Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Tank Production at CKD, 1941

"Resident agent information on tank production at CKD (Prague-Liben)

1. Tank production

CKD produces 38(t) light tanks (A sample is available at the Red Army GABTU proving grounds. See a complete description in Tanks, Armoured Cars and Auxiliary Vehicles of Germany RU KA 1941) for Germany, which are used in large numbers in the war against the USSR. Currently, 15-20 tanks are produced per week. Tanks are sent to a military arsenal in Vienna. Each month, 60 tanks are sent.

According to data that needs to be verified, 1800 38(t)s have been ordered by Germany. As of September 1st, 1941, 972 have been produced.

CKD also supplies the front with spare parts. 3-4 train cars of parts for 38(t) tanks including assemblies (engines, gearboxes, etc) are sent every week. As of August 11th, 50 engines were sent, several of which have been removed from finished tanks. A part of the engines are delivered by aircraft. On August 21st, 9 tanks were sent from the factory with no engines.

A small number of 38(t) tanks was ordered by Slovakia. Slovakia received 10 tanks so far. 20 more tanks are currently being assembled, but it is not known if they will be delivered.

The factory can sustain a tempo of 50-60 tanks per month with difficulty, in part due to problems with subcontractors. The biggest difficulty is with electrical equipment, supplied by Germany.

2. Tank repair

As of September 1st, 106 tanks were repaired at CKD, not including tanks repaired by specialists in the field.

In the end of August, 10 tanks were being repaired, 6 of which came in from Borisov on August 19th. The tanks were badly damaged. Tank repair specialists were sent to the front: in July, 4 were sent to Koenigsberg, in August, 15 to Borisov.

3. New developments
  1. The Germans demand that the engine power of the tank be increased to 150 hp from 125. THis will be done with turbocharging the engine, including increasing the RPM from 2200 to 2600-2700. 500 tanks with increased engine power should be produced by the end of spring of 1942.
  2. New alloys of reduced hardness are being used for armour plates. As of March 1941, it is forbidden to use nickel in armour. As of January 1942, it will be forbidden to use nickel steel in any part of a military vehicle.
  3. Work continues on adapting the 38(t) for amphibious operation. Trials show that the tank can reach a speed of 12 kph in standing water. No drawbacks in movement and maneuverability in water were found. Currently, the propeller and its actuation mechanism are being redesigned on German orders.
  4. Production of armoured barges with tank engines should start on September 17th. 60-70 of these barges will be produced monthly.
  5. 600 5-ton half-track tractors were ordered at the factory, produced under a license from Bussing-NAG. The first 50 vehicles are due in January of 1942."


  1. The comment on the nickel is very interesting. You will find comments about lack of it in 1944-45 (together with molybdenum), but not in 1941.

    1. Really? American studies on German helmets found that they stopped using nickel in 1940. Maybe there weren't any shortages until 1944 due to a drastic preemptive reduction of its use.

  2. Hi Peter, I had read about decreasing size and quality in the helmets, but did not know about the nickel analysis performed in the US. Maybe armour plate had more priority...