ARM: Review - "Frontovaya Illyustratsiya" T-26 History

Book Review: "Frontovaya Illyustratsiya" Series No. 1-2003; Legkiy Tank T-26
(T-26 Light Tank) by Maksim Kolomiets and Mikhail Svirin; "Strategiya KM"
Publishing, Moscow 2003; 80 pp with illustrations and plans; price (East View
Publications) $19.95 plus mailing (ISBN number 5-901266-01-3)
Advantages: Good new history of the T-26 with lots and lots of 1/35 scale
plans, new photos, new information
Disadvantages: Text is in Russian only (albeit illustrations are dual
Russian-English captioned)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: To all Soviet armor historians (Russian speaking) and to all
modelers of Soviet era armor
There are a number of really good and helpful historical researchers in Russia
today that are researching and publishing good works on the history of Soviet
armored vehicles, and the authors of this paperback volume are two of them.
This single-volume history of the T-26 light tank, which the Soviets originally
classed as an "escort tank for infantry," covers the history of the tanks
themselves; a second volume (No. 4-2003) is to cover the variants and
The T-26 was designed in response to Soviet RKKA planners who saw five
different types of tanks for use in the new Red Army of the 1930s: scouting
vehicles/amphibious light tanks, light tanks for infantry escort, light cavalry
tanks for high-speed operations, medium tanks, and heavy tanks. The T-26 was
designed to meet the second category, which meant that it had to be able to
support infantry and therefore speed was not a priority.
Since the Soviet tank industry in 1929 was just getting started, having only
produced one series production tank, the MT-1 or T-18 escort tank, information
and examples of foreign tanks were sought. While nobody had medium or heavy
tanks that seemed worthwhile, the Soviets were able to purchase examples of the
Carden-Loyd tankette from the UK as well as the Vickers "Six-Tonner" with two
machine gun turrets side-by-side on the same chassis. The "Six-Tonner" met the
needs of an escort tank, and was initially produced under license in the USSR.
However, while the Soviets began to gear up to produce the new tank in
Leningrad in 1931, experience of the results of the East China Railroad war of
1929 were evaluated, and the determination was that tanks would have to carry
heavier guns to deal with pillboxes, machine gun nests, and other battlefield
obstructions. As a result, they developed a new turret mounting a useful 45mm
gun that provided both good antitank and anti-fortification firepower for its
time (1932) and this tank went into production in 1933. The Soviets continued
to refine the tank, adding radio-equipped command models as production
continued. The final versions of the tank rolled off the Leningrad "Voroshilov"
Factory No. 174 lines in 1940. A total of 10,117 were produced in Leningrad and
at least a further 183 in Stalingrad over the nine-year production run of the
This book follows the now traditional Russian formula of describing the
history of development and evolution of the tank, but this volume is thin on
the vehicle in combat service; it is likely that the full combat history will
be in the second volume as Russian authors seem to prefer to write vehicle
history - description - variants - combat history of the vehicle in that order.
This book does provide English translation of the captions of the photos, and
most appear better than in the past. Also obscure Russian terms like
"Dynamoreactive" are put in English as "recoilless" so it is much easier to
Modelers will like this book as there are a wealth of different plans of the
evolution of the T-26 series tanks, all in 1/35 scale:
T-26 Twin-Turreted Model (Early 1932 Production with one 37mm gun)
T-26 Twin-Turreted Model (Late 1933 Production with twin machine guns)
T-26-4 Prototype Artillery Tank with Model 1927/32 76mm Howitzer
T-26 Single-Turreted Tank with 45mm 20-K Gun (1933)
T-26 Single-Turreted Tank with bolted hull (1934)
T-26 Radio-Equipped Tank (1935)
T-26 Radio-Equipped Tank with welded hull (Late 1936-Early 1937)
T-26 Radio-Equipped Tank with Conical Turret (1938)
T-26-1 Radio-Equipped Tank with Revised Hull (1940)
T-26 Rebuilt with Applique Armor based on Soviet-Finnish War Results
T-26 Rebuilt with Applique Armor in Leningrad (1941-1942)
T-26-1 Rebuilt with Applique Armor in Leningrad (1941-1942)
T-26 Rebuilt with Applique Armor in Leningrad - Model 1938 (1941-1942)
T-26 as rebuilt and modernized in Finland (KhT-133 hull, conical turret)
All of this makes a nice package and a great reference for anyone trying to do
up a T-26 from either an RPM/Maquette or Zvezda kit.

Cookie Sewell
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"AMPSOne" wrote
Cookie: How does this compare to the three-volume Armada series?
Reply to
Kurt Laughlin
Same authors, but different photos and different plans. I think Svirin loves to do this -- do different versions of books with different photos and different focus.
Cookie Sewell AMPS
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