This new title in the 'Duel' series of books from Osprey is written by David Higgins, and it compares two well known heavy tanks used at the end of WW2, the German King Tiger, or Toger II, against the Russian IS II. No doubt due to the huge tank battles that took place on the Eastern Front, both germany and Russia raced to field thee heaviest tank with the longest range armament that could defeat their opponent. The huge King Tiger found itself pitted against the lighter but heavily armed IS II.
In this new book, the author has made an excellent job of comparing these two armoured giants. Introduced by the chronology of basic events, including thee introduction to combat of both types, early in 1944, there then follows the Design and Development story of both tanks. This includes the basic statistics for each tank, along with colour profile artwork. The next chapter covers Technical Specifications, dealing with armour thickness, armament, ammunition, Comms and mobility. A cutaway drawing of both turrets is also featured in this section. This then goes on to a background overwiew of the Strategic Situation which led to Operation Solstice (Sonnenwende) in 1945.
Looking at the Combatants means the opposing units of the battle to come, their respective commanders and the differing battle tactics they used. Then comes the description of the Action in Pomerania, after Guderian had managed to assemble a potent Panzer force able to make a counter attack, a feat in itself at this late stage of the war. The book closes with a look at the Statistics and Analysis, then the Aftermath to conclude the story. Even a local success at this stage in the war could not change thee overwhelming defeats the German Army was suffering, and the line was forced to retreat anyway. Illustrated thoughout with period photos, excellent artwork and data tables, this is a very well put together title, and one I am sure will find favour with the many fans of the Osprey series.