T-34 An Illustrated History of Stalin's Greatest Tank
...from Greenhill Books
Title: T-34 Stalin's Greatest Tank
Author: Wolfgang Fleischer
Publisher: Greenhill Books
This is a new English translation for 2020 of this book which was first published in German back in 2018. With a new Forward by Anthony Tucker-Jones, this is a marvellous reference for one of the most famous tanks to be used in WW2, the Russian T-34. A 209-page hardback it is packed with detailed text, data tables and illustrations.
There are 5 chapters that follow the Forward and Introduction, going through The Place of the T-34 in History, Development, Specialised Variants, Self-propelled Guns and finally a series of Data Tables covering all the variants, from prototypes through to the later T-44. The text tells the story, including the various differences in the tank that came from the different factories which built them. Many early examples were lost in the German invasion of Russia, which also clarified both good and bad points of the design. It also goes through the various developments to make improvements over time. Just as an example, how the main gun could be removed from the turret, initially via a removable plate at the back of the turret, then through the large turret hatch and later still, the turret need to be removed from the hull to enable the gun to be removed/changed. The T-34/76 was produced through to 1944 before it was changed to the T-34.85. As well as the gun tanks it takes us through flamethrowers, mine clearance and recovery versions among others. The SP variants include the SU-122, -85 and -100. All the text is accompanied by a host of images, both archive photos, a section of modern colour pictures of surviving examples and lots of detailed drawings of both complete vehicles and specific elements.
An excellent reference and a valuable resource for anyone with an interest in the story of the T-34. If there is just one minor disappointment, there are plenty of scale plans, but they are not a consistent scale throughout the book and the specific scale in each drawing is not indicated. That aside, a very detailed work.
Thanks to Greenhill Books for our review copy.