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Soviet Naval Infantry 1917-91

...Elite Series 249, from Osprey

Title: Soviet Naval Infantry 1917-91
Author: David Greentree
Publisher: Osprey
ISBN: 978-1-4728-5162-8

Number 249 in the Elite series from Osprey, focussing on the history, uniforms and equipment of the Soviet Naval Infantry, from the time of the Russian Revolution to the modern day. A 64-page soft-cover book in the usual style of the series.
Like many other countries, Russia began putting armed soldiers on their warships back in the 16 hundreds, and this is just one element mentioned in the Introduction as part of the background to the more recent story. After the end of the First World War the units were disbanded, though in those final stages I found it sad to read of where they fought, in particular it was towns, ports and cities in Ukraine. Not reformed until 1939, they first saw combat in the Winter War against Finland. Following the German invasion of 1941, even more units were formed, in the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific Fleets. It goes on to lay out their organisation, weapons and a number of specific operations where they were used, and once again you will see names of places in Ukraine and the Crimea once again. Once WW2 was over, the Naval Infantry units underwent contraction again, only to be expanded once again in the Cold War of the mid-1960s. With equipment including new landing ships, amphibious tanks and air cushion landing craft they continued to operate and a number of places where they saw action are all mentioned. While there are plenty of archive images throughout the book, the real heart of this one sits with the 8-pages of of first class artwork (by Johnny Shumate) illustrating the various uniforms used by these units over the years, including their modern camouflage uniforms, their webbing and weapons. They all come with clear explanatory captions.
Great value for the historian but ideal for re-enactors and especially modellers who are searching for just this sort of detail. The one thing I found sad was reading the number of mentions of places in Ukraine over the years, and of course so often repeated in current News bulletins. I can't help but feel sorry for the people of Ukraine who have had to put up with this level of combat operations over so many recent generations. Excellent addition to the Elite series.

Robin

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