Book Review: World of Tanks: T-60 i Mashiny na Ego Baze (T-60 and Vehicles
Based on It) by Yuriy Pasholok; Taktikal Press, Moscow 2013; 223 pp. with p
lans and illustrations; price around US$40 via Russian booksellers (such as
East View Information Services); ISBN 978-5-906074-07-2
Advantages: tremendous amount of information and historical references on t
he T-60 light tank, its production, development and design
Disadvantages: all Russian text
Rating: Recommended (non-linguists) Highly Recommended (Russian speakers)
Recommendation: for all Soviet light tank fans (especially early war)
The online wargame "World of Tanks" has become a phenomenon and has thousa
nds of players worldwide being able to select any tank from WWII and use it
against other players on line. But like all games of this sort, it has acq
uired a "geek"-like panache for historians and modelers and many of them av
oid anything to do with as a matter of course.
Over the past year or so, the designers and backers of the game (Russians)
have also started to produce a series of upscale, high quality books on sp
ecific items within the WoT game and what their research into the vehicles
yielded. Some have appeared a bit dodgy or too close to "Dungeons and Drago
ns" material (there is one on "Ball Tanks" out now) but others actually are
very, very good and of great use to any Soviet tank historian or modeler.
This book by Yuriy Pasholok is one of the latter. I have followed Yuriy's
website for a couple of years now and
have enjoyed the fact he shares a lot of materials from the Russian State
Archives on line. This book is a product of the research carried out by Yur
iy and a number of his friends from those archives, and is presented here w
ith numerous 1/35 scale plans drawn up by Yuriy for the book.
The T-60 light tank was an evolutionary vehicle based on the previous T-40
amphibious light tank, both of which were designed by Nikolay A. Astrov. T
he T-60 design was a non-amphibious tank which used parts from the last ver
sion of the T-40, the 20mm ShVAK armed T-30, and a new lower and better des
igned hull with better ballistic protection.
When the war broke out in Russia on 22 June 1941, shortly afterwards the g
overnment began to strip down its prewar industries to prepare for high vol
ume production. The T-20 Komsomolets tractors and T-40/T-30 tanks were orde
red terminated, and the hope was that the new T-50 light tank could be quic
kly rushed into production to fill the gap. But it was too complex and too
heavy, with only tank factories able to assemble the vehicle. A light tank
that could be quickly produced by auto factories was seen as a good stopgap
measure, and the T-60 tank appeared to fill the bill. It was ordered into
production starting on 20 July 1941 at three factories with as many as eigh
t more planned to join in production as documentation could be prepared and
sent to them. The tanks were in production into late 1942 when fully repla
ced by the heavier T-70 series of tanks.
Yuriy covers the developmental history of the tank and shows a number of v
ariations as built by different factories such as No. 37, No. 38, the Stali
ngrad Tractor Factory, and others. The different variations are all covered
and details are shown as well - different road wheels, drivers, idlers, ex
hausts, turrets, and also a number of experimental modifications. Two versi
ons of the T-60 fitted with experimental 37mm guns, the prototype T-60Z ant
iaircraft version with twin DShK machine guns, a Hetzer-like 45mm self-prop
elled antitank gun, a universal extended chassis (which was the basis for t
he later T-70 based SU-76 and ZSU-37 self-propelled mounts), a armor traile
r based on the T-60, and even armored sleds based on its hull are presented
and covered. There is also a bit of coverage of the curious KT concept for
a winged tank (wings on a T-60 tank chassis).
The only major drawback of the book is the fact that all of the text and c
aptions are in Russian. Most are apparent (No. 37 is the same in both Engli
sh and Russian, so most of the factories can be sorted out) but others do r
equire some linguistic skills.
Overall, if you are a fan of the little tank this is a great reference for
modeling and provides nice, new, crisp plans of each sub-variant.
8 years ago