Jamie Prenatt, Soviet Armoured Cars 1936-45 (Osprey, 2020)
In this slim volume in Osprey’s New Vanguard series, Jamie Prenatt surveys a weapon not usually associated with Soviet armies: the armoured car. It is perhaps more surprising that they had been in Russian service since before the 1917 Revolution and during the Russian Civil War.
The first Red Army mechanized brigade was formed in 1929, consisting of 17 armoured cars, and a deal with Ford (!) the same year boosted design and production. Soviet armoured vehicles were heavy when equipped with cannons and light if armed only with machine guns. And with that, Prenatt works his way through the various models assisted by black and white photographs and colour illustrations. He follows up with an overview of Soviet armoured cars in action, including the Spanish Civil War, the Khalkin Gol campaign in Mongolia, the Invasion of Poland, the Winter War, and, of course, World War II. The final batch of World War II Armoured cars continued in service until the 1950s.
Soviet Armoured Cars 1936-45 is a neat and tidy little book on a weapon that proved effective in the right tactical circumstances. Prenatt does not get too bogged down in the technical details and his narrative accounts of the vehicles in action are basic but informative. All in all, this is a useful addition to the series.