Review by Peter Brown
This includes production, variations and enhancements in the Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Chinese T-59 and T-69 series, development and many upgrade programmes including improvements in fire control and weapons, fitting reactive and even active armour and several non-Russian programs designed to keep these older tanks in service. The result is a bewildering variety of variants, with original build versions, continual rebuilds and reworks and improvements the number of subtypes is almost too many to list.
As well as technical developments, the story of these tanks in action is also followed from Hungary in 1956, several Middle East wars up to 2003, both sides in the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict, Vietnam, many African conflicts and Nicaragua. All is illustrated with black and white photos of various versions and colour plates of representative vehicles including a cutaway only slightly spoiled by being printed across two pages with detail lost across the join.
To cover such a big subject in the usual Osprey format means the text has
to be concise. That does not detract from the coverage which has enough facts
and figures for most people. The book also benefits from access to modern Russian
sources, so have the proper designations and not the often confusing and conflicting
names given to these series by NATO intelligence sources.
The definitive overall account of these tanks would need something of the size of a Hunnicutt, till we get that this is a source which would be hard to better.
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Page created 28 July 2004