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Otechestvennye bronirovannye mashiny- XX vek Tom 2 1941-45

by A. G. Salyankin, M. V. Pavlov, I. V. Pavlov, I. G. Zheltov

Eksprint 2005

This new Russian book titled “National Armored Vehicles, Volume 2: 1941-45” is the best single volume history of Soviet AFVs of World War II to have appeared to date. It is hardcover, 448 pages long, A4 format, and includes a couple of thousand photos and illustrations. It can be compared to a Hunnicutt book on Soviet AFVs. The earlier volume covered AFVs from 1918 to 1941 and was about half the size, though of similar quality and appeared in print three years ago. The chapters cover tanks; self-propelled artillery; specialized armored vehicles (flamethrowers, wading tanks); specialized AFVs and tank chassis (armored tractors); armored engineer vehicles (minerollers); and armored cars. Each chapter begins with an overview and the tank introduction is 103 pages long treating issues such as trends in design, wartime production, armament, ammunition, radios, fire controls, and other subjects. The chapters then progress to an encyclopedia treatment of the wartime vehicles by category (light, medium, heavy) and by type.

The book is a bit problematic for English-speaking audiences since it is entirely in Russian. On the positive side, there are numerous illustrations and drawings. The photos are generally small and well reproduced but since it was printed on soft paper the clarity is good but not quite as good as those in Hunnicutt or similar books on gloss stock paper. There are numerous scale plans in the book to no particular scale but they tend to be side/front views with few comprehensive 4-view drawings. However, there are numerous illustrations extracted from technical manuals and other sources providing cross-sections of tanks, tank components, armor layouts or other details. In spite of the relatively small size of the photos, this is offset by their selection and rarity. The book covers many tanks and ther AFVs never seen in print before including new shots of some of the lesser known tanks as well as the first photos yet published of many prototypes. The book is not really aimed at modelers specifically, but at a broader audience. So there are no color drawings nor are their many detailed close-up photos. However, there are plenty of photos of interest for anyone who regularly models Russian subjects.
The book provides a great deal of new detail on Soviet wartime tank design including the most comprehensive tank production figures to date, and some excellent charts on Soviet tank deployment in 1941. The histories of the individual vehicle types are excellent. For example, the section on the T-34 contains the best survey to date of the origins of the T-34-85 including several new photos of interim 85mm tank types. This is not a modeler’s guide however, so don’t expect to find a comprehensive list of every production variation of the T-34. This book is an exceptionally fine study of Soviet tank development, and an absolute must for any modeler seriously interested in Soviet WW2 tanks. Two further volumes are planned on post-war AFV development.

I mail-ordered my copy through Eastview Publications based in Minnesota which has an office in Moscow that handles the actual orders. On the positive side, they are a US based firm so credit card orders are not a problem and I have ordered from them frequently. On the negative side, the price is not cheap at $59.00 and about $20.00 airmail shipping. Their order number is A2046782 and they can be reached at www.eastview.com.