ARM: Book Review -- T-34: History of a Tank by Mikhail Baryatinskiy

Book Review: Bronyekollektsiya Spetsial'niy Vypusk No. 3, T-34: Istoriya Tanka
(Armor Collection Special Issue No. 3, T-34: History of a Tank) by Mikhail
Baryatinskiy; Supplement to Modelist-Konstruktor magazine, Modelist-Konstruktor
Publishing, Moscow, June 2003; 96 pp.
(no ISBN number); price $19.95 via East View Publications, Inc.
Advantages: Combines two earlier issues into one with 50% more material and
many corrections to the earlier text; good, useful plans and drawings make it a
boon for ?34 modelers
Disadvantages: All text in Russian, no English captions
Rating: Recommended (with reservations, mainly to get the most out of it you
better read Russian!)
Recommendation: For all T-34 modelers (plans/photos) and historians (Russian
speakers)
This is the third in a series of special issues published by the well-known
Russian modeling magazine "Modelist-Konstruktor" and is a very nice update of
two of their older publications, Issues 3-99 (T-34) and 4-99 (T-34-85) but with
a lot of new material added. Mikhail Baryatinskiy is one of the more able
Russian historians, and while he provided yeoman texts in the first two issues,
he has now done an even better job.
Each of the "Bronyekollektsiya" books is 32 pages long and looks at a single
subject in detail, or provides a short compendium overview of a number of
subjects. This one is a very nice recombining of the two issues cited, but
Mikhail has gone back and fixed errors in his text as well as added a lot more
cutaway and detail views of the famous ?34 itself.
For those who have missed out, the T-34 was created by a staff of designers
led by the ill-fated Mikhail Koshkin in 1939 and entered fitful production in
1940. As much as the other major Soviet tank design team under Zhosef Kotin
wanted this tank out of the way, it survived its teething troubles in 1940
(although Koshkin did not, dying of the after effects of pneumonia in September
of that year) and on 22 June 1941 began what turned into an illustrious combat
career. Upgraded with the new long 76mm F-34 gun, this tank became the
maid-of-all-work for the Soviets, with some 35,000 76mm gun versions and 23,000
later models with the 85mm S-53 gun being built during the war. The latter
tanks went on to be come world famous ? or infamous, depending which side of
the "Iron Curtain" you were on ? and some remain in use even today.
The book has lots of what modelers always seek ? good plans in 1/35 scale of
a number of T-34 models, to wit:
T-34 Model 1941 (Factory No. 183) ((L-11 gun))
T-34 Model 1942 (Factory No. 183) ((F-34 gun))
T-34 Model 1942 (Stalingrad Tractor Factory)
T-34 Model 1942 Factory No. 183
T-34 Model 1943 Cheyabinsk Kirov Factory
T-34-85 with D-5T gun
T-34-85 Model 1944
T-34-85 Postwar Production Model
Some of the designations differ with the other good book out on the T-34,
"Neizvest'niy T-34" and the plans are not as detailed, but still quite useful.
There are a large number of sketches and sections from the vehicle manuals
included as well, so the average modeler wanting to "punch up" a Zvezda or DML
kit will be quite happy.
Overall, for $20 this is a good deal, and worth picking up, even if you do not
read Russian.
Cookie Sewell
AMPS
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