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Book Review
11
Histoire de GBM no. 83
Histoire de Guerre Blindes et Materiel issue 83, June 2008
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]

Introduction

Why don't we have a magazine like this in English? Why isn't there a dedicated importer of this magazine to the USA? What must we do to wrangle an English language version? How do we get a version for the iPad? Why can't I figure out a clean way to start this review?

Review

This magazine has been published since 2000 and has become probably the highest quality magazine out there about historical AFV's and their use. Consisting of ~100 full color pages with high resolution pictures and photos on every page it is geared towards the historian interested in French army tanks, vehicles, weapons, units, and history from 1914 to 1945. While not designed for modelers it is extremely useful for us, especially those with an interest in French World War 2 tanks and vehicles.

For people with an interest in the development history most issues have at least one article covering the design of an AFV. You get some of the finest camouflage profiles you'll see in any publication. French 1938-1940 AFV's have some of the most interesting, colorful, and exotic schemes out there that make late WW2 German camouflage look drab and boring. Finally, people often forget that French tank design prior to World War 2 was intensive and innovative with their tanks at least on par with anyone else's. Not only that, but the French were well underway with an awful lot of prototypes for future tanks that have disappeared down the memory hole that are covered in many of their issues. The magazine is in French so if that's not a strong written language for you, plan on quality time with Google translate or the like. To be honest, the quality and selection of photos, artwork, and blueprints makes it valuable even without the text.

The text itself is well researched, seems well written (my translation skills rather muddy my ability to confirm that. . .) and full of information. If you're a "what-if" modeler like me having a four article series on the future tank program leading to the G1 series (counterpart to the Sherman and T34) including proposed developments through 1944 is an exciting find. If you're not, development histories of the various in service tanks from the 30's are nice, especially as we're starting to see a trickle of french AFV's in plastic and resin. Individual unit histories shed light on the details of the Fall of France as well as containing great in-action photos.

A potential drawback is that the magazine focuses solely on the French army. No articles on the Tiger, no Stugs. The bigger drawback is that these are challenging to get in the USA. You can order directly but the shipping will run you over $20 easily. If you travel to France, they are readily available in most book stores, even at train stations and airports. However, finding them at your hobby shop or via on-line retailers is both problematic and unfortunate. The one loophole is that a 12 issue subscription to the USA is Ä51. For the cover price of four issues you get eight more free and no shipping. Absolutely worth it.

Contents

  • Eighty pages of French goodness
  • Four pages of questions from readers answered
  • A page on recent events and a page on one of the ugliest Jeep type vehicles Iíve ever seen; the Laffly v10
  • Twelve pages on the combat history of the 345rd CACC including five side color profiles and a chart of individual tank markings
  • Six pages on French trucks of the Great War with two color profiles
  • Eleven pages that are the second part covering the use of towed antitank guns in WW2 including unit organization and towing vehicles
  • Six pages covering the pre-war French-Belgian Alliance
  • Six pages on the Great Warís Model 1877 155 mm canon, including two camouflage profiles
  • Four pages on the towed French field kitchen used in WW2
  • Ten pages of the second part of the ďLife and DeathĒ of a Somua tank squadron including 17 photos of the tanks in action and five color profiles
  • Six pages on French field telegraphs of the Great War
  • Nine pages that mark the conclusion of a four part series on the tank development programs of the late 30ís covering the Char G1 series finish out the issue
For me that final article is the highlight as you simply canít find this information anywhere else and certainly not illustrations of the three proposed turret designs of the Renault G1R that would have been facing off against the Panzer IVís had the war been delayed.

Conclusion

You simply canít find this information anywhere else. The French army equipment of the two wars has been weirdly neglected and itís unfortunate as it was both highly innovative and interesting. This publisher has gone a long way to making that information available I find the value for my dollar (or Euro) to be exceptional.

SUMMARY
Highs: Dense content Variable subjects Plenty of color profiles High quality design and production Well researched text on very rare subjects
Lows: Expensive to obtain in USA.
Verdict: Hands down, this is the best AFV historical magazine I've yet found. Nothing else comes close and, if you have even a passing interest in French tanks or equipment from the two World Wars, you can't beat this magazine.
Percentage Rating
100%
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: L17839
  Suggested Retail: Ä6,90
  Related Link: Manufacturer's website
  PUBLISHED: May 12, 2014
  NATIONALITY: France
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.45%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.83%

About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)
FROM: ALABAMA, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2018 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. All rights reserved.



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