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FV430 Series (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Colour Books Military > Tanks Photographic Books

By Robert Griffin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 250
ISBN: 9781526742896
Published: 1st May 2019


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During the Second World War the British infantry found itself lacking suitable transport to cope with the fast moving German Blitzkrieg tactics. Various stop-gap measures were introduced with mixed success but, with the pots-war nuclear biological and chemical threat, it was imperative that a robust solution was found.

The FV300 and FV400 Cambridge carriers paved the way for the introduction of the AFV430 series in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War. Initially a basic armoured personnel carrier, the series grew to cover a multitude of roles; command, recovery, mortar, Swingfire and remote mine clearing to name but a selection. Over 50 years later variants are still in service.

This classic Images of War book not only describes in words and images the AFV430 series but traces the development of infantry carriers for the British Army.

The latest book in the “Images of War – Rare photographs from Wartime archives” series (Perhaps not totally appropriate for this title) is about the post-war FV 430 series Armoured Personnel Carrier as used by the British Army. Introduced into service at the height of the Cold War the FV 430 series was developed into a variety of specialised vehicles that served in a number of guises for over 50 years. Author Rob Griffin certainly knows his subject. Having served as an AFV crewman his text is informative and sprinkled with sufficient anecdotes to ensure the book is an easy read.
Chapter one looks briefly at the development of armoured troop carriers going from an adapted Mk IX, through the Carriers and turret less tanks of World War II, to the outdated Oxford Carrier and the FV400 and FV420 series through to the FV430 series of APCs. Chapter two describes the FV 432 Mk1-2 and concludes with a series of photographs showing the interior of vehicles being manufactured or refurbished.
Chapters three and four form the majority of the book with the former looking at Trials and Service and the latter at Variants. Chapter three examines a trial run by the Australian Army where the FV 432 was tested against the American M113. This trial did not go well for the FV432 and this goes someway to explain why this APC was never exported despite many years of service with the British Army. As with the other chapters there are a number of well captioned colour photographs. These show mainly the FV432 but also other variants on exercise and at war in the Gulf.
Chapter Four describes the numerous variants of the APC that includes fitting WOMBAT and Carl Gustav as well as the major variants like the FV 433 Abbot Self Propelled Gun. There are many good colour photographs at the end of this chapter but the layout is confusing with photographs of the various types jumbled up together. Not the authors fault but a shame as this distracts from the overall high quality of this book.
The final chapter is entitled “Growing Old Gracefully!” and looks at some examples of the APC that have either ended up either as Range Targets or have been loving restored by enthusiasts. The photographs show many sad examples of range hard targets (This includes the last example of an FV 431) but there are some photographs of some intriguing conversions including the “stretched limo” complete with champagne chiller and a glass paneled hearse!
Military model makers will find much to interest them in this book. The text is well written and there a good selection of photographs marred by not being put together in a logical sequence. But this is only a minor issue and many Post War AFVs enthusiasts will find much of interest in this book.

4 Stars.

Amazon Review

The last section, ‘Growing Old Gracefully’, is interesting, looking at the various fates that have befallen these vehicles once retired from active service, from range targets to a hearse! A really good volume for anyone interested in post- War British army. Highly recommended.

Militray Modelcraft International – reviewed by David Grummitt

Verdict: Author Rob Griffin has produced an exceptionally well illustrated book featuring hundreds of colour and black and white images showing off this remarkable vehicle.

Classic Military Vehicle, February 2020

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.

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WW2 Talk

Very interesting documentation for modelers of military vehicles at scale.

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Miniaturas JM

The author writes with knowledge and not a little love for an everyman of the real and playground battlefields of the modern day. The last time I saw one in action it was acting as an ambulance to a troop of Challenger II tanks back in a distant and very cold winter day on Salisbury Plain. I admit to having a soft spot for the old lumps and this book will give you a fun and authoritative insight into an armoured vehicle that deserves our appreciation.

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War History Online, Mark Barnes

Another well written and informative addition to the Images of War series. The images of the variants are in colour and clear and will be of great use to the modeller. The detailed history of development adds to the appreciation of this armoured vehicle.

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Vintage Airfix

Pen and Sword's iconic Images of War series continues with an intimate look at the British FV430 armoured personnel carriers. Rob Griffin's book is exemplary and fascinating.

Books Monthly

The FV430 was the backbone of British infantry mobility through the dangerous period of the Cold War and a very important military vehicle of the period – Highly Recommended

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With literally no adult or gory content this is a fine book for a gearhead/military enthusiast junior reader as young as 9 or 10, who will find this entertaining. For the Gamer/Modeller/Military Enthusiast, this is a real joy. Almost too much info for the Gamer, for the Modeller/military Enthusiast, this is a real joy. Frankly, if you are modelling this vehicle, you sort of NEED this book for its wonderful detail/interior pictures. And the specialised variants each get their own focus, especially the Abbot, so no stone is left unturned. This vehicle was the spine of the British Army On the Rhine(BAOR), and the workhorse for the UK in the Cold War, so it deserves a good book of its own and Rob Griffin has delivered. A strong rec for those that want to go deep on this vehicle, or this period.

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GoodReads, Martin

Once again this series of books provides descriptions and photographs of the variants ad would be a useful resource for anyone wanting to build any of these vehicles.

IPMS Magazine, May-June 2019

A smashing book from Pen and Sword I was so pleased when it came for review. If you know what a Bicki Box is this book will set your heart racing!... How could I give it anything other than Five mushrooms. Get a copy troops.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

In terms of an informational title I am very impressed by the way that Rob Griffin has tackled this title. I was expecting to find ten or so pages of text and the rest of the title to be photographs, but Rob Griffin has provided much more written detail that will attract those interested in learning about the FV430 family as well as the Modeller looking primarily for visual reference. I am also so impressed with the style of Rob Griffin I am looking into the other titles he has authored ‘The Royal Armoured Corps in the Cold War 1946 – 1990’ and ‘Challenger 2 The British Main Battle Tank’. The result of all this is a book that will appeal regardless of your interest in the FV430 Family.

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This is sure to prove popular with military vehicle enthusiasts, some of whom may now own their own, and ex-servicemen who used to work on them. With some excellent models on the market from Takom in 1/35, and conversions sets by Accurate Armour, I am certain this be a popular reference among modellers. Excellent.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About Robert Griffin

Robert Griffin joined the British army in 1967 as a 17-year-old junior leader and served for many years as a crewman in armoured fighting vehicles in the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards in BAOR, BATUS, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the UK and Bosnia. A recognized expert on post-war armour, he has written a number of books and articles on the tanks of the Cold War period, including works on the FV-214 Conqueror, Chieftain, Challenger 1 and FV432.

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