"Part 2: condition of tank factories and reasons for removing the T-50 from production
The growth of tank production lags behind your quotas. Order #27s issued by comrade Malyshev on November 17th, 1941 instructed tank factories to produce 74 tanks per day by January 1st, 1942, and 113 tanks per day on February 1st (excluding Gorky factory).
This quota has not been achieved. As of January 1st, 29-30 tanks per day are produced, or about 40% of quota. We can expect 40-45 tanks per day by February, or 35-38% of the quota.
I consider the following to be reasons for this:
- Slow restoration of evacuated factories.
- Uneven distribution of metal cutting, smithing, and casting equipment between factories.
- Lagging behind in hull production.
- Lack of logical process at tank factories from small batch production to large batch production to mass production.
- Poor work by the People's Commissariat of Tank Production apparatus.
- Factories were scheduled to be restored from December 1st to December 15th, 1941. These deadlines were missed by factory #183, factory #37, Kolomensk factory in Kirov, and factory #174, which are responsible for 40-45% of tank production.
A huge amount of equipment of the NKTP and factories joined to it is enough to fulfil the demand, and even has reserves. However, the distribution of this equipment is uneven, which limits the full value of manufacturing centers.
It is understood that in order to fulfil the very intensive production schedule, it is good to have reserves that will, at a later date, be utilized. At the same time, extra equipment is accumulated at factories, for example factory #37 has enough metal cutting equipment to double their production, Kirov factory has enough smithing equipment to increase theirs by 30-40%, which impedes correct startup of production at these factories, leads to ineffective use, and does not allow for other production centers to reach full output.
- The Kirov factory is best equipped with smithing and casting tools. It can not only fill the need for KV tanks, but the needs of other factories, but inefficient use of this equipment does not even provide enough KVs. For example, out of 7000 tons of parts planned for December, only 4300 tons were produced.
- The lack of hulls being produced limits production at STZ and GAZ. Factory #37 produces tanks at the expense of accumulated spares, while its hull supplier (Podolsk factory) still has not restarted production due to having received no presses.
Two factors limit hull production: insufficient equipment (presses, rollers) and insufficient amounts of armour at certain bases to use them fully (Gorkiy base, Stalingrad base).
It is necessary to organize production of the correct equipment while taking account not only existing factories, but those being built (it is possible to produce hulls at UZTM, factory #112, and Murom factory).
Regarding armour plates, it is necessary to develop an exact plan of production, and already take measures to remove bottlenecks. Replacing the T-50 with the T-34 will only increase shortages of metal, as it needs almost twice as much armour by weight. The T-50 takes about 7.5 tons of armour, while the T-34 takes about 14 tons.
- There is a lack of clear process from small batches to large batches, and to mass production (for some components). This deficiency leads to a lack of high technology mass production necessary for tank manufacturing, and leads to processes moving from hand-assembled components to car and tractor like large batches very slowly (with inefficient and low use of equipment), and therefore the production quotas are not met. This is shown in the following table.
[skipping lots of tedious details with examples of arbitrary components]
The ratio of time consumption for heavy, medium, and light tanks is 2.2 : 1 : 0.7 (where the T-34 is a point of reference). An example of this is production of T-34 or T-50 tanks using Omsk factory #172. According to calculations, we can produce 10 T-34s daily, or 15 T-50s, with all else being equal.
- One of the reasons for tank factories lagging behind quota is the poor work of the NKTP apparatus. At this time, swift and correct work is needed from the apparatus in order to provide technical and material aid to the factories.
Experience shows that this work is weak and does not fully help matters at the factories. One of this is the unfocused nature of NKTP itself.
The role of the NKTP (and its departments), as an HQ of the People's Commissar, is decreased due to the presence of 9 deputy commissars, three of which are also factory directors. This number of deputy commissars and no clear boundary to their jurisdictions downgrades the Commissariat to a dispatcher role instead of a management role.
This is analogous to an army commander that has 6 deputies, three of which command their own units, and all six can give orders to the army. You can assume that the duties of this army HQ would degrade to intelligence and communications only.
- If necessary measures are immediately taken at tank factories (implementation of mass production, redistribution of equipment, more effective use of metallurgy bases, corrections to scheduling), it will be possible to widen bottlenecks and begin production in amounts given in the following table.TankFactory groupTanks per dayNoteJanuary 1st, 1942February 1st, 1942April 1st, 1942July 1st, 1942KV tankUral79-112525T-34 tankUral26-72020Volga1213-152025T-50 tankChkalov131015Barnaul and Omsk are being constructedUral00015Siberia001015T-60 tankVolga34355050Incl. GAZUral2420-2550Total tanks5870-75155-160215V-2 and V-4 enginesVolga66-72020Ural12207070Siberia00050M-17 EnginesVolga4-551515Total engines22-2331-32105155
- From the above, you can see that the replacement of T-50 tanks with T-60 or T-34 is infeasible, with the former for tactical reasons and the latter for economic reasons. Nevertheless, let us explore what would happen if T-50 tanks were replaced with T-34 tanks. Production would decrease according to the following table:TankFactory groupTanks per dayJanuary 1st, 1942February 1st, 1942April 1st, 1942July 1st, 1942T-34 and T-501st variant1522-256090T-34 tankVolga1213-152025Factory #1831213-152025Stroysem26-72020Barnaul0000Omsk00010Total tanks1419-224065
This will happen since the T-34 is about 1.5 times more complicated in production.
Casting, forging and stamping for the T-34 takes twice as long as for the T-50. Casting is especially so (in cases where both tanks have cast turrets). A T-34 needs 10.6 tons of casting, and the T-50 needs 3.7 tons, a T-34 is nearly 3 times more difficult to produce. There is a deficit of metallurgy bases (by the calculations of 8th GPI, to produce 10 T-34s at Omsk factory #173, a casting plant with 10-12 electric ovens of 5 tons each needs to be built).
An absence of casting and a lack of forging power threatens the increase of T-34 production at new factories.
Switching new factories (Omsk and others) to produce the T-34 needs as much as 2 additional months compared to the T-50. The 12-cylinder V-2 engine is more complicated to build than the 6-cylinder V-4 engine.
- From the above, you can see that it is necessary to preserve the T-50 in production. Compensating for it with T-34 tanks is not possible, and will lead to a decrease in production of tanks of this class. Replacement with a T-60 is tactically unacceptable. The proximity of Gorky factory to the front line puts the production of T-60 tanks in jeopardy. One or two mass bombing runs at GAZ (and they can be expected, as the enemy is aware of tank production at GAZ) will not only knock out engine production, but will completely stop T-60 production at all factories, while the T-50 can be produced outside of the range of enemy aircraft. Of course, in that event, a double for GAZ will need to be built, or a large amount of Dodge motors be bought in America."