ARM: Book Review - The Danish Leopard 2A5 by Thomas Antonsen

Book Review: The Danish Leopard 2A5 by Thomas Antonsen; Barbarossa
Books, Tiptree, Essex, UK 2008; 172 pp. with color photos and
drawings; retail price UK =A327.95 (ISBN 978-1-84768-027-3)
Advantages: beautifully done coverage of one of the more popular
modern tanks; ideal for modelers both of Danish and other nations=92
Leopard 2 series tanks
Disadvantages: may be too narrowly focused for general appeal
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Leo fans and Danish armor modelers in specific
Nobody thinks very much about Denmark. No, I am not disparaging that
country in the slightest; but as it is one of the smaller of the NATO
nations and located on the Jutland Peninsula to the north of what used
to be the main arena of a prospective war with the USSR, its armed
forces are not generally seen as first line defenders of NATO. This is
something of a shame, as for many years Denmark has shown a very solid
and rationally thought out view of its armed forces and their
weapons.
Like many other NATO countries, most of whom do not produce their own
major weapons systems, the Royal Danish Army had only a few choices
for arming their forces. The usual choices have been to purchase
either British, American or after 1960 German equipment, both as they
were NATO countries and backers and they came designed to meeting NATO
compatibility standards with common weapons and calibers, common
fittings, compatible radio communications and fuel requirements, and
other standardized features. For example, the Danes purchased British
Centurions and American M41 Walker Bulldogs in the 1950s and later
moved to German Leopard 1 series tanks in 1976; they also had American
M113 series APCs and M109 SP 155mm and M110 SP 203mm howitzers. While
not lavishly funded, the Danes were able to make thrifty use of these
forces and keep them both well-prepared and serviceable for all Cold
War needs.
In the early 1990s Denmark began looking at replacing the 230 Leopard
1A3 and 1A4 tanks then in service, even though by then all of these
tanks had been upgraded to Leopard 1A5 standards. Due to changes in
technology, even with the upgrades they were not seen as world
standard and a replacement had to be found. The main competition came
down to whether or not to select the turbine-powered American M1A1 or
the German Leopard 2 tank. When the German Army offered to sell them
Leopard 2A4 tanks in 1997, the Danes accepted. The purchase of 51 of
these tanks was soon followed by negotiations to upgrade them to
Leopard 2A5 standards.
The tanks, serial numbered by the Danes in the 68.6xx series, have
many detain differences from their German cousins and other export
versions. This book covers the tanks in their original delivery
condition as seen in 2000 and 2001 and then follows and details their
upgrade to Leopard 2A5 standards. Seven pages detail the early years,
followed by a description of what changes were made and then 42 pages
of detailed photos of the upgrade components and detail changes made
to the Leopard 2A4 to turn it into the 2A5.
For general fans of the Leopard 2, the next chapter covers
maintenance of the tank and provides 24 pages of detailed color photos
of the tank with its engine removed and other components under
maintenance, which is a detailer=92s dream when it comes to the
internals of the engine bay and other parts of the tank. Eight more
pages show how to ship your Leos using road, rail, sea, and even
contract air (with the An-124 being rented from Volga-Dnepr Air.)
The next 24 pages cover the Leo 2A5 on exercise and in training.
Chapter 9 provides 28 pages on the evolution of the tank as it moves
from being a =93Cold Warrior=94 into a mobile fire support system for use
in today=92s modern conflicts against what the Russians called =93illegal
armed formations=94 or extremists. Ten more pages cover the deployment
of part of the Leo 2A5 tanks to provide fire support in Helmand
Provice, Afghanistan, starting in 2007.
The next chapter looks at modeling the Danish Leo 2A5 with its
primary focus being on the extant Tamiya Leopard 2A5/2A6 kit or for
those not interested in extreme detailing, the Hobby Boss 2A5 kit. The
author provides his reasoning as well as covers the best detail set
options to create an accurate Danish 2A5 from the Tamiya kit. The book
also provides a set of 1/35 scale plans for the Danish Leo 2A5 (which
barely fit inside the A4 sized pages!) and a small camouflage scheme
for the European camo version. The last few pages cover the history of
the Leo unit and also some of its operations when deployed with its
Leo 1A5 tanks to Bosnia-Herzogovina in 1994.
Overall this is a very thoroughly researched and laid out book, and
while somewhat narrowly focused on just the Danish versions of the
tank, there are a number of general use items and information for
anyone modeling the Leo 2A4/2A5 series tanks to make it worth serious
consideration.
Thanks to Russell Hadler of Barbarossa Books for the review copy.
Cookie Sewell
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