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Su-76 on the Battlefield - WWII Photobook Series #12


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Su-76 on the Battlefield

World War Two Photobook Series Volume 12

Peko Publishing




The Su-76 was a Self-Propelled Gun developed from the T-70 light tank, but with an extra pair of roadwheels added to distribute the weight of the 76.2m main gun (or 34mm Anti-Aircraft gun) and crew of four, which started as having an enclosed casemate, twin engines and gearboxes, which were all found to be somewhat unsatisfactory, so a redesign was undertaken resulting in the Su-76M.  This had a cut-away open top that helped dissipate fumes during extended firing, and the twin engines were mated to a single gearbox and final drive, saving weight into the process.  In this guise the vehicle was much more successful, and coupled with an enlarged fuel tank that gave it additional range, it saw active service from the breaking of the Stalingrad siege to beyond the end of WWII, with over 12,000 manufactured.  Many variants were proposed, but only the SPG and AA types were realised partly due to cost and the pressing need for tanks on the front-line at that stage of the war.


Only outstripped in numbers in the Soviet inventory by the ubiquitous T-34, the Su-76, known initially by many cruel nicknames including “little Bitch” was a diminutive tank by comparison to its peers, with the driver in a separate compartment that was surrounded on both sides by the 70hp engines pumping out noise and fumes, making his job quite unpleasant.  The rest of the crew sat in the main compartment with nothing but sky over their heads, and in winter only a tarpaulin to keep the cold and snow out of the tank.  Some fitted insulation panels to the interior to prevent contact burns from the freezing metal, which can be seen in some photos.  Lacking in internal crew stowage due to the 60+ rounds that it carried, the Su-76 was seldom seen free of kit lashed to the exterior, and when travelling it was usually festooned with footsore soldiers putting additional strain on the two motors.


The Book

This is the twelfth book from Peko's World War Two Photobook Series, and as the name suggests it is primarily a book of photos, but has a fact-filled and concise introduction to the type that covers four pages in each language.  The photos are almost without exception full page, apart from a small section devoted to the captions, which was in Hungarian and English, and each one adds valuable information to the photo, which may not be immediately apparent without it.  The English is natural, clear and unforced, but even though I don’t speak or read Hungarian, I would expect that the same is true there.







The book is hard-covered, which should ensure it remains in good condition, and extends to 110 pages plus a few additional un-numbered pages that show the rest of the series as well as what’s up next.  Written and compiled by Neil Stokes with assistance from a number of others that are credited on the inside cover, it contains a huge number of mostly candid photos of the Su-76 and Su-76M in the field at various points in its career.  Of course the source photos are all black and white, and some are a little challenged by both the photographer's skill, equipment and the ravages of time, but the reprints are as high quality as is possible to obtain.  It is nice to see such large prints too, as often crowding several photos onto one page results in postage stamp sized pictures that are little use as a source of detail.  There are a few photos where the horrors of war are all-too apparent, which may upset a few, but war is hell and it shouldn’t be hidden away as we don’t want another one.






With over 200 regiments equipped with the Su-76M, there were clearly plenty of photos taken and within the pages there are plenty of diorama inspirations, and see if you can spot the young Vladimir Putin lookalike loading the shells into the back of a filthy, winter-distemper covered Su-76M.  it shouldn’t be too difficult.



Whether you are a history buff or a modeller, there's a lot to recommend this book, and with the solid binding, it should give you good service over the years.




Review sample courtesy of



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