Osprey's Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers


Edward Hampshire


Osprey Publishing


$18.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1740-2

After WWII, the Soviet Union decided that it wanted to have a proper blue water navy. As such, under Stalin, large construction projects were started, including one to build cruisers. However, Stalin did not last to see all these ships launched. Instead, after a bit of jostling around, Kruschev rose to power. He was enamoured with missiles and so made some rather drastic cuts in the building of ships as he felt that missiles were the way to go.

To somewhat counter this, the head guy in the navy, Kuznetzov put forth plans to convert or build new ships with missile armament. His talking points were that these ships could use them against enemy ships and also be used to bombard land targets. So the Soviet guided missile cruisers were developed.

Like anything new, what was wanted and what they got was not exactly the same. The technology took a while before it became reliable and what was working in one time was now obsolete by the onward attempt to keep up with the other guys. What this led to was a variety of different ship classes, each new batch armed with the latest and greatest. One thing it did accomplish was not only to keep the Soviets somewhat up to the pace of NATO and other navies, but it also led to some pretty big ships. Soviet long range missiles were never known to be small and the launchers were large. I've been aboard a Soviet missile boat and was pretty impressed by the size of the launchers, each of which looked like it could hold a small car.

In this book, the author covers the entire development process of these ships as well as the political machinations behind getting them into service. This not only covers Cold War ships, but also those which serve today that were built prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. You get lots of nice stats, coverage of all the ships and their eventual fate, as well as some great photographs. All the equipment used by each class is also provided, making this an excellent look at these ships. It is a great look at these vessels and one that you should have on your library shelves.

February 2017

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