This is a fairly traditional Osprey Man at Arms book looking at the Soviet armed forces during the early stages of the Second World War 1939-1941, when the ill equipped and old fashioned Soviet forces faced superior German forces.
The problem with the book is that it tries to do too much in the limited space of the Man at Arms format. As well as detailing early Soviet forces uniforms and organisation (which is does a decent job of) it gives a brief outline of the early war and army campaigns - in the space available this does little but wet the appetite for greater detail and although sets the context (such as detailing the purges) the space could perhaps been better given over to more organisational detail.
The book details a huge subject covering navy, army and air force with good use of photographs and a striking set of colour plates. Some of these are obviously computer generated and not to everyone’s taste as they do not always fit in the well loved traditional osprey artwork style. Information on uniforms makes up just over half the book with background detail and summary of army campaigns making up the rest of the 48 page book.
Where the book does do well is in the sections on the details of the uniforms and organisation and this is its strength making it a useful addition for people with an interest in the Soviet forces of this period and those who war game this period, and the use of contemporary photographs does help bring the subject to life.
The Course of the War in Outline
The Soviet High Command
Red Army Land Forces
Summary of Land Force Campaigns
Land Forces Uniforms
Red Army Air Force
NKVD Security Forces
Author: Dr Nigel Thomas