Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Vodka Audit

"To member of the Military Council of the South-Western Front, Major-General of the Intendant Service, comrade Layok

Report

An inspection of the 200th Reserve Rifle Regiment showed illegal procurement and consumption of vodka. According to documents, the regiment received:
  • February 7th, 1943, #84/4671: 5 Litres from NKO warehouse #799
  • February 12th, 1943, #57/208: 400 Litres  from NKO warehouse #799
  • February 12th, 1943, #50208: 3085 Litres from NKO warehouse #799
  • February 26th, 1943, #72208: 700 Litres  from NKO warehouse #799
In total, 4190 Litres were received. Amount consumed was:
  • February 22nd: 838.9 L
  • February 23rd: 836.6 L
  • February 24th: 824 L
Total consumed: 2499.5 L. 550 L of vodka is still present at the warehouse. No documents were presented on how 221.5 L of vodka was consumed. In addition, based on the regimental procurement chief, Senior Lieutenant of the Intendant Service Shpak is on his way with 914.5 L of vodka.

The procurement and subsequent consumption of vodka is an illegal act of the commander of the 200th Reserve Rifle Regiment, Major Galanin, and his procurement assistant,  Senior Lieutenant of the Intendant Service Shpak.

I ask you to give the order to hold them responsible.

Deputy Chief of Staff of the South-Western Front Political Department, Brigadier Commissar Gruzdov."

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

D-10 and IS-2

"To comrade L.P. Beria

On installing the 100 mm D-10 gun produced by NKV factory #9 into the IS tank instead of the D-25 122 mm gun made by the same factory

In March of this year, I reported to you that NKTP factory #100 jointly with NKV factory #9 produced an experimental prototype of the IS heavy tank with a D-10 gun designed by factory #9.

Trials of the IS with a 100 mm gun showed that the 100 mm D-10 gun has undeniable advantages over the 122 mm D-25 gun as armament of the IS tank. These advantages are as follows:

Monday, 15 October 2018

Penalty Company Inventory

"TO&E #04/395

Independent penalty company of the active army
  1. Organization
    1. Command
    2. Three rifle platoons
    3. 82 mm mortar platoon
    4. Medical unit
    5. Quartermaster unit
  2. Personnel
    1. Officers: 8 permanent, 0 temporary
    2. Sergeants: 3 permanent, 31 temporary
    3. Privates: 1 permanent, 110 temporary
    4. Total: 12 permanent, 141 temporary
  3. Horses
    1. Draft horses: 6
  4. Materiel:
    1. 82 mm mortars: 2
    2. DP handheld machineguns: 12
    3. Submachineguns: 49
    4. Rifles and carbines: 82
  5. Transport:
    1. One-horse carts: 2
    2. Two-horse carts: 1
    3. Cavalry type field kitchen: 1

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Porsche's Tiger: A Victim of Dirty Competition

The German heavy tank program began in 1937, but work dragged on. Changes were being introduced into the design of tanks that hadn't even been built yet. Because of this, Porsche K.G. began working on a new Typ 100 heavy tank, known also as the VK 30.01(P), in December of 1939. Work on this project let to the creation of another tank, the VK 45.01(P), or Pz.Kpfw. Tiger (P), the main subject of today's article. This vehicle, often called the Porsche Tiger, was accepted for service and could have become the main German heavy tank of the war, had the situation developed a little differently.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Censorship

"Order # 9/113s of the Entrusted Agent of Safekeeping of Military Secrets in Print and Chief of the Literature and Publishing Directorate
February 3rd, 1943
Moscow

Introduce the following changes into order #57/1126/c published on November 6th, 1942:

A. Aircraft
I-5 with M-22 engine
I-15 bis with M-25a engine
I-16 with M-25, M-25a, M-25v, M-62, M-63 engines
I-153 with M-62, M-63, and M-63tk engines
Can be openly published.
MIG-1 fighter
LI-2 bomber
IL-4 close and long range bomber
TB heavy bomber
It is permitted to publish the name of the aircraft, usage memos, and silhouettes.
Technical descriptions and instructions must be marked “for authorized use only”.
Tactical flight characteristics must be marked “Secret”.


B. Armoured vehicles
T-26, T-27, T-28, T-34, T-35, T-37, T-38, T-40, T-60, T-70, BT-2, BT-5, BT-7M, KV-1, KV-2
Can only be mentioned and depicted in photographs in open print. Tactical-technical characteristics to be printed with “for authorized use only” mark.

American light tank M3, medium tank M3
Churchill, Tetrarch (Mk.VII)
Mention in open publications is prohibited.
Matilda (Mk.II), Valentine (Mk.III)
Allowed for open publication. Can be shown in photographs without revealing details, design of the fighting compartment, and control mechanisms.
Universal Carrier
Can only be mentioned and depicted in photographs in open print. Tactical-technical characteristics must be marked “for authorized use only”.
Aerosans NKL-16 mod. 1941, NKL-16 mod. 1943, NKL-26 combat aerosan
Can be openly published.

D. Chemistry

Explosive flamethrower (FOG)
Portable flamethrower (ROKS-2)
Independent explosive flamethrower companies are armed with explosive flamethrowers. Any mention in open publication is forbidden.
The explosive and portable flamethrowers can be published with the mark “for authorized use only”.
Ampulomet
Individual incendiary items (bottles, TSch-360 thermite ball, thermite rounds, thermite charges)
Can be openly published.

Send this order to all regional publishers, and to the Central Military and Naval Censorship department.

Entrusted Agent of Safekeeping of Military Secrets in Print and Chief of the Literature and Publishing Directorate, N. Sadchikov"

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Second Wind

"Award Order
Name: Stogniy, Ivan Alekseevich
Rank and position: Guards Lieutenant, officer reserve company with the 1st Independent Training Regiment of the Far Eastern Front
  1. Year of birth: 1921
  2. Nationality: Ukrainian
  3. Party affiliation: VKP(b) member since May 1943
  4. In the Red Army since: July 22nd, 1941
    Officer since: July 6th, 1942
  5. Participated in combat (where and when): in the Patriotic War from July 10th, 1942, to August 30th, 1942, on the Western Front and the Kalinin Front.
  6. Previous wounds or contusions: wounded near the abdominal ring of the left hip.
  7. Previous awards: none
  8. Recruited by: Lenin recruitment office in Kharkov

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Discipline Abroad

"I order that:
  1. Commanders and chiefs of political departments in units must immediately create strict order in their units, mobilize the communists and komsomol members to strengthen and maintain strictest discipline on behalf of literally every soldier and officer. Explain to all personnel that combat in Polish territory requires from each one of them even higher standards of flawless and honest behaviour everywhere and at all times. Each soldier who is chasing trophies, looting, drinking, or being a public nuisance on Polish territory must be immediately arrested and strictly disciplined by the courts.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Overseas Doorknocker

At the time the United States joined WWII the main anti-tank gun of the American army was the 37 mm M3 gun. As experience in North Africa showed, this gun could not successfully combat modern tanks. While the 37 mm gun was replaced by more powerful weapons in Europe, the US Army and Marines used these guns in the Pacific theatre until the end of the war.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Heavy Trophy from the Kursk Salient

The relatively rare German heavy Panzerjäger Tiger (P) SPG, more commonly known as the Ferdinand, left a noticeable mark in history and in Soviet tank building. The name "Ferdinand" itself became denominative: Ferdinands were spotted on all parts of the front until the end of the war. In practice, only 91 vehicles were built, and the Ferdinand was only used en masse in the summer of 1943, during Operation Citadel at the Battle of Kursk. The Germans lost more than a third of these vehicles there.

Despite the fact that the Ferdinands (as well as the Elefant) were used very sparingly, they showed themselves as effective anti-tank guns. The Red Army command treated the child of Porsche K.G. and Alkett seriously. The appearance of the Ferdinand on the front lines reflected itself in the development of Soviet tanks, tank guns, and SPGs.

Kursk Trio


"To the Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Lieutenant-General of the Technical Service, comrade Lebedev

By your instruction, I present you with a brief summary of new type of vehicles in the German army according to information from prisoners.
  1. Panther tank. Mass: about 35 tons. Armament: one long 75 mm gun, two MG-42 machineguns. The tank is similar to the T-4 Russian tank. Compared to the T-4, it has stronger front armour and wider tracks.
  2. Reinforced Tiger tank. Weight: up to 65 tons. Armament: one 88 mm gun, one 20 mm AA gun, installed in the rear of the tank, 4 MG-42 machineguns. An emergency hatch is present at the bottom of the tank. The walls on the front and along the sides are cemented. The armour is up to 120 mm thick. Some tanks have flamethrowers along the right side. Crew: 7 men.
  3. Ferdinand SPG. A prisoner from the 654th Independent Tank Destroyer Battalion says that the battalion is composed of three companies of 14 Ferdinand type SPGs each. Tactical technical data is unknown.
Engineer Lieutenant-Colonel Andreev
July 14th, 1943"



Thursday, 4 October 2018

PPD Woes

"December 26th, 1940
#S07059
To: Chief of the GABTU, Lieutenant-General Fedorenko
Moscow, Red Square, 2nd NKO house

CC: Chief of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army
Moscow, Red Square, 2nd NKO house
CC: Military Department of the NSKM
Moscow, 8a Ryazanskaya St.

In accordance with the excerpt from the order of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding #268ss issued on November 25th, 1940, the T-34 tank needs to carry a submachinegun (PPD) and at least 500 rounds of ammunition for it. According to the order, the submachinegun (PPD) must be installed to fire from the hatches.

One submachinegun, model 1934/38 #VF360 produced in 1940, and a brief instruction manual, were received from the Military Acceptance department of our factory. During the examination of the item, the following questions arose:

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Sturmoviks

"Excerpt from an intelligence report from the 1st Belorussian Front on the enemy's impression of our aircraft

A captured memo issued by the 9th Army command begins with these words: "Enemy Sturmoviks can appear like lightning in a clear sky. They are exceptionally dangerous if you remain like a passive observer on the road, gazing at the machines exhaling fire. Only one rule exists in relation to ground attack aircraft: get off the road, get to cover." In early April, the 9th Army newspaper also published several slogans giving advice on what to do in case of ground attack aircraft raids. Flyers with this information are also posted in occupied cities."

Supply Drop

"Report on assistance to the uprising in Warsaw by elements of the 16th Air Army in September of 1944

On September 12th, 1944, based on the request from the Polish Committee of National Liberation, after the reception of representatives of the uprising that crossed to the eastern bank of the Vistula river, the Military Council of the 1st Baltic Front gave the following order to the commander of the 16th Air Army: to assist the uprising in Warsaw via delivery of weapons, ammunition, and supplies by air.

The execution of this task was assigned to the 9th Guards Stalingrad-Rechitsa Order of Suvorov Night Bomber Division (Po-2). On September 13th, individual Il-2 aircraft under fighter cover flew over the blocks held by the uprising forces dropping banners with notes containing the schedule of the Po-2 flights and means of communication with the uprising forces. In addition, to establish reliable communication and control over the delivery of the cargo, paratroopers equipped with radios were dropped into uprising held regions, who reported on their landing and location, and subsequently maintained communication with the 1st Baltic Front HQ, reporting on the situation in Warsaw and the amount of supplies dropped from Po-2 bombers that ended up in the hands of the uprising.

The Po-2 bombers set out with cargo for the uprising on the first time on the night of September 14th, 1944. Between September 14th and October 1st, the Po-2 bombers made 2243 sorties and dropped the following cargo:
  • 45 mm guns: 1
  • 50 mm mortars: 156
  • Anti-tank rifles: 505
  • SMGs and rifles: 2667
  • Grenades: 41,780
  • Ammunition (various): over 30 million
  • Medicine: 0.5 tons
  • Supplies: 113 tons
as well as communications equipment (telephones, cable, etc).

The actions of Po-2 bombers were supported by fighters and ground attack aircraft, who suppressed the most active enemy AA emplacements during the day. 14 Po-2 night bombers were lost between September 14th and October 1st.

Composed based on materials summarizing the actions of the 16th Air Army for September of 1944.

Senior Assistant to the Chief of Operational Research of the 1st Baltic Front Operational Department, Lieutenant-Colonel Pavlovskiy"

Monday, 1 October 2018

Tiger's Hide

Preliminary British intelligence on the Tiger that was available for fairly general consumption throughout 1943 did not set up great expectations for the quality of its armour, already indicating that it was prone to spalling and cracking. Trials conducted in October confirmed these suspicions. The following are excerpts from WO 194/744, "Firing trials in Tunisia against the hull of a Pz.Kw.VI" made available to me by Alexander Sotnikov. I'm not going to copy the whole report, but there is a pretty good example that shows how greatly variable the quality of German armour has become even by 1943. For your convenience, a penetration table for the 6-pounder gun is attached.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Baby: 25-pounder Australian Style

The British 25-pounder Mk.II gun-howitzer proved itself a universal weapon which met the requirements of the North African and European theatres of war. However, a more compact weapon was needed for fighting in Pacific islands, and for transport through narrow mountain passes and jungle trails.

The Australians were the first to realize this need in the heavy fighting in the jungle and mountains of New Guinea. The heaviest weapon used in this scenario was the 81 mm mortar. A small amount of 3.7" (94 mm) mountain howitzers and 75 mm mountain howitzers given by the Americans did not improve the situation. At the same time, the Japanese army was using mountain guns that could be disassembled and transported by pack animals or even human carriers.

The main weapon of Australian field artillery was the 25-pounder Mk.II, produced from May of 1941 to the end of 1943 at the state factory in Melbourne (1527 units made). The Australian Director of Artillery, Brigadier John O'Brien, proposed the creation of a maximally lightened 25-pounder gun that could be disassembled for transport by air. The Charles Ruwolt Pty Ltd company was tasked with this project.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Kidnapping, Belorussian Style

"USSR NKO
Directorate of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front
August 18th, 1944

To the Chief of Staff of the 16th Air Army, Lieutenant-General of Aviation, comrade Braiko

According to a report of the 1st Krasnodar Mechanized Corps, Lieutenant-General Krivoshein, on August 5th, 1944, an adjutant of the 219th Assault Air Regiment, Sr. Lieutenant Polyakov, stole a Willys vehicle along with the driver, Golub, belonging to the 19th Mechanized Brigade.

I ask for your order to return the Willys vehicle to the 19th Mechanized Brigade and to take measures against Sr. Lieutenant Polyakov for his selfish actions.

I ask you to report on the measures taken.

Chief of Staff of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front, Colonel Ulyanov"

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Tiger Hunters

"Explanation of moving two 152 mm gun-howitzers to direct fire positions

At 20:00 on April 17th, 1944, the commander of the 60th Army, Colonel-General Kurochkin, summoned me to the observation post of the 302nd Rifle Division and ordered me to destroy the four Tigers that were at height 350.0, for which it was necessary to tow the guns to direct fire positions. I replied that this is an impossible task and that the guns will be destroyed before they could take positions. The general replied "If you lose the guns, you'll lose your head. Immediately move two guns to any hill and destroy those Tigers." 

I replied that six of my guns are in position to fire directly near the highway and I can open fire immediately. Upon arriving at my observation post I opened fire at one of the Tigers. After six shots, the Tiger retreated. I opened fire on the second one. After 5 shots, the sun set. (The range was 4 kilometers). 

The way I understood the general's orders was that he wanted the guns to be in any position where they could see the target. I had such guns, and therefore considered his orders carried out.

At 21:00 I received orders through the commander of the fire platoon of the 2nd battery (even though I have a line to the observation post of the commander of the 7th Breakthrough Artillery Corps) to move two guns of the 1st battery to height 351.0. I gave this order to the battery, and it lined up in travel position. 

At 23:00 I received a second set of orders to cancel the movement of the 1st battery and to carry out orders personally given to the brigade commander. I have never seen the commander of the 7th Breakthrough Artillery Corps face to face, and especially not today.

At 23:30 I sent the HQ Chief of the 1st Squadron, Captain Strizhak, to figure out these confusing orders. At 3:30 I received clarification: my orders are cancelled, carry out the army commander's orders. Having considered those orders carried out, I ordered the 1st battery to relocate to closed firing positions.

At 10:00 I received confirmation from the Chief of Staff of the 1st Glukhov Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Artillery Division and the Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 60th Army regarding the execution of orders given by the commander of the 7th Breakthrough Artillery Corps. I immediately relayed the message to the commander of the 4th battery, which set out at 10:30, arrived at 13:00, and by 14:00 was ready to open fire on the orders from the commander of the 1st Artillery Division.

At 11:00 I personally set out to oversee the battery's work and to choose an observation post, which was placed on a nameless hill 1 km southwest of height 351.0, 100 meters behind the observation post of the 76 mm battery firing directly.

The battery did not fire on April 18th, 1944, because the tanks did not appear again.

Attachments: order of the commander of the 7th Breakthrough Artillery Corps and telephonogram, in two pages.

Commander of the 1st Guards Gun Artillery Brigade, Guards Colonel Semak

April 19th, 1944"

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Priest Reliability

The following excerpt is taken from the AFV(T) Mediterranean Area Technical Report No.26, dated February 26th, 1945.


"Priest

Engine life

The average life of the engine in one unit is 225 hours, which is equivalent to about 900 miles. Some engines have done 300 hours. In no case has the unit removed an engine from the vehicle and carried out a proper 100 hour overhaul, but they have done all that can be achieved with the engine in situ. It has been pointed out that the proper 100 hour check is of the greatest importance and would definitely lead to a longer engine life. With this the unit agreed, but said that the time was never allowed for them for such a procedure. From visits paid to other Priest and Sherman regiments, this seems a general complaint."

These numbers are fairly interesting, since they can be compared with the mad dash for Berlin on the other side of the front. There, T-34s were racking up 2000-2500 km and 250-300 hours without overhauls. Mere days after this decree, the minimum (not average) lifespan of T-34 engines was increased to 250 hours.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Birth of the GBTU

"Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0954
On the reorganization of the Main Automotive and Tank Directorate of the Red Army
December 14th, 1942
  1. Decree of the State Committee of Defense #2589s issued on December 7th, 1942, reorganized the Main Automotive and Armour Directorate of the Red Army (GABTU KA) into two directorates:
    1. Main Directorate of Formation and Training of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army.
    2. Main Armour Directorate of the Red Army. 
  2. Both directorates are led by a commander and the Military Council of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army.
  3. All issues connected with organization of supply, use, and service of automobiles is factored out of the Main Automotive and Armour Directorate of the Red Army and passed onto the Main Automotive Directorate of the Red Army.
  4. All issues connected with organization of supply, use, and service of tractors, as well as training of personnel for them, have been factored out of the Main Automotive and Armour Directorate of the Red Army and passed onto the Directorate of the Commander of Artillery of the Red Army and the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army.
  5. The new structure of the reorganized Auto and Armour Directorate is set by the State Committee of Defense as follows:
    1. The Commander and the Military Council of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army.
    2. HQ
    3. Personnel department
    4. Inspectorate
    5. Main Directorate of Formation and Training, consisting of:
      1. Directorate of Formation and Supply of Armoured and Mechanized Forces
      2. Directorate of Training of Armoured and Mechanized Forces.
      3. Directorate of Military Training Institutions of Armoured and Mechanized Forces.
    6. Main Armour Directorate of the Red Army, consisting of:
      1. Tank Directorate
      2. Tank Repair Directorate
      3. Tank Use Directorate
      4. Armoured Train and Armoured Car Directorate
      5. Scientific Research Proving Grounds
  6. Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko is appointed the Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces.
    Major-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Korobkov is appointed as the First Deputy Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces.
    Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces comrade Biryukov is appointed as a member of the Military Council of Armoured and Mechanized Forces.
I order for:
  1. The Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army must develop the TO&E and organization of the directorates of armoured and mechanized forces of the Fronts, districts, and armies and submit it to me for approval within 3 days.
  2. The military councils of fronts, districts, and armies must factor out all ongoing issues connected with the supply, use, or service of tractors out of their armoured directorates and pass them onto the artillery directorates with appropriate staff within a 10 day period.
Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Colonel-General Ye. Shadenko"

Saturday, 22 September 2018

25 Pounds of Death

Divisional artillery of most WWII belligerents was filled with several types of weapons. The Wehrmacht and the US Army combined light and heavy howitzers, while the Red Army also used guns. The only exception was Great Britain, who had only one type of divisional cannon: the 87.6 mm 25-pounder gun-howitzer.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Panzerfaust & Co.

"Operational Department of the 1st Cavalry Corps Staff
RE: №0902, March 31st, 1945

Carrying out the orders of the Corps commander regarding the effectiveness of German anti-tank rifles and "Faustpatrone" grenades and losses in tanks and SPGs suffered from them, I report that during the fighting in East Prussia (January-February 1945) the brigade lost 1-2 tanks and one SPG near Trauvsitten to "Faustpatrone" grenades. No losses were taken from fire of "Panzerschreck" or "Ofenrohr" type weapons.

The brigade has no information on the organization of enemy units or their equipment with anti-tank rifles.

Chief of Staff of the 89th Tank Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Glushkov"

Considering that the brigade lost 50 tanks burned up and 38 tanks knocked out during February alone, Panzerfaust style weapons ended up doing a negligible amount of damage during the fighting in 1945 until the Red Army entered heavily built up areas.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Mega Hetzer

"Artillery HQ, 1st Order of Lenin Guards Mechanized Corps
February 5th, 1945

Only for: commander of the 1453rd Self Propelled Artillery Regiment

Based on directive #0160 of the Commander of Artillery of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, issued on January 17th, 1945, I report that:

A captured radio operator of the 73rd Artillery Regiment of the 1st Tank Division, German Gefreiter Gugenreiter, said that: "the first tank regiment of the division received four new anti-tank guns called "Getzer". These guns are held in great secrecy and no one is allowed to come close to them aside from their maintenance personnel. They are designed to fight Russian tanks. A shell fired from their guns can penetrate 22 cm of armour from a distance of 1200 meters. The gun is 1.5 meters tall and moves at a speed of 70 kph."

The Corps Deputy Commander of Artillery ordered that:
  1. Personnel of artillery units and reconnaissance especially must be familiarized with the POW's statement.
  2. If the new "Getzer" SPGs are located, immediately report to the Corps Artillery HQ.
Corps Artillery HQ Chief, Guards Major Veselovskiy."

Via Andrei Ulanov

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Specialists

"Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0953
On using tankers according to their speciality
December 13th, 1942

Still we observe mass use of intermediate and junior commanders and privates of the tank forces, including drivers, gunners, loaders, technicians, etc. as riflemen, machinegunnners, or artillerymen in infantry, other types of forces, and in rear line roles on every Front and Military District.

I order that:
  1. Intermediate and junior commanders, as well as privates, of the tank forces that are not being used according to their training must be taken out of their unit by the Military Council of the Front or District by December 30th, 1942, and sent to:
    1. In Fronts: intermediate commanders and technicians to the ABT personnel department, junior commanders and privates to training tank regiments and reserve battalions of the Front.
    2. In Military Districts: to personnel departments or training tank regiments stationed within the District.
    3. Tankers must only be sent to their own unit or to the personnel department, training regiments, or reserve tank battalions (see #1 and #2) upon recovery in hospitals.
  2. In the future, using tankers of the aforementioned categories and specialities is categorically forbidden for anyone.
Report on progress by January 5th, 1943.

People's Commissar of Defense, I. Stalin"

Monday, 17 September 2018

Far East Modernizations

"To the Chief of the GBTU TU

RE: #1142232
January 24th, 1944
  1. Repair factory #105 developed blueprints and processes to rearm the T-37 and T-38 tanks to use the ShVAK gun. The mass of the tank increases by 100 kg as a result of rearmament. After being rearmed, the prototype was tested by firing on the move and by swimming. Trials show satisfactory results. Repair factory #105 is performing the rearmament. As of January 1st, 97 T-37/38 tanks have been rearmed with the ShVAK gun.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Unlucky 45 mm

By the end of 1941, it was clear that the power of the main Soviet anti-tank gun, the 53-K 45 mm mod. 1937, is insufficient to combat new variants of German tanks, which had thicker armour and applique plates. In addition, Soviet intelligence reported that Germany was developing vehicles with even thicker armour. The replacement or modernization of the 45 mm gun was a very pressing issue at the start of 1942. One of the candidates for the new role was the M-6 45 mm anti-tank gun.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Coverup

"Translation from German
9th Army HQ
Intelligence department, counterintelligence section
#653/43 Secret
July 18th, 1943

RE: Operation Citadel

All documents that relate to Operation Citadel even now have a special meaning for the enemy. Because of this, all documents, down to every last copy, in both the corps and the divisions, need to be thoroughly and completely destroyed. The report of this destruction must be submitted by August 3rd, 1943. Copies not marked for destruction in corps and divisions must be delivered immediately to rear line organizations. 


Division HQs must transfer the documents to corps HQs, which will take on the task of ensuring that they are transferred to the distant rear.

Army Chief of Staff"

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Far East Variety

As I've written before, the tank fleet of the Far East Front was rather heterogeneous. Large amounts of T-26 and BT tanks were preserved there, since there was little for them to do in Europe. When the war moved over to the Far East, these tanks were ready to spring into action.

"Report on the materiel of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 1st Red Banner Army as of August 8th, 1945

Unit
Authorized strength
Actual strength
KV
T-34
BT-7
T-26
ISU-152
SU-76
KV
T-34
BT-7
T-26
ISU-152
SU-76
75th Tank Brigade
-
86
-
-
-
-
-
43
-
46
-
-
77th Tank Brigade
-
86-
-
-
-
-
-
42
42
-
-
-
257th Tank Brigade
-
86-
-
-
-
-
-
40
-
46
-
-
48th Independent Tank Regiment
21
-
-
-
-
-
21
-
-
-
-
-
335th Heavy SPG Regiment
-
-
-
-
21
-
-
-
-
-
21
-
338th Heavy SPG Regiment
-
-
-
-
21
-
-
-
-
-
21
-
339th Heavy SPG Regiment
-
-
-
-
21
-
-
-
-
-
21
-
455th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
456th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
457th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
459th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
460th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
466th SPG Squadron
-
-
-
-
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
13
Total
21
258
-
-
63
78
21
125
42
92
63
78
Conclusions:
  1. The army's units are fully equipped with armoured vehicles.
  2. Instead of the authorized amounts of T-34 tanks, the tank brigades are half full of obsolete T-26 and BT-7 light tanks.
  3. The 48th Independent Tank Regiment's KV tanks require medium repairs and cannot participate in the operation."
Interestingly enough, at least one of these BT-7 tanks was a refurbished tank equipped with applique armour.