Combat Vehicles of Russia's Special Forces

...New Vanguard 282 from Osprey Publishing

Title: Combat Vehicles of Russia's Special Forces
Author: Mark Galeotti
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4728-4183-4

New Vanguard number 282 from Osprey gives us a good look at the variety of vehicles used by the assorted specialist units of the modern Russian armed forces. While some might immediately think of 'Elite' units, really a lot of these are I think better described as 'Specialists'. Since the end of the Cold War there have been lots of changes and if like me you may have lost track of what has been going on in Russia since that time, then this is a good way to do some catching up. All packed neatly into a 48-page soft-cover book.
Following a brief Introduction, the book is broken down into a number of sections, starting with The Spetznaz, perhaps the one unit that is considered to be an Elite unit, and who get priority in what equipment they want. Then there are the other Specialist groupings starting with the Airborne Units, whose requirements include having lighter, air-portable vehicles but which can still pack a punch. Next Naval Infantry, again with their own special needs before getting to specialist units in the Army for Arctic, Desert and Urban warfare and then the other specialists such as Internal Security and Nuclear Security tasks. Some equipment is very new, while others are new systems but based on older, more established vehicle chassis such as the BMD and MT-LB. A number of the newer vehicles mirror the same needs of Western powers in the last 20 years or so, the development and deployment of various MRAP types such as the GAZ Tigr and KamAZ Taifun. Each section is well illustrated with a mix of neat colour artwork and plenty of photos.
Rounded off with a look at what the future development programmes might hold there are certainly a wide variety of vehicles in use, though I think you have to remember the sheer size of Russia, the geographical challenges that entails, and the mix of potential threats they face, or perhaps some may think the threat they pose to others. An interesting addition to the New Vanguard series.
Thanks to Osprey Books for our review copy.

Robin