IntroductionSoviet Lend-Lease Tanks Of World War II
from Osprey Publishing LTD
is a new book from armor authority Steven J. Zaloga. This softcover book is 48 pages of content, illustrated by Henry Morshead. The book is the 247th title in Osprey's New Vanguard series and catalogued as NVG 247
, with the IBSN 9787472818133
Osprey tells us,
The Red Army suffered such catastrophic losses of armour in the summer of 1941 that they begged Britain and the United States to send tanks. The first batches arrived in late 1941, just in time to take part in the defence of Moscow. The supplies of British tanks encompassed a very wide range of types including the Matilda, Churchill, and Valentine and even a few Tetrarch airborne tanks. American tanks included the M3 (Stuart) light tank and M3 (Lee) medium tank and the M4 Sherman tank, which became so common in 1944-45 that entire Soviet tank corps were equipped with the type. With these Western tanks, the Soviets were finally able to beat back the German tide in the East.
This study examines the different types of tanks shipped to the Soviet Union during the war, Soviet assessments of their merits and problems, and combat accounts of their use in Soviet service using full colour artwork, contemporary photographs and detailed cut-away illustrations.
During the war and since there has been disagreement about the significance of Western Allied lend-lease weapons for the Soviets. This book examines that controversy as well as presenting interesting information about the tanks.
Mr. Zaloga explains the situation the Soviets faced after Germany attacked them. Gargantuan combat losses of Red Army tanks and the mad scramble to move Soviet factories away from the Germans left the Soviets in dire straits. The book explains how thus the Russians and their sudden British allies struck a deal to siphon off badly needed tanks from England. Six months later America was involved and US equipment joined their English cousins flowing eastward.
The book touches upon the controversy that has swirled ever since. Did Lend-Lease save the Russians? It discusses the ratio of Lend-Lease tanks to Soviet designs through the end of the war.
Which tanks made it to Russia in what numbers is presented. The tank designs the Reds favored is surprising. Their preference for the Valentine resulted in the type remaining in production far beyond Britain's desires. Excerpts of Russian evaluations of Allied tanks are revealed. I found it amazing how the Western Allies' stars of 1942 were judged by the Reds in combat on the Eastern Front against the same German tanks. The author also mentioned how Russian complaints to their Western benefactors were eventually toned down by another Red general. A design beloved in Britain was described as an archaic design by the Reds and one of their newest designs was flatly refused by the Russians. The M4 Sherman and other American designs were frowned upon due to fuel requirements and yet ultimately found appreciation with Russian crews. But some important safety equipment was considered dangerous by the Soviets and removed.
Photographs and Artwork
Mr. Zaloga has access to a great selection of images. Modelers will find a bonanza of model and diorama ideas from the images in the book. Most are clear and detailed.
Artist Morshead produced several profiles and scenes for the book. Matildas, Lees and Grants, Bren Gun carriers and more are illustrated in color. A cutaway of a US half-track self-propelled 75mm is keyed with more than a dozen components.
Several tables are complied to show types and numbers of Western vehicles in various units.
When I first saw this title I was uninspired. That dramatically changed while reading the first few pages. I never would have guessed which Western tank was the most popular with the Reds and why the Russians preferred some designs over their own T-34.
As a modeler I have been inspired to to build some Lend-Lease subjects, and to create some dioramas. The photographic and illustration support is exceptional, and the tables help simplify data.
I am impressed with the book and think it is a valuable for addition for those interested in Eastern Front armor, American or British armor, and Allied cooperation. I happily recommend it.
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