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Osprey Publishing- SU-152/ISU-152 vs Tiger

ISBN Number:
978-1-4728-4864-2
Published:
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Publisher:
Osprey Publishing
Retail Price:
$22.00
Reviewed By:
Michael Reeves

Osprey Publishing- SU-152/ISU-152 vs Tiger

Eastern Front 1943-45

Book Specifics

Author: David Greentree

Price: $22.00

Duel Series 120

ISBN: 978-1-4728-4864-2

Softcover, 80 pages with over 60 black and white and color photos, maps, and color cutaway and battle artworks

What's Inside

 As anyone familiar with the Duel series from Osprey knows, the books usually focus on a pair of opposing forces or weapons in a particular moment in time. In this latest volume, we look at a three year span on the Eastern Front when Tiger tanks and their 88mm tank-killing guns faced off against the 152mm artillery gun mounted onto a KV tank chassis- the SU-152 that later evolved into the ISU-152 mounted on the IS chassis. This was a vital tool for the Soviets as their heavy tanks like the KV-1 and KV-2 had increasing difficulty matching up against the Tiger. 

As is the usual format, the book breaks down into the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design and Development
  • Technical Specifications
  • The Combatants
  • Combat
  • Analysis
  • Bibliography
  • Acronyms
  • Index

The Introduction does a great job setting up the state of the war as we approach the time period that is the focus of the book. The Chronology gives us an overview of the periods between 1942 to the end of the war that are relevant to the book's content. Included is this excellent map of the Eastern Front during the selected period of 1943-45.

From there, we get to Design and Development from each side- going into detail on the Soviet and German processes of heading from the drawing board to the factory to the battlefield. As is well known, the Soviets were able to maintain and even increase the pace of their wartime production whereas Germany faltered and fell behind due to lack of personnel and resources. There are some great color profiles of the two selected tanks, but unfortunately only a cutaway of the 152...I really wish they would have carried on their practice of giving each side the same treatment. You don't get the same sense of the turret size of the Tiger as you do it's Soviet opponent.

Technical Specifications is set up similarly-- and goes in depth into various aspects of the two vehicles- armor thicknesses, guns and gunsights, ammunition, engines, and radios. There are sidebars for each tanks' shells. Unfortunately, we only get a view through the 152's ST-10 gunsight and not the Tigers. Not sure of the disparity here, but it is a bit noticeable in a book that is comparing the two. 

The Combatants gives us an overview of how the tank regiments were structured and organized. The section also highlights the deficiencies that were discovered in combat as tank commanders endured combat conditions and dealt with these issues that came up while they struggled to fight and survive. We also get a brief glimpse of the conditions that were present for the crewmen as they fought and a bit of the everyday routines they went through.

The Combat sections of these books are usually the most interesting for me as we get an in-depth overview of the tanks in key campaigns during the selected period. This book is thorough in giving us glimpses of the many instances when these two met. They are as seen below:

  • Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive, August 1943
  • Krivoi Rog, October 1943
  • Rotmistrivka, January 1944
  • Cherkassy, January-February 1944
  • Nezvisko, April 1944
  • Targus Frumos, April-June 1944
  • Pleskau, April 1944
  • Operation Bagration, Summer 1944
  • Dünaburg (Daugavpils/Dvinsk)
  • Memel, October 1944
  • Ukraine, July-August 1944

I have read numerous books on the Eastern Front for some time now, but some of these battles were completely new to me- so it was fascinating to read something I hadn't seen before. Very informative! The book then finishes with the Analysis chapter giving a brief summary of these heavy tanks. The Bibliography, Acronyms, and Index closes things out.

Conclusion

The Duel series of books always are an excellent resource in a small package for some interesting information on a select topic. In this book, we get a great overview of two iconic tanks from the War and some interesting accounts of their use on the battlefield. I would have liked to have seen equal treatment for both- the missing cutaway and gunsight diagrams for the Tiger are noticeable when other books have included them for both of the featured vehicles in the past. It is a small nitpick though, and these books continue to be useful tools in modeling and getting inspiration for modelers.

Highly Recommended for modelers and historians interested in these two heavy tanks from the Eastern Front.

Thanks goes out to Osprey Publishing for this review sample.

Reviewed by Michael Reeves

 

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