Saturday, 18 May 2019

In Search of the Perfect Sphere

The idea of building spherical tanks was born long ago. Spherical tanks were treated as a viable weapon during WWI, but interest in this topic peaked in the 1930s and 40s. Most of the time, work reached the prototype stage, or sometimes only scale demonstration models were built. Nevertheless, spherical machines continued to enchant the minds of engineers. In our time, the "descendants" of spherical tanks are rather common, having lost their drawbacks.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Bunker Turret

I posted about German bunkers with tank turrets before, but only the drawings. Here are some instructions to go along with them.

"Translated from German
8th Jager Division

January 5th, 1944

21 armoured 38(t) turrets were installed in the division's sector. They are a powerful foundation for a line of defense, impenetrable by a hurricane of enemy fire. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

MP-44 in Combat

"Translated from German (excerpts)
563rd Grenadier Division
Quartermaster department

Contents: on the use of the "MP-44" submachinegun

Preliminary instructions from the Supreme Command of the Land Forces give the following directions on using the MP-44 submachinegun:
  1. The MP-44 is a weapon that is used to fire single shots (like a semiautomatic rifle) first and as an automatic weapon second. This weapon meets the requirements for automatic weapons of an individual soldier.
    The value of this weapon is contained in the high rate of fire and precision, as well as in the ability to concentrate fire. Its value is best demonstrated when several shooters fire together.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019


"Order of the People's Commissariat of Tank Production
February 16th, 1942

Lately there have been cases of individual factories making design and technological changes to components and assemblies of production tanks. Changes are being made without consideration for interchangeability and without preliminary agreements between factories that build tanks of the same type.

This kind of senseless behaviour results in violations of agreed upon blueprints and technical documentation and disrupts the work of repair bases during restoration of vehicles of the same type that are produced by different factories.

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Myth of the Disposable T-34

This is a claim that I'm sure many of my readers have seen. It's usually worded something like "the lifespan of a T-34 tank on the battlefield was X hours, so the Soviets saw no reason to produce a tank that lasted X+1 hours". The number varies, but the sentiment is generally the same slight rewording of the "human waves" myth, pushing a narrative of disposable soldiers with disposable weapons sent to die in incredible numbers. However, one would consider it strange that an army whose main breakthrough exploitation tank was so short-lived would not only survive in a war characterized by long and deep armoured thrusts measuring hundreds of kilometers, but excel in it. Even a brief glance at contemporary documents demonstrates that reliability was always an important component of Soviet tank manufacturing.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

None More Frightening than the Cat

German industry created three armoured vehicles during WWII that had a significant effect on tank building worldwide. The appearance of the Tiger made Allied tanks obsolete. The few Ferdinand SPGs that were built introduced serious changes into the Soviet tank program. The third tank was the Panther, and its influence was comparable to that of the Tiger.

The tank was a quite unpleasant surprise for the Red Army and its allies when it made its debut at Kursk. Despite its deficiencies, the Panther is a good candidate for the best German tank of the war. The Panther was superior to the Tiger in terms of armament and frontal protection, and was made in significantly higher numbers. Many tank designers were looking at the Panther when they were making the next generation of medium and heavy tanks.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Expert Opinion

"Report on the development of the new A-20 tank at factory #183

The A-20 is began development at factory #183 in December of 1937 by designer Koshkin.

Information obtained by the UNKVD of Kharkov oblast reveals that Koshkin is conducting sabotage in the development of the tank. This was confirmed by the former director of factory #183 Bondarenko (convicted), from whose confession it can be seen that Koshkin was intentionally sabotaging the design of the A-20 tank from the very beginning on the orders of an anti-Soviet right-Trotskyist organization.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

"Tommy Gons"

"From Washington
#11115, 11116
00:45 August 14th, 1941

Immediate priority
To: Stalin, Molotov, Shaposhnikov
  1. The American government officially asks if we need submachineguns currently used by the American military (the so called "Tommy gons"), as well as ammunition for them, and in what amounts. The caliber is 11.53 mm, weight 3.5 kg, effective range of 400 m, the length is about the same as the PPD, top rate of fire is 500 RPM. Three types of magazines: 20, 50, 100 rounds. Muzzle velocity around 300 meters per second. The cartridges are the revolver type. Looks like the Americans have a large stock of this machinegun. It might be good for arming reconnaissance units, paratroopers, cavalry, motorcyclists, and partisans. I request your instruction for the volume of the order.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Production Trials

To establish the qualities of the mass produced T-34, three tanks were picked out at the end of 1940 to be run through large scale trials, including 3000 km of driving, gunnery, and communication tests. The conclusions outlined a number of issues with the design, but only because the Red Army had high hopes for this tank. It was already clear that the T-34 was going to be an exceptional fighting machine.

  1. Due to its armament, armour, type and power of engine, and cruising range, the T-34 must be the prevailing tank in the Red Army’s system of armament due to the wide range of possibilities of tactical use of this tank. The design of this type of tank must be especially thoroughly polished.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Light SPGs with Big Guns

The SU-76M SPG, armed with the ZIS-3 76 mm gun, was the second most numerous vehicle in the Red Army. This gun was one of Grabin's best, and had very respectable characteristics. Nevertheless, the idea of installing a more powerful gun was persistent, and some variants, such as the SU-85B, came close to entering production. However, the Red Army never received its domestic Marder.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Prospective SPGs

"April 14th 1944

Confirmed: Chief of the GBTU USA, Major General of the Tank Engineering Service, Alymov

Plan of the 3rd Department of the GBTU USA for April-May 1944

Due date
Controlling the completion of 100 mm D-10S gun installation into the SU-100 at factory #9 and the Uralmash factory.
May 1st, 1944
Organizing and performing large scale trials of the SU-100 from the first batch.
June 1st, 1944
Taking part in SU-152M trials with an OBM-143 gun and giving conclusions.
May 1st, 1944
Controlling the installation of and participation in trials of the 122 mm high power gun into the ISU. Giving conclusions.
May 15th, 1944
Controlling the production and testing of the 85 mm high power gun.
June 1st, 1944
Organizing and execution of trials of the SU-85 (GAZ). Giving conclusions.
May 15th, 1944
Controlling experimental work at factory #38:

·         Testing the installation of the 122 mm howitzer into the SU-76M
May 15th, 1944
·         Correction of defects of the SU-37 discovered during proving grounds trials.
May 1st, 1944
·         Organization and execution of SU-37 trials after the prototype is improved. Giving conclusions.
Vasilevskiy, Volgushev
May 20th, 1944
Organization and execution of proving grounds trials of the SU-37 produced by factory #40. Giving conclusions.
Vasilevskiy, Volgushev
May 15th, 1944

Via Yuri Pasholok.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019


"Decree of the Committee of Defense #___
__ September 1944

Contents: acceptance of the SU-57 57 mm SPG

1. Accept the 57 mm SPG produced on the chassis of the SU-76M SPG into service with anti-tank artillery regiments. Give it the name "57 mm SU-57 SPG model 1944".

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

SU-76M Successor Requirements

"Tactical-technical requirements for the design of experimental light SPGs with a rear fighting compartment

A. Main requirements
  1. Type of SPG: tracked, rear fighting compartment
  2. Weight: no more than 25 tons
  3. Crew: 4
  4. Dimensions:
    1. Width: 3000 mm
    2. Height: 2300 mm
    3. Clearance: minimum 450 mm

Monday, 29 April 2019

Tank Destroyer Ace

"Award Order
  1. Name: Kurochkin, Viktor Aleksandrovich
  2. Rank: Lieutenant
  3. Position and unit: SU-85 commander, 1893rd Fastov Self Propelled Artillery Regiment
    Is nominated for the Order of the Red Banner.
  4. Year of birth: 1923
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: VLKSM
  7. Participation in the Civil War, subsequent combat in defense of the USSR, and Patriotic War: from August 1943 until present on the 1st Ukrainian Front.
  8. Wounds and contusions in the Patriotic War: none
  9. In the Red Army since: 1942
  10. Recruited by: Ulyanovsk Recruitment Office, Ulyanovsk Oblast
  11. Prior awards: none

Saturday, 27 April 2019

The Second Generation of the Stahlhelm

After WWI, the role of infantry changed. Trench warfare was left behind, mobility increased, and new requirements were demanded of the infantry helmet. This resulted in the development of a new generation of the Stahlhelm, which, in general, inherited the shape of its predecessors.

Thursday, 25 April 2019


"Translated from German
44th Infantry Regiment
Regiment HQ

To the quartermaster company of the 44th Infantry Regiment

Due to an incident that occurred recently, I must order that:

All personnel are forbidden from producing moonshine by distilling rye flour etc., as well as consuming such vodka produced by Russian civilians. Such use of bread grain is prohibited in Germany, and consumption of such vodka, produced in the most primitive manner, bears a serious danger to one's health.

In the future, I will issue strict punishments for the smallest failures to obey this order. I hope that commanders of all ranks will do everything to follow this order. Familiarize all personnel of the quartermaster company with this order. Confirm this familiarization and report to the regiment HQ.

Commander of the regiment, Sudau

Translated by Sr. Lieutenant Renzin"