... Main Battle Tank from Osprey Publishing
Title: Soviet T-55
Author: James Kinnear, Stephen L Sewell
This new 192-page hardback book from Osprey is a very detailed study of the Soviet T-55 series of MBTs. Externally similar to the earlier T-54, there were a number of significant changes between the two, and these are very well explained. Not only that, but the many upgrades and developments which mean the T-55 remains in service to this day with many operators. The authors acknowledge help from a number of people, as much of the archive material is not accessible to foreign nationals, but what we see here has clearly come from the archives.
The main body of the book is split across 5 main chapters, starting with the Chief Designer of Soviet Tanks, Leonid Kartsev. That leads into the Development of the T-55 tank; Description of the T-55 and its Variants; Derivatives of the T-55 Tank Family: and the Combat Use of the T-55 Tank. If that isn't enough, there is even more great supporting information held in 12 Appendices. All the chapters are supported by a marvellous collection of illustrations. These include original design drawings, showing details such as the gear box, suspension, cooling system, electrical layout, engine compartment and more. Add some colour profiles artwork andover 400 photos, many of which are in colour, we see all the detail of the whole family of T-55 based AFVs. They include the MBT variants and upgrades over the years, along with bridgelayers, the IMR engineer vehicle, BMR Mine Clearance, Flamethrower, BTR-T and Recovery vehicles plus some experimental machines. The appendices include examples such as Technical Characteristics, Numbers Built each year, Communications Gear and much more.
There are plenty of good models in the market these days, in both large and small scales, so lots of potential for modellers and this will become a must have reference for many. With over 38,000 examples built in Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland this holds the potential for so many potential modelling opportunities. In simple terms, and having had an interest in Soviet tanks for many years, this is the best reference I can recall seeing on the subject, written by two acknowledged subject experts.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.