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Russian Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1917-1945

Peter Brown

Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945 - An Illustrated Reference by Wolfgang Fleischer.  Published by Schiffer Military History, Altglen, PA USA. Web site www.schifferbooks.com Large format hardback, 175 pages, fully illustrated with black and white photos. ISBN 0-7643-0913-7 Price $39.95 in the USA, 32.50 in the UK

Covering all types Soviet AFVs from the experimental designs of the Czarist era to the end of WW2, this book has over 500 photos. Sadly, the choice of these photos is not good. A large proportion look to be either soldier's snapshots or publicity photos taken in Russia during the war years. This accounts for many showing knocked-out tanks with German soldiers on, in front of and in them. While this is good enough in a general book on the Eastern Front, they are far from ideal in a specialist reference book such as this. Some better photos taken on testing grounds or of vehicles in museums are included, but there are not enough of them to offset the others. Some photos of inter-war vehicles are also heavily retouched which limits their value.

The text describes the development history of tanks and self-propelled guns in a fair amount of detail. It has been translated from German and contains many literal translations of technical terms which make it hard to understand, and also far too many spelling errors making things even harder to follow. Coverage of vehicles such as armoured cars and tracked tractors is very limited, with only a few photos and little text.   Apart from a very dedicated enthusiast who may buy the book in the hope of seeing previously unpublished photos, not many people will gain much from this book. With good books, albeit usually in Russian, on specific vehicles regularly coming from the CIS nowadays with large, clear photos as well as plans albeit with Russian text, this is really a throwback to an earlier age when material on Soviet AFVs was limited to what could be taken from official publications. As such, this is not a book which can be recommended to either modellers or those studying armoured vehicles.

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