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Warships of the Soviet Fleets 1939-1945

...Volume I, Major Combatants, from Seaforth Publishing

Title: Warships of the Soviet Fleets 1939-1945, Volume I, Major Combatants
Author: Przemyslaw Budzbon, Jan Radziemski & Marek Twardowski
Publisher: Seaforth Publications
ISBN: 978-1-5267-5193-5

The first of 3 volumes to detail the ships which equipped the Soviet Navy through the course of WW2. This first one, a 352-page large format hard-cover book, covers what are described as the 'Major Combatants'.
The opening elements give us the background to the book and lots of explanations that are so important to understanding the main content which follows. These include things such as how the information is organised and presented, how the ships names have been translated from the original Cyrillic script, the ship types and classification, the various Fleets and Flotillas, shipyards and constructors (both in Russia and abroad). Then we get to the meat of the book, 10 main chapters, most then sub-divided into sub-topics. The main chapters tell us what to expect, with Ships of the Line; Cruisers; Leaders; Fleet Torpedo Books; Submarines; Monitors; Gunboats; Armoured Motor Gunboats; Armed boats - Rocket boats: and finally Motor Torpedo boats. Along with the detail of each class/type there are a host of rare archive images to illustrate them throughout the book. There are also lists of each individual vessel and I for one was amazed at just how many there are!
Even after the war, this level of detail was hidden from us outside Russia itself but the authors have taken advantage of Russia opening up their historical records to the world after the early 1990s, though more recently they have been closed off again. This is a fantastic reference and when the next 2 volumes are available, they will make for a prime naval reference source to keep on your bookshelf I believe. Can't wait for the next two now.
Thanks to Seaforth Publishing and Pen & Sword Books for this review copy.

Robin

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