Osprey Publishing's new title on the T-64 Battle Tank is a good blend of basic primer and historical reference. Written by Steven Zaloga and illustrated by Ian Palmer, it covers the entire story of the T-64, from designer inception to current use.
The first thought I had when reading this book was that there is a LOT of information crammed into the 48 pages. There are some very useful tools included including a glossary at the beginning, several excellent tables in the main reading material, and an extensive section at the end for further reading. This book is set up as more than just a basic primer on the subject.
There is also a lot in the book that goes beyond just the physical tank, helping the reader to understand why the tank was what it ended up being. There is discussion on Soviet Tank Design Bureau rivalries, Soviet military industry politics, and Soviet general political impact on tank design. So while the T-64 is often noted as being a revolutionary tank in the context of its technological aspirations, I think a case could be made that it was also revolutionary in changing the entire defense industry of the Soviet Union. The book takes the reader on a well guided tour regarding the milestones in the tank development and discusses some of the reasons that they are milestones, right from the beginning.
For example, it all essentially starts when the directive comes out in 1952 to design a New Medium Tank as Obiekt 430, the follow on to the T-54/55. Alexander Morozov (who had lead the team that had designed the T-44/T-54/T-55), had been working on a radical new design to replace the T-54/T-55, making first mention of the new design in his notes in 1947. Morozov's radical idea was to retain the T-55's general size and weight, but to significantly increase its speed, armor, and armament.
The book goes on to cover all the major production models of the Soviet T-64, from the initial 115mm armed T-64 through the explosive reactive armor equipped T-64BV. Sub-variants of each model are discussed, as are tanks that were rebuilt under capital rebuilding programs that gained their own unique designators, like the T-64R (rebuilt initial T-64's with many added features of the T-64A).
Command versions of the tank are covered, as are vehicles developed from T-64 components, like the MDK-3 entrenching vehicle. There is brief mention of many experimental vehicles based on the T-64 that did not go into production, as well as future design to succeed the T-64 that did not go into production.
There is a smaller discussion on the combat history and utilization of the T-64, including its current combat use in Ukraine. However, do not expect much discussion on the combat use of the T-64, it is only half a page owing much to the fact that the T-64 was never sold on the export market during the Soviet years.
There is discussion of how the T-64, and its developmental issues, directly influenced the design of the T-72, the T-80, and the T-90. It is noted that the new T-15 Armata is the first Russian design to break from the T-64.
The tables, pictures, and technical drawings in the book are very useful and relevant. The illustrations are described well, and are useful, but there is something about them that does not feel correct in overall shape/dimension.
For the model builder, this book is going to give you good information to sort out the differences in models, variants, and experiments. It should give you an idea of how to model the T-64, but it is not a reference for hyper-accuracy.
For the historian, this will give you a very good background on what was going on, in, and around the development of the tank just short of delving into the writing of tank histories by the design bureau's themselves.
Highs: More than a primer, it is a excellent resource on the entire tank history. Good coverage of more than just the basic models, excellent use of photos to show what is described.Lows: Illustrations seem off in look. Some people may find all the political discussion that effected the development a bit dry.Verdict: Recommended to anyone who wants to know more about the T-64 tank history, or who want to have a quick technical/reference guide in easy reach.
About Jacques Duquette (Jacques) FROM: MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES
The first model I remember building was a glow-in-the-dark P-38, running around my bedroom in the dark flying it, and stubbing my toes. I do a lot less running around with glowing models now. I mainly focus on 1/35 armor and figures, with Modern Russian military vehicles being my favorite. I a...