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
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