THE first ever Russian tank manual has been added to Haynes Publishing's line-up of military titles.

Exploring the iconic Soviet-era T-34 Tank, this latest manual has been written by Wimborne-based author Mark Healy.

Military historians consider the T-34 as one of the most important tanks in history, and this mass-produced killer is widely credited as a significant factor in the Red Army's World War Two victory over Germany on the Eastern Front.

Mr Healy explained: "Built in vast numbers, the T-34 became the mainstay of the Soviet tank formations and a primary weapon in helping to secure the defeat of Nazi Germany four years later.

"Most of the T-34s in service with the Red Army were lost following the German invasion in June 1941, but its revolutionary design profoundly affected the course of the war.

"Its 76mm main armament was formidable in 1941, but the appearance of a more heavily armed tank designs in mid-1943 prompted the development of a new turret equipped with a longer 85mm gun.

"This kept the T-34 effective to the end of the war in Europe and for many years later."

Aside from the then Soviet Union, T-34 tanks were also used by military forces of almost 40 other nations. It saw action in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

Indeed, it can still be found in the arsenals of some countries today.

The Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual sheds light on the construction, operation and combat history of the T-34. It is supported by more than 200 photographs and illustrations.

Mr Healy said: "The T-34's longevity has been such that a few remain and have been seen in action in news reports from Yemeni and Syrian civil wars taking place today."

Haynes Publishing has been a leading publisher of illustrated workshop car manuals and motorcycle manuals since 1965. The company also has licences to publish manuals with the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Star Wars, Star Trek and others.