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T-26 Light Tank: Backbone of the Red Army

T-26 Light Tank: Backbone of the Red Army Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2014 Title T-26 Light Tank: Backbone of the Red Army
Author Steven J. Zaloga Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781472806253
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


Statistics tell the tale.  Between 1930 and 1940, more Soviet T-26 tanks were manufactured than any other tank in the world.

In fact, author Steven J. Zaloga reveals, "more were produced than the combined French and German tank production during this decade."

So begins Zaloga's handy little handbook, T-26 Light Tank: Backbone of the Red Army – number 218 in Osprey's popular "New Vanguard" series.

The first major Soviet armor program of the 1930s, the T-26 retained the hull and suspension of its Vickers 6-Ton antecedent.  Changes to the turret and armament fundamentally improved the design.  And variants fought in Spain, China, Poland and Finland.

Hitler's 1941 invasion decimated T-26 numbers.  Of the 1165 in Western front service, 22 June 1941, less than 150 remained five months later.  Survivors soldiered on in second-line duties.  And some even saw action against the Japanese during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945.

Coverage follows Osprey's proven "New Vanguard" prescription.  With two minor exceptions, period photos support the survey.  Sidebars, extended captions, tables and charts augment the account.  Henry Morshead's excellent color illustrations offer plenty of modeling inspiration.  And Zaloga even provides the formula for the standard Soviet armor paint – 4BO camouflage green!

A superb little study, Steven J. Zaloga.  Now may we have a companion volume on the Vickers 6-Ton family?  And while you're at it, how about another on Soviet BT and American Christie tanks?

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!