Military Briefs No.5 - Australian Leopard AS1 Family of Vehicles
by John Myszka, Peter Jarrat, Phil Parkinson and Andre Scheitler, 2014
ISBN 0-9577586-5-0
192 pages, A4 soft cover, perfect bound. 450+ black and white and colour images.
Two sets of scale drawings of the 2007 version of the Leopard AS1 in 1.35 and 1.72 scales. Ten appendices.

One of the most popular Leopard 1s has to be the Australian Leopard AS1. We have already been spoilt with Mike Cecil's book, Battleground Leopard . Now we have a new production from Mouse House which gives a much broader background to the history and useage of this colourful tank as well as its support vehicles.

This major work covers just about everything you need to know starting with the comparative trials of M60 and Leopard, description of the vehicle, coverage of Leopard support tanks, water crossing, the first exercise, in service modifications, Leopard gunnery trainer, additional Leopard purchases, experimental Leopards, roadwheels, Australian Leopard camouflage, vehicle markings, Leopards on exercise - 1980 to 2007, tank transporters, rail transport, crew. Not much is left out at all and this doesn't include a very thorough appendices (including models available from Mouse House), not to mention 1.72 and 1.35 scale drawings of Leopard AS1.


Possibly the best section is Leopards on Exercise which covers about 40 pages and shows the tanks and support vehicles in a multitude of situations and camo schemes. With two or three photos per page, there is plenty to revel in.


The particular features of the Australian Leopard are covered very well as are the different engineer attachments (mine plough, mine roller and dozer). All of the support vehicles are also covered well, including the driver trainer which is not often seen in print. What I found most interesting was several pages describing the evolution of various styles of turret basket - and there are quite a few.

Some of the photos are a little on the dark side and one or two facts are not correct. For instance, two photos of Leopards with cast 'waffle' exhaust grilles are noted as Canadian when Canada never had any of these. All Canadian Leos had the same welded horizontal grilles as the AS1.

However, don't let this detract from what is an important study of a tank that saw thirty years of continuous service in the Australian Army before being replaced by the American Abrams.

Go to the Mouse House website for more information.

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