Monday, August 1, 2016

Reviews - Command Decision T-55 and Lebanon War books

Command Decision T-55 Tank Review - 15mm

I have a friend that swears by these models.  I'm usually a Quality Cast person but ever since the supplier I got them from went under, I've been exploring new manufacturers.  The figures are 15mm and all pewter.  They seem to fit in with my other figures, so no problem with being over or under size.  I got six of them to work on.  They come in packs of three.

Quality - These are definitely good quality futures.  The tracks and hull were cast well.  Just the little flash and mold injection spots you need to clip off and sand down.  All the turret had a seam a little bit above the bottom I had to sand off.  That was the biggest job putting them together.  The main gun barrel didn't fit in smoothly, so I just took a drill to the hole and widened it up a bit.  No biggie.  Each pack came with 4-5 tank commander  figures.  It took a bit of doing to get them to sit right in the hatches and then glue the hatches either in front or behind them and get it to stick.

Cost - You get 3 for $25.  If you have the Old Glory Army discount card, it's 40% off so $15 for the pack.  That's the best value I know of.

Painting - No trouble painting them either.  The tank came out pretty crisp and it wasn't hard to get the washes and highlights on.

Lebanon War books

I picked up a number of used books off Amazon.  Here is a quick review on each of them.

Operation Peace for Galilee by Richard Gabriel
This is probably the best book out there on the war.  What makes this one special is Gabriel is a US reporter and was invited to come over to write about the war by an Israeli newspaper.  However, his condition was that there would be absolutely no state interference and he would be free to interview anyone.  Israel surprisingly agreed to it.  Having to go through a lot of US Army OPSEC and PAO reviews myself, that is nothing short of amazing.  Gabriel also know a number of high level PLO officials from his college days, so could get views from all sides.
There isn't a lot of detail on the battles, but the lessons learned and discussion section at the end is gold.  Throughout the book you get lots of good tidbits like the Syrians attached 2-3 tanks at a time to the commandos.  The section from the tanks designers themselves and what would penetrate what I'll go over in another post when I review the stats for the various tanks involved.

Double thumbs up on this book.  If you were to get only one book on the war, this would be it.

The Lebanon War 1982 by LT COL David Eshel, IDF

The standout feature for this book is the pictures.  It is pack full of pictures, both color and black and white.  It is definitely written with an Israeli bias.  There are a couple white up about some of the battles, but nothing the other books cover in more detail.  The book was published in 1982, so right after the war.  There are great pictures for every vehicle used in the war.  This is definitely a good one to get for any modelers.

Here are two examples of the pictures in the book:

Israeli Tank Battles, Yom Kippur to Lebanon by Samuel Katz

This book has a lot more detail on the tank battles than the others.  Katz is ex-IDF and has written a number of other books on Middle East wars.  The majority of the book is about the Yom Kippur war; about the last quarter is on Lebanon.  Due to the very difficult terrain, big tank fights were pretty rare in Lebanon but Katz covers the bigger action in pretty good detail.  Infantry did a lot of the fighting over in Beirut and that is touched upon but not nearly as much as the tanks are.  There are a few good pictures in the book but they are all black and white.   

 My War Diary, Lebanon June 5 - July 1 1982 by LT COL Dov Yermiya, IDF

This isn't a book on battles or equipment, but more of a commentary on what LTC Yermiya experienced.  Right from page one you know this guy is thinks Israel has gotten away from what it stood for and what he fought for in the War of Independence.  He is in charge of logistics and taking care of the refugees and getting the occupied towns back up and running.  He is against the war from the get go but thought he could do some good, so he went when he was called up.

He writes about his experiences in trying to work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to get water, the horrible conditions in the slums and prisoner camps, and the anti Arab attitudes of some of the Israeli officers.  Every so often he really goes on some rants.  He really hates his country at the end.  This is more of a political rant book but some of his experiences are interesting.  He actually got kicked out of the army from writing this and some newspaper articles.  It's not really up my alley but others might find it interesting.

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