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Rocket Artillery of the Red Army 1941-1945

Rocket Artillery of the Red Army 1941-1945 Book Review

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review April 2009 Title Rocket Artillery of the Red Army 1941-1945
Author Mikhail Makarov & Maksim Kolomiyets Publisher Frontovaya Illyustratsiya
Published 2005 ISBN 5-90126-01-3
Format 72 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $30


The Germans were a bit shocked when they found out the cover term “Guards Mortar Units” really translated as Multiple Rocket Launcher units. The Soviets had created two new rocket designs, based on conversions of aviation rockets, to create the lightweight 82mm RS-82 and the medium 132mm RS-132 rockets. Fired in great volume (the 132mm ones normally were fitted to 16 rail launchers with eight “over and under” rails, but the 82mm could come in launcher modules of 8 to 72 rocket capacity).

Initially fitted to Soviet-produced trucks like the ZIS-6 6 x 4 2-ton truck, the 16-shot 132mm version was later built on nearly all of the Lend-Lease trucks the Soviets received to include the Austin K3, the Ford WOT8, the Chevrolet G7117 and GMC CCKW352, but their favorite choice was the Studebaker US6. This book covers all of the truck-mounted versions in photos and also presents color front and side views of launchers in service, which are nice for modelers.

The text covers the evolution of the size of the units. Initially they were fielded in battalions of 21 launchers (three batteries of seven each, with a 3 - 2 - 2 firing platoon breakdown) and 44 cargo trucks to carry at least 600 rockets for reloading. Later, the battalions were expanded to 24 launchers in three batteries, and regiments and divisions were formed.

“Frontovaya Illyustratsiya” – literally “Front Illustrated” – is nominally a magazine published six times a year in Russia, but its publication like all Russian low-rate publications varies. Also, periodicals carry an international ISSN number; as these have ISBN numbers they are considered to be books. Hard to find, they are usually full of photos from either the collections of Russian authors or the state archives which few in the West will ever have access to or hope to see. They are therefore very handy for anyone researching or modeling Russian subjects.

Overall this a great book if you read Russian, but even if not the photos are very useful for modeling.