SU-76 on the Battlefield
|$41.95 MSRP from Casemate|
112 pages, Hardback, 8.5 x 12
After the T-34 medium tank, the SU-76 was the most produced Soviet armored vehicle of WWII. Based on a widened and lengthened T-70 light tank, the 76.2 mm ZIS-3 gun made for a perfect infantry support vehicle. Because of the length of the gun, it had to be mounted far back on the chassis, which did not leave all that much room for those who operated the gun.
The SU-76 had a four man crew which consisted of a driver in the very front who in the intial version had engines on both sides of him. In the fighting compartment were the commander, loader and aimer. The initial production vehicle had each engine drive a set of tracks, making it difficult to properly keep things evened out. It also had a top on the fighting compartment, making it quite cramped.
The Su-76M had a single engine on the right side with the fuel tanks moved to the left so the driver was still bracketed by equipment. The top was removed from the fighting compartment, a positive trade-off as it provided a much better ability to see what was going on around them and helped evacuate fumes from the engine and from gun gasses.
A small series of these vehicles was built on captured StuG and Panzer III chassis. The vehicles were not designed to combat tanks as their armor was only good against small arms fire, though the 76.2mm gun was capable of taking out a German tank every once in a while. They were primarily used to break through bunkers and other defenses as well as provide a place for troops to ride. The vehicles were used post war even into the 1990s.
This is the 12th volume of a series called 'photobook' by Peko. As is proper for what is basically a photo book, it is in landscape format. This allows for some very large photographs, something that both enthusiasts and modelers will appreciate. The majority of photos seemed to have been taken in the last months of the war, so it will not be too surprising to see most of the vehicles are the later SU-76M versions. For the most part, the images are clear and crisp and provide a lot of information. this includes some that were captured by the Germans as is shown on the book's cover.
In all, a very worthwhile volume on this important, but little known Soviet AFV. Highly recommended.
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