Thursday, 19 September 2019


"Record of payment for citizens Zimmerman, Finkler, and Gonfeldman of the city of Odessa

For restoration of health after being bruised by tanks, the corps commander issues: 600 rubles

Total: 600 (six hundred) rubles

Approved: Chief Quartermaster and Paymaster, Dukhanin"

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

V-2 Improvements

I've written a lot about what the reliability of the T-34 tank was, but not as much about where the army wanted it to be. I don't have as much data on the expected lifetime of engines in 1942 as I do for other years, but from documents it seems that it did not drop as some people state. The USSR did not opt to discard quality for quantity, far from it. The order issued by People's Commissar of Tank Production Malyshev on April 21st, 1942, demonstrates that the quality target was higher than ever:

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ferdinand Intel

"Captured enemy vehicles

Ferdinand SPG

Characteristics: 88 mm gun with an elongated barrel on the Tiger tank chassis, immobile armoured turret. Mass: 67-70 tons. Chassis: width 3.5 meters, length (with gun) 10 meters. Top speed: 20 kph, average speed: 10-15 kph.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Factory #183 Experiments, January-February 1941

"Report on the execution of experimental work on armoured vehicles from January 1st to February 20th, 1941

Tractor "42" on the T-34 chassis
Due date: September 1940
2x prototypes were built in November of 1940. Factory trials were supposed to complete in December 1940. A number of gearbox, tracks, winch, etc. defects were discovered during trials. Presently, the defects are being corrected, after which trials will resume.

T-34 tank modernization
The design bureau is developing a modernized T-34 with a new hull, turret, gearbox, main clutch, and suspension. A draft project is being worked on. Individual components are being built. A model is being built.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Gorilla, King Kong's Sister

Like other members of the Light Combat Team based on the M24 Chaffee chassis, the 155 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M41 did not take part in WWII, but fought actively in Korea. Even though the Gorilla was not numerous and its career was short, this vehicle still deserves attention.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Express Tank Destroyers

"Decree #252ss of the State Committee of Defense
July 23rd, 1941
  1. The People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Ustinov) is to install the first 100 57 mm anti-tank guns on Komsomolets tractors.
  2. The People's Commissar of Medium Production (comrade Malyshev) must ship 100 Komsomolets tractors to factory #92 before August 10th, 1941.
  3. The People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Ustinov) must produce towed 57 mm anti-tank guns using the GAZ-61 car as an artillery tractor starting on August 10th.
  4. Comrade Malyshev must supply factory #92 with GAZ-61 cars in sufficient amounts to match production of the 57 mm ZIS-2.
  5. Production of 57 mm and 76 mm divisional guns at factory #92 remains unchanged.
  6. The proposal made by the Gorkiy Regional Committee and factory #92 to install 57 mm guns on the GAZ-AAA truck is rejected.
Copies: Ustinov, Malyshev, Voznesenskiy, Popov."

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Difference of Opinion

"A record of disagreement regarding contract #B1-221 signed on May 8th, 1941, between Comintern factory #183 and the GABTU regarding delivery of T-34 tanks in 1941

Article 9 paragraph 1:
  • GABTU version: the guaranteed period for which the tank will function without excessive wear and breakdowns of components and assemblies is 3000 km, provided the tank is operated within guidelines and instructions issued by the GABTU.
  • Factory #183 version: the warranty period for tanks up to #1001 is set to 3000 km, with the exception of tracks and the cooling fan, which the factory guarantees up to 1500 km. Starting with the 1001st tank this component will also be guaranteed up to 3000 km.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


"Commanders of the Fronts
August 10th, 1942

Our tank units and formations take heavy losses, and losses in tanks for technical reasons outweigh losses in battle. On the Stalingrad Front, over 6 days of fighting, despite having superiority in tanks and artillery, in 12 of our tank brigades out of 400 tanks 326 were lost, out of those 200 were lost for technical reasons, and the majority were left on the battlefield. Similar examples can also be found on other Fronts. Considering this kind of rates of breakdown inconceivable, the Stavka considers this the be caused by covert sabotage and destruction on behalf of tankers, who either seek out small faults with their tanks or create them themselves in order to keep away from the battle, abandoning their tanks on the battlefield. At the same time, poorly established control over materiel and tracking of whether or not tanks perform their duties in battle in tank units allows this criminal and unacceptable behaviour to continue.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Experimental Work at Factory #183, February 1941

"Report on experimental work at factory #183 for February of 1941

Work performed at workshop 500:
  1. Trials of two types of main clutches with a friction clutch for the fan. Tanks with these clutches drove for 400 km, after which trials stopped due to breakages of three pins on each. Presently, a new main clutch is being produced with an altered driving drum and a friction clutch for the fan. This type will be produced in mid-March of 1941.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

A Fast Howitzer on a Light Chassis

Unlike American light tanks, which towards the war reached perfection in their class, light SPGs did not work out. The first successful design, the HMC M8, appeared towards the middle of the war. It did not satisfy the military and work on light SPGs continued. The result of this work was the HMC M37, a good design that appeared far too late. The production run was limited and it only saw battle after the end of WW2.

Thursday, 5 September 2019


"October 18th, 1945
To the Deputy People's Commissar of Railways, Vice General Director 1st Class comrade Arutyunov

A captured special tank weighing 160 tons (including a removable 40 ton turret) directed to the NIBT proving grounds (Kubinka station, Western railroad) has been stuck at the storage terminal of the cargo base at Brest-East.

The transfer of the special tank is delayed due to the fact that the storage terminal does not have cables necessary for moving the special tank.

I ask for your order to expedite the transfer of the special tank and its delivery to its destination.

I ask you to reply with your decision.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Engineer-Major of the Tank Service, Pavlovskiy"

CAMD RF 38-11355-3009 p.82

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Monstrous Regiment

Even as late as 1944, Red Army tank units were far from being populated entirely by T-34s. Sometimes colourful mixes like these went into battle, and their owners had to put up with a gently used fleet.

"By July 15th, 1944, the regiment was equipped with the following:
  • 16 T-70 tanks
  • 10 Matilda tanks
  • 1 M4A2 tank
  • 4 BA-64
  • 2 motorcycles
  • Automobiles:
    • Trucks: 34
    • Special: 8
    • Cars: 2
At this time:
  1. T-70 tanks each ran for 110-120 hours, and their technical condition was satisfactory to perform a forced march.
  2. Matilda tanks, received from refurbishment on June 27th, 1944, had only 45-55 running hours remaining. Their technical condition was unsatisfactory for a combat vehicle. Matilda tanks required another round of factory repair due to worn out components and assemblies. Due to significant wear on all parts and components of the tank, they could not be restored by the regiment's resources.
  3. The M4A2 tank was technically functional and ready for upcoming battles.
  4. The Harley and Indian motorcycles were received from refurbishment and were in unsatisfactory condition.
  5. Automobiles: half made up of foreign makes. 85% were received to fill up the regiment and brigade back in April of 1942, only 15% were received in the summer of 1943."

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Budget Tracks

"Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #131-M
April 10th, 1942

In order to preserve ferromanganese in T-34 and T-60 track links and improve production of steel in electric furnaces, I order that:
  1. NII-48 director comrade Zavyalov must assemble two brigades of the best specialists of the Institute in order to resolve the issue of creating a new type of steel to use in track links, sending one brigade to factory #183 and the other to factory #37.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Even More MKb 42(H) Intel

"GAU Artillery Committee Information Department
Information Summary #16
July 1943
New German light machinegun and ammunition for it

In June of 1943, Red Army units captured a new 7.9 mm machinegun firing intermediate cartridges.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

A Bigger Howitzer on a Smaller Chassis

The American Ordnance Committee standardized the HMC T47 as the HMC M8 on May 15th, 1942. This vehicle was accepted into service even before a prototype was built and became the first American light SPG to enter production. The HMC M8 was a good vehicle, but had its drawbacks. The fighting compartment was cramped and there was no room to improve the armament. Experience in combat showed that 75 mm was too small of a gun even for a light SPG. This prompted the development of a new SPG, also based on the Light Tank M5 chassis. The result was a number of experimental SPGs, including the HMC T82.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Waste Not, Want Not

"16th Motorized Infantry Division
Unit 1-b
Division HQ, September 1st, 1941

Special supply order #29

Dual shields for anti-tank guns

Shields of Russian anti-tank guns can be easily adapted for German anti-tank guns. All captured Russian anti-tank guns that cannot be repaired for use in the German army to replace knocked out guns should have their shields removed and attached on top of German gun shields.

Platoon gunsmiths and company repair workshops can take on the work.

On behalf of the division commander, 1st officer of the General Staff IV"

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Cabin on the Tanks

"Mechanic-driver's station

The mechanic-driver is located to the left of the ammunition rack in the front of the tank. The driver's seat is immobile. The seat can flip back and its angle can be adjusted.

The tank is driven by looking through the open hatch in front of the driver, through the slit in the hatch protected by a vision block, or through the rotating MK-IV periscope in the top hatch.