The Weapons that Won the Eastern Front
May 13, 2009 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend resources about Soviet and Nazi weapons!

Hi AskMe. I'm looking for some help in pinning down some authoritative, well-researched works on the weapons of the Red Army and airforce and the Nazis fighting in Russia during the Second World War (or, the Great Patriotic War, if you prefer). I'm most interest in the air forces and infantry weapons, but I wouldn't be much of a war nerd if I asked that we leave out tanks.

I'm really interested in how differences in engineering played out in the battlefield, the more detail the better. I want to explore firepower, obviously, but I'm also curious about how things like engine design, materials used and maintenance realities contributed to the outcome of the war.

So, I'm interested in whatever you got - books, articles, documentaries, websites - anything with solid research on the weapons the Soviets and the Nazis used to fight for control of Russia - planes and infantry weapons preferred, all categories welcome. The more affordable the resource, the better.

Thank you! Happy Victory Day!
posted by EatTheWeek to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia is a surprisingly good resource for that kind of thing. For instance, T-34. Or "World War II German fighter aircraft", "World War II Soviet fighter aircraft"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:28 PM on May 13, 2009

Also, don't forget that the Soviets used a lot of American arms, including American aircraft, sent to them through Lend-Lease. For instance, almost 5,000 P-39's were sent to the USSR.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2009

This is a tough one.

I've read I guess 100s of books on the war but the best source hands-down is just plain ol' wikipedia. What it lacks in depth of any one topic it makes up in breadth of covering everything and all the hyperlinking making it fun to browse for hours.

Dunnigan's Dirty Secrets of WW2 is an interesting read about the nuts & bolts of the war, covering such trivia as the American supplies of high-octane avgas to Russia.

In the end though I think the Red Army's artillery arm that won the war in the East. Just basic pounding the crap out of the other guy.

One interesting factoid is that the T-34 was diesel (aluminum engine at that!) while the German tanks all ran on gasoline.

You might want to browse Amazon for books that explore the topic, eg. this one.
posted by toroi at 6:36 PM on May 13, 2009

Max Hasting's Armageddon is not a book devoted to the technology exclusively, but does go into great detail on it's role on the Eastern Front.

You might like this quote by Neal Stephenson from Cryptonomicon: " Ask a Russian engineer to design you a shoe, and he'll give you something that looks like the box the shoe came in. Ask him to design something that will slaughter Germans, and he turns into Thomas fucking Edison. "
posted by vito90 at 7:08 PM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

David Glantz's Colossus Reborn goes into detail about weaponry in some of the chapters.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:56 PM on May 13, 2009

Look through the books that Osprey publishes; excerpts should be in Google Book Search, I think. (I know th eone where I took some pictures certainly is.) A friend writes a lot of these and I think they have covered a lot of this ground already.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on May 14, 2009

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