book30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon
Part 1
by Samer Kassis
Elite Group, Beirut Lebanon
195 pages soft cover
687 Photos Colour/B&W

Review by Terry Ashley

The Book:
Interest in military vehicles used in the Lebanon has had an upsurge recently with the releases of the Blue Steel books and now we have this extensive work from the Elite Group of Lebanon covering 30 years of military vehicles in Lebanon 1975 to 2005.

It is actually two books in the same soft cover format of the Allied & Axis series from Ampersand with one book having 195 pages packed with 687 numbered colour and B&W photos and a second smaller book with just the photo captions which are cross referenced by number with the main book for quite an interesting format.

Text is in French and English with the text in the major book restricted to the contents index and a two page introduction with the rest taken up with the 687 photos included in the book while the second smaller book has no photos just the text photo captions.

There is a spread of about 75% colour and the rest B&W photos and are mostly semi-close shots of the vehicles but no actual close-up walk arounds with just a handful of detailed shots but are mostly large enough to see the vehicle details as well as paint schemes and the uniforms and equipment of the crews and infantry accompanying the vehicles.

The book is broken down into chapters covering the various armed groups and armies who have had a presents in Lebanon over the years covered and I will step through these with a brief description of each.

Pages 2 and 3 are a brief introduction about compiling the photos and the aims of the book.

The Lebanese Army
Pages 4 to 22: The Lebanese Army
A nice collection showing the many varied vehicles used such as various wheeled types including Staghounds (with different type turrets), VABs, Charioteers, Saladin ACs, AMX-13s and numerous M113s with different weapon fits and cam schemes, Shilkas, M48s and T-55s
Page 23:  The Arab Lebanese Army
Just two B&W photos of an M113 and AML-90 adorned with Arab slogans.

The Christian Militias
Pages 24 to 25: Guardians of the Cedar/NLP/Al Marada
Individual shots show the varied wheeled and tacked vehicles used.
Pages 26 to 29: Al Kataeb
Individual shots show the varied wheeled and tacked vehicles used.
Pages 30 to 56: The Lebanese Forces
Another extensive collection showing the numerous individual weapons such as the RPG, Milan, SAM-7, and recoilless rifles followed by many shots of ex Iranian M113s (4 pages) and ex Israeli M3 Half-tracks (6 pages), T-54/55s (4 pages) and M-50 Super Shermans plus various artillery pieces. There is usually just a single photo of each vehicle but again show the different cam schemes and conditions of the vehicles.

The Druze and Muslim Militias
Pages 57 to 61: The Socialist Progressist Party
Mostly B&W shots with again individual shots of BTR-152s, BTR-60s, AMX-13s and T-55s.
Pages 62 to 65: Amal Movement
A similar collection of B&W shots of softskins and tracked types such as M3 Half-tracks, M113s, M48s and T-55.
Pages 66 to 67: Al Mourabitoun
8 photos of various types included 2 of T-34-85s in colour showing interesting cam schemes.
Page 68: The Arab Socialist Union
4 shots in B&W of various wheeled types.

The Palestinians
Pages 69 to 74: The PLO and Palestinian Militias
This section shows the mostly wheeled vehicles with various mounted weapons to give a general overview of PLO operations.

The Hezbollah
Pages 75 to 76: The Hezbollah
Just a couple of pages showing the mainly hand held, simple rockets and mortars used.

Pages 77 to 111: The South Lebanese Army
This extensive section shows the many weapons systems handed down for the Israeli Army from early Land Rovers, WC-51 and various trucks plus numerous M3 Half-tracks modified in various ways (5 Pages), M113s again with many interesting fit outs (5 pages), M-50 Super Shermans (5 pages), Soltam mortars, T-54s and Tiran 54/55s (11 pages) including three interior shots for another interesting collection of photos.

The Occupation Armies
Pages 112 to 141: The Israeli Army
Another large section with multiple shots of wheeled types of Storm 240, Humvees with Israeli made armoured bodies, numerous shots of M113s (7 pages), a couple of pages showing Nagmashot APCs plus Ti-67s and a few shots of M60s and Centurion gun tanks. There are 5 pages of Merkava shots from the early Mk.1 to the Mk.III Baz and a couple of shots of M109s for another good overall coverage of the IDF in Lebanon with most of the photos in colour.  
Pages 142 to 171: The Syrian Army
This large section covers the various Syrian Army vehicles such as the UAZ-469 with 8 pages showing the various GAZ-66 and ZIL-157/130/131 trucks plus BTR-152 and 60s, BMPs (4 pages) and T-54/55 types (5 pages). There are a few shots of artillery and ZSU-23s and a single SAM-6. Most of the photos are in colour to nicely illustrate the cam schemes of the vehicles.

The Peace Forces
Pages 172 to 173: The Arab Deterring Force
6 B&W photos showing the vehicles of this early intervention force.
Pages 174 to 175: The Multinational Forces
Another 6 varied photos showing French and US type vehicles used.
Pages 176 to 195: The UNIFIL Forces
This final section all in colour shows the varied selection of white painted vehicles on the UNIFIL such as Toyata and Peugeot 4x4s as well as various truck types and armoured vehicles such as the RG-31 Charger, M113, VAB, SISU XA-180 and BTR-70s for a good coverage of the types.

Sample pages
This is an extensive work chronicling the many vehicle types seen in Lebanon over  the 30 year period covered and while there are no real close up detail shots (apart from a few) or complete walk arounds on a particular vehicle it makes for a very interesting collection of photos.

Anyone interested in the Middle Easy conflicts and those in the Lebanon in particular will find this an invaluably collection of reference photos with some interesting and varied diorama and modelling possibilities.

Highly recommended for the subject matter covered.

Thanks to Samer of Elite Group for the review book.

Page created December 8, 2006

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