Sunday, 19 May 2013

Tank Plans for 1941

I've written before that the USSR was planning to make the KV-3 tank its primary heavy tank in 1941, and one of the KV-3, 4, or 5 in 1942, but just how many KV-3s were they planning to build? Was it going to be just a few pre-production models, or a full scale manufacture?

Full scale manufacture it is! GABTU's plans for 1941 order the Kirov factory to produce 500 KV-3s, 400 KV-1s, and 100 KV-2s. Those KV-3s are quite expensive, 40% more expensive than a KV-1.

Plans change, of course. In reality, the Kirov factory built 611 KV-1s, 204 KV-2s, and just one KV-3, if you count the T-150 as a KV-3.

Going through unfulfilled orders, another unbuilt tank pops up, the T-34M. The T-34M (factory designation A-43) was a modernized version of the T-34, with features that would be seen in Soviet medium tanks several years after, like torsion bars, a 5 man crew, a commander's cupola, a planetary gear transmission, and internal shock absorption.

The scan is a bit cut off, but the production of T-34s wanes to only 40 units over the month of September, and is fully replaced by T-34Ms by October. It is interesting to point out that 380 out of the 800 T-34Ms were armed with a ZiS-4 gun, instead of the F-34 gun that the overwhelming majority of T-34s received. 300 of the tanks were also to be equipped with a flamethrower, aside from their main guns (65 F-34 armed T-34Ms and 235 T-34Ms with a ZiS-4). That was one way of compensating for the deficiencies of the 57 mm HE shell.

We also see that, unlike the KV-3, the T-34M is not that much more expensive than the tank it is replacing. As for the prices themselves, they shouldn't be relied on in any kind of analysis. The document itself notes that these prices are just approximate (since production has not started yet). Additionally, this is way before most simplification and cost-cutting measures were taken. According to Ural Train Factory (UVZ) data, a T-34 cost 246 900 rubles in 1941, and 142 100 rubles in 1944. 

1 comment:

  1. from 700k to 400k euros - damn those things were expensive :D