When it was introduced into service in 1953, the T-10 represented a return to the “classic” Soviet heavy tank. Although considered a major threat to NATO tank forces, it also represented the end of an era. All gun-heavy tanks like the T-10 would eventually be made effectively redundant by later models like the T-62 which had powerful next-generation armament and new ammunition types. The tank was gradually withdrawn from service in the 1970s, though the last tanks would only leave Russian service by decree of the President of the Russian Federation in 1997. As such the T-10 outlived the Soviet state that had created it.
Never exported outside of the Soviet Union and rarely used in combat, the T-10 has remained a mysterious tank, with many of its variants unknown in the West until very recently. This study, written from original Russian and Ukrainian primary source documents that have only recently been made available, uncovers the history of this enigmatic tank using 130 stunning contemporary and modern photographs of the T-10 as well as full color side-view artwork.