T-34 vs Stug III...
...Finland 1944, from Osprey Publishing
Title: T-34 vs Stug III
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Number 96 in the Dual series from Osprey Publishing is another by popular historian, Steve Zaloga. This time he compares 2 AFVs which often found themselves facing each other on the Eastern Front. In this instance he has chosen a particular combat encounter that took place in 1944, in Finland. Early in WW2 Russia had fought the Winter War against the Finns, and suffered heavy casualties. In 1844 they decided to knock the Finnish and German forces out where they faced their Leningrad front.
After the introduction and a handy Chronology, the book tackles the Design and Development of both AFVs, first the T-34 and then the Stug III. Then Technical Specification, which in particular compares Firepower, Command & Control, and Protection. That is followed by a comparison of the Combatants, considering the internal arrangements of the AFVs, the crew positions and equipment. This and the previous section also includes some good internal photos for both types. It is an interesting comparison as the T-34 was of course a turreted tanks whereas the Stug, as an Assault Gun, had only a fixed superstructure. This section also includes some detail of the particular units which were to take part in the action the book considers. Next two chapters consider the Strategic Situation and then the Combat which took place. The Soviet offensive aimed to break a Finnish defensive line, referred to as the VT Line.
The attacking Soviet units were equipped with the T-34.76, fitted with the M1943 turret, and others had the then new T-34/85. The combat considers the action at Kuuterselka, when the Russian T-34' came up against the Stugs of the Finnish 1st Assault Gun Battalion. The fighting is detailed and the results then subject of a closing analysis. Add in the maps and some more super Osprey artwork, such as the contrasting sighting periscope views, these add to the good selection of archive images. All in all an interesting comparison and detailing one of the lesser known offensives of the war in 1944.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.