The following introduction is as provided by Tankograd Publishing:
Among the most iconic British military truck designs of the Cold War is the FV620 Stalwart family of vehicles. It is a series of 6x6, amphibious, high-mobility load carriers designed and manufactured by Alvis that served in the British Army over a period of thirty years, from 1963-93. Variants fielded (and covered in this publication) are the
• FV620 Truck, Cargo, High Mobility Load Carrier, 5-ton, 6x6, Mk 1 Alvis Stalwart
• FV622 Truck, Cargo, High Mobility Load Carrier, with winch, 5-ton, 6x6, Mk 2, Alvis Stalwart
• FV622 Truck, Cargo, High Mobility Load Carrier, Fitted For Radio (FFR), with winch, 5-ton, 6x6, Mk 2, Alvis Stalwart
• FV623 Truck, Cargo, High Mobility Load Carrier, with winch and crane, 5-ton, 6x6, Mk 2, Alvis Stalwart, Artillery Limber; and the
• FV624 Truck, Cargo, High Mobility Load Carrier, with winch and crane, 5-ton, 6x6, Mk 2, Alvis Stalwart, REME Fitters.
Extensively covered are also the development history, technology and active service with many hitherto unpublished in-action photographs.
This offering from Tankograd Publications covering the FV620 Stalwart, or as my dad called it the Stoly, is a soft backed book with both German and English text. The text is split cleanly on the page with German text on the left side and English on the right side of each page. This offering has 64 pages of a nice gloss paper that shows the photographs at their best. The book is A4 in size and printed in a portrait style. The book offers 10 pages of dedicated text followed with photographs and graphics from that point on for the most part.
The Stalwart truck is a memory from my much younger days which due to its unique look easily identified by young and old alike. It is due to the fond memories I have of seeing this vehicle on the roads around me that I really looked forward to reading and looking at this title. The 10 pages of text do an excellent job of covering the topic in a restricted number of pages; this is started with a short history of the company from the end of World War 1 when Holley Brothers Engineering of Coventry was purchased by Thomas George John. Thomas George John In collaboration with a company called Aluminium Alloy Pistons limited that produced aircraft engine parts sold under the ‘Alvis ‘ name and later released a car between them. These two companies eventually becoming the ‘Alvis Car and Engineering Company Limited’ producing cars such as the Alvis 12/50 and not forgetting racing and luxury touring cars with which they also had success.
As with most things in the UK everything stalled for World War 2, but in 1946 car production resumed along with aircraft engines. The history of the Alvis companies march into military vehicles, or more accurately military contracts, there greatest successes being the Saladin, Saracen and Salamander during the 1950’s early 60’s. It was the Alvis company’s range of 6 wheeled trucks that launched them into the big time with steady production and upgraded models of the Stalwart. The stalwart staring life as an amphibious truck, but as time went on the duck board and propelling water system was removed and it became a good quality truck. The text in addition to covering the history of the company also provides great information on the various vehicles that went into service.
The photographs in this publication are all of a good quality and a good mix of colour and black and white offerings. Each and every photograph is accompanied by excellent captions written in both German and English. I am really pleased with the efforts that Tankograd put into the photograph captions as it saves a lot of head scratching and further searching. I am also very pleased that the Stalwart is covered in many of its roles and even has great photographs of the P1, 2 and 3 trials vehicles.
This title ends with a great section covering the technology present in the stalwart over 9 pages. This covers the various elements of the vehicle such as braking, steering and cooling system, but is not restricted to that as the various elements such as the crane that was added in some cases was also covered. There are graphics that cover these elements and provide easier to understand information in conjunction with the written text. In this section there is a reasonable walk around of the vehicle covering some nice details for clarification. This section also covers the sad demise of the Stalwart, mostly as range targets, a very sad end for an iconic vehicle that also sold abroad.
I am a little biased about the Stalwart that reminded me of fun times as a kit and a continuing sight as a youth, this has resulted in me being very keen on this title from Tankograd Publications. I found the text, photographs and graphics do a great job of providing an interesting read and visual introduction to the Stolly and gives the reader an opportunity to learn about this Iconic British truck.
Highs: A great mix of text and images covering the Stalwart.Lows: None.Verdict: I really enjoyed reading this title and the memories it conjured up, and while you may not have the memories you will enjoy the book.