Darren Baker takes a look at an Images of War offering from Pen and Sword titled Red Army Auxiliary Armoured Vehicles 1930-1945.


The following is taken from the Pen and Sword website:

During the 1930s in the Soviet Union a remarkable range of auxiliary armoured vehicles were produced for the Red Army which have rarely had the attention they deserve, and Alexey Tarasov’s photographic history is the ideal guide to them. These innovative designs demonstrate the diversity and innovation of the Soviet arms industry.

Among them were armoured flails, ambulances, bridge-layers, flame-throwers and amphibious cars which prefigure similar designs made by western engineers during the Second World War. As this selection of rare photographs shows, Soviet designers were in many ways ahead of their time and it was short-sighted internal policy and the shortcomings of Soviet industry which led to the cancellation or postponement of many of these promising projects. As a result, when faced with Operation Barbarossa in 1941 the Red Army lacked the auxiliary armour that would have helped to stem the German advance.

Alexey Tarasov’s in-depth research and the rare photographs he has assembled give a fascinating insight into a little-known aspect of the history of Soviet armoured vehicles.


This offering as part of Images of War is authored by Alexey Tarasov. This is a soft backed book with a card cover protecting 148 pages of content, plus a few pages for making notes at the end. The contents of this release are as follows:

List of Tables

The History of Red Army Auxiliary Armoured Vehicles, 1030-45


Continuous Operations

The Spanish Experience

The Story with ‘Hangers’

Wrong Unification

Before the War

Chaos in the System

All Quite on the South Western Front, January 1942

The Third Guards Tank Army in the Battles for Kharkov, December 1942 - March 1943

The Second Tank Army in the Mud, January-February 1944

The Sixth Guards Tank Army in the Manchurian Operation, August-September 1945

A word of Engineering Support


Photographs, 1930-1940

Photographs, 1941-1945


This offering from Pen ans Sword is a very unusual release in the Images of War series, as there is a considerable level of written content that takes up nearly half the title. The result of this, is that you are presented with a considerable amount of written data that takes you far further into the subject, than a modeller would normally go. The text is well written and presented, and depending on you interest will provide you with some idea of the situation in Russia before and during the war, as it relates to their armoured vehicles. 

Moving on to the photographic content, you are presented with a considerable number of photographs, covering specific vehicles tested by the Russians, to a good level of detail. With one being called the (tank preodoleniya prepyatstvii) TTP for sort - which is an obstacle crossing tank, of which I have included a picture in the review. I will say that I am surprised by the quality of the photographs, as I was expecting them to be questionable, and was pleasantly surprised that the period black and white images provide a lot of detail. Which is enhanced by the very well written captions.


This title looking at the Auxiliary Armoured vehicle of the Red Army, provides the viewer with both written data and photographic images of platforms rarely seen. I feel that a number of the oddities depicted here would appeal to the fans of the unusual, and the quality of the images will enable those with the required skill set to produce some particularly visually appealing models.



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