Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Amazing Strv 103

The Strv 103, also called the S-Tank, is Sweden's trademark tank. A lack of turret, fixed gun with an autoloader, active suspension, three driver positions (one per crewman), these are only some of its unusual features. Swedish tank designers managed to surprise the world. However, the Strv 103 didn't come out of nothing, and a significant portion of the components that went into the tank came from experimental vehicles. How did Sweden assemble this industrial "Lego set"?

Friday, 24 February 2017

World of Tanks History Section: Star Over Kharkov

An enormous breach formed in the Soviet-German front after the encirclement and defeat of Paulus' 6th Army at Stalingrad. Another breach formed soon after, as a result of the Voronezh-Kastornaya Operation in January of 1943. This second breach was very tempting for the Soviets as it opened up a route to liberate Kharkov and the Donbass.

At the same time, Manstein was desperately holding onto Rostov-on-the-Don, saving the German 1st Tank Army. Even the tried and true German technique of shortening the front to increase the concentration of forces wasn't enough to resolve this crisis. The only weight that could tilt the scales in the Germans' favour was the injection of new forces.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Mysterious British Tank

The Soviet Union had an extensive network of intelligence agents in Great Britain, who were able to recover a great deal of information that the British weren't willing to hand over themselves. Sometimes that information was accurate, sometimes not so much.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Heavy Tank Costs

"To the Chief of the BTU, Military Engineer 1st Grade, comrade Korobov

Following decrees issued by the Government, the Kirov factory is building a series of experimental vehicles without having any contracts for them. Letter #6109 sent on November 15th, 1940, asked you to send these contracts. Letter #2239/s sent on February 20th, 1941, repeated the request. Nevertheless, we have not received any contracts from you.

I am sending you a report of the approximate cost of experimental works performed by the Kirov factory in 1941 regarding Objects ##150, 220, 221, 212, and KV-3, for the sum of 5,350,000 rubles in total. Please send us the information to issue bills regarding these projects.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Blocking Detachments

Hollywood likes to show Red Army blocking units as ruthless killers that machinegunned down anyone who took a step back from the front lines. In reality, their job was a lot less bloody and a lot more mundane:

"Top Secret
To the Military Council of the Central Front

The commanders of the 21st Army lost control over their forces. As a result, there is an increased number of military personnel retreating haphazardly without orders. A difficult situation was created at that point of the front.

On August 16-17th, the operational staff of the Front organized detainment of those retreating along roads.

Monday, 20 February 2017

76 mm M7 Gun Trials

"Conclusions

The conclusions of trials of American armour piercing-tracer M-62 shells against armour described in table #17 and illustrated in the graph shows that:
  1. The penetration quality of American 76 mm AP-T shells can, under favourable conditions (angle/distance), effectively penetrate targets (tanks, SPGs, bunkers) with armour up to 120 mm thick.
    The penetration quality of domestic 76 mm AP-T shells (blueprint #2-09038) allows for effective penetration of only 100 mm of armour under identical conditions to American 76 mm AP-T shells.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Char B1 ter: Pointless Modernization

In 1936, only two years after a decision was made to put the Char B1 into production, work on its modernization began. Mostly, it entailed improving the armour and armament. In April of 1937, the first modernized tank, indexed Char B1 bis, left its Renault assembly plant. It was destined to become the most numerous medium tank in the French army, although many of its parameters put it in the heavy class. Nevertheless, even before it entered production, discussion about a deeper modernization that would create an even heavier vehicle began. This vehicle was called Char B1 ter.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Char B1 bis: General Estienne's Legacy

On March 16th, 1934, after almost 13 years passed since the medium Char B program was launched, the French infantry command ordered the first seven Char B1 tanks. This decision was controversial. Yes, the French army was in need of a new tank. However, not only did its mass reach twice that of the initial requirements, but the tank came out very expensive, and there could be no hope of truly mass production. Paradoxically, the Char B1 bis, an improved version of the Char B1, was one of the causes of French defeat in the summer of 1940.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Field Repairs

The Red Army began the Great Patriotic War with a noticeable lack of any engineering equipment imaginable, and things only got worse when production was refactored to boost the output of tanks at the expense of everything else. Often, the only thing you had to repair the tank was the tank itself, and that had to be enough.

This contraption could be used to temporarily turn a T-34 into a crane in order to remove or install heavy components like the engine or transmission.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Firing on the Move

Trials to determine accuracy of the T-28 armed with an L-10 gun on the move were performed while driving at a speed of 12-14 kph, firing at a target 800-1000 meters away. The trials were performed in two sets: one with the tank driving towards a 12x10 meter target, the other with the tank driving parallel to a 10x10 meter target. Aiming was done with the PT-1 periscopic sight, firing was done using the foot operated trigger.

While driving towards the target, 14 out of 23 shots hit. While driving parallel to the target, 15 out of 25 shots hit. These results were considered satisfactory.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

37 mm Anti-Tank Rifle

"Rolling Company-level 37 mm Anti-Tank Rifle

Combat mode. Elevation angle 15°.

General characteristics of the system

The purpose of the system is to serve as company level anti-tank armament. It uses a semiautomatic breech with forced opening. Insignificant amount of recoil is achieved using a roller principle, where the shot is fired while the barrel is moving forward, which is done with a special spring* and a muzzle brake.

Monday, 13 February 2017

HTZ-16: Improvisation on an Industrial Scale

Improvised armour vehicles appeared during WWI, but the phenomenon became truly commonplace during the Spanish Civil War. The most common type of vehicle was the improvised armoured car, but armoured tractors were also built. Less mobile than wheeled armoured cars, they were not in high demand in Spanish conditions. WWII triggered a resurgence of improvised armoured vehicles. The USSR built the largest amount of armoured tractors, and one of them, the HTZ-16, was accepted into production and built on an industrial scale. On July 20th, this vehicle turned 75 years old.