This fully bilingual book was written in English by Gordon Arthur and translated into German by Jochen Vollert; containing 64 pages it is the newest addition to Tankograd Publishing’s Series 7000 “Missions & Manoeuvres”. Gordon Arthur, an expert on modern Korean armour, complements here his opus on US military vehicles in South Korea “U.S. ARMY IN KOREA USFK/EUSA Vehicles of United States Forces Korea / Eighth United States Army” also in Tankograd’s 7000 series. Those two books combined present a good overview of military vehicles currently deployed on the peninsula south of the 38th parallel (I have already reviewed the “U.S. ARMY IN KOREA USFK/EUSA” book on Armorama here.
between the covers
To put things into context, the book starts off with a “what if” scenario on what would happen if North Korea attacked its southern neighbour again, illustrating a very real and present threat. A recap of the main events of the Korean War follows, along with a short history of the modern South Korean Army and the current organization of its ground forces.
The rest of the book illustrates South Korean Army vehicles in the field and prototypes at industry presentations. All photographs have German/English captions describing the vehicles in detail: there are about 130 pictures in 64 pages, all but one are in colour.
The photo coverage starts with wheeled vehicles, first lighter ones such as the KM410 and KM420 light utility vehicles and the slightly heavier KM450 series (about 11 pages), moving on to gradually bigger and bigger trucks of the KM250 and KM500 families (about 8 pages), then wheeled armour (4 pages) and specialized vehicles (3 pages). It then goes on to artillery (including SPGs and rocket launchers, 6 pages), then the family of K200 tracked armoured vehicles (5 pages), moving on to M48s in South Korean service (3 pages) and finally K1 series main battle tanks and their derivatives (21 pages). It’s a good selection of South Korean military vehicles but I wish the Russian built vehicles (BMP-3s and T-80s) and a number of Korean built AFVs such as K30 family vehicles other than the AA variant and KNIFV had been covered as well.... no Korean Marines equipment, such as the AAVTP7A1, is shown but arguably that would be outside the scope of this publication.
The following is a list of the vehicles/weapons featured:
- Kia KM410 “Jeep” (local variant of the American M38)
- Kia KM412 “Jeep” (TOW equipped version of the KM410)
- Kia KM420 series (locally built successor of the KM410; slightly bigger and heavier)
- Kia KM450 et KM314/315 series of commercial utility vehicles
- Kia KM250 series 2 1/2 ton trucks (similar to the American M44A2)
- Kia KM500 series 5 ton trucks (similar to the American M809)
- Kia KM1002 8x8 tank transporter tractor and Rotem 60 ton trailer
- Fiat 6614 4x4 APC (known as KM900 in Korea)
- Doosan “Black Fox” 6x6 APC prototype
- Rotem KW1 6x6 APC prototype
- Samsung MPV 6x6 APC prototype
- M9 ACE Armoured Combat Earthmover
- BV206 tractor and tracked trailer (designated as K532 in Korea)
- K30 “Bi Ho”, twin 30mm AA tracked AFV
- “Chun Ma” AA missile tracked AFV
- KH178 and KH179 howitzers
- K205 MICLIC trailer
- K55 Self-propelled Howitzer (local M109 variant)
- K77 Fire Direction Vehicle (looks like a M992 externally)
- K9 Self-propelled Howitzer
- M278A1 MLRS
- KM809 5 ton truck based Multiple Rocket Launcher
- K200 family of vehicles (including the KIFV APC, mortar carrier, command and recovery variants but not the anti-aircraft vehicle), the AFV identified as a “K200A1” on page 37, bottom pic, is probably a mortar carrier variant, K242A1
M48A3K and M48A5K medium tanks.
- K1 main battle tank
- K1 based Armoured Recovery Vehicle
- K1 based bridgelayer
- K1A1 main battle tank
- K2 main battle tank (prototype).
The photographs live up to the high standards Tankograd has accustomed us to: great references but also very atmospheric pictures with excellent composition, colours and sharpness. Tankograd Publishing have wisely presented some photos in full page spread fashion. The majority of photographs were taken in the field; however I must say I’m less enthusiastic about the prototypes photos, which show vehicles not yet in Army service and with prominent advertising logos from Kia, Samsung or other Korean firms. The publisher also warns the reader that some tactical markings had to be deleted on some photos due to the requirements of the South Korean Army. This is understandable given the tense geopolitical situation, but is bound to annoy some modellers. However, this censorship has been very carefully “photoshopped” by the publishers and is barely noticeable.