In this, Tankograd Publishing's
second volume on the KV, the attention turns to the technically superior later variants of the KV1. With these later variants, the vehicle was to become faster, more reliable and better-protected and armed. It was also significant that the combat-use of the KV was to change as well - being used in larger groups rather than in the 'piecemeal' form which had been the rule rather than the exception in the early stages following the first months of Operation Barbarossa. Serving in various incarnations up until the final battles of spring 1945, the KVs of the middle/late-war period had only a superficial resemblance to the earlier variants emplyed in the earl-war period....
Tankograd -Soviet Special nº 2003 - KV1, Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII - Late Variants is written by Jochen Vollert . The book is softcover and consists of 80 pages. The graphic content of the book consists of B + W (and color photos) along with scale plans (1/35th scale) , black and white diagrams of details of variants and a well-considered and informative text covering both technical development and operational history. Each of the variants covered is presented within its own chapter. The vehicles featured are:
KV-1 (Model 1941) - simplified welded turret with reinforced turret armor armed with the F-32 or ZIS-5 Gun Chtz
KV-1 (Model 1941) - Cast turret armed with ZIS-5 gun ChKZ
KV-1 (Model 1942) - Reinforced Cast turret armed with ZIS-5 gun ChKZ
KV-1 with Infantry sledge
KV-1s - the 'fast' KV
KV.1S-85 and KV-85
KV-8/KV-8S Flame Thrower tank
In common with the previous book, there is a chapter devoted entirely to a technical summary of the KV series. This is particularly useful when one reaches the superbly chosen and executed diagrams which show in painstaking detail items such as the interior detail of the commander's hatch, photos of the internal layout , power plant and (of vital importance) the four variations in roadwheel design along with idlers and tracks. In fact, this is for me at least one of teh most important sections of the book as the variations are extremely complex...Also explained are some of the variations present in vehicles produced at different production facilities - subtle but important for the super-detailers amongst us...
The next chapter is titled KV-Tanks in Combat- "KV-Shock" and "Gun-Scare" this gives an overview of the real threat that the KV posed to the German forces, in particular, when many of the reliability issues were dealt with...The final five chapters deal with the following areas:
1) The KV 'BeutePanzers' (Captured KVs in German service)
2) Captured KVs in Finnish Service
3) The end of the KV's service career
4) A historical retrospective
5) KVs which exist today in military museums
It really is difficult to praise this (and its companion) volume highly enough. The attention to the smallest detail of this complex subject is rarely seen in similar publications. The quality and choice of the images in the book has rarely been bettered, although (by necessity) some of the photos have been seen before, the logical presentation of this book is quite extraordinary. Despite the superb quality of Trumpeter's 1/35th scale KV series, there are areas for improvement (not least, actually classifying the variants correctly) some of the detail IS simplified and there is a need for some technical reference material to enhance these simplifications. The author has approached the subject of the KV in a highly professional manner providing a superb reference source for little more than the cost of one of the kits. These books will encourage the serious modeller to go 'beyond the box' and start realizing the potential of an excellent series of kits. The only (slightly) negative comments about this book would be in a few areas:
1) More information on the various track types.
2) A seperate volume on the KV in German service.
3) More interior photos.
These 'gripes' aside, if you're serious about the KV, get these books. Simple...
VERY Highly Recommended
The book and its companion volume on the early variants of the KV series, was purchased from Aviation Book Centre , which is a British on-line retailer who offer a prompt and excellent service.
The other review of Tankograd's early KV Variants, can be seen: HERE!