AK Interactive has released a number of titles under the Abteilung 502 label. The books cover a very wide range of subjects, with this particular one covering the Soviet military ground armoured forces. The book is a little unusual as it is presented in landscape and not portrait, and is rich in photographic content.
This offering from Abteilung 502, is authored by Carlos de Diego Vaquerizo and Cristobal Vergara Duran. This is a hard backed book, protecting 134 pages of paper with a high gloss finish. The contents of the book are presented as follows:
Background and First Experience:
The Armoured Forces in Action
Re-arming and Re-organisation
Barbarossa: A Catastrophic Year
The Road to Moscow
The Soviet Counter attack
Stalingrad. The First German Defeat
The German Plan
The Soviet Response
Kursk. Clash of Titans
The German Attack
The Battle of Prokhorovka
The Continuing Advance
Changes in the Organisational Structure
Bagration: The Major German Defeat
1945. The Year of Victory
Freedom of Poland
Eastern Prussia and Hungary
The Battle of Berlin
The text in this offering from Abteilung 502 is presented in English only, with the format of the book meaning we get decent sized photographs to parous. Despite the title indicating that the title covers the Second World War, you really begin with their involvement in the Spanish civil war, where the military of the Spanish Republic were supplied with both armour and aircraft and Soviet forces to train the Spanish to use them. It is pointed out in this point in history, that Stalin’s purges were already having an effect on the ability of the Soviet military forces. The treatment of the Soviet military leadership meant that those who remained were either ill equipped to perform their roles, with many being sent to the gulags or being executed and this resulted in a military leadership that was reluctant to make decisions. Which resulted in their forces being ineffective in many cases, and this continued into WWII until Stalin realised he needed a military that could think for itself to become a more effective opponent.
The period photographs in this offering, are of surprising good quality and even colour photography gets a showing. Each of the photograph is accompanied by especially well written captions, that add context to the pictures. There are also a good number of artists prints in the book which happily show vehicles that not green unlike everything in the Russian military was painted green, in particular those vehicles being utilised by the 52nd Tank Brigade, and while I have never imagined the Soviets being particularly artistic, there are some anti-tank vehicles with some very interesting crew applied winter camouflage.
This offering from Abteilung 502 is the most pleasing that I have looked at thus far. While not a modelling title per say it does present the vehicles and images we try to replicate in scale, and provides the details that can make all the difference in making a model look more realistic. I particularly like that some of the factory applied and crew applied camouflages, provide the modeller with some very interesting finishes that I have not seen replicated previously.