Tanks at the Iron Curtain 1946-60
...Early Cold War Armor in Central Europe, from Osprey Publishing
Title: Tanks at the Iron Curtain 1946-60
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Sub-titled 'Early Cold War Armor in Central Europe', this 48-page soft-cover book is number 301 in Osprey's New Vanguard series. A useful reference for any armour enthusiasts and modellers interested in the development of tanks in the period immediately following WW2, and the beginning of the Cold War. Written in this case by one of my favourite authors on armour subjects, Steve Zaloga.
The book is divided into 4 main sections, the first and third of these are broken down into a number of sub-sections. It starts with The Tanks, Doctrine & Organisation, which in turn is broken down by the different nations, so Soviet, Warsaw Pact, USA, UK, France, Federal Republic of Germany and Other NATO Nations. That is followed by Tanks in Battle, though not in Central Europe of course, before considering Technical Analysis, which includes gun & ammunition performance, fire control and night fighting before finishing off with Tank Comparisons. There was plenty of legacy equipment at the end of WW2, including the large number of tanks remaining from WW2 with the Soviet army. Many however were war weary, particularly the T-34/85s but with the war over, there were heavy tanks such as the IS-10 but failures such as the T-44, which was soon replaced with the new, early versions of the T-54. All sides were coping with NBC protection, new HEAT rounds and new night fighting equipment. It was a time of great change. The Centurion features from the UK, which French armoured units used both Panthers in some numbers, and the new ARL-44. It makes really interesting reading, it have plenty of comparative tables and is well illustrated in the usual Osprey style, with a good selection of colour profiles of tanks from all the countries involved, plus archive photos.
This is set to be the first of three books on the whole subject. This first one looks at the post WW2 period, up to 1960. The next will consider 1960 to 1975 and the last will tackle 1975 to 1990, which marked the end of the Warsaw Pact, and the end of the so-called Cold War. This one is a really good start and I for one look forward to seeing the next two books in the series. Certainly one I'd recommend.
Thanks to Osprey for our review copy.