ARM: Review -- Book "T-34: Stalin's Warhorse" (AJaKS)

Book Review: Model Fan Encyclopedia No. 5: T-34: Stalin's War-Horse by
Przemyslaw Skulski and Jacek Jackiewicz; AJaKS Military Books, Warsaw, date not
given; 84 pp. plus color covers; price US $22-30 (ISBN 83-914521-4-X)
Advantages: unlike many Russian publications has dual Polish-English text; good
side views of most of the major T-34 variants, newly drawn; lists 33 different
subvariants by factory and date of construction
Disadvantages: only covers prototypes, Model 1940 and Model 1941 tanks; some
errors in text
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For Soviet armor fans and "hard-core" ?34 fans
The nice thing about the end of the Soviet empire was the fact that suddenly
everyone and his brother literally had access to both archives and printing
houses to publish hundreds of works that covered the "blank" pages of history
in the West. This happened in Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Poland
more than to any of the other members of the former USSR and Warsaw Pact
nations. With the untimely loss of the well-known Janusz Magnewski several
years ago (Steve Zaloga's famous co-author "James Grandsen" in several of the
early books he did on Soviet armor) there has been a sad gap in the books on
Soviet armor coming out of Poland. This book is a new one to me, and I picked
it up at Panzerfest 2003 in Michigan from Mark Klutcho of Michigan Discount
Models.
The two authors are new to me, and I admit I have not checked with Steve to
see if he knows them. They do seem to be highly knowledgeable on Soviet armor
and have a great deal of material culled from various sources, and also a large
number of what appear to be new photos, presumably from Polish archives. Alas,
most of them seem to be former German shots and the majority are of "bashed"
T-34s, not functional ones.
The book is essentially divided into three parts, all of which use the
parallel Polish-left/English-right format. The first part covers the history of
the early T-34 and its prototypes A-20, A-32 and A-34; the second part
available "kits and bits" in 1/72 and 1/35 scales; and the third part provides
a number of plans of the early T-34 and prototype tanks and 33 separate
sketches with descriptions of T-34 prototypes and sub-variants from 1939 up
until the introduction of the "improved" (e.g. three-man) turret T-34 Model
1942.
The history is pretty close to what I have seen over the years, and the kit
reviews are reasonably close to accurate. The drawings will help anyone wanting
to do an accurate early T-34 model, but are of "clean" vehicles and show very
little of what turns out to have been standardized stowage on the production
tanks.

There is, however, a lot of confusion about who BUILT T-34 tanks and who MADE
the parts for them. Let me try and explain this, as the authors have a hard
time trying in English.
The T-34 was built ? e.g. put together from factory made components and
parts sent in from other factories ? at the Khar'kov Steam Locomotive Factory
(KhPZ) in Khar'kov, which was designated as Factory No. 183 when the factories
were numbered in the late 1930s. It used armor plate from Izhorsk and
Myshchiti, engines from Factory No. 75 in Khar'kov, and guns from the Leningrad
"Kirov" Factory (which also produced the KV tanks).
When the factory was found to not have sufficient production capability, two
more lines were added. One was at the "Krasnoye Sormovo" factory ? Factory
No. 112 ? whose first 100 tanks were produced from knock-down kits sent to
them from Khar'kov. The same applied to the Stalingrad Tractor Factory (STZ),
but they only had five knock-downs before beginning their own production.
As things progressed, Leningrad cut off the guns, so the new F-34 guns were
supplied from Factory No. 9 at Perm. When the Germans invaded, the factories
were pulled back of the Ural mountains in October-December 1941. Factory No.
183 was combined with the facilities of the Ural Railway Carriage Factory
("Vagonka" in Russian slang) ? a new Factory No. 183 ? in Nizhniy Tagil.
Factory No. 75 was combined with assets of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory
(ChTZ) in Chelyabinsk. The decision had been made to switch to cast turrets
prior to leaving Khar'kov, and the main factory capable of producing such
castings was the Ural Factory for Heavy Machinery or UZTM.
The two factory complexes became the center for production of all tanks
produced in Russia less the light T-60 and T-70 designs. Chelyabinsk became the
new Factory No. 185 and combined several smaller factories on its grounds, such
as the Factory No. 75 engine plant and Factory No. 200, which produced cast
turrets and heavy welded assemblies like hulls and turrets for the KV-1. Two
other engine plants, Nos. 76 and 77, were in operation elsewhere in the Urals.
UZTM became the main turret producer for all of the factories due to their
skill with reusable molds, which they pioneered.
Chelyabinsk soon morphed into the Chelyabinsk "Kirov" Tank Plant (ChKZ) and
built both T-34s and KV-1s side by side. Later, in early 1943, Chelyabinsk
designed a pressed steel turret for the T-34 that supplanted the UZTM cast
turrets. This turret was colloquially referred to as the "ChKZ" or ChTZ turret,
but was produced by UZTM for the factory. The statement made in the book that
"there was no such thing" is incorrect, as the authors either did not know or
did not make the association of these factories and these functions.
Overall the book covers a lot of ground and is not bad, and in some respects
working in another language can be quite difficult as I am personally well
aware. It is a handy aid for most modelers, and the section on the various
versions by date of production should be helpful.
Cookie Sewell
AMPS
Reply to
AMPSOne
Loading thread data ...

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.