Tankograd have published another issue in their Soviet Special series which comes in a perfect timing with the Trumpeter newly released kits. Dealing mainly with the T-62 MBT in Soviet army service, it comes in the usual form i.e. 64 pages with a full text in German and English including the pictures captions (138 color pictures and 37 BW ones). A 1/35 scale factory drawing is also provided in the central pages.
This volume is divided into 9 chapters (Development and prototypes, Soviet army service, T-62M MBT, T-62 modernization programs, T-62 mod 67 and mod 72 walkarounds, Inside the T-62, IT-1 tank destroyer, the T-62 in foreign service).
The first chapter covers the genesis of
the T-62 and clearly shows it was designed as an answer to the new arrival of
the English 105mm L7A1 gun which outgunned the T-55. The T-62 was thus designed
as a gun (the U-5TS or GRAU 2A20) with armor around it more than a standard tank
design. In fact, at the very beginning the T-62 was intended to be a tank
destroyer used in support of the huge fleet of T-55.
This chapter also leads us into the rivalries between the main design bureaus of the former Soviet Union and their connections with the head of the State where the decisions, even the technical ones, were made.
The second chapter deals with the T-62
in Soviet army service till the Afghan war and the modifications it generated.
The short text is complemented by numerous pictures in action of the two main
variants (T-62 mod 62 and mod 72). In fact, with the exception of the first
walkaround, few pictures of the mod 67 variant are available in the volume.
A table lists all the variants and production batches.
The third chapter is fully dedicated to the T-62M which introduced major protection improvements designed from the lessons learned during the Afghan war. Also unofficially named T-62E (for Ekranami), this up-armored variant displayed the well-known turret brow armor, a front hull add-on armor and side skirts for its protection. The fire control was improved with the introduction of the KTD-1 laser rangefinder located in an armored box above the main gun mantlet. A thermal sleeve also appeared at that time.
The chapter about the modernization programs briefly gives details about the following variants: T-62D Drozd, command variants, T-62MV, T-62M (2001 export variant) and the Ukrainian T-62AG. The color pictures in this chapter mainly show the MV, AG and M2001 variants.
Then come the two walkarounds of an early model (in fact a mod 67) and a T-62 mod 72. Complemented by technical drawings these two series of color pictures will prove very useful to the modelers.
The following chapter gives us an insight of the turret and the driver compartment. The color pictures are really nice and should help those willing to detail their kit interior. Two technical drawings concern the engine compartment.
The IT-1 tank destroyer is covered in a short chapter with too few pictures for such an interesting variant.
In the same way, the T-62 in foreign service is dealt with in only two pages of text and one of color pictures of an Iraqi MBT and an Israeli Tiran. Let's hope a further volume dedicated to the foreign T-62s will follow!
This volume ends with a nice series of pictures of the preserved T-62s all over the world.
With this volume, Tankograd covers nearly all the variants of this MBT which according to the author Jim Kinnear – and unlike M. Bariatinskiy- is not a simple gap filler between the T-55 and the T-64/72 in the Soviet arsenal. The poor results of the T-62 in foreign service mainly during the Israel-Arab wars are mostly due to the Arab crews less trained than their Israeli opponents more than to any design mistakes. The T-62 certainly deserved a better reputation.
The book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of Russian modern tanks as well as for the modelers willing to detail their Trumpeter’s kit.