Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Kotin's Visit

Despite being promoted to very high posts, Zh.Ya. Kotin did not restrict his work to the office and visited the front lines frequently. On October 7th, 1942, he dropped by the 1st battalion of the 3rd Guards Tank Brigade to check up on KV tanks.

"October 7th, 1942.
The battalion is in the same location, continuing to repair materiel.
At 17:00 the designer of the KV tank, Hero of Socialist Labout, Major General of the Engineering Forces Kotin arrived with the commander of the 7th Tank Corps, and the commander and commissar of the 3rd Guards Heavy Tank Brigade.

Major General Kotin talked with the crews and asked about issues of preserving and using the vehicles. He was surprised by the state of affairs where the tanks have been running for 250-300 hours and many of them are still in service.
At 18:00 the commanders left."

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Drive Me Closer

"Award Order
  1. Name: Aleksey Georgievich Lebedev
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: Mechanic-driver, 1st tank battalion, 5th Guards Tank Brigade
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.

Monday, 20 January 2020

How to Kill a Tiger

There were many guides on how to take out Tiger tanks printed in the Red Army. I've shown two of them here, but this one is a lot more detailed.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Optimal Modernization

GKO decree #3892ss "On organization of 85 mm SPGs on the T-34 chassis at the Uralmash factory" was signed on August 8th, 1943. The first 100 vehicles of this type were ready by early September. The SU-85 ended up being the most numerous Soviet SPG of the war. However, the question of its successor was already raised at the start of its production. The cause of this was information from the Kursk salient about new German Panther tanks and Ferdinand SPGs. A program to develop a gun more powerful than the D-5 was launched in September of 1943. The result was the SU-100, the best Soviet medium SPG of the war.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Night Vision Conclusions

"Conclusions on night driving devices for the T-34

The devices for driving tanks at night did not prove themselves.
  1. The field of view is weak.
  2. Only vertical objects are well defined. Terrain and horizontal objects are nearly invisible.
  3. Vision range is short.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020


"Award Order

  1. Name: Gryazev, Vasiliy Fyodorovich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: gunner in an M4A2 tank, 1st tank battalion 5th Guards Tank Brigade
    Is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Guided Tour

"July 15th, 1942

To commanders of units and formations, chiefs of directorates and departments of the 5th Army

Copy for: 20th TBr

Information was received that commanders do not recognize English and American tanks used by our army and confuse them for enemy tanks. In order to avoid friendly fire, the commander orders that:
  1. The Deputy Commander of Tank Forces must organize two sessions of tank demonstrations. Demonstrate MS, MK, MK-II, MK-III tanks with a commander of each that can explain tactical-technical characteristics of each tank.

Monday, 13 January 2020

IS #1 and #2

"To the People's Commissar of Tank Production, comrade I.M. Zaltsmann

In accordance with the GOKO decree and your orders, the Kirov factory and factory #100 jointly produced two IS tanks, one with a 76 mm gun (IS-1) and one with a 122 mm gun (IS-2).

Both tanks were built in accordance with the tactical-technical characteristics outlined in the GOKO decree:

Up to 38.5 tons (37,160)
Up to 39.5 tons (37,900)
Top speed
55 kph
55 kph
8-speed gearbox, planetary turning mechanism, planetary final drives
120 mm cast front
100 mm cast turret platform, turret
90 mm rolled sides
V-2K 600 hp with electro-inertial starter
V-2K 600 hp with electro-inertial starter
76 mm F-34 gun
3 DT machine guns (coax, rear in turret, hull)
122 mm gun
2 DT machine guns (coax and hull)
80-85 76 mm rounds
32 machine gun magazines
30-35 122 mm rounds
32 machine gun magazines

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Whisper Quiet

When firearms were invented, the loud noise produced by a gunshot was more of an advantage than a drawback, especially when it was used against "old school" armies. With time, the demoralizing effect of the sound and flame of a gunshot became effective only against savages, but became very troublesome for the weapon's operator. Introduction of various types of special forces made this issue a pressing one, and by the start of the 20th century inventors began to combat it.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Designing the T-34: Now Available in North America

My first book, Designing the T-34, is finally available in North America! US Amazon has it in stock, Mexico and Canada are going to get it in the upcoming weeks. If you're still on the fence, watch the reviews from Panzermuseum Munster and Tank and AFV News.

Get your copy, if you haven't already!

Thursday, 9 January 2020

The One with the Rifle Shoots

"The first myth that is repeated by the film industry in particular is that the Red Army went into battle with one rifle for every 3, 5, even 10 men, fill in the blank yourself. This myth maintains that in the USSR, near Moscow, militiamen with one rifle per 10 had to stop German tanks, even though that is madness, that is not possible. The Red Army never had big problems, specifically big problems, with small arms. This was because there were large stockpiles from the Tsarist army and then the trophies from the Polish campaign. You'll laugh, but the source of this myth is the German Volkssturm. They really had one rifle with one clip of ammunition per 3 or 5 men. In the Red Army, in the worst case scenario, had its auxiliary troops go unarmed: drivers or artillerymen that fire guns from the rear at map squares. They don't really need a rifle. When there was not enough guns, such as in the summer of 1941, the guns were taken from these rear line units, from the horse handlers and such. On the front line the troops were armed well. The claim that soldiers would go into battle and would have to find a weapon there is nonsense. This is a very resilient myth. There are scarier things in war than having to go into battle to get a rifle, but this myth persists. "

Aleksey Isayev: Myths of the Great Patriotic War

Wednesday, 8 January 2020


"Central Committee of the VKP(b) to comrade G.M. Malenkov

The straight PPSh magazine designed by comrade O.S. Petrenko was vetted by the GAU and approved for production in July of 1943 (after a ten month period when 20 magazines were produced at the Instrumental Local Production Factory by the Moscow City Council and tested at proving grounds).

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

T-54 Delays

"To the Chief of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Colonel comrade Blagonravov

RE: preparing production of the T-54

Order of the NKTP #217ss given in May 1945 instructed factory #183 to send blueprints of the T-54 turret to factories ##75, 264, 112, 174, and the Ilyich Mariupol Factory within 15 days of issue.

The same order factory #183 was instructed to explore the issue of producing the T-54 and present the NKTP with necessary measures to achieve this no later than August 1st.

Monday, 6 January 2020

To The Death

"Order to the units of the Western Direction #07
July 25th, 1941
Acting Army

On all fronts, the Red Army is offering staunch resistance to the enemy, showing examples of heroism and bravery, delivering crushing defeats to the enemy armies.

However, in several units and formations of the Western Direction there have been isolated examples of cowards, panic-mongers, and those who seek to save their own skin who fled from the battlefield out of imagined fear of enemy aircraft and tanks, without resistance and without engaging the enemy, betraying the army and our great Motherland.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

From Sky to Earth

The concept of an airborne tank appeared in the early 1930s. The creator of this concept was John Walter Christie, who presented a tank that was supposed to get to the battlefield over the air using a discarding airplane attachment. Thanks to a powerful engine and a linkage to the propeller, the tank would not need an aircraft to tow it. This tank, known as the Convertible Airborne Tank M1932, never took flight, but the idea made its way into several countries. Christie himself quickly understood that a carrier airplane is necessary after all. There were two further developments: a plane that could carry a tank either underneath or inside it, or a specialized glider. Both developments were explored in the USSR and abroad. The Germans and British got the furthest with gliders, and the USSR, Germany, and USA got to practical stages with the aircraft approach. This article will discuss the fate of Soviet airborne tanks.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Post-War Rearmament

June 18th, 1949

On the acceptance of new types of weapons into service with the Soviet Army

The Council of Ministers of the USSR decrees that:
  1. The Soviet Army accepts into service:
    1. The 7.62 mm Simonov semiautomatic carbine model 1945 instead of the model 1944 carbine.
    2. The 7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifle model 1947 instead of the model 1941 and model 1943 submachineguns.
    3. The 7.62 mm Degtyaryev model 1944 light machine gun instead of the DPM machine gun.
    4. The 7.62 mm model 1943 cartridge.
  2. The new weapons will be called:
    1. 7.62 mm Simonov semiautomatic carbine (SKS)
    2. 7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifle (AK)
    3. 7.62 mm Degtyaryev model 1944 light machine gun (RPD)
    4. 7.62 mm model 1943 cartridge.
  3. The Minister of the Armed Forces comrade Vasilevskiy must present a plan for the re-armament of the Armed Forces with the new weapons within one month.
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, I.Stalin
Chief Administrator of the Council of Ministers, M. Pomaznev"

Wednesday, 1 January 2020


Artillery Staff of the 49th Guards Kherson Red Banner Order of Suvorov Rifle Division
January 19th, 1945

To commanders of formations and units

The 1st Mechanized Corps that is operating in the 46th Army's sector is armed with American M4A2 type tanks.

In order to avoid destroying them with our own artillery, the commander of artillery orders that:
  1. All artillery personnel are instructed to study the silhouettes of the tanks of this type based on the attached prints.
  2. The observation post of each battery must have an observer that is excellent at identifying the silhouette of M4-A2 tanks. Equip him with the prints.
  3. After studying the silhouette, pay attention to the special features when viewing it from the side: three pairs of road wheels, when observing from the front: the middle part has the shape of an isosceles trapeze, also pay attention to the shape of the turret.
Attachment: blanks with prints of the M4A2 tank silhouette.

Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 49th Gds. Rifle Division, Guards Major Zhila"