The archive file further mentions 4791 sets of body armour, 340 shields, and 200 helmets made of this alloy sent to the Warsaw fortress over the period of 3 months.
The invention made a mark on media. The "Rus" newspaper (#69, 1907) wrote: "I saw a miracle yesterday. A young man, thirty years of age, in a military uniform, stood still in a room. A Browning was pointed at him from half a pace, a frightening Browning, aimed right for the chest, for the heart. The young man waited, smiling. A shot struck, the bullet bounced off.
"See," said the military man. "I barely felt anything.""
"Novoye Vremya" wrote on February 28th, 1908: "The invincible armour and new breastplates are wonderful inventions of our century, and surpass the knight's armour of the past. The scale layers remain the same, but the alloy is different. It is the inventor's secret. A. A. Chemerzin only explained the main idea behind his discovery. A. A. Chemerzin is a Lieutenant-Colonel of engineering forces. He finished a degree in mathematics, then an engineering school. He taught mathematics, while studying chemistry, and a series of experiments led him to exploration of nickel-chromed steel. The alloy was created under high temperature and pressure. Precious metals like platinum, silver, iridium, vanadium, and many others were added to the mix. This led to a very ductile and strong metal, that is 3.5 times tougher than steel. As a result, at three paces, the Mauser bullet could not penetrate a half-millimeter plate. Armour and breastplates were made that were impenetrable for revolver and rifle bullets, which deformed without giving off fragments. The danger of concussions and ricochets was solved.
The armour is expensive, but life is costs more. Putting on the 5 pound armour that covers the front and back, I did not consider it heavy. It is entirely unnoticeable underneath a suit. 7000 breastplates, helmets, and shields were sent to the army in the Far East, but sadly, too late..."
Indeed, the invention did not come cheap. 1500-1900 rubles would buy you a standard set of armour. 5000-8000 could buy you a custom-made set, tailored to your body. Chemerzin also offered the armouring of a carriage (20,000 rubles) and a car's engine compartment (15,000).
In 1916, Chemerzin's armour was tested for pilots. While it performed admirably, a cheaper armour was chosen, manufactured at the Petrograd mechanical and metalworking factories.
I don't have anything about the interbellum period, but the question of protecting infantry was explored during the Winter War.
- Manufacture 100-150 SN-40A breastplates, providing protection from model 1908 bullets fired from a rifle or machine gun from 150 meters at 0 degrees and from any distance at 30 degrees.
- Manufacture the breastplates in three sizes. Previously, breastplates were produces in one size (small).
- Explore the requirements for production of the breastplates and develop blueprints for equipment to mass produce the breastplates.
- Conduct proving ground and battlefield trials to determine if the breastplates can be accepted by the Red Army.
- The steel breastplates provide reliable protection from German submachineguns, as well as fragments of mines and hand grenades.
- The maneuverability of soldiers with breastplates is almost unimpaired.
- Aside from providing protection for the soldier, the breastplate also increases the soldier's morale when performing his duties.
- South-Western Front: 5,000
- Stalingrad Front: 3,000
- Leningrad Front: 1,000
- Volhov Front: 1,000
- Don Front: 5,000
The breastplates were met with distrust, but commanders requested the breastplates in maximum available numbers after testing them in battle. All breastplates available in the warehouses were given out. In battles for Stalingrad, they were exhaustively tested.
Comments by unit commanders and soldiers say that the breastplate, in addition to the steel helmet, is a good and reliable method of protection from bayonets, bullets, and shrapnel.
It is also necessary to point out the morale value of the breastplate. Soldiers equipped with the breastplates that have experienced their reliability go into battle calmly and assuredly.
The artillery supply units are constantly receiving orders for additional breastplates. All these factors combined lead me to believe that the breastplates live up to expectations and are a worthwhile investment.
Please issue 15000 units to the 68th army."
- The steel breastplate safeguards the chest and stomach of the soldier in combat from 1) bullets of a German submachinegun at any distance 2) bullets of rifles and machineguns at 300 meters 3) fragments of mines and grenades.
- The steel breastplate, thanks to its construction, does not stifle the soldier's movement while walking, running, or crawling.
- The breastplate weighs 3.3 kg. To maintain the soldier's endurance and maneuverability, the soldier must be lightened at the cost of his backpack load.
- The breastplate can be used by:
- scouts, out on a mission.
- sappers, while out scouting, making breaches in barbed wire, defusing explosives under enemy fire, etc.
- infantry teams during scouting by combat.
- submachinegunners, sneaking through the enemy lines, riding as tank infantry, and laying in ambush.
- assault teams, attacking a pillbox.
- soldiers fighting in city streets.
- communications personnel, checking and fixing telephone lines under enemy fire.
- any other situation where the commander deems that the breastplates can be usefully applied.
- The breastplate can be used in 3 ways.
- The breastplate is attached using straps and covers the chest and stomach during movement.
- When crawling, the breastplate can be used as a shield.
- When removed, the breastplate can be used to cover other parts of the body (right side, left side, head).
- The breastplate consists of:
- a hull, with the upper and lower plates.
- soft lining, attached to the hull with a snap pin.
- belts for attaching the breastplate: one on the waist and two on the shoulder
- The breastplates are made in three sizes. The breastplate is 2 mm thick.
November 11th, 1942"
- The director of the Uralmash factory comrade Muzrukov and director of NII-48 comrade Zavyalov must ensure the production of 200 units of personal armour and 50 units for personal armour for Maxim machinegunners by September 20th, 1942.
- The VIZ director, comrade Radkevich, must provide to the Uralmash factory 3 tons of rolled 30 HGS steel for production of trial personal armour sets.
- NII-48 director comrade Zavyalov is urged to manufacture a trial batch of armour sets and send them to the Red Army for practical tests. In the event that the tests pass and the armour is accepted for mass production, send the proposal to the Regional Committee.
- The General Secretary of the Sverdlovsk All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks must provide all necessary resources to factories in order to produce the personal amour sets for riflemen and machinegunners.
"An experimental batch of bulletproof vests is being manufactured by the NKTP and NKLP factories. The vests are a new type of protection for Red Army soldiers. The contract is still being processed. The approximate cost is 500,000 rubles."