Osprey Publishing's Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns of the Soviet Union is a basic primer specifically on what its title says: Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. Written by Mike Guardia and illustrated by Henry Morshead, it essentially covers 4 vehicle histories.
This book is set up with 2 goals in mind: To compare and contrast Soviet self propelled AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) gun systems with US gun systems; and to examine the history and development of self propelled AAA gun systems in the Soviet Union from late WWII to the fall of the Soviet Union. The comparison portion is brief, as it should be, and the book launches into a moderately detailed explanation of each of the 4 systems.
The first section is relatively short, starting with the ZSU-37. Here, the author describes the pressures and desires of the Soviet Army regarding self propelled AAA gun systems during WWII and immediately after.
Moving to the ZSU-57-2, a much larger explanation is given of the development and use of this system. There are a few anecdotes and some short stories of the system in use along with a discussion of the systems shortcomings.
Moving smoothly to the ZSU-23-4, this is the largest section of the book, with roughly 1/3 of it being devoted to this one system. In fairness, the ZSU-23-4 is by far the most famous system of the four systems discussed, with high interest and a large pool of research information.
The last system to be looked at is the 9K22 Tunguska. A departure from the ZSU naming system (it was erroneously known as the ZSU-30-4 for a few years by NATO), and the dubious honor of being the last production self propelled AAA gun system of the Soviet Union makes the system stand out near the end of the book. Coverage of the Tunguska is lighter than the other ZSU systems other than the ZSU-37.
The final 2 pages are devoted to a rough overview of continuing trends in post-Soviet Union Russia self propelled AAA development.
The photos are relevant and crisp. The illustrations are well done and inspiring.
Very good starting point to become acquainted with Soviet Era self propelled AAA systems.
Highs: For what it attempts to be, a quick study guide, it does quite well. It is aimed to be a "pocket handbook" or "primer" on its subject and it achieves this quite well without bogging down in technicalities or over indulging in detail.Lows: The book has a few quirks. It has some technical oddities, such as it never truly mentions how many actual 30mm guns there are on the Tunguska (there are 4). Some of the anecdotes, while interesting, are hard to relate to the subject matter.Verdict: Very good starting point to become acquainted with Soviet Era self propelled AAA systems or to be inspired by them, but not a detail heavy book for the historian or modeler. It is a excellent source for what it tries to be.
About Jacques Duquette (Jacques) FROM: MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES
The first model I remember building was a glow-in-the-dark P-38, running around my bedroom in the dark flying it, and stubbing my toes. I do a lot less running around with glowing models now. I mainly focus on 1/35 armor and figures, with Modern Russian military vehicles being my favorite. I a...