Book Review FV430 Series - Rob Griffin - Images of War

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Images of War.
    FV430 Series
    Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives
    Pages: 216
    ISBN: 9781526742896
    Published: 1st May 2019


    FV430 Series

    First impressions here is that this is a lot more bulky than other titles I've seen in the 'Images of War' series (Though the series name is a bit of a misnomer in this case as it's mostly images of general service, exercises & preserved examples).
    Rob Griffin is a good writer. His personal experience on AFVs shows through & he has a pleasant anecdotal style that isn't the norm in many AFV books. His Conqueror book remains one of my favourite tankish titles, and I've nothing by him I'd be overly critical of.
    The editing here might raise a little more concern as it's got a typo or two (The US M44 was big, but not 119ft wide... I hope), and some could feel there isn't quite enough order to the photographs. Not sure how current some of the text is, or if it's been taken from other publications as at one point he refers to 2002 as the time of writing. (Not that that particularly matters, but it does make one question some of the commentary on current/future deployment. No text mentions of Afghanistan, though some pictures of the very late upgraded Bulldogs in there.)

    My Interest in 432 relates to the progression of APCs from the earliest Carriers towards what became a ubiquitous vehicle for the British Army (with a substantial contingent in private hands at shows etc.), and he makes a decent fist progressing through Universal, Oxford & Cambridge/401 Carriers etc., starting at the FV400 project begun immediately postwar & withering in the late 50s. The Chapter on this development is by necessity a little rushed, but if it's something you're new-ish to then he lays good groundwork for further digging. I'd like to have seen more development photographs, but there really don't seem to be many out there.
    If really looking for more solid development/design history, I'd suggest The Tankograd titles by the same author. (And Think Defence's website also worth a shufti: Home - Think Defence )

    I'm also intrigued by things that stay in service for a long time, and with the newest hulls currently in use being produced in 1971 & entering the Army in 1975 these things definitely qualify. The projected retirement is around 2025, though in truth those vehicles will have been fully rebuilt to a rather better spec. (The description of the upgrading process is pretty thorough/interesting. Bulldog appears to be a new vehicle really.)

    Well-illustrated, and broken into sections on variants, trials, preserved examples & a more detailed description, the latter is the strongest chapter. Good stuff for modellers in there, and quite informative on the various fitted systems. The multiple variants get a decent few paragraphs each.

    Like other titles in the series, it really isn't an exhaustive history.
    They're relatively light reference books with a lot of pictures, so if you're looking for really serious detail they're rarely the place, but this is one of the better ones I've yet seen, mostly because of the author's style.
    It skims over the Abbot/433 SPG variants a bit, but I think that's understandable. Artillery probably deserves a different book. The whole thing really rests on 432 variants, them being the most numerous by far.
    If making a model or filling a gap in the British AFV bookshelves, I see nothing to complain about here.

    (And if anyone ever comes across any pictures of the rocket-assisted water egress trials, I'd be more than interested...)

    With thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.
    Chris C likes this.

Share This Page