September, 1941. A medic from Syzran, V.N. Emelyanov, decided not to waste time and send his invention straight to Stalin: “Super-speed universal all-terrain armoured train-tank”. The author insisted that his creation can “travel on rails by itself or towing a load at up to 200 kph, on land it can go over mountains and ravines, it can swim in water regardless of depth of width of rivers”. Emelyanov’s letter was sent to GABTU, but did not impress its specialists. From the included papers, it could be seen that such a vehicle would have poor off-road performance, low maneuverability, and the entire thing was too bulky.
Emelyanov was not distraught, and continued to improve his invention for two years. As a result, the proposed mass of the tank shrank by a factor of 3, and it gained the ability to travel on rail and ground with wheels, as well as tracks. The new project had an equally glamorous title: “Universal armoured train-tank METEOR”.
Emelyanov described his invention as follows: “The METEOR comes off the railroad and engages its tracks, allowing it to go around any obstacle, after which it can return to the railroad… due to its super high speed, the probability of the METEOR being hit by enemy shells or bombs is reduced”. The tank switched between tracks and wheels with automatic jacks. The incredible speed (200 kph) would be obtained by replacing the locomotive transmission with a hydraulic one. All mechanisms of the suspension and the movement of the vehicle would be powered by only one steam cylinder. The transmission would be covered with reliable armour. The boiler, also armoured, was supposed to be “omnivorous”. It could consume coal, kerosene, oil, wood, or even straw. Despite Emelyanov’s efforts, GABTU specialists remained uninterested, and his projects remained on paper.
Article author: Yuri Bakhurin. Yuri Bakhurin is a military historian, an author of many publications in regional and central scientific press: "Questions of History" magazine, "Military-Historical Magazine", "Military-Historical Archive", "Motherland", "Anthology of War", the "Reitar" almanac, and many more. He is also the author of the "Panzerjager Tiger (P) Ferdinand: Use in Combat" book.
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- V.F. Sperk, Fortifikatsionniy Slovar, Moscow, 1946