Saturday, 16 June 2018

Porsche's Leopard

Rumours and fabrications surround the history of tanks developed by Porsche K.G. Many of them were caused by incorrect information that appeared in reports made by American and British militaries right after the war. Later, they were supplemented by rumours and spread by not particularly thorough authors. Among others, this is the case with the history of the VK 30.01(P), the first tank independently designed by Ferdinand Porsche's team. This article will attempt to trace its history based on credible sources and archive documents.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

SKS Trials Attempt

Prototypes of the SKS carbine were ready by mid-1944. The logical step after that was to send them to the front for trials on the real battlefield. The weapons were sent to the 1st Belorussian Front, but there was a small issue.


"Your order #622590s given on June 28th, 1944, regarding conducting trials was received on July 15th, 1944, and carried out.

Further trials of the carbines have been held up by the difficult conditions for trials that have appeared on the front.

All combat units are engaged in nonstop fighting, making 15-20 km marches every day, which makes observing the carbines in battle and keeping them safe difficult.

Trials performed in these conditions, especially in brief time, will not allow us to establish the performance of the carbines and make conclusions regarding their acceptance into service. 

Based on these factors, I have made the decision to postpone trials until the situation at the front stabilizes."

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Prewar Prototypes

"November 11th, 1939
#0830/s

To the Chief of the 8th Department of the ABTU, Military Engineer 1st Class comrade Afonin

Report on the trials of the A-32 (weight down) and preparations for trials of the A-20 and Voroshilovets tractor
  1. The A-32 (second prototype) weighed down to the weight of an A-34 has travelled 1047 km. During the third march, the average moving speed off-road was no more than 20-23 kph. This was caused by terrible conditions of the terrain (mud). Typically, the vehicle can only drive in second gear off-road. The transmission is working well in these conditions, there haven't been any defects. A trip on a highway is planned on November 10th to test the running gear.
  2. Presently, A-20 components (improving the wheeled drive transmission) are undergoing mechanical finishing.
  3. Despite our insistence, Voroshilovets tractors are not being worked on at all. Management of department 500 claims that its equipment is occupied with other projects (A-7, D-3, D-5, etc). This situation may result in the Voroshilovets tractor not being ready for mass production by January 1st, 1940.
Military representative of the RKKA, Military Engineer 3rd Class, Baikov."

Issue with Comments

I recently noticed that I stopped getting notifications for newly added comments, both requiring moderation and not. As a result, I will have to check for new comments manually until this is corrected on Blogger's side, so you will see some delay in answering/approving comments compared to normal. I apologize for this inconvenience.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Hetzer from Aquino

The fine lads from Base Borden are restoring a Jagdpanzer 38(t), and I had the luck to see it at Aquino Tank Weekend at the Ontario Regiment Museum last weekend. The tank is coloured like this only temporarily (the Flakpanzer they wheeled out last year had the same colour), but it will be painted its proper dark yellow in the end.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Ranks and Posts

"Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0400 regarding commanders of heavy and medium tanks
October 9th, 1941

To increase the combat ability of the tank forces and improve their cooperation in combat with other types of forces, appoint the following:
  1. As medium tank commanders: Lieutenants and Junior Lieutenants
  2. As medium tank platoon commanders: Senior Lieutenants
  3. As KV company commanders: Captains and Majors
  4. As medium tank company commanders: Captains
  5. As heavy and medium tank battalion commanders: Majors and Lieutenant Colonels
The Chief of the Red Army Financial Directorate must make the appropriate changes to salaries.

People's Commissar of Defense, I. Stalin"


Order of the People's Commissar of Defense #0433 regarding the assembly of tank crews
November 18th, 1941

In order to increase the skill set of tank crews, I order that:
  1. Tank crews will be composed exclusively of junior officers and NCOs.
  2. Tank crewmen must have the following ranks:
    1. In heavy tanks:
      1. Tank commander: Lieutenant, Senior Lieutenant
      2. Senior mechanic-driver; Starshina
      3. Radio-telegraph operator: Senior Sergeant
      4. Gunner: Starshina
      5. Junior mechanic-driver (also loader): Sergeant
    2. In medium tanks and light tanks with cannons:
      1. Tank commander: Junior Lieutenant, Lieutenant
      2. Mechanic-driver: Senior Sergeant
      3. Turret commander: Sergeant
      4. Machinegunner: Junior Sergeant (on a tank with a radio the radio operator/machiengunner must be a Senior Sergeant).
    3. In small T-40 and T-60 tanks, as well as machinegun tanks:
      1. Tank commander: Starshina
      2. Mechanic-driver: Sergeant
      3. Turret commander: Junior Sergeant
  3. Replacement personnel training in replacement regiments and training battalions, training companies at the factories is to be picked in such a way that NCOs are chosen for tank crews. With this, the Chief of Training of the Armoured Force must give the order by December 1st, 1941, to set different training times for those who have already served in tank units and those who have been called up from reserves in training units.
  4. Check the quality of trained tank crews with special commissions led by the regiment commander or the commander of the factory training center.
    Include a representative from Armoured Force Training in active units and the GABTU or GAU representative at factories.
  5. Crews that demonstrate good knowledge of their speciality and good practical skills in working as a crew are to be awarded the ranks mentioned in section 2 of this order.
  6. The control over training the required amount of tank crews in the set timeframe is given to the Chief of Training of the Armoured Force.
  7. Introduce changes to TO&E the armoured force according to this order.
Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Tank Forces, Fedorenko."

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.J: Heavy Steps of a Light Tank

Rather unusual types of vehicles frequently appeared in WWII. Most of them remained on paper, but some of them made it to production. German tank builders were no exception, creating vehicles whose mere concept boggles the mind. The VK 16.01, otherwise known as the PzII Ausf. J was one such vehicle. It was not as useless as its brother, the PzI Ausf. F, but the concept of a lightly armoured heavy tank raises many questions.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Quantity Over Quality

This penetration table is fairly well known. It appears in several period publications and a translated version was even sent to the USSR. Nevertheless, it gives some information as to how well the guns of the Western Allies performed against German armour.


However, there was one interesting observation made that didn't come along with this table to any other publication. Since hitting a tank at 2000 yards was very difficult, and the 2-pounder could penetrate older German tanks in the front and even newer ones from the side at nearly that distance, what was the point of having a 6-pounder at all?


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A-20 Characteristics

"A-20 tank (convertible drive)
September 10th, 1939

Tactical-technical characteristics of the A-20 tank
(Convertible drive with 3 powered pairs of wheels)
  • Mass: 18 tons
  • Length: 5.7 meters
  • Width: 2.65 meters
  • Height: 2.36 meters
  • Armour: 25 mm or equivalent in toughness
  • Armament: one 45 mm gun, two DT machineguns
  • Ammunition: 160 45 mm shells, 300 machinegun rounds
  • Crew: 4
  • Cruising range: 350-400 km
  • Engine: 500 hp V-2
  • Top speed: 75 kph
  • Mobility:
    • Maximum grade: 40 degrees
    • Widest trench: 2.4 meters
    • Maximum fording depth: 1.2 meters

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Green Light

"Record of inspection of the T-34 tank prototype produced by NKSM factory #183 as ordered by the Committee of Defense within the Council of Commissars in decree #443 issued on December 19th, 1939

March 31st, 1940

Present:
From the People's Commissariat of Defense:
  • People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union, K.E. Voroshilov
  • Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Army Commander 1st Class, G.I. Kulik
  • Chief of the ABTU, Army Commander 2nd Class, D.G. Pavlov
From the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding:
  • People's Commissar I.A. Likhachev
  • Deputy People's Commissar A.A. Goreglyad
  • Chief designer of factory #183 and the T-34 tank, Koshkin
It was established that:

Monday, 4 June 2018

Object 240 Ergonomics

There is a common misconception that the Soviet army had no regard for the conditions of its crew. This is provably false. Just as with the US army, the Red army had a medical service, which would evaluate the user-friendliness of its equipment. Tanks were no exception. For instance, the Object 240, the precursor of the IS-2 tank, was put through thorough testing by the medical service, and the faults that were discovered were corrected by the time the tank reached mass production.

"Conditions of servicing of the 122 mm D-25 gun in the IS tank

1. The D-25 gun is installed in the turret of the IS tank.
The fighting compartment has the following dimensions: turret ring diameter: 1800 mm, height in the rear part: 1520 mm, height in other parts: 1580 mm.
The height of the fighting compartment is insufficient for free work by standing people. The turret crew stands in a slouched over pose.
The short height of the fighting compartment is due to the metal crates with ammunition on the floor. The crates are covered in rubber and used as the floor of the fighting compartment.
To better evaluate the dimensions of the fighting compartment, they should be compared with those of the IS tank armed with a D-5 85 mm gun. With the same sized turret, the gun takes up much more space, which reduces crew comfort.
The width of the gunner's station is reduced by 60 mm (to 650 mm) and the breech operator by 30 mm (to 660 mm). It is narrow, but possible to work.
The distance between the deflector and the rear of the turret was 450 mm for the D-5 and is 200 mm for the D-25. It is not possible to pass behind the gun. It is also uncomfortable to load, since the casing does not fit into this opening and catches onto the rear ammunition rack. When inserting it the loader has to aim (make additional careful motions).

Sunday, 3 June 2018

GMC M12: King Kong on Tracks

One of the best weapons of French origin adopted by the US Army in WWI was the 155 mm GPF cannon, designed by Captain Filloux in 1917. The gun had a simple, easy to service, reliable, and effective recoil mechanism, a significant horizontal aiming arc, and a long range. However, the GPF was fairly heavy. It was no accident that it was one of the first candidates for an SPG.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Planetary Transmission

"Attachment #2 to NKSM order #192ss
May 10th, 1941

Tactical-technical requirements for a mechanical planetary transmission for the T-34 tank
  1. The planetary transmission is to be installed into the T-34 tank to improve its mobility.
  2. The installation of a planetary transmission must not require relocation of the engine and final drives. The transmission must fit within existing dimensions of the tank and provide for convenient access to service and adjustment points.
  3. The planetary transmission must provide the T-34 with a top speed of 45-50 kph and a minimum speed of no less than 5-6 kph, as well as have a reverse gear. The transmission must allow for free changing of gears out of order, both when gearing up and gearing down.
  4. The planetary transmission must provide:
    1. Smooth turns without jerking at any gear.
    2. Turning without sudden load on the engine and excess loss of power.
    3. The ability to keep course on any surface.
    4. Brake while climbing or descending inclines up to 45 degrees.
  5. The controls must be the same as presently. The force applied to final drive clutch levers must not be more than 15-18 kg each.
  6. The planetary transmission must be highly reliable, robust, resistant to wear, and allow the tank to be controlled easily.
  7. The mechanisms of the planetary transmission must require adjustment no sooner than 50 hours of driving the tank.
  8. The warranty period of the transmission must be no less than the overall warranty period of the tank.
  9. The factory is allowed to introduce changes and additions to these tactical-technical requirements to improve the design with the permission of the NKO (GABTU)."

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

T-34 Improvements

"May 20th, 1940
#730034s

To the People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union, Timoshenko

I present to you the conclusions of the trials commission for the T-34 tank, approved for service in the Red Army by decree #443ss issued by the Committee of Defense of the SNK on December 19th, 1939.

Regarding points raised in personal thoughts (pp. 83-85) of Military Engineer 2nd Class comrade Sorkin and comrade Morozov from factory #183, I report that:
  1. Widening the turret by 160 mm without touching the hull and turret ring that was proposed by factory #183 is approved. I disagree with increasing the height of the turret, as this will present a larger target to the enemy, and there is no need of this since the depression angle of -5 degrees forward and to the sides is already achieved.
  2. I do not agree with unifying the components with existing tanks, as this will increase the weight.
  3. There are no disagreements about the main clutch. The factory admits that no cause for deformation of the disks has been found. Disk deformation is a serious defect.
  4. I approved the second type of idler, with the internal tension adjustment mechanism, as the more robust and better protected option.
  5. I insist that the radio be moved to the front of the tank in order to free up the commander for combat. The hull gunner/radio operator sits in the hull.
  6. I insist on changing the observation device design to use metallic periscopes and a vision block.
  7. I approved the all-round vision device for 1940 as it was presented on blueprints.
Factory #183 will produce a pilot batch (10 units) of T-34 tanks based on prototype blueprints. I gave permission to the Mariupol factory (armour) and factory #183 to produce 10 more T-34 tanks based on prototype blueprints to better prepare for mass production.

Attachment: as mentioned on 85 pages

Red Army ABTU Chief, Army Commander 2nd Class, Pavlov
Red Army ABTU Military Commissar, Divisional Commissar, Kulikov"

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Precious Metals

"Order of the People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding of the USSR
Moscow
September 4th, 1941

To carry out decree #9165-RS of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR issued on August 30th, 1941, I order that:
  1. The chief designer of factory #37, comrade Astrov, is to produce and present a plan to replace  rolled duraluminium used in the T-60 tank to the NKSM within three days.
  2. The director of factory #75, comrade Kochetkov, must produce ferrous metal replacements for components of the V-2 engine previously produced from aluminium and perform trials by the end of September. Report on the trials no later than September 30th, 1941, so that a report for the Council of People's Commissars can be made.
  3. The chief designers of the Kirov factory and ChTZ (comrade Kotin), factory #183 and STZ (comrade Morozov) and factory #174 (comrade Ginzburg) must produce technical requirements for production of gearboxes of KV, T-34, T-50, and T-26 tanks that use ferrous metals instead of aluminium and present them to the 1st department within seven days.
  4. The head of the 1st department, comrade Gnesin, must agree on the technical conditions with the People's Commissariat of Defense and present them to me for approval.
Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding,
S. Akopov"

Monday, 28 May 2018

Prospective Tanks

"To the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Voroshilov

I report that the director of factory #183, comrade Maksarev, reported that he can produce the T-32 vehicle in the configuration that you provided starting with the 1st quarter of 1940, and in the variant with 45 mm of armour starting with the 2nd quarter. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Pershing With A Long Hand

The opinion that America could win the war with tanks it already had in production was common at the start of 1944. This attitude backfired in the summer of 1944, when it turned out that even the M4A1(76)W with the 76 mm M1 gun was only a partial solution to fighting German tanks. American tanks were taking heavy losses from German Panthers on the battlefield. Another big surprise was the appearance of a new German tank in July of 1944, the Pz.Kpfw. Tiger Ausf. B, also known as the Tiger II. It turned out that no American tank gun was capable of penetrating it from the front. A search for a worthy opponent for these armoured monsters resulted in the creation of the T26E4 Super Pershing and some other variants of the Pershing with long-barreled cannons.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

More MKb.42 Impressions

"Operational research department, 3rd Shock Army

Information Summary #01
January 1944


The model 1943 carbine-machinegun is designed to be used by infantry divisions that fight in forests. Two divisions in the Volkov and Holmsk directions had these weapons. Submachineguns have proven to be ineffective in the forest due to poor penetration. Machineguns are too heavy and not maneuverable enough. It is hard to aim and see when firing from the ground, and uncomfortable to fire from trees. machinegun-carbine combines the maneuverability of a submachinegun with the penetration of a machinegun. The system is well balanced and mobile. Firing in bursts has very light recoil. It is light and comfortable to use. One drawback is that it uses a special round with a shortened casing. Despite that, it has the penetration of a rifle at 400 meters. The magazines (30 round capacity, 7 are carried by each rifleman) are comfortable to use.

The weapon is gas-operated, tilting bolt. The effective range is 100-800 meters. Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute."

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Compare and Contrast

An interesting document was posted the other day on the War Thunder subreddit.


While very interesting on its own, there is one particular part of the trials that popped out at me.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Mix and Match

"Order of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding #301ss
Moscow
July 6th, 1941

On the order of introducing design and technological changes to tanks and artillery tractors

Further developing paragraph 4 of order #253ss issued on June 26th, 1941, I order that:
  1. The leading factories, which develop all blueprints and design documentation, are as follows:
    1. KV-1 tank: Kirov factory
    2. T-34 tank: factory #183
    3. T-50 tank: factory #174
    4. V-2 engines: factory #75
  2. ChTZ, STZ, Krasnoye Sormovo, Uralturbomash, factory #37, HTZ, and all subcontractors that produce tanks, assemblies, components, and engines must produce their goods according to the blueprints of the lead factory.
  3. Changes to the technical documentation to meet orders of the SNK and Central Committee of the VKP(b) can only be done by the main factory, after approval by the customer.
  4. ChTZ, STZ, Krasnoye Sormovo, Uralturbomash, factory #37, HTZ are permitted to make design changes to components and assembly only with the permission of the lead factory's director and chief designer.
  5. Changes that impact the approved tactical-technical characteristics of tanks, engines, and artillery tractors can only be made with the permission of the People's Commissar.
  6. Control over the execution of this order is to be carried out by NKSM lead engineers:
    1. KV-1 tank: A.P. Petrov
    2. T-34 tank: N.I. Masalskaya
    3. T-50 tank: I.V. Yurasov
    4. V-2 engine: I.A. Moskalevskiy
    5. Artillery tractors: comrade Komov
People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, V. Malyshev"

Monday, 21 May 2018

Canadian Sten

The Sten Gun earned a reputation for being cheap and shoddy, but trials showed that it wasn't all that bad.


Seems acceptable. Let's compare it with the results of Soviet submachinegun trials. The numbers will be a little off, since the British were firing at 91.4 meters instead of 100, and taking the line from the center of the rectangle to the corner will (in most cases) result in an R100 that is larger than if a circle would be drawn around the points of impact, but the results will at least be comparable.

Sten #1 gives an R100 of 17.8 cm when firing single shots. This is around the same as the PPSh and Suomi submachineguns, around the middle of the pack. The mean point of impact is off by 28 cm to the right and 10 cm down. This is quite bad indeed, among the worst of the results. 

In bursts, the radius is 21.1 cm, which is quite good. Only the Neuhausen performs better. The mean point of impact is off by 6.35 cm right and 21.6 cm down, which is actually really good as well.

Sten #2 is a little less reliable, jamming up every time full auto is attempted (but firing off 6 mags initially without issues). It also has issues with dispersion. R100 in single fire is 22.9 cm, significantly worse than its brother and any of the other submachineguns. The mean point of aiming is off by 2.5 cm to the right and 12.7 cm up, however, which is pretty good.

Firing in bursts, the picture is reversed. Sten #2 has an R100 of 35 cm, around the same as the PPSh and Suomi. The mean point of impact is off by 22.9 cm left and 28 cm down, which is the worst result.

The Stens jump all over the place, doing rather average overall. However, considering that the other guns were produced in peacetime, while the Sten was a wartime design and produced by relatively inexperienced hands, the end result is actually quite impressive.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Short-Term Queen of the Desert

The Matilda is arguably the most famous British tank of WWII. This fame is well deserved. At the time of its appearance this slow moving but thickly armoured tank was the best the British industry could give its troops. However, its service with the British army was brief. By mid-1942, these tanks began to leave the stage to make room for American tanks.

T-64A's Birthday


"Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR

Decree

May 20th, 1968

On the installation of a more powerful set of armament into the T-64 tank.

The Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR decree that:

In agreement with the proposal of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR and the Ministry of Defense Industry of installing into the T-64 tank a new 125 mm smoothbore D-81 gun with armour piercing subcaliber, HEAT, and HE-fragmentation shells, two-plane stabilizer 2E23, TPD-2 rangefinder sight, and a PKT coaxial machinegun with main characteristics in accordance to attachment #1.

The T-64 tank with new armament will be called T-64A."

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Replacement Engines

"Order of the People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding of the USSR #319ss
Moscow
July 11th, 1941

To carry out State Committee of Defense Decree issued on July 9th, 1941, "On the facilitation of production of T-34 tanks at the Krasnoye Sormovo factory, I order that:
  1. The director of the Molotov Gorkiy Automotive Factory must provide Krasnoye Sormovo with M-17 engines for the T-34 tank in the following amounts:
    1. August 1941: 15
    2. September 1941: 80
    3. October 1941: 160
    4. November 1941: 230
    5. December 1941: 260
      supply them evenly throughout the month.
  2. The director of factory #183, comrade Maksarev, must deliver to the Krasnoye Sormovo factory 5 sets of all T-34 parts in their completed state and 5 sets of rough stock.
Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, S. Akopov."

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Hide Your Guns

The need to hide artillery appeared long ago, but the military took development of camouflage paint schemes seriously only on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries. Progress in observation methods and increased movement of all sorts of forces played an important role. Widespread use of firearms and the introduction of aircraft dispelled the romantic notion of tight formations and colourful uniforms. There was a sudden need to quickly hide equipment, especially large equipment such as tanks, guns, and automobiles, but not at a cost to mobility. How did the Red Army deal with camouflage during the Great Patriotic War?

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Tough IS-2

"During the fighting for Roben, having broken enemy resistance by the end of March 23rd, 1945, the brigade approached Roben proper. On the night from March 23rd to March 24th, units of the brigade occupied the eastern outskirts of Roben. During the night and the day of March 24th, the brigade fought to clear Roben from enemy submachinegunners. By 12:00 on March 24th, Roben was cleared completely.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Uparmour

"Order of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding of the USSR #268ss
Moscow
June 29th, 1941

In accordance with the decree of the USSR SNK, I order:
  1. To the director of factory #174, comrade Markin:
    1. Produce two experimental T-26 tanks (one 1939 production with a conical turret and sloped turret platform, the second 1938 production with a conical turret and vertical turret platform) with 25-35 mm thick applique armour by July 25th, 1941.
    2. Develop blueprints, have them approved by the GABTU, and send them to the Izhora factory by July 8th, 1941.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Lee and Grant: American Generals in British Service

The United States was seen by Britain and France as a giant factory that could aid them in production of military hardware back before the First World War. That is what ended up happening, although American produced vehicles did not arrive in time to fight. However, during WWII, the expectations of America's European allies were met, especially when it came to tanks. However, the trans-Atlantic tank factories didn't work like the British expected them to. Instead of building British tanks under license, the Americans provided their own designs. This article describes the General Lee and General Grant tanks, the first mass produced American medium tanks that were used by the British army.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Reused Tank


"Female soldiers fight the enemy exceptionally well. Senior Sergeant Voyevodina's 45 mm gun crew consisting of Komsomol members Rofanova, Zibirova, Bartinkova, and Abramova opened direct fire at enemy strongholds on the left flank during a battle for a settlement. The enemy moved into a counterattack, but the women were out of ammunition. Spotting a knocked out tank up ahead, the brave women crawled forward to it. Having entered the tank, they opened fire from cannons and machineguns at the enemy. The counterattack was defeated. 2 cannons, 9 strongholds, and over 70 fascists were killed. In this battle, crew commander Voyevodina and private Zibirova died the death of heroes."

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Soviet Schurzen

I posted some information on Soviet protection research before, which included experiments spaced armour. Here is another such experiment, performed in the summer of 1943 at factory #112.


A drawing of the extra armour includes armour for the turret, but the prototype does not have it. Only the sides of the hull are equipped with additional armour.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

PzIII Armour in British Hands

I previously shared how the PzIII did in Soviet hands. In summary, the 30 mm plate proved far too brittle under fire from a 45 mm gun, shattering into pieces from just one hit. Curiously, British trials find the exact same thing.

Under attack from 2-pounder AP shot, the first projectile chips off the edge, but the second shatters the plate and causes severe cracks. When the remaining pieces are tested, they too crack into pieces after one or two shots with APC shells at 20 and 30 degrees. The British had more than just one hatch, however, and also observed the welding seams coming apart after the shots. The velocities matched those for 1200 yards in the test with AP and 1000 yards with APC. 


However, things get even more interesting after. In trials against a later model PzIII, one with 50 mm of front armour, the 2-pounder can get a shot through the front plate from 100 yards, although the projectile shatters. Interestingly enough, in Soviet trials, the 2-pounder only managed to penetrate the upper edge of the StuG's upper plate (also 50 mm thick) once from 100 meters. The testers were unable to reproduce this penetration from 50 or 100 meters. The Soviet conclusion is that the 2-pounder cannot penetrate 50 mm of armour at any distance, whereas the British are content with its ability to penetrate the German tank from 100 yards. The British also establish that the 2-pounder can defeat a PzIII from the front from 300 yards with HV ammo, but the Soviets didn't have any available.

Monday, 7 May 2018

The Future of Tanks

"Theses of the report by the commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, Marshal of the Armoured Forces Rotmistrov, titled "Tanks of the Soviet and Foreign Armies Presently, and the Potential of Their Development"
March 24th, 1947

Overall conclusions regarding the tanks of WWII and the potential of its development:
  1. Due to the thickening of armour and gun calibers, light tanks are departing from the battlefield. The amount of medium and heavy tanks is increasing.

Friday, 4 May 2018

An Opponent for the Tiger

The capture of two Tiger tanks by the Red Army on January 18th, 1943, had a significant impact on Soviet tank building. Trials of one of the tanks revealed an unfortunate fact: the F-34 76 mm gun, the main weapon of Soviet tanks, could not penetrate the side. The reaction to this result was swift. Designers were tasked with developing a more powerful tank gun immediately. It was to be installed in the KV-1S heavy tank.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Tank Armies

Despite its very young industry, the USSR was focused on building a large amount of tanks right off the bat. It might seem weird to focus on something like that so early on, but once you see the intelligence information at the army's disposal then everything falls into place.

Controlled Impact

"Order to the Red Army Air Force #0194
September 23rd, 1944
Moscow

Commanders of the Air Armies report that fighter pilots still use one of the most complicated attacks, namely ramming, to this day. 

In many cases, ramming does not only destroy the enemy plane, but also leads to a loss of our airplane, and, often, the death of the pilot.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

D-25 Muzzle Brake

"October 13th, 1943
#1610s

To the Deputy Chair of the GAU ArtKom, Major-General of the Engineering Artillery service comrade Zhevanik
CC: Chief of the Gorohovets ANIOP, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel comrade Grandilevskiy

RE: sending materials on the D-25 122 mm gun

I send you letter #1468/35s from factory #9 written on October 9th, 1943, with materials on the D-25 tank gun.

The D-25 tank gun was designed and produced by NKV factory #9 according to GOKO decree published on September 4th, 1943.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Visibility

Here's a rather interesting analysis of the Tiger's commander's cupola by British tankers. It's no secret that the British weren't huge fans of German observation devices, but here is a pretty thorough list of its deficiencies, backed by a handy diagram.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Where Infantry Can't Pass

History enthusiasts are familiar with Winterketten and Ostketten track links for PzIII and PzIV tanks. The use of these track links was a necessary measure to increase mobility in the snow and on wet, soft soil. The history of these track links did not particularly attract historians, but at the very least their existence is widely known. There are photos of German tanks with these track links and they are fond in the ground on battlefields. However, nothing is known of equivalent development in the Red Army. Let us try to fill this gap.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

SU-152: From Assault Gun to Tank Destroyer

Work on Soviet SPGs assigned at the plenum of the Artillery Committee held on April 14-15th reached their logical conclusion by the end of 1942. The light SPG concept turned into the SU-12, designed by factory #38's design bureau and S.A. Ginzburg (the future SU-76). The most promising medium SPG was the U-35, designed at UZTM. By the end of December, the first vehicles of the pilot batch were complete.

The heavy SPG was in a more difficult situation. The project that started as the "212" bunker buster radically changed several times. The ZIK-20 SPG was to go into production, but the process dragged on. Even a model of the casemate was not completed on time, to say nothing of the SPG itself. In the end, another vehicle was developed, the KV-14.

Podcast

Last year Tank Archives broke into a new medium, coming out in print. This year I've made another leap, this time into audio, taking part in Military History Visualized's podcast on kill claims vs actual losses. Long-time readers might find some of the content familiar, but there's plenty of fresh stuff to make it worth listening to. Keep an eye out on that channel, there will be plenty more of me to come!

Friday, 27 April 2018

HOA Nightmare

"HQ of the 12th Guards Order of the Red Banner Shepetov Tank Brigade
November 12th, 1945

Certificate 

Issued to mechanic-driver Guards Starshina Nikolai Fedorovich Agapov, to certify that he purchased with his own money the T-34-85 tank on which he fought German fascist invaders with the 12th Guards Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Order of Kutuzov Shepetov Tank Brigade.

Chief of Staff of the 12th Guards Tank Brigade, Guards Lieutenant-Colonel Dudnev."


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Minesweeper

"May 27th, 1944
To the Chief of the GBTU Tank Directorate, Major-General of the Tank Engineering Service, comrade Afonin

Report on the issue of firing from the T-34-85M tank equipped with a PT-3 mine roller

According to orders from Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Lieutenant-General of the Tank Engineering Service comrade Lebedev, the NIBT Proving Grounds installed a PT-3 mine roller on a T-34-85 tank and determined the ability of firing from the tank after the detonation of a German TM-35 mine under the roller on May 26th and 27th, 1944.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Manufacturing Difficulty

"Completion of quota at factory #200 in August of 1944

In August of 1944, the factory was instructed to produce:
  • IS-2 hulls: 200
  • IS-2 turrets: 200
As of September 1st, the factory delivered and QA accepted:
  • IS-2 hulls: 120
  • IS-2 turrets: 120
The quota for August was completed by 60%.

This significant shortfall of production is explained mainly by exceptionally poor output of the metallurgical plants that were supplying armour, as well as mass food poisoning of assembly and mechanical plant workers in the cafeteria.

Considering that the poisoning had some effect on the output of the factory, the People's Commissar of Tank Production permitted the extension of the due date for the August quota until September 5th and supply of workers from mother factories, delivered by airplane, without reducing the quota for September.

The total quota for August and five days of September is:
  • IS-2 hulls: 175
  • IS-2 turrets: 175
The timelines for completion of the August quota are outlined in table #1.

In September, the factory must produce:
  • IS-2 hulls: 200
  • IS-2 turrets: 200"

Yuri Pasholok writes that the annual report accounts for 200 hulls and turrets produced in August, so presumably the shortfall was made up for in September completely.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Tiger Air Filters

"F.V.D.D. Cover Sheet to Test Bay Report No.4248
Performance Tests on Two-Stage Air Cleaner - German Tank Pz.Kw.6 (Tiger)


Origin:

The performance of a two-stage air cleaner removed from a captured German vehicle was ascertained in the course of a general investigation of enemy air cleaners.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

T-70B: A Light Modernization of a Light Tank

GKO decree #1394 "On production of T-70 tanks at the Molotov Gorkiy Automotive Factory" was signed on March 6th, 1942. Work on improvement of the T-60's armament resulted in a completely new tank that used many of its predecessor's components, but was superior to it in every respect. Of course, it was not a perfect replacement for the T-50, which fell victim to production issues. Nevertheless, it was suitable for the role of a light tank. The T-70 became the second most produced light tank, after the American Light Tank M3 family. This article tells the story of the T-70B, the modernized version of the light tank.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The First Coming of the IS-2

The 122 mm U-11 gun designed in the fall-winter of 1941 was rather controversial. Its designers succeeded in their task of installing a gun with the ballistics of the M-30 in a minimally altered KV-1 turret. However, the howitzer had a low rate of fire, and its penetration characteristics were poor. As a result, the planed KV-9 batch remained on paper. Nevertheless, the GABTU did not give up on the idea of a howitzer tank. Despite opposition from the GAU, work on howitzer tanks continued in 1943.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Composite Hull

"[cut off] September 1942
To GABTU BTU, Engineer-Colonel comrade Alymov
To the head of the 3rd Directorate of the NKTP, A.A. Habahklashev

RE: manufacturing item #70-145304-A2 from two parts

Due to a lack of 35 mm thick plate 1232 mm in width, we are forced to produce item #70-145304-A2 from two parts with a perpendicular joint.

We have the agreement of military representative at factory #180, Engineer-Colonel M.S. Bazumov, to produce 40 units.

We ask for your permission to continue producing this item from two parts.

Attachment: blueprints (1 copy)

Acting factory director Orlov"

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Clear the Air

"January 27th, 1941
Order of the People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding and People's Commissar of Heavy Machinebuilding
#63s/43s
Moscow

Stationary trials performed at factory #75 of air filters for V-2 tank engines produced at factories ##75, 174, and 183 showed that the air filters do not satisfy the requirements for air filters established by Committee of Defense decree #428ss issued on November 19th, 1940.

Considering the exceptional importance of equipping V-2 tank diesels with functional air filters, I decree that:

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Far East Conversions

"To the Chief of the Tank Directorate of the GBTU, Major-General of the Tank Engineering Service, comrade Afonin

RE: your letter #822338 written on May 23rd, 1944

I report that:
  1. As of June 1st, 1944, the Armoured and Motorized Forces of the Far East Front have applied applique armour to 128 BT-7 tanks, 113 of which were converted in 1942-43 and 13 in 1944.
    Since no proper quality armour was available, applique armour is only installed at factories during refurbishing. Armour of written-off tanks was used. Contoured armour for turrets is not available.
  2. As of June 1st, 1944, 130 T-37/T-38 tanks have been converted to ShVAK guns. Further work to re-arm T-37 and T-38 tanks ceased due to an absence of ShVAK guns.
  3. Repair factories #405 and #77 are converting two-turreted T-26 tanks into single turreted. As of June 1st, 1944, 35 tanks have been converted.
  4. The following is necessary to continue work on rearming and adding applique armour:
    1. Contoured armour for BT-7 turrets.
    2. ShVAK guns.
    3. TMFP-1 sights.
    4. Equipment to convert two-turreted T-26es to single turreted (turrets, turret platforms, turret rings, etc).
  5. Rearmament and installation of applique armour is not being planned due to a lack of aforementioned armament and parts.
    All BT-7s refurbished by the repair factories are being equipped with applique armour.
Acting Assistant to the Chief of the Armoured and Motorized Forces of the Far East Front, Engineer-Major Ryabov
Acting Chief of the UK ORT of the Armoured and Motorized Forces of the Far East Front, Engineer-Major Sviridov"

Monday, 16 April 2018

Peak vs Mean

Previously, I discussed in detail what Soviet rate of fire tests actually measured. Long story short, the difference between the peak rate of fire (loading from the ready racks) and the average rate of fire (loading from all racks) was quite pronounced. Soviet figures reflected the latter scenario, which is why their rates of fire seem significantly slower when ROF figures are compared as is.

Let's take a look at another example: the Firefly, specifically the Sherman Ic. I've seen all sorts of figures on its rate of fire, from ten to twenty (!) rounds per minute. British tests, on the other hand, tell a different story.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Winding Road to Nowhere

The French were the first to master the production of SPGs. These vehicles missed WWI by only a few months. Enthusiasm for SPGs died down after the war ended, and France only returned to this topic in the 1930s. This article tells the story of French SPGs built on medium tank chassis, specifically the SOMUA SAu 40, which nearly made it into production.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Kalashnikov Acceptance

"Order of the Red Banner Scientific Research Small Arms and Mortar Proving Grounds of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Armed Forces (NIPSMVO GAU VS)

January 15th, 1948
Shurovo, Moscow oblast

Report #374
On the issue of: trials of 7.62 mm assault rifles using the mod. 1943 cartridge designed by: Kalashnikov, Bulkin (TsKB-14) and KB-2-MV.

Annotations: The 7.62 mm assault rifles designed by Kalashnikov, Bulkin, and KB-2 (Dementyev) to use the mod. 1943 round were built according to specifications #3131 issued in 1945 and were presented for proving grounds trials a second time, after improvements recommended by the GAU NIPSMVO and GAU USV, based on the results of the first trials (see NIPSMVO report #232-1947).

The overall view of the assault rifles can be seen in the photos.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

PzIV Ausf. H Intel

"Report on new types of tanks and SPGs according to reports by prisoners of war and armoured staff reports as of July 20th [1943]
...
  1. The suspension, engine, and transmission of the modernized T-4 tank are the same as the regular tank of this type.
  2. The hull has the following changes:
    1. The front of the tank has the following applique armour:
      1. The lower front plate and sloped front plate are protected by track links, held onto the armour by clamps or bolts. The upper front plate of the tank is protected by a 20 mm thick armoured plate, positioned about 200 mm in front of the main armour, and attached by welding.
        As such, the T-4 tank uses spaced armour.
      2. The sides of the tank are protected by 4-4.2 mm thick plates, four plates per side. Each plate hangs on three carriers, bolted to the side of the tank and the fenders. The bent ends of the carriers fit into slots of the 8 plates, and are additionally attached by one bolt that is screwed into a bracket welded to the upper carrier.
        The side plates are made up of very soft armour or iron. The edges are cleanly finished. The plates hang outside of the suspension, about 500 mm away from the sides.
      3. The tank turret is protected in a similar way (aside from the gun mantlet) with 8 mm thick armoured plates, affixed to carriers, which are welded to the turret. The spacing between the plates and the main turret armour is 380-480 mm. The rear of the turret (and the stowage box) is protected by 4-4.2 mm thick plates, similarly affixed to the turret armour with the same spacing.
        Like the side armour, the material is either very soft armour plate or iron. The edges are also cleanly finished.
      4. The rear of the hull has no applique armour."

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

T-60's Future

"Minutes of a technical meeting discussing factory #37's proposal to equip the T-60 tank with a new turret with a 45 mm tank gun and thicker front armour

Present: regimental commissar comrade Vorovbyev, Engineer-Colonels comrades Alymov and Pavlov, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonels comrades Rogachev, Kovalev, Nenarokov, and Solonin

Presenting: telephone message from Engineer-Colonel comrade Afonin containing factory #37's proposal.

Complaints: comrade Pavlov claims that the increase in the tank's mass will reduce the performance of the already strained transmission of the tank. The torque will be insufficient and the off-road performance will be insufficient.

Monday, 9 April 2018

PzIII Battle Damage

"SECRET
Appendix "A" to AFV Technical Report No.11 
Dated December '42
The following abbreviations have been used in the section dealing with Pz.Kw.III:
  • sa: Spaced armour
  • dfp: Driver's front plate
  • man: mantlet
  • nf: prepared but not fitted
Thus sa(nf)man means that the mantlet was prepared for spaced armour, but it was not actually fitted.
...

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Heavy Tank from Pennsylvania

The American army had the largest fleet of heavy tanks in the world at the start of the 1930s. Unfortunately, these were obsolete Mark VIII tanks, also known as "Liberty". They were built to British specifications using experience learned from the First World War, but these tanks came too late to fight. No heavy tanks were built in the US after the war was over. Work on this topic only resumed after the start of WWII. The result was the Heavy Tank M6, the first truly domestic heavy tank design.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Theory and Practice

I covered the precision of the ML-20S gun-howitzer before, but numbers on a table are not quite as fun to look at as the trials themselves. Here are the results from the same gun mounted in a SU-152.


"Results of precision trials, February 2nd 1943
Left group: firing from 1000 meters
Right group: firing from 500 meters."

Via Yuri Pasholok.

Mosin vs PPSh

"Jume 16th, 1943
To the Chief of Staff of the 28th Army

1. Totalling up the reports of unit commanders from the division regarding whether or not infantry squads should have rifles or the PPSh, I report that:
  1. The PPSh is the most effective weapon of the infantry squad.
  2. Saturation with the PPSh should be no more than 50%. Leave rifles in the hands of excellent marksmen and snipers (preferably sniper rifles with optical scopes to shoot at a range of over 400 meters). 
Division Commander, Guards Colonel Dobrovolskiy
Chief of Staff, Major Panin"

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Manufacturing Limbo

"On the T-80 tank: 8 T-80 tanks were built in March and 9 tanks were started, which already have suspensions, engines, and transmissions. Final assembly is stalled due to a lack of armour, elevation, and turning mechanisms. Out of the 17 started vehicles, only 7 have fully turbocharged engines, the other 10 have half-turbocharged engines: with old compression ratios and a cast iron cylinder head. The first 8 vehicles have been broken in, are fully equipped, and are only conditionally accepted while work on the additional return mechanism for AA firing is performed.

It must be said that the factory is dedicating very little attention to the topic of organizing T-80 production due to a lack of production plans.

Senior Military Representative of the GBTU at the Molotov GAZ factory, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel Okunev."

Monday, 2 April 2018

OBM-43

"To the Chairman of the NKV Technical Council, comrade Satel
To the Chairman of the GAU Artillery Committee, Lieutenant-General comrade Hohlov
To the Head of the NKVD 4th Special Department, Commissar of State Security comrade Kravchenko

October 2nd, 1943

NKV special telegram #5014 sent on September 24th of this year tasked NKV OKB-172 and Molotov factory #172, as instructed by the People's Commissar of Armament and GAU Chief, to produce an SPG with a 122 mm gun that fired a 25 kg shell at 1000 m/s.

SU-12: The Ill-Fated SPG

Sverdlovsk (modern day Yekaterinburg) was the cradle of Soviet wartime SPG building. The concept of light and heavy assault guns (SPGs) was developed here. However, neither the light nor the heavy SPGs developed here were put into production. One of the reasons for this paradox was the publication of GKO decree #2120 "On the organization of T-34 production at the Uralmash factory and factory #37". According to this document, Sverdlovsk was to produce T-34 tanks instead of the T-70 tank, on which all of their light SPG designs were based. The SU-31 and SU-32 SPGs were left without a production base. All work on SPGs was transferred to factory #38 in Kirov. This was the start of the tragic history of the SU-12, the first SPG to be known under the more famous index SU-76.

Friday, 30 March 2018

PIAT: An Odd Fellow

The British PIAT grenade launcher, a combination of a medieval crossbow and a modern HEAT grenade, became one of the more unusual examples in its class. Heavy and uncomfortable to use, the PIAT went through many fronts of the Second World War in the hands of Allied soldiers. However, its subsequent career was not long. The weapon did not survive competition from the simpler and more reliable RPG.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

M1 Carbine vs Mkb.42(H)


The precision of the MKb 42(H) at ranges of 100, 300, and 500 meters is 1.5 times worse than that of the American M1 carbine.

In automatic fire, the precision of the MKb 42 (H) is unsatisfactory (a burst doesn't fall inside a 1.5 x 1.5 meter target at 100 meters).

The reliability of the automatic mechanism has not been determined.

The design of the sample is complex, but the widespread use of stamped parts deserves attention.

Via kris_reid.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Sd.Kfz.222 Under Fire

A while ago, I posted how German armour fared under fire in Soviet trials. Recently, I found information on a similar British test. This time it was a hatch from an Sd.Kfz.222 being fired upon, but the conclusions were largely the same: German armour is too brittle and has a tendency to flake and crack. The test plate broke into four large pieces under fire from the 15 mm Besa at a velocity matching a range of 1500 meters at an angle of 30 degrees. The quality of the armour was worse than British armour made to I.T.70 requirements.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Upgunned T-38 Trials

"Results of trials of a T-38 tank armed with a ShVAK gun from March 15th to 29th, 1944

T-38 tank #4216 armed with a ShVAK gun converted at factory #105 on January 13th 1944 was presented for trials. The engine ran for 2 hours since the last medium repairs.

After arming it with the ShVAK gun, the tank's weight increased by 400 kg. The tank was tested at 100% of combat weight with a crew of 2 men.

The route and trial conditions are described in the attached journal. 910 km were travelled during the trials (402 km on a highway, 508 km on a dirt road, off-road, and over obstacles). The engine worked for 48 hours and 40 minutes.

Monday, 26 March 2018

KV-85 Turret Upgrade

"To the Chief of the GBTU Tank Directorate, Major-General of the Tank Engineering Service, comrade Afonin

The senior military representative of the GBTU at the Kirov Factory, Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel Markin reported the following to me on August 31st over radio, 1943 (via comrade Davidenko).

A number of mistakes were made in the KV-85 blueprints, which resulted in the following:

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Heavy Trophy

The German heavy Tiger tank left a mark on tank building worldwide. Even though propaganda and memoirs are largely to blame for its fame, the Tiger did really have nearly no competition on the battlefield among the tanks of the Allies. It's not surprising that the tank was thoroughly studied in the USSR, USA, and Great Britain. This article tells the story of how Tiger tanks were studied in the USSR and what conclusions were made, as well as the use of these tanks in the Red Army.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

T-45

"To Lieutenant-General Fedorenko

Factory #37 in Sverdlovsk installed a 45 mm gun on the T-60 tank without widening the turret ring, but in a new turret. The positioning is the same as on the T-70. 

The loading conditions are the same as on the T-70.

The weight of the vehicle increased by approximately 400 kg. Ground pressure increased by 0.03. 

Top speed dropped by 5-8 kph (used to be 45 kph, now 38-40 kph). Range not affected.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

IS-3, Take One

"Report on experimental work at factory #100 for the first 10 days of June, 1943

Most effort at the factory was directed towards production and assembly of IS-3 components according to altered blueprints and continuation of factory trials of IS-1 and IS-2 tanks, bringing the total distance travelled to 2000 km.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Pershing: Heavy by Necessity

The British Churchill tank was the only one supplied to the USSR by the Western Allies en masse. The US had bad luck with heavy tanks. Work on the Heavy Tank M6 hit a dead end. Nevertheless, heavy tanks did arrive in the American army by the end of the war. These were Heavy Tanks T26E3, standardized as M26 Pershing. However, the T26E3 was rather arbitrarily classified as heavy. In practice, this was a medium tank. Only its mass made it a heavy, and even then, it returned to medium after the war. This article is dedicated to the trials of the T26E3 in the USSR, during which it was compared to heavy tanks.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Last Request


"Report on the requests of imported armoured vehicles as a part of the 5th protocol

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Mauser Sniper Rifle


"5. Determining the combat characteristics of the German sniper rifle

The results of determining the muzzle velocity of the German sniper rifle are included in attachment #4, where you can see that the muzzle velocity of the Mauser rifle #6448 is 764 m/s.

The results of the precision and accuracy of the German sniper rifle with open and optical sights are included in attachment #5. Here are the average results.


With open sights
With optical sights
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm
100%
50%
Vertical
Horizontal
100%
50%
Vertical
Horizontal
100
9.5
3.6
+12.5
+0.7
9.4
3.9
+1.9
-20.2
300
28.3
15.0
-17.8
+14.0
33.3
15.3
-56.7
-48.0
600
47.3
25.7
-56.3
+47.7
61.0
25.3
-165.0
-101.7

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Canadian Ratte

The German 1000 ton Ratte tank is a pretty well known device, and similar monstrosities described by well-meaning Soviet citizens volunteering their ideas. Turns out, the Western Allies were not immune from these flights of fancy. This suggestion was forwarded by a pretty high ranking official: than Sir Howard d'Egville. The description begins very promisingly: "...this vehicle, while not actually a tank, is of such capacity that it would be equal, in both offensive and defense power, to a considerable number of tanks." The armour is fairly reasonable at 5 inches (127 mm), but the armament is "of great striking power, including 4 inch naval guns". The vehicle would be transported in section, and if a section was knocked out, it would be removed and replaced. While not going into details on the design, d'Egville wanted a mockup built in Canada, and then the parts manufactured in several places, to preserve secrecy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

F-32 in A-34

"Secret

To the ABTU Chief, Corps Commander Pavlov
NKO House, 2 Red Square, Moscow

On the issue of: production of armour and assembly of A-34 hull and turret.

The armour for the A-34 is ready, both for the hull and the turret. The hull is in the finishing stages of assembly, the turret assembly will begin on December 22nd.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Prototype Problems

"To the GABTU Tank Directorate
Chief of the 4th Department, Engineer-Major F.A. Nenarokov
Moscow, 2 Red Square, NKO building

RE: work of Savin's group on designing an AA gun for a tank.

The anniversary of our design group is July 3rd. Working alongside you, with joint efforts, we managed to obtain a model of a mount with a cannon and a machinegun by September 8th, 1941.

On September 14th, 1941, we composed a letter for Ya.N. Fedorenko to deliver to the Council of Commissars with a request to build a prototype at the factories of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding (including NATI), but the group was moved to factory #174 in Chkalov.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Marder III: German Tank Destroyer on a Czech Chassis

The start of the Great Patriotic War on June 22nd, 1941, triggered serious corrections to both Soviet and German tank building. The fighting in 1941 showed that the time of light tanks is coming to an end. At the same time, the increasing mass of more and more powerful anti-tank weapons limited their ability to be transported by their crews. The abilities of the German PzI Ausf. B tank were limited, and it was impossible to create anything more powerful than the Panzerjager I. It's not surprising that the Germans came up with the idea to create SPGs using the chassis of other obsolete light tanks. This article will discuss the family of Marder III tank destroyers, which were built on the chassis of the Pz38(t).