If you like knowing all of the background to the subject you’re building, a new book on the Soviet T-34 tank is packed with detail, as CHRIS CLIFFORD reveals.
The T-34 can justifiably be branded legendary in the field of armoured warfare. It’s an interesting modelling subject, even if Tigers, Panthers, Shermans and the like often seem to steal the limelight.
As with any build, a good reference book is a must and this latest in Canfora Publishing’s hardback Red Machines series unpicks the development and initial skirmishes of the T-34, and in a scholarly manner. When you finally feel it’s time to stop enjoying the luxuriously finished front cover, delve into the pages proper and you’ll discover a workmanlike study of the Red Army’s tank requirements of the 1930s.
Subjects such as the quest for a reliable tank drive system, personalities involved in the T-34’s inception and design, the journey from blueprints to prototypes, and the performance of the experimental (and important) A-20 tank - which formed the basis of the T-34 - are all explored.
The authors investigate all the facets of the T-34’s early years with vigour and diligence, unearthing many official reports, factory drawings and rare period images. The vehicle’s armament and sighting equipment are explained too, as well as the powerplant, communications gear and tools/accessories. All this comes before narrative on the type’s entry into combat in 1941, when it met German forces during the latter’s Operation Barbarossa onslaught. Further official reports on this are provided and make for fascinating reading, as they highlight both the T-34’s shortcomings and benefits.
The insightful text is supported by excellent period photos, scale drawings, various data tables, and seven high-quality colour profiles with four additional illustrations.
Whether you’re set on building one, two or a whole gaggle of T-34s, this is a splendid reference, offering much on this tank’s early existence and employment. Modellers will find the visual material especially useful, but the words are just as informative.