Friday, May 3

Review: Peko Publishing T-34 on the Battlefield - World War Two Photobook Series Vol.I

Having read the latest book from PEKO Publishing on the StuG III last month we really wanted to see more from this new publisher – so we grabbed their first book on the most produced and maybe a little mythical tank – called “T-34 on the Battlefield” you can guess what the book is all about – we read it and this is what we thought..

T-34 on the Battlefield - World War Two Photobook Series Vol.I
Publisher: PeKo Publishing
Authors: Peter Kocsis
Binding/No of Pages: Hardcover/112 pages
Languages: Hungarian/English
No of Photos: 105 black & white photos
Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches / 300x215mm
ISBN:  978-96-389623-0-0
Price:  £18.95 + P&P direct when ordered this from:

Where would you start of a series on a famous World War II tank – well discounting all the German stuff – and no not the Sherman – The rest of the world knows that the Russians really won WWII – and that the tank that won the war for them and for the western allies was the T-34 series of tanks. So therefore this iconic vehicle is a good place to start off a series of pictorial books on tanks on the battlefield.
We reviewed book two in this series last month (the StuG III on the battlefield) – and like I said it was a well presented and interesting title. This book on the T-34 is of a very similar ilk. Physically the book is a hardcover landscape format book of 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches / 300x215mm and a total of 112 pages packed full of 105 black and white period pictures of excellent quality – mostly from the author Peter Kocsis’ personal collection – so there are a lot of unpublished snaps there – sounds good doesn’t it?

The study of the T-34 is broken up into two different sections – and then further broken up into sub-variants of these two main types of the tank. The two main versions (T-34/76 and T-34/85) are easily divided by the main armament of these tanks with the 34/76 the main subject of the book and the 34/85 featured in the last 14 pages.
After a brief introduction of the history of the type and interestingly a table of where the different variants were produced we go into a format which rules the rest of the book – large or full page pictures with dual Hungarian and English text to describe the action on the pages.

The text is well written (well the English stuff is I cannot read Hungarian) and accordingly although the translation is 95% there a few words are out of place but never anything that puts you off your read (no worse than I would do in a book the same size no doubt) And it sure is informative – the origin of each of the tanks is usually stated as well, with the differences between the variants noted as we progress through the book.
There are lots of good shots here on offer as well. Some very candid at close range – not all are a mid-distance shot of a destroyed vehicle (although there are a fair share of “Germans-looking-at-T-34-wrecks” here) a lot of detail is exposed in these shots, not just of markings and details but often hidden things like the exposed engine compartments and turrets open. I was surprised at the detail and focus of these shots. They are all quality and good reference for the modeller of armour fan.
Pictures feature lots of shots of tanks with applique armour to combat the heavier armoured German Tigers, some detailed shots of the T-34 hexagonal turret and the “Mickey Mouse” twin turret hatches. There is an excellent picture of a T-34 blown to smithereens that would make a great diorama. It looks like all the bits were tipped out on top of a destroyed hull!
The last of this section on the smaller gunned T-34 has many pictures featuring the turrets with heroes of the Soviet Union‘s names and tactical signs painted on them – as well of course as the German captured vehicles which had their national markings on them.

Into the larger gunned T-34/85 series of pages in the book and it is funny that even though this version is just as well-known as it’s earlier cousin we have some of the first shots of vehicles destroyed by the Germans – in May 1944! Not knowing that much about the T-34 before I read this made me understand that maybe – just maybe the Russians didn’t have it all their way with the T-34.
To learn from a largely pictorial book is a rare achievement – but I learned plenty from this book. The pictures are of an excellent quality and there are none I have seen before. A lot of pictures of destroyed vehicles will tempt many diorama makers and the detail in the text is revealing but complimentary to the pictures.

A worthy companion to the StuG III book from Peko – I have heard the Panzerwaffe book is next and then a second volume of the StuG - with any luck we will get to read that as well! This is a great title and a book that will stir your mind for ideas.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks are due to Peko Publishing for the review sample.