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T-80 Standard Tank: The Soviet Army's Last Armored Champion (New Vanguard) Paperback – February 17, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The book is full of photos and illustrations, mostly in color, that again, will make this a much-used modeler's book... If your interest includes modern Soviet/Russian armor, I highly recommend this book to you... This volume gives you a developmental history that is easy to read and understand, plus the many photos and illustrations chosen with the modeler in mind, make this a very valuable asset to every modelers library.” ―Howie Belkin, IPMS/USA

“Steven J Zaloga's T-80 Standard Tank: The Soviet Army's Last Armored Champion offers a narrowed focus for speciality military collections focusing on military equipment. The T-80 was the last tank fielded before the collapse of the Soviet Union -- and the most controversial. Its history is revealed with photos and discussion.” ―California Bookwatch (April 2009)

About the Author

Steven J Zaloga was born in 1952. He received his BA in History from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has published numerous books and articles dealing with modern military technology, especially armored vehicle development. His main area of interest is military affairs in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in World War II, and he has also written extensively on American armored forces. Steven lives and works in Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Vanguard (Book 152)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1st edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184603244X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846032448
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has an interesting title: The Soviet Army's Last Armored Champion. Actually, upon reading Steven Zaloga's description of the development of the T-80, a more fitting title would be: The Soviet Army's Overpriced and Troubled Tank.

Zaloga is able to explain clearly (in a mere 46 pages of text), the troubled development of the T80. In his intro, Zaloga sums it up: The T80 was the Soviet's answer to the M1 Abrams, British Challenger, and the German Leopard 2 tank. However, the T80 costs 3 times as much as the T72 (due to its usage of the powerful but gas thirsty turbine engine) yet is only marginally more effective than the T72B. Moreover, the T80 gained a bad reputation in its disastrous deployment by the Russian army during the 1994 assault on the Chechen capital of Grozniy. As Zaloga points out, 70% of the 200 tanks deployed by the Russians in the conflict were knocked out. (The Chechen soldiers, familiar with Soviet tanks, knew that the armor housing the engine was vulnerable to a well-placed rocket strike from above. The result would be a catastrophic explosion which would blow the turret off the tank.) In a different book on the T80, written by Mikhail Baryatinskiy, it was also revealed that the T80 did not have reactive armor during the assault, thus making it more vulnerable to rocket attacks.

As Zaloga points out, the fault of the T80's performance in the conflict lies with the poor training of the tank crew, the incompetent tactics, and the poor operational leadership of the senior Russian Army leadership. However, the T80 tank and its designers were blamed for the disastrous combat performance.

Some of the features of the armor which were supposed to protect the T80 didn't work as well as it was supposed to.
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Format: Paperback
Renowned armor expert Stephen J Zaloga has done many books for Osprey on various Soviet tanks, but his latest volume on the T-80 is one of the most interesting and attractive to date. This volume is packed with interesting data on a main battle tank that is still in service in large numbers both in Russia and several other countries (Pakistan, Cyprus, South Korea). Most of the photos in the volume are also in color and comprise a broad selection, ranging from training grounds to photos of ammunition and internal components. From the first page to the last, I found this a superb technical description that described how the T-80 was initially developed by the Soviet Union and how it has gradually evolved in Russian service.

The volume begins with a succinct but excellent discussion on the origins of the T-80, which lay with the T-64 and T-64A tanks in 1963-1968. It was with these tanks that the Soviet Army moved to the 125-mm gun and introduced the use of tube-launched wire-guided missiles in 1976. Zaloga also discussions the concurrent development of the low-cost T-72 tank as a cheaper alternative to the T-64. The author then discusses the Soviets' requirement for a follow-on to replace the T-64 and T-72 in the 1980s, which eventually resulted in the T-80 design. Along the way, Soviet tank designers became enamored of turbine engines and pushed this open the original T-80 design, which was produced in limited numbers in 1976-1978. Unfortunately, the turbine engine proved extremely unreliable and expensive in service, forcing a shift to the T-80B with a diesel engine.

The author then shifts into a more in-depth discussion of the T-80B, which became the standard Soviet tank in the early 1980s.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his work on the T-64 Zaloga made much of the controversies afflicting tank development in the Soviet Union during the cold war decades. Much of this story is retold in this volume as well and it shows that while to the outsider the Soviet system may have looked like a monolithic monster in reality it was still riven by divisions, not so much based around politics but around regional and personal allegiances.

The T-80, being the last tank with which the Soviet tank industry sallied forth prior to the Soviet collapse was an object of great interest when it initially appeared. In this work Zaloga takes the reader through the various developmental trials and tribulations surrounding this project. The book benefits from the usual 'New Vanguard' format whereby the text is leavened with a range of black and white photographs and a series of colour plate illustrations.

Military nomenclature buffs will enjoy this work, as will fans of modern AFV's. Modellers are well catered for by the photographs and illustrations and therefore it is hard not to imagine this book easily making its money back for Osprey.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this when I realized that I couldn't, at a glance, tell a T-64 from a T-72 or a T-80. This slim volume is standard fare for this Osprey format. You have a number of useful photos and illustrations, and Mr. Zaloga's concise but informative description of the development history of these vehicles. This was quite tangled, as the Soviet weapons production bureaucracy rivaled or exceeded the US military industrial complex in the area of intrigue and political infighting. Soviet MBTs all seemed to evolve through a bewildering sequence of variants, and you can't tell the players without a program, so to speak, which this book provides.

The T-80 seems to have been something of a white elephant. Its turbine engine made it overly complex and expensive, and the Soviet army had many reservations with it. It had powerful backers, though, so they were stuck with it. Something about the strains of this melody seem familiar...

Recommended.
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