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Soviet Cruisers 1917-45

...New Vanguard 326 from Osprey

Title: Soviet Cruisers 1917-45
Author: Alexander Hill
Publisher: Osprey
ISBN: 978-1-4728-5933-4

'From the October Revolution to World War II', New Vanguard No 326 from Osprey. A 48-page soft-cover book, exploring the evolution of the cruiser fleet that Soviet Russia used in action against the German invaders during WW2.
There is a quite well established idea of the role of the cruiser in the world's blue water navies, but here we see them in use in a rather different way. Starting with the Russian Revolution in 1917 the new Soviet state inherited a number of vessels from the previous tsarist regime. This tells the stories of the 2 ships which continued in service, the Aurora and the Komintern. They later completed 3 ships of the Svetlana class, for 8 hull which had be started before the revolution. Also brought into the story due to its' tonnage and armament is the Tsar's Royal Yacht, the Shtandart, which was renamed the Marti and converted for use as a minelayer. Then there are 6 additional vessels built by the Soviets, of the Kirov class. All the ships are detailed, with their basic statistics, development and service histories. Each one includes archive photos and there are some marvellous pages of colour artwork from illustrator Paul Wright. One more interesting cruiser featured here is the Lutzow, a partially completed German vessel that was sold in the unfinished state to Stalin, with agreement that while the build would be completed in Russia, Germany would supply the armament and other materials to help finish it. Maybe no surprise that those deliveries were delayed and it was used in combat as a floating battery before it could actually be fully completed. The story of this one, which was renamed the Petropavlovsk, makes for even more interesting reading.
While Stalin may have had dreams of a real 'Blue Water Navy', these cruisers were confined to the limits of both the Baltic and the Black Sea, where they played active roles. It is a subject area I knew little to nothing about beforehand, and found this one to be an interesting read, while the photos and the artwork all sit well with my modeller's eye to it all.
Thanks to Osprey for the review copy.


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