CHIEFTAIN MAIN BATTLE TANK 1966 to Present. Dick Taylor. Haynes Publishing 2016. ISBN 978 1 78521 059 4
Conceived as the “iron curtain descended on Europe”, the Chieftain is the archetypal British Cold War tank intended to counter the massed tanks of the Soviet Army in a possible incursion into Western Europe. Given thick armour protection and a powerful armament, a multifuel engine was also envisaged to enable maximum utility on a nuclear ravaged battlefield where fuel shortages were anticipated. The complexity of developing this revolutionary engine necessitating many upgrades gave the tank a reputation of unreliability, yet eventually became a well regarded weapon after faults had been eliminated. That a considerable number were exported, despite strong competition from less costly alternatives is a testament to its ultimate soundness as a design. The book has a good description of this development and is strong on the technical account of automotive, gunnery, and fire control systems reading almost as a user manual, including how to rectify faults. All the Chieftain variants are described along with a few oddities which didn’t reach series production. The well selected photos are from the author, Tank Museum and other contributors, and include many useful detail views. A very good comprehensive account. Thanks to Haynes for the review sample. John Ham. May 2017.