Osprey- Soviet Armoured Cars 1936-45
Author: Jamie Prenatt
Illustrated by: Adam Hook
Paperback, 48 pages with over 40 black and white and color photographs and illustrations and 12 side profile illustrations
The Osprey New Vanguard series always provide concise overviews of various machines of war- from the design and development through to the operational history and applications. I've always appreciated the chance to learn something I may have not known through this sort of method. I have always had an interest in early Soviet armor and when I saw this particular book, I jumped at the chance to learn about these cars. I hadn't gotten much of a chance to learn all too much on these- focusing more so in the past on the bigger beasts of the time like the KV series of tanks and T-34 variants. While the book is thin as is usual in the New Vangaurd series, the information inside is no less valuable.
The book starts with early developments, including some earlier examples I had not known of. This included the Austin and a fascinating heavy variant- the Garford-Putilov shown here:
After a brief synopsis of Stalin's First Five-Year Plan, we get to the meat of the book- the various car types. These include:
- BA-27 and BA-27M
- D-8 and D-12
- BA-3 and BA-6
- BA-20 and BA-20M
- BA-10 and BA10M
- Specialized armoured cars
We learn throughout the sections that there are two classes of armoured cars-- and are based on armament type, not weight. Heavy armoured cars were cannon-equipped and light ones were armed only with machine guns. Each of the types are accompanied by charts listing specifications, including crew, primary armament, armour thicknesses, engine hp, driving ranges and speeds based on road and cross-country. The M designations on some of these seem to represent modernized versions with additions such as improved radios or design changes to the chassis or turrets (vertical sides changed to sloped for example). The center of the book contains a neat two-page cutaway of a BA-3. After completing the various types, there is a brief overview of specialized armoured cars that for the most part did not pass the prototype stage including a series of amphibious and chemical warfare examples, as well as medical evacuation vehicles.
Ba-27, BA-I, and BA-6
The next section looks at operational actions of these armoured cars including the following conflicts:
- Spanish Civil War
- Khalkhin Gol
- The Winter War with Finland
Khalkhin Gol, 20 May 1939
The book concludes with a brief one page Epilogue and Post-War synopsis. The focus is on the BA-64 series which saw service in the Soviet Union until 1953, as well as service in Eastern Europe, China, and Albania. It saw action against United Nations forces in the Korean War as well. Photos here include restored BA-64B vehicles in Moscow and Aberdeen Proving Ground, which featured a captured vehicle from Korea in 1950.
Good things really do come in small packages-- and in this short book, one can learn a whole lot about armoured cars serving the Motherland. The book is concise and to the point and you can really pick up quite a bit of information in a short amount of time. It really took some bravery to place oneself into this tin cocoons and as the many photos of wrecked cars can attest, maybe a better word would be coffins. The included schemes provide some excellent references for those of you who have one of these variants in kit form in the stash. I am sadly lacking and need to decide where to grab an example to add to the collection. Another great addition to the bookshelf from Osprey- and it'll fit just fine!
Highly Recommended for anyone interested in Soviet armoured cars dating from pre-WWII and beyond.
Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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