|About the Book|
It is one of the ironies of Soviet tank development that a country opposed to free enterprise and capitalism was largely reliant on influences from Britain and the USA for many of its early designs. However, unhindered by many of the tactical constraints that affected tank development in the West, the Red Army was able to acquire and develop technology that was under-rated in both Britain and the USA. From Britain, the famous manufacturer Vickers produced a six-ton light tank, which was effectively rejected by the War Office. One example was acquired by the Russians and formed the basis of the Russian T-26 of 1931. Further British designs also influenced the later light tanks, equipment which as pivotal to the Red Army during its campaign in Manchuria, Finland and against the initial German Assault in 1941. In the USA, Walter Christie was also largely ignored as a designer but, as with Vickers, his designs came to be highly important. Hi influence was seen in the BT, short for Bystrochodri or Fast Tank, series of light-medium tanks that were first introduced in 1932. The BT series saw service in Spain, Manchuria, Finland and in the defence of Russia itself in 1941. The critical aspect of the Christie design was that the vehicles were capable of operating both with and without tracks- in the latter cased eight road wheels carried the weight of the vehicle, with steering being achieved via a steering wheel acting in conjunction with the clutch/brake system.The this second of the new Russian Armour series, Mikhail Baryatinskiy provides the reader with a comprehensive account of the development and operational record of Soviet light tanks. Utilising photographs, line drawings and specially prepared artworks, he provides a detailed portrait of these highly successful tanks.Aimed at the modeller- military historian and wargamer, the new Russian Armour series is designed to provide, probably for the first time in the English language, authoritative information on the classic Soviet tank designs of the 20th century.The series will be required reading for all those interested in the development of armoured warfare over the past 100 years. The book and its predecessor on the JS-1, JS-2/JS-3 tanks (0711031622) published earlier in 2006 are based on research in Russian archives and sources and aim to provide a level of accurate information on these armoured vehicles, not previously available in the English language.