Any study of Russian weapons of the Second World War has to deal with the high level of secrecy in place at the time, and the often misleading information published by the Soviet regime. As a result books published at different dates often contain quite different information (as I discovered when researching Soviet artillery). It is thus nice to have a modern book on the subject that reflects the most recent research (and matches with what I’ve found).
The book is nicely structured. Each section begins with an overview of the topic, rather than leaping straight into individual items. There are also sections on the organisation of parts of the Soviet military, which provide a good background to the weapon articles (I hadn’t realised that the VVS was only part of the Soviet air force for instance).
Each major weapon and many minor types are then given an individual entry, ranging from single paragraphs for the more obscure up to about a page for major items. The technical descriptions are matched by brief accounts of the weapon’s combat record (if any), and what replaced it, so there is a flow to the story, rather than a series of isolated entries. Each weapon is illustrated with at least one full colour drawing, and many also get contemporary wartime photographs.
Once of the nice features of this book is the chapter on Lend-Lease weapons, looking at the various British and American weapons that went to the Soviet Union in large numbers, and some of which played an important role in keeping the Red Army fighting.
1 - Armoured Fighting Vehicles
2 - Artillery, Rockets and Mortars
3 - Infantry Equipment
4 - Soviet Aircraft
5 - Lend-Lease Weapons
6 - Naval Weapons
Author: David Porter