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British and American Aircraft in Russia Prior to 1941

...from Helion & Co

Title: British and American Aircraft in Russia, Prior to 1941.
Author: Vladimir Kotelnikov
Publisher: Helion & Co
ISBN: 978-1-915070-88-3

This large soft-cover book from Helion is somewhat larger than many of their other books, with 325-pages. Written by the late Vladimir Kotelnikov, a well respected Russian aviation historian who sadly passed away in 2022. This book of his has been translated by Kevin Bridge.
The story of aviation in Russia starts prior to WW1, when French designs were favourite but come to WW1 that soon turned to their interest in British types, and this continued through the Civil War and beyond. Then, leading up to the start of WW2, American designs and manufacturing techniques got more attention. With that broad overview, the book takes on the detailed stories of what happened across those elements. There are 4 main chapters, each one then sub-divided into detailed sections. Some of the aircraft were captured due to the civil war, from the White Russian forces and put into service by the Reds. For example, in the first chapter, which covers the period up to the end of the civil war. Among the 9 sub-sections are Royal Aircraft Factory, Vickers and Sopwith aircraft and one on the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, which was built in Russia in some numbers. After the end of the civil war, chapter 2 carries the story on, and includes the R-1, the Soviet version of the DH.9A and the Avro 504K was another widely used machine, but built using local materials. It moves on and more American types come into it all. Among plenty of others these included the GST, a licence built version of the Catalina while there is excellent coverage of the PS-84, also known as the Li-2, the licence built Douglas DC-3. There are lots of archive photos throughout the book, the vast majority of which I had never seen before. I think many modellers will like the details of some of the 'Dakota' variants, which can make for some interesting conversions. In addition to the many photos there are 2 blocks of colour profile artworks which I liked.
I've mentioned just a few of the aircraft types featured in the book but there are many others, often bought in very small numbers, for exploration or other specialist reasons. I learnt a lot about the influence of British and American aircraft types on Russian aviation as it grew, and some of their use in WW2 is included. I have been interested in military aircraft for well over 50 years but still knew only a little about what I was to discover in this book. The work the author did in assembling all this detail is excellent in my view.
Thanks to Helion & Co for the review copy.

Robin

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