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Book Review
Soviet Cold War CG
Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers is a new naval subject from Osprey Publishing LTD. It is the 242th title in their New Vanguard series, with the code NVG 242, and is ISBN 9781472817402. The book is authored by Dr Edward Hampshire and illustrated by Paul Wright. Osprey offers it in three formats: softcover, ePUB and PDF.

Osprey's description of the book is;
    Heavily armed and formidable, guided missile cruisers formed the core of the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. From the last class of conventional Sverdlov-class cruisers through to increasingly complex and formidable missile cruisers, these ships ensured that NATO took the Soviet naval threat seriously. Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers covers all classes of these impressive warships, from the early Sverdlov through the Kynda, Kresta, Kara and Slava to the enormous Kirov classes. Together, these vessels marked the apogee of Soviet naval technology and capability and they remain today the largest non-aircraft carrier warships built since 1945. Containing material previously only available in Russian and fully researched from specialist defence journals, this comprehensive volume examines the design, development, and intended role of these impressive, hi-tech warships, and recounts their dramatic operational history as NATO and Soviet warships faced off against each other during the long Cold War at sea.

Cold War naval operations did not interest me at the time and yet in later years, I developed a curiosity about Soviet ships. This book is an interesting and concise title. The text is supported with many photos, informational sidebars, original artwork, and data tables.

Crack the Cover
Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers is 48 pages of content divided into 12 chapters and sections, with more than a dozen sub-titled segments;
    * Soviet naval strategy and missile cruisers

    Weapon Systems and Sensors
    * Command systems
    * Surface-to-surface missile systems
    * Medium- and long-range surface-to-air missiles
    * Short-range surface-to-air missiles
    * Anti-submarine weapons and torpedoes
    * Naval gunnery systems
    * Helicopters
    * Radars
    * Sonars
    * Electronic warfare systems

    Early Guided Missile Cruiser Designs

    Kynda Class (Project 58)

    Kresta I Class (Project 1134)

    Kresta II Class (Project 1134A)

    Kara Class (Project 1134B)

    Kirov Class (Project 1144, Project 1144.2)

    Slava Class (Project 1164)

    Operational Service
    * Home ports during the Cold War
    * Soviet naval deployments and operations in the Cold War
    * The fall of the Soviet Union and post-Cold War service



That Table of Contents is very different than the TOC shown online. Regardless, Dr Hampshire concisely presents a great deal of information in just 48 pages.

Sixteen pages introduces the reader to the background of the Soviet navy and their choice of battlecruisers as their primary platform, beginning with the Sverdlov class (Project 68bis, Project 70E). Kremlin power struggles following Stalin's death directly influenced the type and design of the the Soviet Navy; Khrushchev practically sank the his navy in favor of ICBMs. The text discusses the subsequent creation of the Project 1134 Kresta I class, designed to attack carrier battle groups, and then Kronstadt class (subsequently the Kresta II class), designed to counter submarines. Mission changes and developments lead to other designs and guided missile cruisers (CG) and these are discussed in the text. As are weapons, sensors, command and control, helicopters, and other characteristics of the ships.

Fifteen pages explore the design, construction, and modifications of the six main classes: Kynda; Kresta I and Kresta II; Kara; Kirov; Slava.

Operational Service recounts the activities of the ships, including the ramming of a British warship and locking-on to an American aircraft carrier. Finally, a page-and-a-half presents the fate of the ships after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Photographs, Graphics, Artwork
About two dozen photos support the text. They are about equally split between color and black-and-white. The sources are by friend and foe. More than a dozen tables present information;
    1. First ship in class, Project number, Soviet name, NATO code name: Grosnyy, Admiral Zozulya, Kronstadt, Nikolayev, Kirov, Slava.

    2. Data-link: NATO code name; Details; ships fitted on.

    3. Surface-to-surface missiles: System/Missile/Launcher; Name; NATO code number and name; Range/speed; Dimensions; ships fitted on.

    4. Surface-to-air missiles: System/Missile/Launcher; Name; NATO code number and name; Range/speed; Dimensions; ships fitted on.

    5. Short-range Surface-to-air missiles: System/Missile/Launcher; Name; NATO code number and name; Range/speed; Dimensions; ships fitted on.

    6. Anti-submarine weapons and torpedoes: Name; Details; Fitted on.

    7. Naval gunnery systems: Name; Role; Caliber; Barrels; Elevation/range; Rate of fire; Fitted on.

    8. Helicopters: Name; Details; Fitted on.

    9. Radars: Type; Name; NATO code name; Details; Fitted on.

    10. Sonars: Type; Name; NATO code name; Details; Fitted on.

    11. Electronic warfare systems: EW type; Name; NATO code name; Details; Fitted on.

    12. Project 82R data.

    13. Pre-1957 abortive designs.

    14. Sverdlov-class missile conversions.

    15. Class characteristics: Class name; Displacement (tons); Dimensions; Armament; Armor; Sensors; Propulsion; Complement; Chief designer:
      a. Kynda Class (Project 58), Groznyy.
      b. Admiral Zozulya, Kresta I class.
      c. Kronstadt, Kresta II class.
      d. Nikolaev, Kara class.
      e. Kirov, Kirov class.
      f. Slava, Slava class.

    16. Name, Laid down, Launched, Completed ships:
      a. Kynda class.
      b. Kresta I class.
      c. Kresta II class.
      d. Kara class.
      e. Kirov class.
      f. Slava-class ships.

    17. Bases of these ships 1960s to 1991, per ship class:
      -Northern Fleet
      -Baltic Fleet
      -Black Sea Fleet
      -Pacific Fleet.

    18. Fates of the missile cruisers. Each ship of each class is remembered.

Artist Paul Wright created 11 original color illustrations;
    A. Cutaway: Kirov Class, keyed to 25 components.

    B. Sverdlov Class profiles:
      1. Admiral Nakhimov during conversion for the Strella missile system, pre-1955.
      2. Dzerzhinskiy
    C. Kynda and Kresta I Classes profiles:
      1. Admiral Golovko following modernization.
      2. Vladivostok as built.
    D. Kresta II and Kara Classes profiles:
      1. Vasiliy Chapaev.
      2. Nikolaev.
    E. Slava Class profile and planform: Slava as completed.

    F. Action scene: Confrontation In The Yom Kippur War. Groznyy locked on to and training his armed P35 anti-ship missiles at USS Independence.

    G. Action scene: Ramming Glasgow. Admiral Isakov ramming the RN destroyer to interfere with intelligence gathering, 1981.

Those galleries are worth the price of the book alone.

Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers contains a detailed text that provides a great deal of interesting material. The photos, artwork and graphics greatly support the text.

I have no meaningful complaint about the text.

This book is a good informative concise volume for modelers, students and enthusiasts of the Soviet Cold War navy. Recommended.

Please remember to mention to vendors and retailers that you saw this book here - on Model Shipwrights.
Highs: The detailed text provides a great deal of interesting material. The photos, artwork and graphics greatly support the text.
Lows: Nothing.
Verdict: Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers is an informative comprehensive volume for modelers, students and enthusiasts of the Soviet Cold War navy.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781472817402
  Suggested Retail: $18, 10.99GBP
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 10, 2017

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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