Saturday, 19 October 2019

The Tankette's Late Successor

Tank building worldwide made a radical jump forward in the second half of the 1930s and kept up the pace until the start of WWII. The stagnation of the early 30s led to many nations starting the modernization race on even footing. Some nations managed to create designs with great potential, others fell behind. Italy was among the latter. One of the characteristic designs of this era was the L6-40 light tank, which combined progressive design elements with downright archaic solutions.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Plain and Simple

"To Molotov

I have received your enciphered message. There are no big changes on the front lines. There are battles around Barvenkovo and Izyum. The Germans have six tank divisions here. Izyum is in our hands, the Germans have Barvenkovo. Our offensive near Kharkov has stalled. The Kerch peninsula had to be abandoned. On other fronts everything is the same, we're gathering our forces, building reserves. We desperately need fighters and tanks. Tell the British to send more fighters and tanks, especially Valentines.


May 23rd, 1942"

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

SU-26 Production

"Decree of the Military Council of the Leningrad Front #001336
November 13th, 1942
Active Army

RE: production of SPGs on the chassis of the T-26 tank

In order to supply the Front's tank units with SPGs, the Military Council of the Leningrad Front decrees that:
  1. The director of factory #174 comrade Muromtsev to produce 10 SPGs on the T-26 chassis for the Front Tank and Automotive Directorate before January 1st, 1943.
  2. The director of Kirov factory comrade Dlugach must supply factory #174 with the following before December 1st, 1942:
    1. 10 76 mm guns, fully assembled.
    2. 10 upper and lower gun mounts without mechanical finishing
      Dispatch two artillery assembly specialists to factory #174 for the term until January 1st, 1943.
  3. The Chief of the Front Tank and Automotive Directorate, Major-General Baranov, must select and deliver 20 T-26 tanks for conversion into SPGs by November 20th, 1942.
Commander of the Leningrad Front, Lieutenant-General [text is cut off]
Member of the Military Council, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik All-Union Communist Party, A. Zhdanov"

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

German Night Vision

"Description of a German rangefinder sight with night vision

The device is designed to measure distance and to observe at night. Observation at night is performed by attaching special lenses to the rangefinder.

The lens consists of a cylinder that holds a light sensitive plate, a diaphragm, and a lamp for illumination. It weighs about 250 grams. The lamp is powered by six dry cells.

The light sensitive plate is held between two pieces of glass. It is flourescent.

Monday, 14 October 2019

ISU-122S Acceptance

"State Committee of Defense Decree #6430ss

August 22nd, 1944
Moscow, Kremlin

On the acceptance of the ISU-122S SPG with the 122 mm D-25S gun into service and into production 

The State Committee of Defense decrees that:
  1. The ISU-122S SPG with a 122 mm D-25S gun designed by factory #9 in accordance with the tactical technical characteristics in attachment #1 is accepted into service.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Best Renault FT Clone

Italian tank building is usually treated with a large dose of derision. However, Italy managed to create a number of vehicles that were quite good for their time. This mostly applies to armoured cars, but there were some good tanks under their belt as well. The FIAT 3000 light infantry tank was one of them. The tank was based on the Renault FT, but it surpassed its predecessor significantly.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Lend Lease Wishlist

"Do not purchase armament in the following categories if possible, as their value is substantially less than analogous domestic production: submachineguns, anti-tank guns, anti-tank rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers.

It is desirable to continue ordering the following from the United States:
  1. AA guns of all calibers and ammunition for them.
  2. Pistols or revolvers and ammunition for them.
  3. Explosives and gunpowder.
  4. 81 mm mortar rounds.
  5. 76.2 mm AA rounds.
  6. Mobile repair workshops.
Acting Chief of the GAU, Lieutenant-General of Artillery, Volkotrubenko
March 11th, 1943"

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Infantry and Mortars

To the Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 115th Rifle Corps
RE: #0574 May 29th 1945

On the use of mortars

The Great Patriotic War showed that the rifle division cannot complete objectives independently  in due time without sufficient organic artillery. Attached independent Supreme Command Reserve regiments are usually too late with their preparations and fire at squares on the map instead of individual targets, expending too much ammunition usually in vain. These operations do not result in desired results.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Night Vision Driving


The range of vision with two lights using 100 watt electric bulbs each results is the following:
  1. A person or other vertical object on the road or on terrain can be seen from 35 meters.
  2. Terrain features and the road can be seen 12-15 meters in front of the tank.
  3. Buildings and structures (huts, churches, telegraph poles) can be seen from a range of up to 50 meters.
All objects are visible in green. Observation can be done through the device on a dark night with the same clarity as without the device on a moonlit night.

Assistant Chief of the 3rd Department of the GABTU BTU, Lieutenant-Colonel Dorofeev

August 8th, 1942"

Monday, 7 October 2019

Turn up the HEAT

"Report on the actions of 122 mm howitzer model 1938 armour burning ammunition

Batteries of the 77th Howitzer Artillery Brigade used armour burning ammunition against enemy tanks near Gorodisk on August 30th, 1944 (305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment) and near height 107.5 o the Narva beachhead on October 4th, 1944 (229th Howitzer Artillery Regiment).

The best range of firing HEAT rounds is 400-600 meters. At 500 meters the armour of a German Tiger tank can be penetrated. At a range of over 600 meters the round ricochets and cannot penetrate the front hull or turret armour. If the turret is hit it becomes jammed and the tank is disabled.