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Haynes Chieftain Main Battle Tank 1966 to Present.

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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.

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