Review: The IS Tanks
- Published: 30 April 2010 30 April 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
The German dominance on the battlefield in tank vs tank combat by the production of the Panther and Tiger tanks forced the Russians to create some countermeasure against the German threat. This countermeasure became the production of the IS (in Cyrillic Josef Stalin) 1, IS 2 and IS 3 tanks. Just over 2000 tanks of the IS 1 and IS 2 tanks were produced before the war ended in May 1945. The development of the IS 3 started during World War 2 but the IS 3 did not se any action during the war.
The book consists of nearly one hundred pages with many both coloured and black/white photos. These photos are both from the World War 2 and nowadays from different museums around the world. There are also a some coloured drawings and a larger number of black and white drawings.
Some of the drawings are showing great details, for instance of the muzzle break, the drivers hatch, the turret and so on. These drawings are very good as an example you get an understanding how the turret room looked like in the IS 1 and the IS 2 tank. But some of these drawings could be somewhat better done.
The first part of the book describes the different test tanks, how the tests were conducted until production. The author has in a detailed manner described how the IS 1 and IS 2 tank where produced. He goes deep into detail in explaining the different versions. As an example, the holdings of the spare track links are described in a thorough way. I suspect that builders of models might find this interesting.
The second part of the book describes the IS 1 and IS 2 tanks in combat. During February of 1944 the first produced IS tanks where deployed in combat on the Eastern front. The final battle during WW 2 for the IS 1 and IS 2 tanks was in the battle of Berlin May 1945.
The third and the last part of the book describe the slight different, from the IS 1 and IS 2 tanks, the IS 3. The development of the IS 3 tank started during WW 2 but it did not participate in any combat. The first time IS 3 tanks where deployed was under Arabic command during the Six days War of 1967. Prior to that though the IS 3 was used by Soviet Union to suppress the uprising in Hungary 1956. During the Six Days War the Israelis were able to capture a number of IS 3 tanks from the Egyptians, which the Israelis later used as fixed gun positions in the Bar Lev line. These tanks did not gain any decisive importance during the Yom Kippur war 1973 and several were recaptured by the Egyptians.
The book is readable and it gives an interesting insight about the development of the IS tanks. According to my knowledge no other book about the subject has been written with the same grade of details. There is though one little detail reducing the rate of the book. The illustrations sometimes could have been of higher quality, now some of the drawings and pictures are slight blurred and unprecise.
(Reviewed by Mats D.)
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.