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Solid high level overview of the Soviet Cold War combat vehicles
on 11 September 2013
If you have read any of the author's other books (such as This We'll Defend: The Weapons & Equipment of the U.S. Army) you will probably have a good idea of what to expect - namely a solid overview of the main weapons systems - here limited to combat vehicles only - of (in this case) the Cold War Soviet Union.
For each there is a background section and occasionally there are some short notes on the political situation leading to it (for instance the rise of longer range rockets under Khruschev) as well. The main aspects of the weapons system are then described and a data table provided for each, which covers the most salient features. The majority also come with pictures, although some rarer systems do without (which is unfortunate, since these generally exist in the public domain in the meantime).
The book is more of a high level overview in that it does not enter into lots of detail on each specific system and there is almost no information on the use of the weapons systems, where they have been deployed, etc. Information on foreign sales / use is also sketchy at best and one gets most of it from picture captions (which then more or less by definition cannot be exhaustive). Another aspect that some readers may not appreciate is the omission of all the combat vehicles, which debuted in WW2 but remained in use long after, or had specific versions produced only after WW2 (T-34/85, T-44, IS-2, IS-3... being some examples).
Still, it is a well executed guide to the majority of the Cold War combat vehicles of Soviet manufacture and will provide a good reference for those not primarily interested in the minutiae of each vehicle.