...The Combat Debut of the T-35A Tank, from Fonthill Media
Title: Fallen Giants
Author: Francis Pulham
Publisher: Fonthill Media
This paperback book from Fonthill Media will be a hit with AFV modellers as well as historians. One of the tank design trends in the 1930's was for heavy, multi-turreted tanks. It proved to be something of a dead-end and most never went much further than the prototype stage. There was however an exception, and the Russian T-35 which carried no less than 5 turrets did go into production. The size of the thing meant it featured in parades and propaganda before the outbreak of WW2 but it was also a tank that was used in combat in the early stages of the war on the Eastern Front in 1941/2.
The author Francis Pulham has pulled together information from a number of sources which he acknowledges at the start of the book, and using the best collection of photos of the type which I can remember seeing. There were 59 production machines, plus a couple of prototypes and in here he gives us not just the design details and development story, he identifies all the individual chassis numbers and matches these up with archive photos to give us the story of what happened to the individual tanks, and has been able to do this for the majority of examples. Just a few remain elusive. Included in the development story are the prototype SP artillery pieces, the SU-14 prototypes which used the large chassis of the T-35. The main element of the book though is the combat history of the gun tanks. The majority of photos were taken by the Germans, clearly impressed by the huge size of these machines, even if most were lost through mechanical unreliability and the rest in combat. For some there are multiple photographs, taken at different times, showing the wrecks when they were found, and over time as they were shunted to the side, various bits went missing, they were used for target practice and were even used for signposts.
Add some neatly done artwork showing colour profiles of some of the individual tanks, followed by a chapter on the Tanks that Served Alongside the T-35, and a final chapter, Reviewing the Performance of the T-35A which makes some conclusions about the type and rounds off the book rather neatly. One to recommend for any tank enthusiast/modeller.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.