Stalin’s Armour 1941-1945 Soviet Tanks at War written by Anthony Tucker-Jones and published by Pen & Sword Books – £20.00 – Hardback – Pages 256
Stalin’s purge of army officers in the late 1930s and disputes about tank tactics meant that Soviet armoured forces were in disarray when Hitler invaded in 1941. As a result, during Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht’s 3,200 panzers ran circles round the Red Army’s tank force of almost 20,000 – thousands of Soviet tanks were disabled or destroyed.
Yet within two years of this disaster the Red Army’s tank arm had regained its confidence and numbers and was in a position to help turn the tide and liberate the Soviet Union. This is the remarkable story Anthony Tucker-Jones relates in this concise, highly illustrated history of the part played by Soviet armour in the war on the Eastern Front.
Chapters cover each phase of the conflict, from Barbarossa, through the battles at Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk to the massive, tank-led offensives that drove the Wehrmacht back to Berlin. Technical and design developments are covered, but so are changes in tactics and the role of the tanks in the integrated all-arms force that crushed German opposition.
In this book we learn more about the ways and influences of the battles on the Eastern Front as the Russians tried to push back the German tank onslaught. We’re always told that the German blitzkrieg was all dominant and the russians or anyone else couldn’t really put up much of a defence. But with the Russians this was partly true in that the German tanks were running rings around the russian tanks but this wasn’t solely down to the might of the German tanks at all. In the end though the Russians found their footing and were able to fight back with better tanks and better trained troops. I notice in the description that this is described as a technical book and to a point it is, but the book isn’t too swamped with technicalities about the tanks. The book is evenly balanced between technical detail and history of the battles. It’s certainly a very good read, balanced and well written, walking the fine line between being just right and not being too techy. The book also has an excellent set of photos throughout the book which add further meaning and description to the writing. I enjoy books written by this author who knows what he is talking about, most certainly a book I would recommend to others.