Darren Baker takes a look at an Abteilung 502 offering titled 'Soviet Armoured Force (1939-1945)'.


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

Thunderstorm Clouds

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

New Units

Operation Bagration

Operation Lvov-sandomierz

1945. The Year of Victory

Freedom of Poland

Eastern Prussia and Hungary

The Battle of Berlin

Technical Charts


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 multi turreted heavy tanks of the war years, looked good on paper but were weak in the terms of use and speed. The light tanks that the Soviets had, were fast but generally easily destroyed. The KV1 and KV2 tank series, were a shock to the invading German forces, who struggled to destroy them and then as the war progressed the T34 family of tanks came into their own, along with the large calibre tank destroyers. All of these vehicles get a mention in this title.

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. 



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