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Alejandro G.S "Alejandro" (UK)

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King Tiger vs IS-2: Operation Solstice 1945 (Duel)
King Tiger vs IS-2: Operation Solstice 1945 (Duel)
by David R. Higgins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good history but not very specific, 17 Oct. 2011
I have always been very interested in these 2 tanks, and this is why I got the book soon after it was released. I have to agree with Ian Holloway -good history, little data-. To start with the positive things, the diagrams and photos were great. The history of both vehicles is well covered but some statements can be debated. The T-55 was developed from T-44, and the Leopard-1 had not much in common with Tiger-II's philosophy. The IS-2 armament debate is oversimplified: with the 100mm the Rate of Fire (ROF) was higher and more ammunition could be carried, but the difference when installed in the IS-2 turret was not high (28 rounds vs. 29). The penetrations were calculated for Soviet steel. When deployed in combat, the 122mm worked very well against German steel, which had become more fragile since mid-1944.

There is little comparison in the book, and it's not very specific. Tiger-II did not change very much during its production, but this was not the case with the IS-2. More emphasis should be placed on this because the 1944 version had better protection, improved optics and a higher ROF. The steel was subjected to an improvement program to eliminate defects. The hardness data in the book does not specify for which model it is. Also, Tiger-II numbers in the Eastern front built up slowly. The first were sent to SPzAb 501 in June (and not March/April as the book seems to imply in page 5). In fact, Tiger-I outnumbered II until January 1945.

It was nice that the author analysed Operation Sonnenwende as other accounts focus on Sandomierz/Kielce/Hungary. However, there aren't really any combat encounters and there is not much detail. In any case it should be remembered that these books are only 80 pages, so it's hard to go into detail without overextending.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2011 2:42 PM BST


North American P-51 Mustang (Crowood Aviation)
North American P-51 Mustang (Crowood Aviation)
by Malcolm V. Lowe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent research, 3 Aug. 2010
As I have always been interested in the P-51, I bought the book keeping in mind previous books by Crowood, as well as titles published by author. After finishing reading the book I can say the money spent was an excellent investment.

Lowe has done a very solid research on the topic and this is shown all around the book. All the chapters are very concise and the aircraft is covered extremely well. The author does not doubt when it comes to tackle myths like the number of P-51 delivered to Italy, the time it took to develop the Mustang, or the whole controvery regarding the scoop/radiator design. Thephotographs are also very good, some being really rare like a P-51 Mk I with 40mm cannons.

The book starts with NAA overview and P-51 development, explaining how some officials were opposed to the design and also to the whole deal with the UK. RAF Mustangs and early operations with the Allison engine model are well covered, which is a nice change as they tend to be forgotten.
There is a whole chapter describing the development of the Merlin engine variant, providing much more detail than in previous publications. Next chapter describing Mustang operations in Europe as long range scorts has been well covered other books such as the Osprey series. This is followed by another chapter describing operations in the far east.

Development and operations during WW2 is covered by the first 6 chapters, but there are another 6 covering development of post-war variants (including those by Cavalier) , the twin F-82, Korea, operators and air racers. The development and fielding of P-51H, as well as the experiments/missions carried out by the twin F-82 are again very well covered. The same can be said about the chapter on the Korean War, which explains the use of the Mustang by different nations. Sections on naval Mustangs, NAA, Allison engine or Rolls Royce are also very informative, and can be found across the whole book.

The users are then covered in a whole chapter. Again, this is where you see good research as the author gives details of Soviet and Japanese evaluations. On the other hand the text can be a bit repetitive, as some stuff has been covered in the previous chapter. The book ends with a review of air racers, competitions and new production aircraft. I did not find this as interesting but can be a nice addition for other people.

Overall, an excellent title. The book could have been improved by providing more accurate references, and also a couple of maps to help describe WW2 and Korean operations. In any case it's the best book on the aircraft I have read.


German Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia
German Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia
by Yefim Gordon and Sergey Komissarov with Dmitry Komissarov
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting book., 15 Jan. 2009
This volume is a truly interesting one. Yefim Gordon et al provide a compilation of German aircraft used and tested by the USSR/Russia in 80 years. The book is divided into several sections and categories. Documentation from Soviet AF Scientific Research Institute has been used and some of the data are extremely interesting. A very nice compilation of German airplanes tests.


Soviet Air Power in World War 2
Soviet Air Power in World War 2
by Yefim Gordon
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting more from this book., 21 Nov. 2008
When I first saw the book, I was impressed. With more than 500 pages, it is probably the largest book on Soviet Air Force during World War 2. However, as I read it my opinion got worst.

The main problem is that much content is extremely similar to books already published by Yefim Gordon. I found that the sections on Yak-1/3/7/9, IL-2/10 and LaGG-3/La-5/7 fighters were similar to the ones in his Red Star series. The sections on foreign aircraft was more interesting, altough I expect much data to be similar to that published in 2 volumes on German/American aircraft in USSR.

The chapter on state of Soviet Air Force, operations and pilots is more interesting and has some really nice tables/photographs (this applies to the whole book). However, some of his data on air battles like Kuban seems outdated.

The final criticism -which can be made to all of his books- is that Y.Gordon focuses too much on "how the design bureau made and improved the airplace". The operations and opinions of pilots are not covered in so much detail.

My verdict: it is a good book providing a reasonable summary but much data can be found in other volumes. On the other hand you won't find many more books about the subject in English, but I consider Christer Bergstrom a far better author. Modellers will definitely appreciate artwork/photos.


Black Cross/Red Star: Vol. 2: The Air War Over the Eastern Front
Black Cross/Red Star: Vol. 2: The Air War Over the Eastern Front
by Christer Bergstrom
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, 31 Jan. 2007
This is one of the best books I have read on air warfare in the eastern force. The author uses both german and russian data, illustrations are great and the detail is very good. The book is +300 pages long and contains plentiful information.


The IS Tanks: IS-1, IS-2, IS-3 (Russian Armour)
The IS Tanks: IS-1, IS-2, IS-3 (Russian Armour)
by M. Baryatinsky
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good work altough too short., 31 Jan. 2007
M. Baryatinsky work is good, altough I found it a bit too short. The main problem is that much of the information in the book can be found in internet, on websites such as [...] and [...] In any case it is the best book I have read on the IS-2 in english. The description of the tank, and the different changes is very nice, and it uses images from the tank's mannual. The operational history chapter gives some losses of the regiments employing the IS-2, which is really hard to find.

Ideally, I would have liked a longer book, with more detail in the operational history: aces, opinions of the crew and ennemies and so on...


Ivan's War: The Red Army at War 1939-45: Inside The Red Army, 1939-45
Ivan's War: The Red Army at War 1939-45: Inside The Red Army, 1939-45
by Catherine Merridale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent research., 9 Nov. 2006
I have read the book and I found it extremely interesting. Most of the work about the eastern front focuses on strategic and technical issues. Catherine Merridale uses recently declassified documents to provide new insight on the soviet soldier, the Ivan. Aspects such as fear, repression, ideology or sexual issues are covered in great detail.


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