Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Flamethower Tanks, 1940

"Report on the current and prospective equipment of tanks with flamethrowers and chemical trailers

1. Mass production

1. Purpose of KhT-130 and KhT-133 tanks:
  1. Burning out strongholds
  2. Destroying personnel
  3. Putting up smokescreens to hide movements of mechanized forces
  4. Can be used to place persistent poisonous substances
2. The following are armed with KhT-130 and KhT-133 tanks:
  1. Independent flamethrower battalions in tank regiments (27 tanks)
  2. Independent flamethrower battalions in tank brigades (51 tanks)
3. Equipment of the Red Army with flamethower tanks as of August 1st, 1940:

In 1938-1940, our industry (NKSM factory #174, Leningrad) produced 700 KhT-130 and KhT-133 flamethrower tanks on the T-26 chassis. In battles with White Finns, 118 vehicles were lost irreparably.

In 1940, 265 tanks were built, 255 for the Red Army and 10 for the Navy. The factory has 165 hulls and 185 sets of chemical equipment, which accumulated due to a failure to meet quota in 1939. The use of this equipment is not planned for this year. Production can commence in the 4th quarter, and People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal Kulik, began proceedings with the Committee of Defense on this subject.

It is not possible to increase the range past 50 meters with the existing design with standard fuel mix.

4. Flamethrower on the T-26 tank (vehicle 134)

Purpose: burning out strongholds and destruction of personnel. It is desired to have as 1/3rd of all regular T-26es. 

Our industry produced prototypes of two flamethrower devices for the T-26 tank (vehicle 134), the device was tested and accepted by a military commission.

Presently, improvement of the two devices is being performed after comments made by the commission.

This year, according to a decree by the Committee of Defense #4ss, issued on January 2nd, 1940, a batch of 200 tanks equipped with these devices will be built.

5. Chemical trailer for the BT-7 tank
  1. Purpose:
    1. Putting up smokescreens
    2. Decontamination
    3. Contamination
  2. Chemical trailers will be a part of the independent sapper company of light tank brigades: 20 trailers
  3. The chemical trailer for the BT-7 tank had undergone trials and is being improved by our industry according to comments made by the commission.
    Currently, according to a decree by the government, a batch of 200 trailers will be produced this year, which will be supplied to mechanized units.
    In 1941, production of trailers will continue according to requirements.
6. Goals for 1940-1941
  1. Due to a lack of a flamethrower with a range of over 50 meters, it is necessary to produce 165 KhT-133 tanks in the 4th quarter of 1940 using the stockpiled equipment.
  2. In order to achieve a desired proportion of flamethrower tanks to regular tanks, it is necessary to install flamethrowers on all T-26 tanks produced in 1941.
  3. It is necessary to produce the required number of chemical trailers in 1941 to equip all moto-mechanized units.
2. Prototypes and pilot batches

1. Tactical purpose of flamethrower devices
  1. The flamethrower in the KV tank is designed to destroy enemy personnel behind cover and to combat anti-tank artillery at close range.
  2. Flamethrowers on T-34, T-126, and BT-7 tanks are designed to destroy enemy personnel at close range.
2. Desired proportions of flamethower tanks as a percentage of all regular tanks:
  1. KV tanks with flamethowers: 10%
  2. T-34 and BT-7 tanks with flamethrowers: 20%
  3. T-126 tanks with flamethrowers: 30%
3. Conditions of experimental works as of August 1st, 1940:
  1. Flamethrower for the T-34: the technical project was defended.
  2. Flamethrower for the BT-7: parts for the prototype are in production.
  3. Gunpowder flamethrower with a range of 120-150 meters: an experimental prototype is being tested on the BT-7 tank. If successful, the flamethrower will be used on the KhT-130 and KhT-133 tanks as they are modernized. 
  4. Gunpowder flamethrower on the T-34: draft project was presented.
  5. Flamethrower for the T-126 tank: technical requirements were developed.
4. Scheduled condition of work by the end of the year
  1. Flamethrower for the T-34: production of the prototype and blueprints for the pilot batch will be ready by October 1st, 1940. Military trials will be completed by November 5th.
  2. Flamethrower for the BT-7: production of the prototype and blueprints for the pilot batch will be ready by October 15th, 1940. The factory and military trials will conclude by the end of the year.
  3. Gunpowder flamethrower for the BT-7: the experimental prototype will be finalized by September 15th. The pilot batch may be complete by the end of the year.
  4. Flamethrower for the T-126 tank: a technical project will be finished and reviewed.
5. Plans for 1941 for experimental prototypes and mass production of tank flamethrowers and chemical trailers

I consider it necessary to include the following in the plan for 1941:
  1. Development of experimental prototypes:
    1. Flamethrower for the KV tank
    2. Flamethrower for the T-126 tank
    3. Gunpowder flamethrower for the T-34: a range increase to 120 m is expected, without the need for compressed air.
  2. Pilot batches:
    1. T-34 flamethrower: 10 units
    2. T-126 flamethrower: 10 units
    3. BT-7 flamethrower: 10 units
    4. KV flamethrower: 5 units
    5. T-34 gunpowder flamethrower: 5 units
    6. BT-7 gunpowder flamethrower: 5 units
  3. Mass production in 1941, conditional on state of the pilot batch:
    1. T-34 flamethrower
    2. BT-7 flamethrower
    3. Modernized chemical trailer for the BT-7 and T-34 tanks.
Chief of the Military Chemical Directorate of the Red Army, Major-General of the Technical Forces, Melnikov

Military Commissar of the Military Chemical Directorate of the Red Army, Regimental Commissar, Dmitriyev"

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