The Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922: Camouflage and Markings; Vol. 4, Against Soviets

Published on
Published on
Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Editor: Roger Wallsgrove - Author: Marat Khairulin - Illustrator: A. J. Kazakov
ISBN
978-83-65281-98-2
Other Publication Information
Hard Cover, Square Bound, A4 [8.6” x 12.0”], 128 pages
MSRP
$39.95
Product / Stock #
Rus04
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

Following up the first three in this series, The Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922: Camouflage and Markings, Volume 1 Early Years, Volume 2 “Great War”, Volume 3 “Red Stars”, comes MMP’s latest tome. This book, focused on ‘Against Soviets’ is the final volume in the series. The author leans heavily on Russian private archives, as well as archives, libraries, and museums.

The book is a nice hardbound, with a nice glossy cover, and 128 pages on high-quality stock with a matt finish. Mainly clear black and white period photos are supplemented with modern day color photos, color period posters and postcards, colour side and top views, and colour unit emblems and personal markings. The text is in English and quite readable. I counted 173 black and white photographs to go with an additional 21 color pictures. There were 79 color side profiles and another 51 color drawings highlighting markings details.

Part IV kicks off focusing on ‘Against Soviets’, following the last chapter in Volume 3 in this series. As can be seen below in the table of contents, the term ‘Against Soviets’ essentially refers to the White Russian army that battled the Bolsheviks (The Soviet Red Army). As in the three earlier volumes, memoirs are used heavily to good effect, bringing the action to life. Marat Khairulin has managed to collect, and in some cases partially reconstruct, the majority of emblems and signs used by the Soviet opponents during this period by military aviation units.

Unfortunately, for the White Army, airplanes were few and mostly war-weary from battle in the Great War of 1915-1917. Roundels generally consisted of the familiar white center, surrounded by thin circles of blue and then red. The British also participated in the war against the Bolsheviks resulting in some newer aircraft to supplement the older Voisins, Farmans, and Nieuports. These British aircraft often flew in their British markings rather than being re-painted. Beyond the earlier Russian roundels, the multiple White Army air forces sported several interesting markings. The collected material is presented in a clear and attractive form - colour plates, reconstructed logos, and original photographs from public and private archives. A. J. Kazakov’s color side profiles and scrap illustrations wonderfully support these original photographs.

An excellent example is represented by page 114 depicting M. A. Volkovoynov’s Nieuport 23 Fighter. You get period black and white photographs; a side view in colour; and detail of the 10th Aviation Otryad markings in scrap view. The 10th Aviation Otryad was if not the only, one of the few to sport it’s own Otryad insignia. In this case its as armored knight riding a golden eagle and holding a sword and flag in his hands.

Chapters

  • Acknowledgements
  • Part IV – Against Soviets
  • 6th Chapter – Air Forces of the White Armies
  • Pilot (Poem)
  • Aviation of the Armed Forces in the South of Russia
  • The Volunteer Army [Page 7]
  • Naval Aviation of the Volunteer Army
  • Almighty Don Host [Page 29]
  • Orders for the Don Aeroplane Division No. 67 [Table]
  • Kuban’ Cossack Host
  • Forces of the Trans-Caspian Region
  • Aviation of the Russian Army [Page 60]
  • Aviation of the North-Western Army
  • Aviation of the Western Volunteer Army
  • ‘graf Keller’ Western Volunteer Corps Aviation OdB 5 September 1919 [Table]
  • Aviation of the White Forces in the North of Russia
  • Slavo-British Aviation Corps
  • Murmansk Aviation Division
  • Aviation of the White Forces in the East of Russia
  • People’s Army
  • The Armed Forces of the All-Russian Government (Admiral A. V. Kolchak’s) [Pages 99, 114]
  • Armed Forces of the Russian Eastern Periphery (of ataman G. V. Semënov)

I was extremely impressed with this last volume and its continued high quality in the coverage and quality as seen throughout this four book series. Marat Khairulin was able to incorporate a tremendous amount of information and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline.

My thanks to Casemate, Mushroom Model Publications, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!

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