The Lost Russian Bear

As with so many earlier generation military manufacturers, the YaAZ name is today largely forgotten – James Kinnear reminds us of its history

The early YaAZ-200 prototype as developed from late 1944 and demonstrated to Stalin in June 1945
A Soviet Army Ya-12 artillery tractor in service in Belorussia, 1954. Note the mix of roadwheels including the cast spoke type dating back to the T-60 light tank
A diagram from a Soviet manual depicting the MAZ-200, which differed from the YaAZ-200 only in the badging

Many people are familiar with the staple military transport vehicles which were used by the Soviet Army, from the GAZ and UAZ light vehicles through the ZiS and latterly ZiL general service trucks to the heavier class KrAZ and MAZ heavy load carriers employed for numerous specialised applications. One manufacturer about which less is known is however the Yaroslavl Automobile Plant (YaAZ) based in the city of Yaroslavl 250km northeast of Moscow.

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