by Dirk Bruin
2014, Trackpad Publishing, ISBN-13-978-0-9928425-1-2
A5, landscape, full colour, 64 pages, 69 photos, RRP £9.95
The second book from Trackpad Publishing is something very special. It is also something a little different because this has never been done before.
This is a photographic document of the end of the line for Dutch Army Leopards. Granted the subject is a little sad, but the author and photographer, Dirk Bruin, has captured the essence and beauty of these hard targets with some wonderful photography.
Sixty photographs each have a page to themselves. Printed on 170 gsm silk paper, the quality of the photographs comes through. This is not just another tank book, it is a study of the end of days for these machines. A lot of atmosphere ~ and a lot of detail ~ is captured in these photographs.
We hope that this book will appeal to all people. Not only is this a document to what will never be again on the island of Vlieland (the targets have now been removed), it is a book of magical images and glorious reference.
The Royal Dutch Army established itself on Vlieland in 1956 as Cavalry Shooting Camp. For four years, a tent camp was built at the beginning of each firing season. The necessary material was brought over by landing craft and taken down at the end of the season.
A more permanent encampment was constructed in 1960, consisting of barracks to house the permanent staff and the troops in training. This trend continued in the seventies when the first Leopard 1s arrived at Vlieland. In time, the Leopard 1s themselves became the targets and these are the subject of this photo-study. In 2004, the range targets were removed and Vlieland returned to nature. This book therefore marks the tenth anniversary of the withdrawal of the Dutch Army from it~s only live firing range on home territory.
Dirk Bruin was born and raised on the island of Vlieland, lying off the north coast of the Netherlands. He has a life-long fascination with the island~s history, past and present. He has dived on many North Sea wrecks. Over the years, as a professional photographer, he has gathered together an impressive portfolio of range targets ~ and many other subjects ~ on his native island. When the news came that the tank gunnery range would be closed in 2004, Dirk decided to photograph the target area in detail. This has now become an interesting historical document of what has been ~ and will never return.
Todd Michalak has written a nice review giving more details of the book.
Other reviews and photo previews:
Vlieland Leopards - End of the Line is available from the Trackpad Publishing website.