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Designing the T-34...

...Genesis of the Revolutionary Soviet Tank, from Morton Books

Title: Designing the T-34

Author: Peter Samsonov

Publisher: Gallantry Books

ISBN: 978-1-911658-30-6

This new book from Gallantry Books, an imprint of Mortons Books, makes for an interesting read. A soft-cover book of 90 pages, it details the development story of the Russian T-34, perhaps the most influential tank designs to come to fame in WW2. Written by author Peter Samsonov, who is the man behind the well known Tank Archives blog, this is a useful and informative reference.

Starting with an Introduction which itself provides some interesting background, and how experience from the Spanish Civil War helped provide some lessons that prompted some of the design requirements for a new Russian tank. These included gun elevation and protection against petrol bombs thrown from above in urban fighting. Looking to replace both the T-26 and the BT series, designs for new prototypes, the A-20 and A-32 were both pursued. The A-20 had just 4 roadwheels, while the A-32 was a but wider and had 5 roadwheels.  Both had their suspension based on the American Christie design. There were changes to the requirements and a degree of competition between factories and designers. The result became the A-34 prototype, also with a Diesel engine. Various elements needed more testing, though the story tells us how the T-34 was authorised for production. Production vehicles were delivered but not all had been used, thanks partly to a lack of trained crews and spare parts, nor the necessary support elements before the German invasion started.

It meant that many of these shortcomings had to be explored only after war had broken out. The interesting and well informed text has the additional benefit of some fine archive images, 4-pages of colour profile artworks and a number of photos taken at modern day sites such as Patriot Park in Moscow and the T34 Museum. Some excellent detail for modellers who are interested in these early variants. A book that will attract modellers and armour historians alike.  The added benefit is that this is also well priced, so a very good value book to add to your reference bookshelf.


Thanks to Mortons Books for this review copy.


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