Title: 'The Essential Vehicle Identification Guide: Soviet Tank Units 1939-45'
Author: David Porter
Publisher: Amber Books
ISBN: 978 1 906626 21 1
Price £19.99
This new book in the series of 'Essential Vehicle Identification Guides' is useful for an enthusiast who may already be familiar with many of the vehciles used by Soviet Tank units in WW2, but it is also ideal for modellers looking for some good colour artwork for ideas, along with basic details such as length, width, height, armament, crew, weight, speed etc on a range of AFVS in Soviet  service throughout the period of the war.
Organised in a chronological sequence, this takes you from the Pre-War years of Soviet tank development, moving into 'Defending the Motherland', and the period of the German invasion from 1941.  This goes on to the 'False Dawn:  Kharkov to Kursk', then the 'Destruction of the Wehrmacht', then 'Victory in Europe, and closes with 'Victory in the East'.  Each of these major sections is then sub-divided into smaller sub-sections, dealing with more specific periods, such as the Reverse at Kharkov (Feb-March 1943), then Kursk and so on.  The appendices go on to cover the variations of Katyusha rocket launchers, Lend-lease support vehicles, along with Tractors and towing vehicles.
I found this a very comprehensive book, which creates a nice mix of the historical story of each period, along with the development and evolution of the vehicles involved over time.  The colour profiles artwork that is prolific throughout the book is first class, and I am sure will give many modellers some ideas on the various vehicles involved at different times and places.  Equally, it includes the lend lease equipment, so things like Churchill tanks, Valentines, Universal carriers and so much more are included where appropriate, along with their own Soviet built machines. 
On top of that, and of interest to many I suspect, is a neat graphical representation of the various unit compositions as the war progressed.  Add the regular inclusion of archive photos thrughout the book, and this is not only useful reading but an interesting book to simply look through as well.  For anyone who has an interest in Soviet Tank Units, I think this one would be an attractive addition to your bookshelf, and for someone new to the subject, an ideal 'starter'.
The pages pictured here show just a taster of the basic layout, the artwork, some more unusual variants than you might expect of the Katyusha, and an example of the illustrated unit organisations.
Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review sample.

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