Thursday, 19 September 2019

Reparations


"Record of payment for citizens Zimmerman, Finkler, and Gonfeldman of the city of Odessa

For restoration of health after being bruised by tanks, the corps commander issues: 600 rubles

Total: 600 (six hundred) rubles

Approved: Chief Quartermaster and Paymaster, Dukhanin"



Wednesday, 18 September 2019

V-2 Improvements

I've written a lot about what the reliability of the T-34 tank was, but not as much about where the army wanted it to be. I don't have as much data on the expected lifetime of engines in 1942 as I do for other years, but from documents it seems that it did not drop as some people state. The USSR did not opt to discard quality for quantity, far from it. The order issued by People's Commissar of Tank Production Malyshev on April 21st, 1942, demonstrates that the quality target was higher than ever:

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ferdinand Intel


"Captured enemy vehicles

Ferdinand SPG

Characteristics: 88 mm gun with an elongated barrel on the Tiger tank chassis, immobile armoured turret. Mass: 67-70 tons. Chassis: width 3.5 meters, length (with gun) 10 meters. Top speed: 20 kph, average speed: 10-15 kph.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Factory #183 Experiments, January-February 1941

"Report on the execution of experimental work on armoured vehicles from January 1st to February 20th, 1941

Tractor "42" on the T-34 chassis
Due date: September 1940
2x prototypes were built in November of 1940. Factory trials were supposed to complete in December 1940. A number of gearbox, tracks, winch, etc. defects were discovered during trials. Presently, the defects are being corrected, after which trials will resume.

T-34 tank modernization
The design bureau is developing a modernized T-34 with a new hull, turret, gearbox, main clutch, and suspension. A draft project is being worked on. Individual components are being built. A model is being built.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Gorilla, King Kong's Sister

Like other members of the Light Combat Team based on the M24 Chaffee chassis, the 155 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M41 did not take part in WWII, but fought actively in Korea. Even though the Gorilla was not numerous and its career was short, this vehicle still deserves attention.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Express Tank Destroyers

"Decree #252ss of the State Committee of Defense
July 23rd, 1941
  1. The People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Ustinov) is to install the first 100 57 mm anti-tank guns on Komsomolets tractors.
  2. The People's Commissar of Medium Production (comrade Malyshev) must ship 100 Komsomolets tractors to factory #92 before August 10th, 1941.
  3. The People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Ustinov) must produce towed 57 mm anti-tank guns using the GAZ-61 car as an artillery tractor starting on August 10th.
  4. Comrade Malyshev must supply factory #92 with GAZ-61 cars in sufficient amounts to match production of the 57 mm ZIS-2.
  5. Production of 57 mm and 76 mm divisional guns at factory #92 remains unchanged.
  6. The proposal made by the Gorkiy Regional Committee and factory #92 to install 57 mm guns on the GAZ-AAA truck is rejected.
Copies: Ustinov, Malyshev, Voznesenskiy, Popov."

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Difference of Opinion

"A record of disagreement regarding contract #B1-221 signed on May 8th, 1941, between Comintern factory #183 and the GABTU regarding delivery of T-34 tanks in 1941

Article 9 paragraph 1:
  • GABTU version: the guaranteed period for which the tank will function without excessive wear and breakdowns of components and assemblies is 3000 km, provided the tank is operated within guidelines and instructions issued by the GABTU.
  • Factory #183 version: the warranty period for tanks up to #1001 is set to 3000 km, with the exception of tracks and the cooling fan, which the factory guarantees up to 1500 km. Starting with the 1001st tank this component will also be guaranteed up to 3000 km.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Sabotage

"Commanders of the Fronts
August 10th, 1942
19:50

Our tank units and formations take heavy losses, and losses in tanks for technical reasons outweigh losses in battle. On the Stalingrad Front, over 6 days of fighting, despite having superiority in tanks and artillery, in 12 of our tank brigades out of 400 tanks 326 were lost, out of those 200 were lost for technical reasons, and the majority were left on the battlefield. Similar examples can also be found on other Fronts. Considering this kind of rates of breakdown inconceivable, the Stavka considers this the be caused by covert sabotage and destruction on behalf of tankers, who either seek out small faults with their tanks or create them themselves in order to keep away from the battle, abandoning their tanks on the battlefield. At the same time, poorly established control over materiel and tracking of whether or not tanks perform their duties in battle in tank units allows this criminal and unacceptable behaviour to continue.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Experimental Work at Factory #183, February 1941

"Report on experimental work at factory #183 for February of 1941

Work performed at workshop 500:
  1. Trials of two types of main clutches with a friction clutch for the fan. Tanks with these clutches drove for 400 km, after which trials stopped due to breakages of three pins on each. Presently, a new main clutch is being produced with an altered driving drum and a friction clutch for the fan. This type will be produced in mid-March of 1941.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

A Fast Howitzer on a Light Chassis

Unlike American light tanks, which towards the war reached perfection in their class, light SPGs did not work out. The first successful design, the HMC M8, appeared towards the middle of the war. It did not satisfy the military and work on light SPGs continued. The result of this work was the HMC M37, a good design that appeared far too late. The production run was limited and it only saw battle after the end of WW2.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Heavyweight

"October 18th, 1945
To the Deputy People's Commissar of Railways, Vice General Director 1st Class comrade Arutyunov

A captured special tank weighing 160 tons (including a removable 40 ton turret) directed to the NIBT proving grounds (Kubinka station, Western railroad) has been stuck at the storage terminal of the cargo base at Brest-East.

The transfer of the special tank is delayed due to the fact that the storage terminal does not have cables necessary for moving the special tank.

I ask for your order to expedite the transfer of the special tank and its delivery to its destination.

I ask you to reply with your decision.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Engineer-Major of the Tank Service, Pavlovskiy"

CAMD RF 38-11355-3009 p.82

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Monstrous Regiment

Even as late as 1944, Red Army tank units were far from being populated entirely by T-34s. Sometimes colourful mixes like these went into battle, and their owners had to put up with a gently used fleet.

"By July 15th, 1944, the regiment was equipped with the following:
  • 16 T-70 tanks
  • 10 Matilda tanks
  • 1 M4A2 tank
  • 4 BA-64
  • 2 motorcycles
  • Automobiles:
    • Trucks: 34
    • Special: 8
    • Cars: 2
At this time:
  1. T-70 tanks each ran for 110-120 hours, and their technical condition was satisfactory to perform a forced march.
  2. Matilda tanks, received from refurbishment on June 27th, 1944, had only 45-55 running hours remaining. Their technical condition was unsatisfactory for a combat vehicle. Matilda tanks required another round of factory repair due to worn out components and assemblies. Due to significant wear on all parts and components of the tank, they could not be restored by the regiment's resources.
  3. The M4A2 tank was technically functional and ready for upcoming battles.
  4. The Harley and Indian motorcycles were received from refurbishment and were in unsatisfactory condition.
  5. Automobiles: half made up of foreign makes. 85% were received to fill up the regiment and brigade back in April of 1942, only 15% were received in the summer of 1943."

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Budget Tracks

"Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #131-M
Moscow
April 10th, 1942

In order to preserve ferromanganese in T-34 and T-60 track links and improve production of steel in electric furnaces, I order that:
  1. NII-48 director comrade Zavyalov must assemble two brigades of the best specialists of the Institute in order to resolve the issue of creating a new type of steel to use in track links, sending one brigade to factory #183 and the other to factory #37.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Even More MKb 42(H) Intel

"GAU Artillery Committee Information Department
Information Summary #16
July 1943
...
New German light machinegun and ammunition for it

In June of 1943, Red Army units captured a new 7.9 mm machinegun firing intermediate cartridges.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

A Bigger Howitzer on a Smaller Chassis

The American Ordnance Committee standardized the HMC T47 as the HMC M8 on May 15th, 1942. This vehicle was accepted into service even before a prototype was built and became the first American light SPG to enter production. The HMC M8 was a good vehicle, but had its drawbacks. The fighting compartment was cramped and there was no room to improve the armament. Experience in combat showed that 75 mm was too small of a gun even for a light SPG. This prompted the development of a new SPG, also based on the Light Tank M5 chassis. The result was a number of experimental SPGs, including the HMC T82.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Waste Not, Want Not

"16th Motorized Infantry Division
Unit 1-b
Division HQ, September 1st, 1941

Special supply order #29

Dual shields for anti-tank guns

Shields of Russian anti-tank guns can be easily adapted for German anti-tank guns. All captured Russian anti-tank guns that cannot be repaired for use in the German army to replace knocked out guns should have their shields removed and attached on top of German gun shields.

Platoon gunsmiths and company repair workshops can take on the work.

On behalf of the division commander, 1st officer of the General Staff IV"

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Cabin on the Tanks


"Mechanic-driver's station

The mechanic-driver is located to the left of the ammunition rack in the front of the tank. The driver's seat is immobile. The seat can flip back and its angle can be adjusted.

The tank is driven by looking through the open hatch in front of the driver, through the slit in the hatch protected by a vision block, or through the rotating MK-IV periscope in the top hatch.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

"An inquiry from the State Planning Commission to the Head of the ABTU regarding the use of secondary metals in wartime
September 20th, 1936

The use of scrap metal and byproducts, especially of non-ferrous metals, will be even more important during wartime than in peace time. The use of scrap metal and byproducts accounts for 30% or more metals used in industry.

Knowing this, it is important for the RKKA in wartime to organize a collection of scrap metal and byproducts at the front lines and in the army's rear. The existing manuals regarding the collection of scrap metal are very brief. The Sector of Defense of the State Planning Commission is working on this issue and wishes to know:
  1. Which metals and alloys will be collected at the NKO's orders during the war and be sent off to the rear?
  2. Approximately what are the estimated amounts for the first year of the war (split by 6 month periods if possible)?
  3. What amounts and of what metals will be used by the army directly without being passed into the industry?
  4. What sorting of collected metals (especially important during further re-smelting of alloys and hardened steels) will be done, and by which organizations in the NKO?
  5. How much scrap and byproducts was collected in 1935?
  6. Special notes and requests regarding collection of old metal during peace and war time.
The response to these questions is needed urgently to allow rapid development of plans for other People's Commissariats.

Chief of the Defense Sector of State Planning
Botner"

RGVA 31811-2-614 p.89 

"Estimates by the ABTU for the Chief of the Defense Sector of State Planning on the use of scrap metals in wartime

September 30th, 1936

It is calculated that in the first year the generation of metal from lost vehicles in the first year of war will be 900-1000 thousand tons. Of those, it will be possible to recover 100,000 tons within the RKKA. The rest of the metal will be passed onto the industry. Expect about up to 2% non-ferrous metals, the rest will be ferrous metals: iron, simple carbon steel, special steels.

Expect even distribution among 6-month periods.

Collection of scrap metals during peace time is performed by the NKO Stock Accounting Department, and organization of scrap collection during peace or wartime should be agreed upon with that department. This department has all the information about delivery of scrap metals by the RKKA Directorates for 1935 and 1936.

The ABTU considers that it is necessary to offload responsibility for collection of scrap metal as much as possible. As a rule, the role of the NKO should be limited to delivery of the scrap metal from the battlefield to the distribution warehouses, preliminary sorting, and loading.

Assistant Chief of the ABTU,
Division Commander Stepnoy"


RGVA 31811-2-614 p.103 

Monday, 26 August 2019

V-2 Woes

"February 1st, 1939
To Military Representative at factory #183, Military Engineer 2nd Class, Comrade Fedorov

A telegram received from your deputy, comrade Kolesnik, and a message Military Engineer 2nd Class comrade Shukarev suggest that development of the V-2 engine at department 400 is in a completely unacceptable state.

All deadlines in development of the V-2 engine have been missed. State trials scheduled at the beginning of February have also been missed.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The American Highrise

Many Russian publications give the Medium Tank M3, known in the USSR as M3Sr (sredniy - medium) a poor evaluation. It is often dubbed "a grave for six brothers". Indeed, reviews of the M3 were the least favourable compared to most tanks that arrived in the USSR in large batches, but the infamy it holds today is not deserved. Let's try to objectively evaluate this American tank using reports from the proving range and the battlefield.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Self-Centered

Typically, armoured vehicles have a tendency to sag forward, especially as they are modernized throughout their service life. Heavier cannons and frontal armour often strain the front suspension elements more than the rear. The T-34 was no exception, with the T-34-85's front springs having to be reinforced when the larger and heavier turret entered service.

The T-44 was a revolutionary shift for Soviet medium tanks. In order to rid the front of the hull of the vulnerable driver's hatch, the hatch had to be placed on the roof, which meant shifting the turret backwards. In order to keep the fighting compartment the same size, the engine had to be placed perpendicularly to the hull. This resulted in a lot of weight moving backwards, and the center of mass followed. Calculations may show some detailed insight, but one can even see with the naked eye that the tank is tilting backwards.



Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Stronger Tanks

The T-34's armour was considered formidable in the summer of 1941, as it was protected against the majority of German anti-tank guns. By the end of 1943, the balance tipped the other way. The light "doorknocker" 3.7 cm Pak and the occasional 5 cm Pak 38 were being forced out by the 7.5 cm Pak 40 and other high velocity weapons. An analysis of tanks knocked out in combat was performed in order to determine where the armour needs to be increased, but the results were rather disappointing.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Night Fighters

"572 sorties were carried out this month. Of those, the machineguns were fired in 134 sorties. Firing was done from a height of 300-500 meters, from a distance of 700-1000 meters. Targets included columns of vehicles, strongholds, personnel, and enemy vehicles in settlements and on roads.

As a result of the assault, the following damage was done to the enemy, based on the crews' reports:
  • Fires started: 1
  • Strongholds suppressed: 3
  • Vehicles destroyed: 1

Monday, 19 August 2019

Object 704 Conclusions

"...
High backlash was noticed in the traverse mechanisms.
Conclusions: the traverse mechanism passed trials.

10: Loading tray

In order to make it easier to move between the loader and breech operator's stations, it is reasonable to make the rear tray corners rounded. Otherwise, there are no complaints about the tray.

11: Sights

The prototype carries the telescopic ball and socket TSh-17 sight with 4x magnification and a panoramic sight for the 76 mm ZIS-3 gun without an extension. 

The ball and socket sight is comfortable to use due to the immobile eyepiece in relation to the gunner's eye. A lack of muzzle brake improves the conditions of observation after a shot.

Trials showed that after 40 shots the sight calibration offset is negligible.

No complaints are made about the installation of the sight.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Polish Army's Phantom Reserves

In the early 1930s, Poland built the TK-S, a very good design based on the British Carden-Loyd Mk.VI tankette. A similar thing happened with light tanks. Polish tank builders designed the 7TP tank based on the Vickers Mk.E. The next step, the development of a fully domestic design, turned out to be too difficult for Polish industry. Attempts were made, but progress did not move past several prototypes. The Polish army entered WWII with armoured vehicles at the technology level of the late 1920s. This article discusses experimental designs that did not manage to enter service with the Polish army.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Aquino Tank Weekend WWII Reenactment Part 2

After the Ontario Regiment's first attack on Aquino Airport was beaten back, the regiment did not give up. The Hitler Line fell fairly quickly, and the Canadians' contribution is celebrated in part 2 of the Aquino Tank Weekend 2019 reenactment.


Edit: there was an error with the uploaded video. It is now fixed.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Burn Before Reading

Translation from German

9th Army HQ
Intelligence department, counterintelligence division
#653743 Secret

Army HQ July 29th, 1943

Re: Operation Citadel

All documents relevant to Operation Citadel are especially valuable to the enemy even now. Because of this, all documents of the corps and division must be completely and thoroughly destroyed without exception. Report on the execution of this order by August 3rd, 1943. Copies of documents that are not destroyed are to be handed over to rear line organizations. Division HQs must surrender their documents to Corps HQs, which will take on the task of sending the documents to the appropriate locations in the far rear.

Army Chief of Staff

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Rejected by Infantry, Adopted by Cavalry

France entered WWII armed with three different types of modern light tanks. Two of them were the numerous Renault R 35 and rarer FCM 36, used by only two tank battalions. The third tank, and a very numerous one, was the Hotchkiss H 35 (and its improved variant, the H 39). Overall, the H 39 turned out to be the best French light tank. It turned out to be very reliable and more mobile than its cousins.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

F-34 Gun Mantlet

"Requirements for the F-34 gun mantlet
  1. The front facing shield covering the gun port needs to be 52 mm thick if cast and 45 mm thick if rolled.
  2. The armouring of the cradle and recoil elements can be stamped or rolled and welded. The front cover needs to be removable. The thickness of the front cover needs to be 35 mm, the vertical sides sides sloped at 20 degrees must be 30 mm thick, top and bottom at least 15 mm.
  3. The design of the gun mantlet needs to reliably protect the crew from bullets and splash from all elevation angles from -5 to +30 degrees. The armour strips that prevent bullets and splash from entering must be at least 15 mm thick.
  4. In order to balance the system, a weight of at most 50 kg can be installed on the recoil guard. If a weight of more than 50 kg is required, a balancing mechanism must be added underneath the gun cradle.
Representative of the BTU Chief, Military Engineer 1st Class, Korobkov
Representative of the 3rd Department of the BTU, Military Engineer 1st Class, Afonin
January 18th, 1941."

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Fuel Capacity

"Table of one full load of fuel per fighting vehicle."

Vehicle
Capacity in kg
Type of fuel
Notes
T-35
637
BK-70, B-70
Aux. tank 360 L
KV-1 and KV-2
834
RB-70 diesel

T-28
462
BK-70, B-70

BT-7M
619
RB-70 diesel

BT-7
547
BK-70, B-70, RB-70

BT-5
263
ditto

T-34
710/628
BK-70 diesel/B-70

T-26
204
RB-70

T-40
154
RB-70

T-50
255
RB-70

T-60
227
RB-70

T-70
321
RB-70

T-38
90
Automotive gasoline

T-37
90
Automotive gasoline

T-27
35
Automotive gasoline

BA-20 light
75
Automotive gasoline

BA-10 medium
88
Automotive gasoline

BA-11 heavy
115
Automotive gasoline

BA-64
68
Automotive gasoline

MK-3 Valentine
145
Gasoil “3”

MK-2
192
Gasoil “3”

American M3 medium
613
3 cubic cm of RD per 1 kg of B-70

American M3 light
146
2 cubic cm of RD per 1 kg of B-70 or B-74

Universal Carrier
45
B-74 2nd grade

Bren Carrier
68
B-74 2nd grade


Via Valeriy Lisyutin

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Diesel Engine, Take One

"May 31st, 1937
To the Head of the 1st Main Directorate of the NKOP, comrade M.M. Kaganovich
To the Head of the 8th Main Directorate of the NKOP, comrade K.A. Neiman
To the Head of the Planning Directorate of the NKOP, comrade V.A. Levin
To the Acting Director of factory #183, comrade Lyash

In order to unconditionally launch an experimental batch of the improved BD-2 (400 hp) engine and deliver them to state trials no later than October of 1937, I propose the following:

Monday, 5 August 2019

Anti-Panzerfaust Tactics

"How to combat Panzerfaust soldiers and counteract them

The Red Army's use of mass amounts of tanks and SPGs forced the German command to work at reinforcing their anti-tank defenses. This reinforcement went in the following directions:
  1. Introduction of high caliber anti-tank weapons.
  2. Replacement of anti-tank towed guns with SPGs (Ferdinand and others).
  3. Widespread use of AA artillery in anti-tank roles.
  4. Invention of new types of weapons, especially close combat ones: torpedo tankette, Ofenrohr, Faustpatrone.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

When Late is not Better than Never

The saying "fast enough is well enough" applies to a whole slew of armoured vehicles that arrived too late to take part in the war. One of them was the Heavy Tank T29, the next tank after the M6 to be built in any kind of series. This tank was supposed to be America's answer to the Tiger Ausf.B. The Americans got their King Tiger, but only two years after WWII ended. At that point the Heavy Tank T29 looked rather obsolete.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Aquino Tank Weekend Reenactment Day 1

The battle for Aquino airport in Italy on May 19th, 1944, was a difficult one for the Canadian Ontario Regiment and the British 26th Armoured Brigade that they were supporting. The attack against the German defensive line covered by fog failed. Even though the Hitler Line fell only a few days later, the sacrifice of the Ontario Regiment is still commemorated by the Ontario Regiment Museum at the Aquino Tank Weekend every year.


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Wolfschanze

"2nd Ukrainian Front 
#4391
March 29th, 1945

I attach the results of interrogation of Unteroffizier Zaibert Friedrich from the 8th company, 979th Infantry Regiment, 271st Infantry Division.

The prisoner served in the 601th Signals Regiment for a long time, which serviced the needs of the land army command. The prisoner stated that:

"Until mid-November of 1944, Hitler's HQ was located in East Prussia in a fortified camp with the codename "Wolfschanze" (wolf's lair), 2-3 km from Rastenburg. Himmler's HQ was 11 km from Angeburg, in Grossgarten. The OKH HQ was in Tiergarten. Ribbentrop's HQ was located in the "Jegerhee" hotel in Angeburg. Hitler's HQ and other HQs were moved from East Prussia to Zossenshobn in the fall of 1944. All construction battalions, technical units, and a number of signals units that serviced Hitler's HQ and other HQs were sent to Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria. I know that they began to construct a fortified camp, big communications hub, and airport.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Sturmoviks

"Actions of ground attack aircraft against enemy tanks

During the Patriotic War against German invaders, the destruction of enemy vehicles as well as enemy personnel increased in importance. At this stage of the war, the most important thing was to destroy enemy tanks and SPGs, which then slows down the enemy and prevents his ground forces from advancing.

In addition to ground based methods, ground attack aircraft increased in importance, as they could defeat enemy tanks with cannon fire or special bombs.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Object 704 Drama

"Report on the development of the 152 mm ML-20SM SPG
  1. The Journal of the Artillery Committee #0254 1943 indicates that, as a result of trials and review of blueprints of the 152 mm model 1937/43 SPG, work should be done to improve the following areas:
    1. Gun/breech: get rid of the muzzle brake, introduce a sliding quarter or semi automatic breech.
    2. Cradle and recoil elements: simplify the recoil brake, transition to constant resistance to recoil and constant recoil length.
    3. Turning mechanism: improve the design to reduce drifting of the aim and reduce effort of turning the aiming flywheel.
    4. Frame, loading tray, recoil guard: review the design in order to standardize the parts and reduce their number.
  2. By January of 1944, OKB-172 performed a modernization of the ML-20S, which consisted of the following:
    1. Removal of the muzzle brake.
    2. Introduction of a simpler recoil brake with a constant resistance and constant recoil length.
    3. Shorter cradle and recoil elements.
  3. Factory #172 began to work on producing a prototype of the ML-20SM. OKB-172 was told that it was expected by February 10th, 1944.
    In practice, work on the experimental prototype lasted until September of 1944.
  4. After multiple requests made by the GAU to the NKTP to install the ML-20SM into a mass production ISU-152 SPG at the Kirov factory, this order was only given on October 2nd, 1944.
  5. The experimental ML-20SM gun was delivered to the Kirov factory in the first half of October of 1944. As it was established later (December 12th, 1944), the gun was incomplete (lacked a turning mechanism, lacked a prepared location to install it, factory #172 did not respect the established connection between the gun and mantlet)
  6. The GAU raised the issue of completing the ML-20SM to factory #172. Factory #172 representatives arrived at the Kirov factory to perform the work there in mid-February of 1945.
  7. Factory #172 communicated the following to the GAU in early May of 1945:
    1. The ML-20SM is being installed at the Kirov factory not in the mass production ISU-152, but in the experimental "Kirovets-2". Because of this, it is necessary to shorten the cradle and recoil elements. An agreement was reached to make changes to mass production samples, and for now the experimental ML-20SM was installed with a special mantlet (to compensate for the longer recoil elements) and presented to proving grounds trials in this manner.
  8. The GAU informed comrades Ustinov, Malyshev, and Fedorenko by letter that it will only accept a fully completed ML-20SM for trials, with all changes required to install it in the new SPG. At the same time, the question of how future-proof the Kirovets-2 is was raised (May 16th, 1945).
  9. The GBTU and NKTP replied that they were in agreement with the GAU, and urged the NKV to complete modifications of the ML-20SM, after which it would be sent to trials.
    The NKV insisted that the trials are to be carried out at the GAU main proving grounds without changes to the gun, claiming that it is necessary to discover additional requirements for its improvement.
  10. The GAU replied that, if the trials are considered factory trials, the GAU has no issue with trials aimed at determining requirements being carried out at the GAU main proving grounds, and will aid the NKV with necessary service and supplies.
  11. The NKV presented a program of trials at the start of August, and the GAU main proving grounds were ready for the trials in mid-August.
  12. Factory trials of the ML-20SM at the Main proving grounds began on September 24th, 1945, and concluded on November 13th, 1945. The start and end of the trials were delayed due to a lack of NKV representatives. The GAU informed the NKV that they must be sent urgently on two occasions (September 9th and October 15th). 
  13. The report on factory trials arrived at the GAU on December 6th, 1945. The main goal of the trials was to:
    Determine the quality of the weapon.
    Determine the robustness of the system as a whole and its individual components.
  14. In total, 65 rounds with normal charge and 244 with increased charge were fired. Overall, including the rounds fired before arriving at the proving grounds, the gun made 576 shots, 440 of them with increased charge.
  15. The SPG will be sent to the NIBT proving grounds for GBTU trials on December 21st-25th.
  16. The People's Commissariat of Armament gave the order to factory #172 to produce a new MK-20SM including the required improvements described as a result of trials at the GAU proving grounds and NIBT proving grounds.
Senior Engineer of the 2nd Department of the Artillery Committee, Engineer-Major Gorbachev
December 19th, 1945"

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Quad and 25-pounder in Action

The 25-pounder gun-howitzer was a very effective weapon, seeing service not just in WWII, but for a long time after. A large number of guns were preserved in excellent condition because of this. This particular gun shows up at events at least three times per year, and it's always a joy to see in action.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Kalashnikov and the Intermediate Round

After an unsuccessful attempt at a submachinegun and light machinegun, the young small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov did not lose hope, but began to design a new semiautomatic carbine for the new intermediate round. However, here too he was faced with defeat. Why did it happen, and what lessons did the future author of the AK learn from this?

Thursday, 25 July 2019

StuG Replica at Aquino

This StuG replica looks pretty good, but a quick count of the road wheels reveals that it's not a StuG at all. This is a vehicle on the FV 432 chassis, which is commonly used to make replicas of PzIII and StuG vehicles for reenactments.



Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Rabbit Season

"Order #0429
3rd Guards Tank Army
October 30th, 1944

RE: prohibition of hunting with automatic weapons

Individual units and formations in the army had instances where officers and enlisted men hunted game (moose, goats, rabbits) with automatic weapons, which could result in casualties among military personnel or civilians.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Density

The concept of density of fire per minute was a very important one in Soviet strategic planning. Effective offense and defence hedges on first and foremost having enough bullets that can fly at the enemy, and some units went so far as to illustrate their abilities.

Here is a map of the 354th Rifle Division's lines with the available volume of fire that can be sent the enemy's way per linear meter in November of 1944.