Tanks of the USSR
1917 – 1945
Pen & Sword Books 2017
Russia began development work on armored vehicles prior to the 1917 revolution, with a number of experimental projects under the Czarist regime. After a hiatus during the chaotic period of the early 1920s, the USSR resumed tank development in earnest in the late 1920s and through the 1930s, despite significant technological and industrial challenges. Tank design and manufacturing became a critical imperative after the German invasion in 1941, and continued for the remainder of the war and through the subsequent Cold War period.
Alexander Lüdeke’s book, originally published in German as Panzer der USSR in 2014, has now been translated into English and provides a useful overview of Soviet tank designs up to the end of WW2. The book deals only with Soviet-designed vehicles, and therefore does not touch on the foreign designs provided to the White Russian Army or those provided to the USSR under Lend Lease. The book also deals with tanks only, and not with derived vehicles such as self-propelled guns. Even with those restrictions however, the book covers a lot of material.
The subjects are divided into four major categories: Light Tanks, Fast Battle Tanks, Medium Tanks and Heavy Battle Tanks. Within these categories, each tank design typically receives 2-3 pages with a brief description and history, along with one or more period photographs and/or pictures of preserved examples. Some types such as the T-34 series get more space due to their significance and the number of variants. The narrative on each type is accompanied by a data table and scale drawings. Period photographs are typically in black and white while preserved vehicles are depicted in color.
The book includes a comprehensive table of contents which makes it easy to locate any vehicle. There is no index but the table of contents really negates the need for one.
Highly Recommended for those who need a quick ‘one stop’ basic reference for Soviet Tanks of WW2.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers for the review sample.
Reviewed by Neil Stokes
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