Sunday, 25 September 2016

L-60: Scandinavian Tank Revolution

Having fought its last war in 1814, Sweden ended up one of the few European countries that avoided participating in either World War. Nevertheless, the Swedes always paid careful attention to their army's weapons. Despite its neutrality, Sweden often preferred weapons of German origin. This applied to tanks as well. Even the Strv fm/21, the first Swedish tanks, were really German LK.IIs. Ten of these tanks were built at AB Landsverk in Landskrona, which became the Swedish tank development center for decades to come. The Landsverk L-60 was born here, some elements of which were a real revolution for tank development in the 1930s.

Friday, 23 September 2016

World of Tanks History Section: The British Devil and His Brothers

No one could have guessed on September 15th, 1916 that many military theory books would become obsolete in an instant. The first tank entered its baptism by fire, and an unnamed German's cry "The devil is coming!" announced the coming of the new god of war.

French and German tanks came after British ones, but the "rhombus" was the first of the first. Nine tanks belonged to this family. Some of them made it in time for the war, others remained prototoypes. Episodes collected in this article will briefly describe the "rhomboid" family.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

U-19 Order

"To the Chief of the GAU
CC: Chief of the GABTU
RE: U-19 SPG

In April of this year, under orders from Deputy People's Commissar of Tank Production comrade Kotin, the special design bureau of the Uralmash factory designed a 203 mm B-4 SPG on the KV tank chassis. Work by the Uralmash SKB was completed with working blueprints with copies.

I include the overall blueprints and an explanatory memo for this project.

Chief Engineer Umnyagin
SKB Chief Designer Gorlitskiy
August 12th, 1942"

CAMD RF 81-12038-117

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

BL-39 Trials

"June 23rd, 1942
Scientific Research AA Proving Grounds of the GAU

Report on experiment #982

Subject of the experiment: proving grounds trials of the BL-39 203 mm corps howitzer designed by factory #172.

Goal of the trials:
  1. Testing the ballistic characteristics of the system.
  2. Determining the range, precision, and angle of deviation.
  3. Determining the combat, service, and usage characteristics of the system.
  4. Comparison of the the required and actual tactical-technical characteristics.
  5. Determining the convenience of disassembly and assembly of the system and limber with typical instruments.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Anti-Tank Rifles in 1943

"Is there a reason to keep anti-tank rifle companies in infantry regiments?

Combat experience shows that keeping an anti-tank rifle company in an infantry regiment as a permanent unit is not sensible for the following reasons:
  1. The summer battles of 1943 are characterized by new types of tanks from the enemy's side. These tanks have thick armour and powerful guns up to 88 mm in caliber. These vehicles include the Ferdinand SPG and Tiger and Panther tanks. Light tanks, armoured cars, and tankettes are used as an exception. The anti-tank rifle is only effective against the Ferdinand and Tiger at a range of 150 meters and closer. Such a close distance allows the enemy to destroy infantry, machinegun nests, dugouts and bunkers at close range, ensuring maximum effectiveness. This situation requires a light weapon that could reliably destroy tanks and SPGs at 600-700 meters. The anti-tank rifle does not meet these requirements.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Narev Foothold

"Conclusions regarding the combat actions of the 80th Guards Idritsa Order of the Red Banner Heavy Tank Regiment from October 4th to 25th, 1944, in battles for the Narev Foothold
  1. In battles at the Narev Foothold, the 80th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment was used in both attack and defense, In defense, the regiment was used for combat with enemy tanks, deflecting their counterattacks. Heavy tanks from the regiment cooperated with tanks from the 17th Tank Brigade. IS-122 tanks fired at enemy heavy tanks from 2 km away, and T-34s fired at closer, less important targets.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

TACAM T-60: SPG, Transylvanian Style

Romania joined WWII with a very marginal tank force, both in numbers and capability. The first battles on the Eastern front showed that their tanks were incapable of engaging Soviet medium tanks, let along heavy ones. The Romanian army was in desperate need of new more powerful anti-tank means. In a very short amount of time, they could only be built on captured platforms.

Romania only have one tank unit in the summer of 1941: the 1st Tank Division. It consisted of the 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments, reinforced by two regiments of motorized infantry, a motorized artillery regiment, a recon battalion, and a sapper battalion. The 1st Tank Regiment was equipped with Czechoslovakian S-II-aR (an export variant of the LT vz. 35), 126 of which were purchased in 1938-1939. These tanks served in the Romanian army under the index R-2. The 2nd Tank Regiment consisted of French Renault R35 tanks. In August-September of 1939, 41 tanks were received from France. 34 more tanks arrived from Poland: these were tanks from the Polish 21st Battalion that crossed the Romanian border on September 18-19th, 1939. If the R-2s could at least fight Soviet light tanks, the R35s with their short barreled guns were helpless against any armoured opponent.

Friday, 16 September 2016

World of Tanks History Section: Crushing the Tarnopol Fortress

The main purpose of new IS-2 heavy tanks that appeared in the Red Army in 1944 was the destruction of German pillboxes with their 122 mm guns. Fighting enemy tanks was not a priority. However, plans and forecasts rarely work in war. The IS tanks got a chance to test themselves against enemy armour soon after they arrived on the battlefield.

This happened in the spring of 1944, during the Proskurovo-Chernovtsy operation. In addition to their other objectives, the Soviet forces had to surround the German 1st Tank Army. Colonel-General Chernyakhovskiy's 60th Army participated in this task. One of the first targets in its path was Tarnopol (modern day Ternopol). Hitler declared it a Festung: a city-fortress that German forces had to hold until the last man. On April 11th, it was time for the defenders to carry out that order.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Prospective Death Rays

"9. Device for intercepting and jamming foreign radio stations that are broadcasting images. Special Projects Laboratory. A design is in development.

Weapons (Death Rays)

10. Powerful electronic emitters and short wavelength rays. Literature and intelligence has been gathered, theoretical work is underway.

11. Powerful sound waves. Physical-Technical Laboratory and Special Projects Laboratory. Theoretical work is underway. Professor Andreev's device is being finished, which generates short sound waves using quartz."

Via _tezka.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

T-30 Towing Trials

"Record of 010 tow hook trials

1. Object under trial

The "010" tank with two front tow hooks. The tow hooks are positioned 120 mm away from the side of the hull, as the same height as the existing production tow hook.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Nickel-Free Armour

"Decree of the State Committee of Defense #1586
RE: trials of the new nickel-free armour for T-34 hulls

The State Committee of Defense decrees that:
  1. The People's Commissariat of Ferrous Metals (comrade Tevosyan), People's Commissariat of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev), and GABTU are to be informed that trials of nickel-free armour and cast T-34 turrets from MZ-5 gave satisfactory results, matching the technical requirements for MZ-2 nickel armour.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Post-War Production

"State Committee of Defense Decree #9488ss
July 9th, 1945
Moscow, Kremlin
  1. In order to increase the number of tanks in the Red Army to its authorized strength and create a 3000 tank Stavka reserve, it is necessary to preserve the production levels from June of this year for a term to be determined in the future.
  2. Production of heavy ISU-152 SPGs for armament of heavy tank regiments of combined arms armies will be preserved, as their HE performance is much higher than of 122 mm guns.
  3. Refill Red Army units to their authorized strength in the following order:
    1. Occupational forces (comrades Zhukov, Konev, Rokossovskiy, and Tolbukhin).
    2. Border military districts.
    3. Internal military districts.