book T-72/72M in detail
Present Vehicle Line No.14
František Kořán, František Sỷkora, Tomáš Bouchal, Jan Martinec, Josef Spurnỷ
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.
ISBN 80-86416-52-6

215 pages all in colour.

Review by Terry Ashley

This latest volume from Wings & Wheels Publications has a massive 215 pages crammed with detailed close-up photos of the T-72/T72M and variants which must be the most comprehensive photo overages of the type in any one book.

The book has the usual card cover but also a separate dust sleeve with a different cover design befitting a book of this size with the English text kept to a minimum with just the photo captions and brief introductions to different chapters with most available space taken up with the superb photos and a set of 1:35 plans of the T-72M thrown in for good measure.

Probably the easiest way to describe the contents is to step through the sections as listed at the front of the book with a brief description of each, so lets get on with it.

T-72 Walk Around Page 3-11
This section has the most text with a history of the design through the various versions and also lists all gun tank versions with rundowns on the types operated by the main users of the T-72 outside of the USSR/Russia (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia) with a general overall view walkaround of earlier T-72s.

T-72 Chassis Details  Page 12-17
Close up detail shots of the road wheels, drive sprockets, and idler wheels that include shots without the track fitted for excellent views of the insides and wheel mountings/axles. The track is also shown in close-up as are the return rollers and sections of the lower hull.

T-72 Front Mudguards Page 18-19
Another series of close-up shots in particular of the hinges on the front fenders.

T-72 Fuel Tanks Page 20-21
The fender mounted fuel tanks are shown in extreme details that include the many attachment clips.

T-72 Toolboxes Page 22-25
The tool boxes are next and again have close-up detail of the boxes, securing straps and clips.

T-72 Hull Details Page 26-35
The general hull details are covered next with shots of foldable blade under the front hull, glacis details, the tow cable attachments, and the driver’s hatch and periscopes that include shots of the open hatch showing the hatch plunger that raises the hatch for opening and the inside of the hatch.

T-72 Headlights Page 36-39
Shots of the main headlights and position keeping lights from just about every angle imaginable for excellent detail coverage.

T-72 Engine Cowlings Page 40-45
The engine deck cowlings are shown in close-up with shots of the covered air takes with and without the covers in place and includes excellent shots of the panel hinges and attachments.

T-72 Exhaust Details Page 46-47
Nine extreme close-up shots of the exhaust outlet from every angle providing as much detail as you could possibly want.

T-72 Rear Fuel Tank Details Page 48-51
More extreme close-up shots of the rear fuel tanks and fuel line plumbing with special attention to the fuel line connectors including those on the main fender mounted tanks plus shots of the drum supports.

T-72 Turret Details Page 52-65
The turret is covered next with detailed shots of the hatches both inside and out including detailed shots of the TPD-K1 laser range finder and Commander’s TKN-3 telescope periscope.

T-72 AA Machine gun Page 66-71
The ZU-72 anti-aircraft system is shown in close-up both with the 12.7mm NSVT machine fitted and without giving excellent details of the gun mounting and sights.

T-72 Search Lights Page 72-75
The turret mounted search lights have detailed shots showing the mountings, wiring and lights themselves.

T-72 Turret Details Page 76-81
This section has details of the turret mounted air intake container and stowage boxes with more close-up shots of the attachments, hinges and various fittings.

T-72 Gun Barrel Details Page 82-85
The barrel has various shots of the rubber/textile mantlet cover plus shots of the thermal sleeve and fume extractor as well as the muzzle and canvas muzzle cover fitted in place.

T-72 School Simulator Page 86-91
This section is extremely interesting as it shows a training school simulator which is basically a T-72 with all the internal systems in place but the hull and turret are replaced with tubular frames allowing everything to be seen from outside. This allows the instructors to work without squeezing inside the tank with the trainees and would make for one interesting model.

T-72 Driver's Compartment Details Page 92-103
Incredible close-up shots detail every aspect of the driver’s compartment and controls that include the gear shift, instruments and forward vision periscope plus the radio setup and other details at the sides and behind the fold down driver’s seat.

T-72 Turret Interior Details Page 104-105
Two pages of text detail the various systems within the turret with a few detailed shots to illustrate the text.

Gun Breech Details Page 106-109
Extreme close-up shots of the breech from all sides plus some line drawings of the breech layout and mountings provide invaluable details.

Gun Loading System Page 110-113
The complicated carousel loading system is shown with diagrams of the carousel and detailed shots of the roof mountings and chain driven mechanisms plus the roof mounted shell ejection hatch both open and closed.

T-72 Ammunition Page 114-117
The different ammo used is explained the detailed text and shots of the different rounds and separate charges plus additional shots of the shells in the carousel.

Machine gun Details Page 118-119
The co-axial machine gun is shown in six close-up shots plus a diagram of the gun in position showing good details.

Gunner's Compartment Page 120-125
The gunner’s compartment has many shots of the various controls and switches with excellent shots of the main gunner’s sight from different angles.

Commander's Compartment Page 126-133
Following this is the same treatment for the Commander’s station with superb shots of the main interior hatch and periscope detail plus the various wall mounted instruments and wiring for more superb details.

T-72 Engine Details Page 134-139
Things move to the rear with detailed shots of the engine while inside the hull that give excellent details and also shows what you can see with the engine hatches open plus some shots of the upper radiator.

T-72 Gearbox Details Page 140-141
Additional shots of the rear gearbox compartment showing the complex plumbing around the gearbox plus a shot of the large air cleaner removed from the vehicle.

Field's Gearbox Repair Page 142-149
Another very interesting section showing the field removal of the gearbox and steering clutch that gives superb details of the drive sprocket mounting and inner clutch with shots of the clutch from various angles as well as the special purpose lifting hook designed to allow easy fitting of the clutch under field conditions and again would make for an excellent diorama.

T-72M/M1 Walk Around Page 150-177
This section has general all round views of various M/M1s on exercise giving an overall coverage of the type with the turret smoke canisters added and includes shots of the Czech M/M1 and MK versions that show some interesting variations in the cam schemes carried.

T-72M/M1 Hull Details Page 178-179
Five close up shots of the engine deck of the later M/M1 type to give contrast to the earlier shots.

T-72M/M1/M2 Turret Details Page 180-185
Additional close-up shots of the later turret details including the smoke grenades and wiring plus the stowage boxes with lids open.

T-72M4CZ Walk Around Page 186-191
Another general walkaround with detailed text describing this version with a full suite of ERA blocks added to 90% of the hull and turret that gives a totally different look to the T-72.

T-72M4CZ Hull Details Page 192-197
Close-up shots of the hull reactive armour panels plus shots of the revised engine deck and other details such as the fenders, side skirts and exhaust.

T-72M4CZ Turret Detail Page 198-201
The turret is covered in extreme detail showing the armour blocks  and rear mounted SDIO sensors as well as the hatches and main sights.

VT-72B Walk Around Page 202-207
The VT-72B ARV is shown in a general walkaround with shots from all angles giving an overall view of the vehicle with additional text describing the details of the ARV type.

VT-72B Hull Details Page 208-213
Detailed views of the hull with close-up shots of the rear platform and winch as well as the crane mounting and jib and front mounted spade and winch cable pulleys.

VT-72B Interior Details Page 214-215
Two pages of detailed interior views of the ARV finish off the book with the details shown able to be seen through the open hatches.

This is a superb photo coverage of the T-72/M/M1/M2 with virtually every detail of the vehicle covered in extreme detail plus the added bonus of the training simulator and field maintenance to add further interest.

Without doubt this would be the most comprehensive and detailed coverage of the versions included in a single publication and would be indispensable reference for anyone with an interest in modern armour.

Highly recommended.
Sample Pages

Thanks to František of Wings & Wheels Publications for the review book.

Page Created July 6, 2006

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