Probably one of the most iconic symbols of Soviet military power during the early years of the Cold War was the silhouette of the T-54 tank prowling down streets of foreign capitals under Soviet sway or roaring across fields in massive exercises. Its sleek and unmistakable shape was a warning to any nation that wanted to stand against the Soviet empire.
But when the truth was known and while it was a technological marvel of its day and a breakthrough in armoured vehicle design it was essentially the perfect tank to fight the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and not as advanced as it seemed from its appearances. Fitted with monolithic homogenous armor, it was vulnerable to both the developing high explosive anti-tank warheads on newly developed anti-tank guided missiles as well as the other major development used by the NATO armies, armor piercing discarding sabot projectiles made of hard, dense core materials. When their tanks began to clash with the Western armoured vehicles in proxy wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East they were found to be on the losing end of many of the battles.
The tank was due to the work of a number of brilliant Soviet designers such as F. F. Petrov who created its lightweight and powerful 100mm gun and I.Ya. Trashutin, the designer of the V-2 series of diesel engines; however, the concept of the vehicle was from the mind of one man- Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Morozov. One of the three principle designers of the legendary T-34 tank, Morozov was motivated by the fact that that tank was actually the brainchild of Mikhail Koshkin and wanted to put his own stamp on the Soviet tank industry with a unique creation.
While he achieved this with the T-54 series of tanks, it was not enough; later he would go on to create the even more revolutionary T-64 series tanks. The T-54 series was produced in both the USSR and abroad with major runs of T-54 tanks coming from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Peoples Republic of China, as well as the later T-55 redesign of the vehicle from Nizhniy Tagil and follow-on Chinese designs.
This book will only address the Soviet-built tanks and their derivatives such as the ZSU-57, SU-122-54, BTS retrievers and MTU bridge launchers.
If you're remotely interested in the T-54, just like Russian armour anyway, or you just have an interest historically in the period, then I would hugely recommend this title to you. [...] This is an absolutely excellent title, definitely a must-have as far as armour modellers are concerned, and so it comes heartily recommended by me. -- Geoff Coughlin * Scale Modelling Now *
With high production standards, copious photos and inside details from Soviet sources, [Soviet T-54] is a great guide to one the Soviet Union's best tanks. * The Armourer, January 2019 *
It's going to become a military vehicle enthusiast's standard reference work on the T-54. [...] If you are at all interested in Eastern Bloc armour - especially the T-54 - then you need to own this book. * Classic Military Vehicle (January, 2019) *