Thursday, 7 April 2016

Half-size Track Problems

In 1941 (and later in 1943), a curious experiment was undertaken by Soviet track manufacturers, half-size "idle" (without a tooth) tracks for the T-34 and vehicles on its chassis. 
Half-sized track (early)

Half-sized track (late)

Unfortunately, this was not a great experiment.

"To the Director of the Kirov factory, comrade Dlugach
To the Senior Military Representative of GBTU at the Kirov factory, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel comrade Kozyrev

I report to you preliminary results on the use of half-width toothless T-34 track links in units of the 1st Tank Army.

According to messages from Engineer-Major comrade Fedoseev, mass track pin breakage is observed when using half-width track links. On 72 T-34 tanks, 900 track pins were replaced over a 110 km march.

The reason for track pins breaking is the unsatisfactory design of the limiter. Instead of sliding along the limiter, the pins smash jam into it and get cut off or slide along other surfaces, which results in rapid wearing of the pin heads. In addition, the pin heads are much smaller than the mass production ones, and wear faster.

I consider it necessary to revisit the design and position of the limiter in order to produce reliable retention of track pins, as well as a redesign of the track pin heads.

Report on measures taken.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Colonel Alymov
Chief of the 6th Department of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel Kovalev"

A similar letter was sent to Kirov factory's offshoot, factory #100:

"To the director of factory #100, Major-General of the Technical Forces, comrade Kotin
To the GBTU TU military representative at factory #100, comrade Skribdov

I cannot agree with your decision to recommend stamped toothless half-width tracks for the T-34.

A similar design produced at the Kirov factory in combat conditions showed negative results. (After a 110 km match, 900 track pins were replaced on 72 tanks due to pin heads getting cut off).

Replacement of whole tracks with halves can only be done if the quality of the half-width track links is as good or better than mass produced tracks. Trials of the half-width track links must be done according to the program approved by the GBTU TU.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Colonel Alymov
Chief of the 6th Department of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel Kovalev"

CAMD RF 38-11355-1700

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