Sunday, February 25, 2007

Russian Tanks of World War II: Stalin's Armored Might by Tim Bean and Will Fowler

Overall a good introduction for those interested in the tanks that the Soviet Union produced as well as their design histories. A few problems persist in the fact that some errors are quite clear, for example when describing an Order of Battle instead of an artillery battalion an 'artillery division' is listed, the problem here is that artillery 'divizion' in Russian means battalion, whereas a 'divizia' is a division and at least one picture has apparently been mislabeled (page 26).

Aside from these errors there are many interesting facts and the histories behind each design is quite interesting and eye opening. Many of the first tank units that were formed by the Red Army in the 1920's contained only foreign tanks. When Soviet tank production began it was helped along and mainly based on foriegn tanks that were sold to the Soviet Union through various companies from England and the US. The Germans and the Soviets signed a treaty which helped the Germans develop their tanks on the territory of the Soviet Union and that s well proved helpful to future designs. But many of the better tanks were less so influenced from 'outside' the Soviet Union, like the T-34 and KV-1 which went on to be a huge shock to German troops during the first few years after Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union.

Again, a good reference for beginners, not an expensive book and gives a good account of where the various tanks excelled and in what ways they proved inferior in in the midst of battle.

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