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IS ARVs - Tankograd Special #1

Peter Brown

Tankograd Special No 1, published by Tankograd Publishing, Ullitzstrasse 11, 95183 Trogen, Germany. 36 pages, A4 size. Price DM32 plus postage direct, credit card payment cannot be accepted however. Available in the UK from Barbarossa Books barbbook@dircon.co.uk price 10 plus postage and they do take credit cards.

This new venture from Tankograd Gazette magazine covers the many armoured recovery vehicles based on the Russian Stalin series of tanks and the SP guns based on them. Their development is followed from early vehicles modified by units from old or damaged gun tanks, which lead to a standardised basic towing vehicle using turretless gun tanks. A more sophisticated type was produced when  ISU gun carriers became available, with guns removed and fitted with winches and anchor spades this resulted in a more capable and versatile machine. These served well until the 1990s supporting Russian armoured units. Each of the successive types is described and illustrated with photos and line drawings from original user manuals, nine sets of four-view 1/76th scale plans are included and a list cross-referencing NATO and Russian designations. As extras, the ISU-K command vehicle, Polish and Finnish ARVs and a Czech civilian bulldozer based on the IS are also covered. The ISU based BTT-1 is shown in great detail. This has many photos of a vehicle preserved in Israel with both general and detailed close-ups shots
used with handbook extracts, including interior views, and plans of the many additional fittings to give modellers ample material to build one in miniature. The book is welcome for its good coverage of a previously neglected series of vehicles. Maybe not as sexy as tanks but still worthy of study and modelling.

As an aside, Tankograd Gazette the magazine has now entered a new phase. Originally produced in photocopied form for a limited print run, it is now well enough established to be professionally printed which shows off its content to the best advantages, particularly the photos. The initial eight issues have contained articles on many mainstream and off-beat subjects, and the new-format Number 09 has a typical mixture. These range from the KV-1, T-34 maintenance and the Br-17 heavy gun of WW2 to modern vehicles like the MAZ-537 8x8 heavy recovery vehicle,  BTR-80 special command variants and
Israeli T-55 rebuilds. In typical magazine format, each issue usually includes reader's letters with feedback on earlier articles along with book reviews on Russian vehicle subjects. It is a good choice for anyone interested in Soviet/Russian AFVs and doubly so for being in English although translated from German. Current subscription can be had direct with postage extra depending on destination, though payment must be in International Money Orders or other cash-type methods. Barbarossa Books stock back issues and can also provide subscriptions paid for by credit card.

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