Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II Book Review
|Date of Review||July 2017||Title||Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II|
|Author||Steven J. Zaloga||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||48 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$18.00|
The 1941 Nazi invasion débâcle decimated Soviet tank forces. Red Army equipment losses included a staggering 20,500 tanks out of 22,000 that year alone.
Armor from The United States, Britain, and Canada helped replenish Soviet shortages before the critical defense of Moscow. Today, we call those essential shipments by the convenient shorthand "Lend-Lease".
Now Steven J. Zaloga illumines that urgent Allied effort in Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II – 247 in Osprey's extensive "New Vanguard" range.
Valentines. Matildas. M3 Lees. M3 Stuarts. M4A2 Shermans. Those familiar designs dominated deliveries. In fact, success of the Valentine in light scouting roles prompted the Red Army to end "its own light tank production in 1943" in favor of the British vehicle.
Rarities – and relative rarities – also appear. Like the Tetrarch airborne tank – which actually fought in the Caucasus campaign with the Red Army's 151st Tank Brigade. And the halftrack T48 tank destroyer – the 57mm Gun Motor Carriage, which the Soviets designated Su-57.
Fascinating facts season the study, too.
Did you know that, in August 1941, "Stalin indicated that he would like to send Soviet specialists with tank designs to manufacture them in the United States"?
The proposal, Zaloga notes, "was ignored that rather than rejected and the Soviets never pressed the idea any further". Still, can you imagine the historical ramifications of, say, quality T-34 production in North America?
Zaloga also calls Soviet T-60, T-70 and T-80 light tanks "dreadful" and "wretched" – but never elaborates. How about an Osprey volume on that ubiquitous armored vehicle line?
Extended captions and informative tables augment the account. B&W photos and one action painting support the study. A color cut-away illumines the Su-57. And nine profiles and two front views – with authoritative camouflage notes – sample the swath of Lend-Lease tank schemes.
"Soviet evaluations of Lend-Lease tanks were all over the map," Zaloga notes. "One report would praise some technical feature only to have a report from another unit damn the same feature."
Indeed, Western and Russian histories starkly differ on the importance of Lend-Lease armor to the overall Soviet war effort.
Find out why. Get Zaloga's brilliant little book.
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!