Swap the Gun
In the summer of 1941, when the issue of shipping tanks to the USSR was first explored, the Soviet side scrupulously studied them. Cruiser tanks were rejected outright. Among light tanks, only 20 Tetrarchs were ordered. Mainly, the Valentine and Matilda were chosen. The slow speed was compensated by thick armour for their class and a diesel engine, which was an especially important feature for the Soviet purchasing commission. It is worth mentioning that these sales had nothing to do with the Lend-Lease program. The tank were not rented, but paid for in full, partially with gold.
The first Valentine tanks arrived in the USSR on October 11th, 1941. During their use, many defects were discovered. According to "memorandum on the issue of English Mk-III* tanks" dated November 20th, 1941, track pins broke very easily. Trials showed that the track pins broke due to excessive tightening of the tracks performed by British instructors. In the winter, it was discovered that the tracks had to be equipped with spurs, as the tracks were packed full of compressed snow and ice and lost traction. There were many instances of the tires slipping off the wheels. The tank was poorly protected from incendiary fluid, as there were openings in the turret roof and gun mantlet. The protection of the engine compartment was similarly poor.
The main problem was with armament. British tank doctrine excluded HE-fragmentation shells from the ammo racks of vehicles using 2-pdr guns. According to tank theorists, machineguns were enough to fight off infantry. The gun was meant for fighting tanks. There were also no APHE shells; the gun fired solid AP shot. This fact caused confusion among the Soviets. According to intelligence information, the shells existed, and even a sketch was provided. In reality, no such shells existed. The Valentine also had 50 mm grenade launchers which were only equipped with smoke rounds, even though the British had a 50 mm infantry mortar with HE-fragmentation rounds.
- The upper front plate can be penetrated by a 75 mm gun from all distances due to its vertical placement and is too thin. The extra armour should be installed on a slope (see blueprint).
- The lower front plate must also be reinforced, with the extra armour being placed on an angle (see blueprint).
- The weakest place is the turret ring, where the armour is weakened by connections with the side plates and the rotation mechanism. Evacuated tanks from the battlefield show that enemy gunners aim for this point first in order to jam the turret, and always penetrates due to the tank's weakness. It is necessary to protect the turret ring with armour plates and rubber liner so that the trajectory of the shell changes on impact and penetrations are prevented."