenger 2 Walk Around Challenger 2 in Service
- The most tested tank in the world
- Into service with the British Army
- Training the individual crew members
- Training the Squadron
- Registrations Challenger 2 on operations
- The Balkans
- Operation Telic - Iraq Challenger 2 Versions and Variants
- The driver training tank
- The Royal Engineer variants - Trojan and Titan
- Challenger 2 in Oman
- Looking for other export markets - the development of Challenger 2E
- TRIGAT missile tank
- BEMA - the bulldozer
- Looking to the future - Challenger 2 MBT life extension programme (LEP) Appendices
- Challenger 2 technical data
- Endnotes Index
It needs to be remembered that this title from Haynes is not aimed directly at the modeller in order that it appeals to the widest possible market, but there isa lot here for the modeller.
The book’s introduction is written by Lt Gen Sir Robert Hayman-Joyce and looks at the tanks that were in place and can be said to have lead to the production and introduction of the Challenger 2 MBT.
The section of this title looking at the Design and Development of the Challenger 2 is one of those sections that modellers may skip passed, but that would be a mistake due to it being a very well written section with a lot of interesting information. This section also provides some very good photographs of the early vehicles and the first Challenger 2 to go into service. Thhis information and images allows the modeller to alter base models to accurate representations of much earlier tanks. The photographs are of a high standard with my only potential complaint being that I would have liked some of the images to have been larger.
The section looking at the anatomy of Challenger 2 is a great area for the modeller due to it showing the Challenger 2 in various maintenance situations enabling the modeller to alter kits and show crew figures doing something other than standing in a hatch. Schematics of the turret interior are a nice inclusion in the title that offers options where needed. The photographs in the section of the book provide a lot of visual information in regards to both the tank in the field and being serviced; I particularly enjoyed this section of the book.
The walk around section of the book is an area I would have liked to see expanded upon. The walk around features Megatron which is a popular tank to model, but it needs to be remembered this tank changes its look often. The interior of the Challenger 2 is also covered in good detail and comes to a close with a look at 2 Challenger 2's in Berlin Brigade camouflage.
Another great chapter of this Haynes offering for the modeller is the one looking at the Challenger 2 in service. The text is well written and has some good information, but for the modeller the photographs steal the show showing the tank in various locations in the field, but it is the photographs of the tank under camouflage that really grabbed my attention, again these show crew members in the act of adding the camouflage or such but not stood in an opening.
I am sure that just about everyone will think of the Challenger 2 during Operation Telic when it comes to Challenger 2 in operations and tanks surrounded by desert; well to some extent you are correct with the Balkans operation getting some of the limelight, but there is more to this. If you only read one section of this book read the sections here providing the words of crew members of the Challenger 2 in combat, it is a great addition to the book. the photographs here are great reference on the Challenger 2 in combat operations.
The last section as such is the one looking at versions and variants of the Challenger 2 covering engineering and training vehicles, but this Haynes manual also looks at the items that are attached in the form of dozer blade and mine equipment. This section of the book should prove useful to the modeller looking at alternate vehicles based on Challenger. Of course Megatron makes another appearance in this area of the book.
This offering from Haynes written by Lt Col Dick Taylor Royal Tank Regiment is a superb addition to the range of titles offered not just by Haynes by also those covering the Challenger 2. Being written by someone who not just knows about the subject but also served on them has provided an alternate insight into the vehicle as well as its history.
This is a very good book for the modeller and an excellent title for those who are just interested in the Challenger 2. The photographs provided cover not just the normal tank in action shots and on the move, but also looks at facets of the tank such as living with the Challenger 2 and keeping it working. A great new book on the Challenger 2.
Darren Baker takes a look at the Haynes manual cover the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank 1998 to Present.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...