Tuesday, April 8

Review: KV tanks on the battlefield from PeKo Publishing

In today’s news we review PeKo Publishing’s latest full page pictorial on the KV tanks of the Soviet Union on the battlefields of WWII….

World War Two Photobook Series Vol. 5
PeKo Publishing
Author: Neil Stokes
Series: World War Two Photobook
Hardcover landscape 12 x 8.5 inches
128 pages W/121 photographs in black and white
English/Hungarian text
ISBN: 9638962348
Available directly from PeKo Publishing directly

Peko Publishing has quite a few titles under their belt now. All portrait format on picture to a page book of 130-odd pages that pick usually one main vehicle as their subject. We are big fans of this series as they have shown great photos with a lot of detail. Well written and a good source of inspiration would this – the latest book about the KV-1 and KV-2 tanks on the Battlefields of WWII be as good as it’s predecessors?

As it’s bookshelf mates this book is 128 pages in a landscape format with both Hungarian and English text. Each page has a full page sized picture that is in focus and clearly shot. 
Apparently many are from the collection of Peter Kocsis and many are unpublished anywhere else which makes them great for modelling inspiration. It is great to see something in a book and put it into a diorama before anyone else you know isn’t it?

Text is well written by the author Neil Stokes. The English part I can say is as my Hungarian is a little rusty! Mr Stokes has acknowledged contributors like Kocsis, Cookie Sewell, Steve Zaloga and Maxim Kolomyets as well as the team at the Archive of Modern Conflict. The author was well assisted as I can say that there are some really good facts in the small amount of text presented in the book. Never much more than a caption paragraph you can read this book comfortably in an evening but you will come back to it next time you want to model a KV tank I promise.
The hardcover binding gives way to some semi shine pages of fine looking black and white text which matches the rest of the layout quite well. After a double page spread of information on the genesis and used of the KV series of tanks we get straight into the book – going page to page with large pictures and photographs..

We learn the differences between the Malenkiy bashniy and the Bolshoy bashniy (KV-1 & KV-2) and several of their peculiarities in this walk through their careers on the battlefield. There are several pictures of KV-2’s captured by Germans (who mostly seen in wonderment at these monsters) and several pictures in the first part of the book of KV-1’s pushed to the side of the road. Often we will see a few pictures of the same vehicle from different angles which make for a good study of the vehicle. This is noted as the factory and the timeframe the tank was produced which is just great detail to have and a trademark of not just this but all of the books in this series.
Really interesting are some pictures of the KV-2’s in field appraisal testing by the Germans – weighed down and crossing bridges. In fact there are many shots of captured vehicles in German service with large swastikas or Baltic crosses and other German names on them. Indeed the “Jerries” seemed to be captivated by this large land battleship and must have had some healthy respect for it’s power.

There are several shoots of partially blown part KV-2’s with turrets and tracks and burnt out or indeed the whole tank blown upside down or ruining yet another bridge from it’s large gross. Also repair and engine change is shown at depots behind the lines in German hands. But as winter rolls in there are several pictures with text of whitewashed KV’s covered with snow and heavily wrapped soldiers around them. This shows very well how to make the white camouflage distemper look worn and scuffed and it would be a great help to any modeller obsessed with getting the most mileage out of their kit on the workbench.
About halfway through the book we see some KV-1’s – again mostly in German hands or completely destroyed or tipped and stuck in some large ditch somewhere on the Russian front.

There are several tanks with the afterthought Ehkrany armour which were large extra armour bolted onto the sides of the turrets of the tanks. Some of these applique armoured version are seen intact but several are ripped apart by explosions. Well the Russian occupied versions are anyway. All of the German captured tanks here (and they are 80% of the book) are seen intact and on the front line.
We see the Soviet Red Army during WWII’s use of the KV’s mostly toward the end of the book – probably when I suppose there was more time (and cameras available to the soviet troops) to take pictures of their own vehicles.
There are some interesting pics of not of a flamethrower version of the Kv-1, a large IS-85 turret version  - it was called the KV-85 - which does look pretty mean, as well as a great potential dio of an KV-1 which had rammed an 88 gun and set off what looks like a large explosion engulfing both weapons – great diorama inspiration in some of these shots is the real key to this book.
A few more pictures of soviet troops with their own operational tanks would have made this one of the best resources on the type available. IT is a very nice book as is and it will keep you dreaming of potential dio ideas and helping you correct your damaged and distempered KV tanks for quite a while.
This is a great and worthy addition to this series and I enjoyed reading it.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Peko Publishing for sending this book to read and to review.
You can get this from the Panzerwrecks store online for £23.99 (€29.27)