AFVs in Irish Service Since 1922

Published: May 6th, 2011     
Book cover
Book cover
Author: Ralph A. Riccio
Reviewed by: John Ratzenberger - IPMS# 40196
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-83-61421-19-1
Other Publication Information: Paperback, 228 Pages, A4
Price: $58.00
Product provided by: Mushroom Model Publications

I am a Rolls Royce Armored Car mega-fan, so I pleaded for this book when it showed on the review list. Also, my real name is Sean O'Ratzenberger ....

The book covers wheeled and tracked armored fighting vehicles used by the armed forces of the Republic of Ireland from independence to the present day. It, of necessity, starts before then, in 1916, and works forward through the civil war as much of the armor was first used by the British and then acquired by the Free State (National Army) or captured by the Republican Army. This story is told in some detail. From there, the book covers the Irish forces during The Emergency (WW2, in which Ireland was neutral) through various UN peace-keeping operations.

Following the general and organizational history, there is a lengthy section which goes one-by-one through all vehicles used, having history, data, pictures, etc., for each. Some of this information duplicates that already told in the historical sections.

It is a great reference if you are a "War Wheels" modeler. Because my interests stop early in WW2, I got to look at a lot of modern stuff I wouldn't ordinarily see. If you are a modeler of things Irish, this book would be for you; however it is disappointing in that there are no color profiles and little on colors. Now some of that is because there is little on colors available, but still the effort seems lack-luster. There is some discussion in Appendix 4 and a model paint chart in Appendix 1 that is mostly blank space. Color photos of modern equipment in the book will be of use.

The book reads well despite a penchant for long paragraphs, some almost a whole page in length. The author has done a good job keeping the book moving, even when he dives into efforts to validate data from conflicting or non-existent sources. I like this approach because it presents his reasoning and validates the accuracy. The book concludes with an extensive reference list.

The section on WW2 organization was disappointing. Units are described, usually ending with their disbandment or conversion one or two decades later. Most pictures are of post-WW2 vehicles. The next section is on post-WW2 organization, so it's a bit confusing.

There are a few editing issues: a table on pg. 146 is not aligned and thus confusing, captions on the bottom two pictures on pg. 207 are reversed, the "Appendices" heading on pg. 191 is mis-spelled, and the previously mentioned separation of related appendices 1 and 4. Early armored cars all carried names -- it would have been helpful if they were italicized.

Personally, I'm disappointed -- it sheds little new information on the RRAC and does not show that which is available. Given the RRAC were in Ireland from 1916 until 1954, albeit in small numbers, it seems they ought to get a lot more space.

All that aside, Mushroom is to be complimented for producing an excellent book on a niche subject, and the author complimented for doing a good job with limited sources. If you are an RRAC-fan then this book may not add to your knowledge, but if you are into "War Wheels" or Irish service, then this book may be what you need and in that regard, I highly recommend it.

My sincere thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.

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