Tanks of the USSR 1917-1945
I’ve always been a major fan of Russian armor, and have built an embarrassing number of Russian armor kits over the years. Don’t ask me why. In any case, information for some of the interesting designs the Soviets have come up with over the years can sometimes be a bit sparse on the ground. Research being the vital aspect of modeling that it is, anything new in the field is always welcome.
Pen-and-Sword out of England now offers a lovely resource in their Fact Files series called “Tanks of the USSR 1917-1945” which covers the raw beginnings of the Russian armored forces to the stage where it becomes a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. This book covers everything from the first FT-17 based copies all the way through the heaviest, most formidable tank the world had seen up to that point – the revolutionary JS-3.
The book is divided into classes of tank, from light tanks through the heavies, and nothing seems to have been missed. Each design is explained in some detail, and includes what pictures are available, along with a bit of color profile art and drawings. Just so there is no confusion, this is not, by any means, an in-depth analysis of the designs nor their use on the battlefield, but rather a broad overview of the linear progression of Soviet design. In addition, this is specific to the turreted vehicles developed, and does not include any of the self-propelled or turretless designs created, which would easily fill another book this size and more.
That being said, I was surprised to note a few machines in here that I was unfamiliar with and found this to be an extremely useful guide in sorting out exactly what is still missing from my own collection. The information provided is clear, concise, and to the point – something that is sometimes lacking in publications of this type. All in all, I found this to be a fascinating tour through the growth of one of the most formidable armored forces in the world.
If you are unfamiliar with Russian armor of this period, or simply want to get a useful insight into its development, you will find this book exceedingly useful. However, it covers its subject matter with pretty broad strokes so you might eventually wish to supplement it with other publications, especially if you have a specific vehicle you’re looking to model. For what it is, however, I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
My thanks to IPMS/USA for a chance to review this interesting publication, and to Pen-and-Sword for writing this useful document.