Thursday, 9 July 2020

Big Chungus

The final report covering the history of development at the Uralmash factory during the Great Patriotic War dwells little on their failures, but at least mentions them briefly.

"U-19

This was an SPG project armed with a B-4 howitzer, the largest in caliber that was ever prepared by the Uralmash factory for installation in an SPG. The design was completed in the spring of 1942.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Cross-Examination

The further down the chain of command you go, the harder it is to find a good representation of battlefield events from both sides. It's an absolute rarity at the tactical level, which makes this episode grossgrisly found even more valuable.

From the history of the German 5th Tank Division:

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Buying Christies

"Report on the situation with Christie tanks in the USA
December 14th, 1931

I first visited Christie's workshop in early June of this year (after arriving from Detroit upon receipt of the first batch of components from Tikman). Subsequently, I met with Christie in his workshop monthly. I visited Christie several times in October before leaving for the USSR.

Situation with Christie's tank design:

When I first visited the workshop, Christie's design bureau composed of two men began to draw blueprints for the vehicle that is now in the USSR, as before this Christie only had assembly blueprints. These blueprints were being completed during my last visit before departure.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Warspot Article: Tiger Killers

A lot of post-war discussion of Tiger tanks revolved around how difficult they were to destroy and how thick their armour was. However, the reaction to the discovery of Tiger tanks wasn't anywhere as panicked as one might be led to believe. British specialists figured out pretty quickly that these new tanks could be destroyed with existing tank and anti-tank guns. Read how in my article on Warspot.net.



Sunday, 5 July 2020

Video: Designing the T-34 Q&A

This is a slightly different type of video from the previous ones. Instead of focusing on just one topic for the whole duration, I answer various questions from readers of Designing the T-34. 


Saturday, 4 July 2020

Dead End on Wheels

The 1930s were a time of experiments in the field of armoured vehicles. Some of these experiments were successful, some not so much. Some tanks passed trials and were even accepted into service, but failed to enter mass production. For instance, the convertible drive T-29 tank was supposed to replace the T-28. It was accepted into service, but not mass produced for a variety of reasons. The T-46 was its comrade in sorrow. This tank was supposed to become the most numerous in the Red Army, but only four were built. That was the end, the idea of replacing the T-26 failed.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Survivability

"Award Order
  1. Name: Stepanov, Konstantin Ivanovich
  2. Rank: Guards Junior Lieutenant 
  3. Position: Tank commander, 14th Guards Independent Motorcycle Battalion
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Banner.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Army Trials

"General Staff of the Worker and Peasant Red Army
February 17th, 1937
#57198s

To:
Commander of the Leningrad Military District, Army Commander 1st Class comrade Shaposhnikov
Chief of Ordnance and Technology Supply of the RKKA, Army Commander 2nd class comrade Khalepskiy
Chief of Artillery of the RKKA, Division Commander Rogovskiy
Chief of the Automobile and Armour Directorate of the RKKA, Division Commander comrade Bokis

The General Staff of the RKKA considers it necessary to create a battery consisting of the four SU-5 SPGs with 122 mm howitzers out of those assigned to the 11th Mechanized Brigade with all necessary support units and carry out large scale trials.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Christie's Payment

"June 15th, 1930
#15E/249s

Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization

RE: Christie tanks

Amtorg informs us by telegraph that the Christie company reports 75% completion and thus requests a payment of 15,000 American dollars to be transferred to New York by the end of June.

Our inspector, comrade Lebedev, determined that the order is only 20% complete and informed the Christie company that we refuse to pay $15,000 until the vehicles are 75% complete.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Warspot Article: Study of the T-34-85 in the Korean War

Even though the US managed to obtain two T-34 tanks during WWII, they missed their chance to get a T-34-85. This was remedied during the Korean War. Even though the tank that was recovered was incomplete, it allowed the Americans to learn a lot about Soviet tank development. POW interrogations filled in the gaps on the tank's performance in battle.



Saturday, 27 June 2020

Armour of Hitler's Satellite

In March of 1939 Slovakia was formed as a semi-independent nation. Its armed forces were formed from the shattered remains of the former Czechoslovakian army. They included an armoured force, although its size and potential were limited.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Shopping Trip

"To the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR

Report

In accordance with your instructions #01924 issued on December 10th I present to you my ideas about buying tanks from abroad. These ideas were discussed with comrades Uborevich, Khalepskiy, and Berzin.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Bullseye

Back when I was active in the World of Tanks community, the idea that the D-25T gun could hit the broad side of a barn seemed bizarre and impossible to many. Documents suggesting otherwise elicited heated discussion, with many suggesting that this is anything from an outlier to a fabrication. Fortunately, these trials were commonly performed as a part of standard QA testing, and many similar results are available.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Allied Tank Observation

Continued from part 1.

"MK-2

The main observation devices of the MK-2 are observation slits and mirror periscopes.

A dual observation slit and a tilting all-round reversible periscope are available in front of the driver. In addition to the sights, the crew in the turret has a periscope. The commander's cupola has a periscope and an observation slit. The observation slits are not protected with glass. The driver has a celluloid shield to protect him from dirt. The periscopes are the standard rotating tilting type. The angles are given in figure 9.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Video: BT-5 and BT-7

In this week's video I go over how the BT-5 and BT-7 designs evolved from the BT-2 and the identifying features of the last generation of fast Soviet tanks.


Saturday, 20 June 2020

Courtesy Visit

The USSR was always interested in tank building abroad. This is not surprising, like in any tank building nation its designers wanted to keep up with the competition. Foreign tanks often appeared in the USSR. Some of them were trophies (those turned up in the late 1930s), others came willingly. Among them was a Czechoslovakian LT vz. 35, which left a mark on Soviet tank building in the late 1930s.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Warspot Article: The Tank's Hidden Foe

On paper, the Panzerfaust is a terrifying weapon. It could penetrate up to 200 mm of armour, enough to knock out any Allied tank, and could be hidden in every basement, in every window, and around every corner. How effective was this weapon really, and what did Allied tankers do to protect themselves from it? I answer this question in my article on Warspot.net.


Thursday, 18 June 2020

HEAT and Tigers

"Experience using HEAT ammunition in the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment in the summer of 1944

The regiment only used HEAT in the summer of 1944 on August 30th near the city of Gorodisk, when engaging enemy tanks.

The optimal distance to fire HEAT is 400-600 meters. At 500 meters the front armour of a T-6 (Tiger) tank can be penetrated. At a range of 600 meters and more the front armour cannot be penetrated. If the turret is hit, it becomes jammed and the tank becomes unable to fight. The side armour of the T-6 tank can be penetrated from up to 800 meters, in this case the angle of impact needs to be large. At a range of 1000 meters it is only possible to fight Tiger tanks by firing at the tracks and the armament of the tank (the track can be destroyed at a range of up to 1200 meters). Firing at the Tiger's armour from over 1000 meters away is ineffective.

The front armour of a medium tank can be penetrated at 800-900 meters.

If the shell hits an APC from any distance, it will be disabled.

HEAT ammunition was not used to fire at fortifications.

To improve the shell, it is necessary to increase the muzzle velocity, which will increase its effective range.

Chief of Staff of the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment, Major Agamas
Assistant Chief of Staff of the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment, Guards Captain Kharitonov"

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Waste Not, Want Not

A number of defective hulls and turrets that were rejected by QA were still put to good use by the GABTU. The parts were rejected due to cracking, particularly around the welds, but the question of how cracks affected the performance of the armour remained. There was only one way to find out.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

85 mm Vertical Stabilizer


"To the Chief of the 2nd Department of the GAU Artillery Committee, Major General of the Artillery Engineering Service, comrade Komarov
Acting Chief of the 1st Department of the GAU, Engineer-Colonel comrade Yakunin

RE: progress of work on the experimental ZIS-S-54 guns

I report that factory #112 finished the installation of 4 ZIS-S-54 guns with gyroscopic stabilizers in the turrets of T-34 tanks and that they are currently going through the final tuning process, checking of the gyroscope, hydraulic pump, power circuit, and other components of the gun stabilizer.

The last 5th gun is currently being installed in the turret of a tank.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Video: Did T-34 Prototypes See Battle?

It is often claimed that T-34 tank prototypes were tested in combat in the Winter War, and sometimes even in the Battle of Khalkin Gol. I explore whether or not this was possible and where the tanks were at the time of these conflicts in my latest video.


Sunday, 14 June 2020

Warspot Article: The Longest Millimeter

The Sherman tank was superior to any other tank in North Africa when it made its debut in October of 1942, but such supremacy is rarely permanent. Improvement to its firepower in the form of a 76 mm gun was conceived in 1942, but it took until 1944 for mass production of tanks with 76 mm guns to begin. Read about the development of Sherman tanks with 76 mm guns and their evaluation in my article on Warspot.net.


Saturday, 13 June 2020

Stillborn Maus

The Pz.Kpfw. Maus is one of the most famous German tanks. It was the heaviest tank ever built in history. Opinions about the Maus tend to be extreme opposites, some believe that the Maus was the Wehrmacht's last hope, others say that it was the proverbial straw that broke the back of German industry.

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The Maus was unlikely to save Germany, but it would have been a nasty thorn in the side of the Allies if it ever reached the battlefield. German industry didn't need to apply any kind of heroic effort to produce it. However, the damage dealt to German industry was so severe that the Maus was impossible to produce by the fall of 1943.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Penal Company

"HQ
371st Rifle Division
Personnel department
August 8th, 1942
#0770

To the Chief of Staff of the 30th ARmy
RE: #04/01114

I report that a penalty company could not be organized within the 371st Rifle Division due to a lack of personnel guilty of crimes against the Motherland. The tank units did not send anyone guilty of crimes against the Motherland either.

Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Sakayev
Staff Military Commissar, Battalion Commissar Popov"


Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Tanker's Syllabus

"Approved
Deputy Technical Commander of the 3rd Guards Tank Army, Guards Major General of the Tank Engineering Service, Solovyev
June 14th, 1945

Program for technical training of tank and SPG crews in the units and formations of the 3rd Guards Tank Army

Topic
Number of hours
Diagrams and materials
Tactical-technical characteristics and a brief description of the overall operation of tanks and SPGs
2
Brief user’s manuals of tanks and SPGs.
Operation of the engine, purpose and design of its components. Common issues, diagnosis and correction methods. Engine service.
20
Brief user’s manuals of tanks and SPGs, brief user’s manual for the V-2 engine, fuel system, lubrication system, and cooling system.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Soviet Tank Observation

From "Observation from Modern Tanks"
Engineer-Major L.S. Tolokonnikov
Vestnik Tankovoy Promyshlennosti (Tank Industry Herald) 1944 #10

"Presently, tanks use simple observation devices
  1. Observation slits with protective glass and without.
  2. Mirror observation devices (periscopes).
  3. Commander's cupolas with observation slits or periscopes.
  4. Observation ports.
Optical (aside from sights) and mechanical observation devices are completely absent. until a new type of tank observation device is discovered, further improvement of observation from tanks, protection of the observer, and convenience of observation can only be increased by improving the design of existing devices, increasing their quality, positioning them more rationally, and improving their attachment inside the tank.

This article will examine only a portion of the issue, that is the position, amount, and observation angle of modern tanks, domestic, captured, and allied (25 in all).

Monday, 8 June 2020

Video: Hunting Tigers, North Africa 1943

The Tiger was undoubtedly at the height of its power in early 1943, but could it still be defeated? I take a look at British weapons available at the time in North Africa and how effective they were against this new enemy.


Sunday, 7 June 2020

An Intermediate Step

The road to a new tank often goes through a number of intermediate prototypes. The Germans took this road to the Tiger and Panther, the American Pershing also evolved in a similar fashion. Soviet tank building also followed this road. For instance, the KV-13 tanks may not have gone into battle but they served as a foundation for the IS-2, the best Soviet tank of the war. The T-43 tank was also such an intermediate step. This interesting tank fell victim to trials that dragged on and a rapid increase in tactical-technical requirements in the second half of 1943.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

T-43 Wishlist

"Tactical-Technical Characteristics for a Medium Tank
November 9th, 1943

1. Overall characteristics
  1. Type: tracked, single turret
  2. Mass: 33-34 tons
  3. Crew: 4
  4. Armour: rolled, homogeneous, high hardness:
    1. Hull front: 90 mm
    2. Sides: 75 mm
    3. Rear: 60 mm
    4. Roof and floor: 20 mm
    5. Turret: 110 mm (cast front), 75 mm (rolled sides)

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Japanese Tank Destroyers

"Directions on tactical techniques and military misdirection used by the Japanese army and countermeasures against them
...
Tank destroyer groups

In all types of anti-tank defenses, the Japanese consider the most common and effective anti-tank weapon to be groups of suicide tank destroyers. Other techniques (anti-tank guns, tanks, anti-tank obstacles) are considered ineffective. In practice, tank on tank battles are rare and accidental.

In reality, this low effectiveness is explained by the insufficient amounts of tanks and artillery in the Japanese army.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Common Questions: Sherman vs. Tiger

The topic of Sherman vs. Tiger is one of the most consistently popular ones that comes up during the discussion of WWII armoured warfare. Despite the years that have passed, such simple questions as "at what range can a Sherman penetrate the Tiger's armour" can get results ranging from "point blank" to "not at all". Many contemporary sources had much more optimistic evaluations, for instance the Americans estimated this range to be over 1000 yards (914 meters). Results of Soviet testing were much more conservative, ranging from 400 to 625 meters.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Video: Christie Tanks and BT-2

My newest video is up! This time I take a look at how Christie came up with his revolutionary suspension, what exactly made it so good, and how his designs came to influence Soviet tanks.


Saturday, 30 May 2020

T-43, Take One

Factory #183 in Kharkov worked on the T-34M medium tank in the first half of 1941. This tank was supposed to replace the T-34 in the second half of 1941. The start of the Great Patriotic War forced the plans to modernize the T-34 to be corrected. Only a handful of components migrated to the production T-34 from the T-34M. The issue of modernization was revisited in the spring of 1942. Unlike the T-34M, the tank called T-43 was built in metal and its development continued for over a year. This article covers the work performed on the T-43 tank in 1942.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Christie Price List

"Minutes of the discussion between comrades Khalepskiy, Gobar, and mister Christie
  1. Christie only produces one type of tank and wishes to elaborate on interest in "the type of tank that you produce for sale to the US Army and abroad".
  2. No tanks are currently runners. The old one was taken apart, the new one is being assembled. The new one is similar to the old one with improvements.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Object 704

"To GBTU TU chief, Engineer-Colonel comrade Blagonravov

I report that the Kirov factory design bureau is completing the development of an SPG on the chassis of the Kirovets-1 tank.

The hull is characterized by the following:
  • Lower front plate: 120 mm at 55 degrees
  • Cheek plates: 120 mm at 50 degrees
  • Upper side plates: 90 mm at 45 degrees
  • Upper rear plate: 60 mm at 40 degrees
  • Lower side plates: 75  mm at 60 degrees
  • Vertical side plates: 90 mm
  • Floor and roof: 20 mm

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

76 mm vs T-34

Even though the T-34 was not designed to withstand 76 mm AP shells, trials with various kinds of 76 mm ammunition were still included in the tests of defective hulls and turrets.

"d) Firing 76 mm type 2-03545 armour piercing shells

Trials of the 2-03545 shell, accepted into service, are shown in table 11 and on figure 50. The table shows data for two different hulls: shots 21-24 and 155-168 were fired at the first hull, shots 48-58, 113-125, 140-146, and 149 were fired at the second hull.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Video: Sherman Reliability

A new video is up! This time I answer a Reddit user's question: how reliable was the Sherman tank? As you can imagine, it's not a trivial question to answer, especially due to the wide variety of Shermans that were made.


Saturday, 23 May 2020

Pre-War Potential

As worldwide tank building practice shows, it takes about five years to develop a new tank in peace time from the development of the requirements to the final product. The tank often changes significantly between envisioning and production, as happened with the T-34. The initial requirements for the BT-20 tank composed in mid-October of 1937 described a convertible drive tank weighing 13-14 tons with 20-25 mm of armour and armed with a 45 mm gun or 76 mm L-10 gun. Three years later, the tank that went into production was fully tracked, weighed 25.6 tons, had an L-11 gun and 45 mm thick armour.

The mass grew gradually during development along with the improvement of the tank's characteristics. However, the T-34 was supposed to change significantly by the summer of 1941. This T-34M was the result of changing requirements. The start of the Great Patriotic War got in the way of developing even a prototype, but the T-34M became the starting point for a whole series of tanks and had an effect on the production T-34.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Next Generation Light SPG

The SU-76 was off to a rocky start in early 1943, and was eventually replaced in production by the more reliable SU-76M. Meanwhile, there was another SPG that could have possibly replaced it, had the stars aligned:

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Emcha Condition

"Approved
Commander of the 1st Krasnograd Mechanized Corps
Guards Lieutenant General of the Tank Forces, Krivoshein

ACT
On the technical condition of tanks arriving from repair factories #382, 97, 137 (12 M4A2, 30 MK-9) after refurbishment for equipment of the units of the 1st Krasnograd Mechanized Corps
...

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Cast vs Rolled

The question of cast vs rolled armour is often encountered in specialist literature. It is typically accepted that cast armour needs to be about 10% thicker to provide the same resistance as rolled armour. This was the case with T-34 turrets: cast ones had a nominal thickness of 52 mm, turrets welded from rolled armour had a thickness of 45 mm. However, trials were held in late 1940 to confirm this theory. Defective hulls and turrets rejected by QA were used.

Results of trials with different types of shells were compared to determine the limit of partial penetration (PTP) and limit of complete penetration (PSP) in meters per second.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Soviet Tank History: T-35

Another video is up. This time I'm taking a look at pre-war heavy tank development in the USSR and some tanks that could have been accepted into service instead of the T-35, as well as what aspects of the T-35's design migrated onto later Soviet heavy tanks.


Saturday, 16 May 2020

T-26 as a Minesweeper

As armoured vehicles were built and improved, methods to combat them appeared as well. The race was only between shells and armour at first, but anti-tank mines appeared soon after. They could be used not only against tanks, but against other vehicles, and it was not necessary to completely destroy a vehicle, as a disabled tank was a perfect target for artillery. One of the countermeasures to this weapon was a mine detector installed on the tank. However, it was not that simple to implement this idea.

Friday, 15 May 2020

More Tank Archives

Some of you may have noticed that there's a new link in the sidebar of this blog. Now that all the setup is complete, I would like to officially introduce the Tank Archives Facebook page!

Fans of the blog shouldn't worry, this page isn't going to replace my updates this site, but is going to function similarly to the Twitter account. Expect to see larger "on this day" style posts, photo albums with historical and modern photographs of armoured vehicles, links to my latest videos, and much more. 


Thursday, 14 May 2020

Study Guide

"Approved
Deputy Commander of the 2nd Tank Army
Major-General of the Engineering Tank Service
Yukin
September 9th, 1944

Directions for planning combat training of tank commanders and tank drivers

Due to insufficient training of tank commanders and drivers arriving in marching companies on issues of service, usage, and driving of tanks, especially in forested, swampy, or sandy terrain, the repair and usage department of the [illegible] considers it necessary to organize technical training for newly arriving commanders and drivers over the course of 20 days, a total of 80 hours.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Sherman Rammer

"Award Order
  1. Astakhov, Vladimir Mikhailovich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position: Mechanic-driver of the 84th Guards Tank Regiment, 30th Guards Mechanized Brigade, 9th Guards Mechanized Corps
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Banner.

King Tiger Penetration Trials

"ACT
Results of investigation of the T-6-B (King Tiger) tank to discover weak spots and penetration, carried out on September 2nd, 1944, near the city of Staszow (Poland) by a commission composed of:
  1. Chair: 
    1. Commander of Artillery of the 5th Guards Army, Guards Major General of Artillery V.I. Poluekov
  2. Members:
    1. Commander of the 31st Guards Rifle Corps, Hero of the Soviet Union, Guards Lieutenant General Rodimtsev
    2. Commander of the 155th Novorossiysk Army Cannon Artillery Brigade, Colonel M.A. Tarasov
    3. Commander of the 10th Tank Destroyer Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Bazirenko
    4. Commander of the 31st Tank Corps, Guards Colonel Pleshanov
The results are composed into the following table:

Monday, 11 May 2020

Soviet Tank History: T-26

The feedback has been good so far, and so I prepared another video, this time on the T-26. Let me know what you think!


Saturday, 9 May 2020

A Captured Chassis

The overall concept of Soviet SPGs was fixed by the start of 1943. The light SU-12 (SU-76) and medium SU-35 (SU-122) were already in production, and work on the heavy KV-14 (SU-152) began in early January. Another, fourth SPG appeared in the spring. Its mass put it in the medium class, but its armament was more appropriate for the light. It was also based on a foreign chassis. This was the SU-76I, an unusual vehicle for Soviet tank building.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Book Sale

Morton's is having a sale of their back issues on Pocketmags. In addition to other titles from their military history series, the digital version of my book can be had at a steep discount for just $0.99 (or similar in your local currency). If you don't have a copy yet, this is the perfect time to get one: https://pocketmags.com/ca/mortons-books-magazine/designing-the-t-34#


Thursday, 7 May 2020

Heroic Tractor Driver

"Award Order
  1. Name: Tikhonov, Ivan Gerasimovich
  2. Rank: Guards Red Armyman
  3. Position and unit: assistant tractor driver of the 88th Order of the Red Star Army Evacuation Company of the 6th Guards Tank Army
    is nominated for the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Video: Russian Renault and MS-1

Now that my latest book is off to the publisher and I have some more free time, I decided to experiment a little and put my YouTube channel to good use. Enjoy!


Tuesday, 5 May 2020

IS-6 Drama

"To GBTU representative, Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel comrade Markin

Having taken the post of the GBTU TU representative at factory #100 in April of 1944, I already reported that my work at the factory is made difficult because of the fact that the factory is hiding experimental work from me, which has now resumed at the factory. At first, this secrecy was obtained by organizing a special room, which only comrade Kotin and a short list of other people were permitted to enter. I was not included in this list (at the time, the design of the IS-6 tank was being kept secret from me).

Monday, 4 May 2020

Lend Lease Review

"Brief Report on combat experience of tanks of the 252nd Tank Regiment of the 45th Dniester Mechanized Brigade of the 5th Mechanized Corps from December 1943 to present time

The 252nd Tank Regiment was equipped with American M4A2 tanks and British Mk.9 tanks. The following positive and negative qualities of the tanks and crews were observed:
  1. During long marches in spring mud the weakest link of the M4A2 was the main clutch. For instance: after a 200-250 km march 3 tanks broke down due to burning out of the main clutch and 4 tanks due to breakage of the main clutch casing. During a 130 km march on paved roads 2 tanks went out of action due to breakage of the track link joints.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

High Caliber Convertibles

History often repeats itself. This well known fact is often confirmed in tank building. For instance, Soviet SPGs, especially heavy ones like the SU-14, were created in order to mechanize artillery. The requirements changed during the process of their creation. The Red Army was in need of an assault gun that was capable of direct fire and had shell-proof armour. The 212 SPG and subsequent vehicles were designed according to this concept. Work resulted in the creation of the SU-152. However, one day the Red Army once more found itself in need of a self propelled gun with an open fighting compartment equipped with a 203 mm B-4 gun.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Slippery Slope

"Award Order
  1. Name: Popov, Semyon Yakovlevich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: assistant driver, 83rd Guards Tank Regiment, 18th Dniester Guards Mechanized Brigate, 9th Dniester-Rymninskiy Guards Order of the Red Banner Mechanized Corps
    is nominated for the Order of Glory 3rd Class.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Multicyclone Performance

The air filter was the Achilles' heel of early T-34 tanks. The early Pomon air filters were inefficient and had to be cleaned often, which was not always possible in the heat of battle. These filters were later replaced in production with Cyclone and later Multicyclone filters. These filters proved themselves to be superior, as reports from the 2nd Guards Tank Army during the Berlin Offensive Operation indicate.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Welding thick high hardness introduces a large number of problems into the manufacturing process. As a result, a significant number of early T-34s had manufacturing defects, chiefly cracks in the armour near the welding seams. Defective hulls and turrets as well as one complete tank assembled from defective parts were shot up in order to determine the effect of cracks on the toughness of the armour.

"Plan of trials of a hull and turret of a T-34 tank
Basis: BTU KA chief's letter #76105 on August 28th, 1940

1. Goal of trials

To determine the resistance of the design to shells, reliability of the joints between various parts and components of the hull and turret (welds and attachments of removable parts, hatches).

Monday, 27 April 2020

End of the Superheavies

"I order:
  1. My deputy, Chief of the Main Tank Directorate, comrade Maksarev, and Director of the Kirov factory in Chelyabinsk, comrade Zaltsmann:
    1. Cease further production of the IS-4.
    2. Correct defects discovered in the design of the IS-4 listed in attachment 1, then transfer all technical documentation and blueprints for the IS-4 to the mobilization reserve.
    3. Present 12 IS-4 tanks for trials to the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the USSR by May 1st, 1949, with defects corrected in accordance with the decree issued by the Council of Ministers. 2 tanks will be put through 1000 km driving trials, 10 tanks will be put through army trials according to a program approved by the Minister of the Armed Forces of the USSR.
    4. Correct defects on other tanks, present at both the factory and in the armed forces, with changes introduced as a result of the trials before January 1st, 1950.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Medium Assault Tank for the British

When the British Military Mission arrived in the United States in late 1940, they expected production of British tanks to begin in American factories. The plan was to repeat the situation in WWI, where the USA built British and French designs. However, in the 20 years that passed the USA turned into a powerful industrial nation, which could develop weapons that were, at the very least, no worse than British ones. The idea to produce British tanks was declined, which didn't stop the British from ordering the Grant I, a British take on the American Medium Tank M3. Special assault tanks were also ordered by the British. Let's take a look at the Assault Tank T14 and its companion, the A33 Excelsior.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

BS-3 Sight Adjustment

"Directorate of Artillery
3rd Guards Tank Army
Department of Artillery Supply
January 31st, 1945
#0170

To the Commander of the 367th Field Artillery Regiment

100 mm model 1944 guns are equipped with drum sights with the following scales: Fragmentation Grenade, Armour Piercing, and mils or Fragmentation Grenade, Armour Piercing, Fragmentation Grenade (reduced charge) and mils. Due to imprecise markings of ranges only use the mils scale with 250K sight tables and the attached labels until drums are replaced.

Present these instructions to the gun crews.

Deputy Commander of Artillery of the 3rd GTA, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Yefimov
Chief of Artillery Supply, Guards Engineer-Major Telnov"

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Drive Me Closer

"Award Order
  1. Name: Shunkov, Sergei Petrovich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: assistant driver, 45th Guards Tank Regiment
    is nominated for the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Rules of Conduct

"Top Secret
Cipher #1141-1143
From 65th Army
Submitted August 10th, 1944, 21:00
Accepted August 10th, 1944, 21:41
Received by Ciphers Office on August 10th, 1944, 22:20

Special priority
#5270/Sh

To commanders of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Belorussian Fronts and the 1st Ukrainian Front
All corps and division commanders of the above Fronts
CC: Politruk Zharov, comrade Vladimirov, comrade Bulganin, comrade Hrulev

During the liberation of Polish territory from German occupants, some units, formations, and trophy teams do not understand the specifics of our friendship with the Committee of National Liberation and entirely incorrectly include property belonging to Polish organizations, private citizens, and municipal governments as trophies. According to the agreement between the USSR and the Polish Committee of National Liberation, the Stavka of the Supreme Command orders that:
  1. On Polish territory, defined as all land west of the Curzon line, "trophy" is taken to mean all armament, ammunition, military vehicles, military intendant and military technician equipment, fuel and lubricants of all types, general and special purpose transport, military warehouses, and other property of the enemy's armies.
  2. Warehouses filled with property looted by the Germans from Polish citizens and Polish organizations (food, livestock, building materials, medicine, factory tools, transport, civilian goods, etc) are to be guarded and transferred with a receipt to the Polish government.
  3. Any kind of possessions, transport, or equipment whatsoever belonging to private citizens, cooperative organizations, industrial organizations, or municipal governments does not count as trophies and cannot be taken.
  4. Possessions without a lawful owner (including those who fled to Germany along with retreating Germans) and abandoned goods (grain or other food, livestock, prepared products, equipment, raw materials, goods at factories, etc) must be guarded and transferred with a receipt to the Polish government.
  5. All complaints regarding unauthorized seizure of food or livestock from the population (including swapping horses) will be investigated. If the fact is confirmed, the possessions must be returned or compensation paid even if a specific culprit could not be identified.
  6. All personnel, regardless of rank or position, are to be harshly punished up to and including judgement by a military tribunal for unauthorized seizure of possessions from civilians.
    Commanders and superiors who do not prevent unauthorized actions of their subordinates or assist in these acts must also be held criminally responsible.
  7. All officers, NCOs, as well as commanders of trophy units and formations must be familiar with this order.
#220138
Stalin
Antonov"


Monday, 20 April 2020

T-34-85 Reliability, 1945

The service life of the T-34 tank continued to increase throughout the war. The engine could be expected to put out 250 hours of service by 1945, with individual drivers able to get to 300. These were not individual occurrences, as the 2nd Guards Tank Army's experience shows.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Pocket Fury

British tank building developed differently from other nations. For instance, the British built tanks in one weight category that had vastly different characteristics. It is no less interesting that the while the core of the British tank fleet was made up of light tanks, production of light tanks as a class ended in 1940. Although, the British later returned to the topic of light tanks. One light vehicle was designed and even released in small series at the end of the war. This is the Alecto I: an SPG that was too late for the war, but managed to serve in the British army nevertheless.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

David vs Goliath

"Results of firing at the King Tiger tank with a 45 mm model 1943 gun

Firing was done from 180 meters at the side of the tank. The results are as follows:
  • Of 4 shots with armour piercing shells, none penetrated.
  • The running gear and tracks (road wheels and tracks) can be destroyed.
  • Of 6 shots with subcaliber armour piercing shot 5 penetrated. It also destroys the wheels and tracks.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Roots of the SU-152

"Approved: Deputy People's Commissar of Tank Production, Major General of the Technical Forces, Kotin
Approved: Chief of the GABTU BTU, Major General of the Tank Forces, Korobkov
January 31st, 1942

Tactical-technical requirements for a self propelled 152 mm howitzer on the KV-7 chassis

The 152 mm self propelled howitzer is similar in design to the KV-7 tank and is designed to be used for destruction of fortifications at close range

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Lesson Plan

"March 20th, 1945

Syllabus for technical preparation of crews for usage of tanks and SPGs in spring-summer conditions

Objective: to teach the main rules of  moving over to using tanks and SPGs in the spring and summer and learn the specifics of using tanks and SPGs in the spring and summer.
Time allotted: 12 hours, one hour per day
Location: in classrooms and in vehicles
Training conducted by: technical deputy commanders of companies and battalions

Monday, 13 April 2020

King Tiger Penetration Trials


"10th Tarnopol Order of Lenin Independent Guards Tank Destroyer Brigade
September 3rd, 1944
#0302

To: Commander of artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Colonel General of Artillery, Barentsov
CC: Commander of artillery of the 13th Army, Commander of artillery of the 5th Guards Army

I report that on September 1st and 2nd, 1944, I performed penetration trials against the "T-B King Tiger" tank using 57 and 76 mm guns, a 57 mm SPG, an 85 mm gun on a SU-85, and a 152 mm gun-howitzer on an ISU.

Results of penetration trials:

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Slow and Thick-skinned

Most British tanks built in the first half of the Second World War quickly became obsolete. Their war ended by mid-1943, after that they only served as a chassis for SPGs or ARVs. The only British tank of the period which continued to be built until the final stages of the war was the Churchill. At first, it was a disappointment, and it might have been replaced by the A33 Excelsior or the Assault Tank T14 if not for its rehabilitation in Tunisia. This allowed the development of the vehicle to continue. The result was the Churchill VII, a tank that first went into battle 75 years ago on June 6th, 1944.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Local Procurement

"HQ of the Northern Group of the Transcaucasian Front ABTU
#0421
September 10th, 1942

To: Deputy Commander of Artillery of the Northern Group of the Transcaucasian Front
CC: Deputy Commander of the Automotive and Armoured Forces of the Transcaucasian Front, Commander of Forces of the Northern Group of the Transcaucasian Front, Members of the Military Council

On September 8th, 1942, the commander of the 563rd Independent Tank Battalion performed experimental trials of 50 mm domestic mortar shells fired from the 50 mm mortar installed on British MK-3 tanks. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Beginning of the ZIS-2

"People's Commissar of Defense
December 10th, 1940

To:
Central Committee of the VKP(b), comrade Stalin
Council of People's Commissars, comrade Molotov
Committee of Defense of the Council of People's Commissars, Marshal of the USSR comrade Voroshilov

In accordance with the minutes of the meeting held by Marshal of the USSR comrade Kulik on the issue of tank and anti-tank armament, factory #92 was tasked with development and production of an experimental 55-60 mm anti-tank gun with the following characteristics:
  • Muzzle velocity: at least 1000 m/s
  • Penetration: 70 mm from 1000 meters at 30 degrees
  • Mass: no more than 950 kg
  • Horizontal traverse range: 60 degrees
The 57 mm caliber was selected to solve this problem.


The gun is not yet ready. Factory #92 is completing development of blueprints and only several components are in production. Only the barrel has been produced and tested using a pillbox gun mount.

During the trials a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s was recorded.

As the propellant was picked by factory #92 from expedient gunpowders, the combination of which could not be satisfactory, the final ballistic data to design complete ammunition was not obtained.

Because of this, a barrel of the 57 mm gun was installed on the mount of a 76 mm model 1939 divisional gun and sent to Leningrad to develop the projectile, test ballistic qualities, and approve them so that ammunition can be developed.

It is not impossible that the maximum pressure calculated at factory #92 (2890 kg/cm²) will not be enough to obtain a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s, which will require design changes to the barrel and development of a special primer.

Factory #92 has now turned its primary attention to using the 57 mm barrel of the pillbox gun as a tank gun.

This direction cannot be considered correct, as the use of the 57 mm gun caliber in pillboxes and tanks can only be allowed if it is present in field artillery. Factory #92 should develop an anti-tank gun first.

Based on the above, on this December 10th I present a draft decree to the Committee of Defense that defines the production of experimental prototypes of the 57 mm anti-tank gun, ammunition for it, and complete trials.

Marshal of the Soviet Union, S. Timoshenko"



Tuesday, 7 April 2020

T-43 Level Up

"Approximate calculations

Increase in mass of the T-43 tank as a result of new tactical-technical requirements

The main changes in the tactical-technical requirements that will result in an increase in mass are:
  • Increase in the front armour from 75 to 90 mm
  • Increase of the turret ring from 1600 to 1700 mm
  • Increase of the front turret armour from 90 to 110 mm
  • Decrease of the ground pressure from 0.93 to 0.8 kg/cm²
Main changes in tactical-technical requirements that will result in a decrease in mass are:
  • Decrease of the rear armour from 75 to 60 mm
  • Decrease of the roof armour from 30 to 20 mm
  • Decrease of the rear floor from 30 to 20 mm 

Monday, 6 April 2020

Gold Rounds

"Results of experimental firing at a German King Tiger tank with a BP-460A HEAT shell from the 122 mm model 1938 howitzer
  1. Firing against the side of the hull (at 89 degrees 28 minutes).
    1.  Distance 200 meters. Results: 2 complete penetrations 45-50 mm in diameter. The edges of the breach were melted.
  2. Firing at the side of the superstructure.
    1. Distance: 200 meters. Result: 2 complete penetrations (#1 and #2) 45-50 mm in diameter.
    2. Distance: 300 meters. Result: 1 complete penetration (#3) 50-60 mm in diameter.
      The angle was not calculated as the angle of the plate was not measured.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

T-18: Mass Produced Answer to Chamberlain

The Red Army accepted the T-18 infantry support tank, better known as the MS-1, into service on July 6th, 1927. This tank was developed by Soviet specialists and was the first truly mass produced domestic tank. The T-18 was the most numerous tank of the 1920s. More of them were built in the USSR than every other country produced tanks altogether.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Fedorov Avtomat

"July 7th, 1924
Minutes #222/23

On weapons (Sheydeman):
  1. Categorically reject Fedorov's rifle if ammunition is not manufactured at the same time.
  2. As soon as possible limit the number of avtomats chambered in the 0.25" caliber, dedicating resources and effort to the creation of 0.3" avtomats and to starting production of these avtomats at the Kovrov factory.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Anti-Tank Gas

"Distribution:
Supreme Command of the Land Forces
Staff of the Chief of Army Engineering Structures and Fortifications

#5681/42
Secret

Translated from German

Army Group A (General of Engineering Forces)

The experiments of the 395th [illegible] division regarding the use of smoke grenades against T-34 tanks in close combat gave the following results:
  1. The tank was standing in place. The engine was running. The hatches were shut. The smoke grenade was ignited near the tank.
    Result: rapid penetration of concentrated smoke through the engine intake and through the front entrance hatch, ball mount, machinegun mount, and turret.
    Result: the crew was quickly forced to exit the tank due to choking and vomiting.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

U-18 Controversy

After the conclusion of the Great Patriotic War, People's Commissar of Tank Production Malyshev ordered each factory to write up a record of their activity during the war. This is what UZTM wrote about their attempt to convert the strange looking KV-7 into a functional SPG.

"U-18

This is a project of a KV-7 SPG with the powerful 152 mm ML-20 gun.

The gun is also installed using a frame mount. The aiming angles are +15 to -5 vertically, 7 degrees 30 minutes to each side horizontally, or 15 degrees in total. The gun has good ballistic performance (43-51 kg shells, 550-650 m/s muzzle velocity) which gives 98 mm of penetration from 1000 meters compared to 49 mm from the ZIS-5 gun.
The explosive charge of the 152 mm shell is three times greater than that of the 76 mm shell.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Lend Lease Review

"June 19th, 1945
Report on use of tanks in combat by the 8th Guards Molodecheno Order of the Red Banner Mechanized Brigade in the Patriotic War

In combat during 1943, the 44th Guards Tank Regiment, a part of the 8th Guards Molodecheno Order of the Red Banner Mechanized Brigade, was armed with T-34 tanks that had a 76 mm gun and T-70 tanks that had a 45 mm gun. Later it did not use these types of tanks.

In combat during 1944-1945 the regiment used mainly M4A2 tanks with the 75 mm gun and partially with the 76 mm gun.

As a result, the summary of combat experience in 1944-1945 will focus on foreign M4A2 tanks.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

The First T-80

The T-70 tank, developed as a continuation of the T-60, had a large number of drawbacks, especially compared to the T-50 that was supposed to become the Red Army's main tank according to pre-war plans. Nevertheless, the T-70 evolved in two directions. A small modernization led to the T-70B. A more thorough modernization led to the T-80, the last Soviet wartime light tank that was put into mass production.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Perfidious Albion

"People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs
10th Department
Outgoing #4490
Received: 18:00 September 20th, 1942
Sent: 19:20 September 20th, 1942

Top Secret, copies forbidden
Specialist number: 896

To: London, Soviet envoy

Special
Top priority

To Mayskiy. You acted like a coward in your conversation with Eden about the Aerocobras.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Kursk Experience

"70th Army HQ
August 25th, 1943
#4025569
Active army

To the Chief of Staff of the Central Front

I attach summary #1 of the experience of the combat units and formations of the 70th Army in the offensive and defensive battles in July-August of 1943.
Attachment: the aforementioned on one sheet.

Deputy Chief of Staff of the 70th Army, Colonel Abayev

Summary #1

Experience of the combat units and formations of the 70th Army in the offensive and defensive battles in July-August of 1943.
  1. Signals detachments of army units laid telegraph and telephone cable to rifle regiment HQ level. This allowed timely installation of telegraph and telephone cables to connect units, formations, and their neighbours. In the practice preceding combat this was never done.
    The losses in personnel while performing this task were insignificant. The laying of cables proved itself.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Counteroffensive

"To the Commander of the South-Western Direction, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Timoshenko
September 16th, 1941

I direct to you materials written by brigade commander comrade Ivanov

Member of the Military Council of the South Front, Army Commissar 1st Class, Zaporozhets"

"Ideas about the upset of further offensive of fascist forces
Maps: 2,500,000 and 1,000,000

Mistakes and weaknesses of the fascists

The enemy still considers our army to be clumsy, unable to make bold moves, unable to use trickery and deceit in operational maneuvers. He relies on our passivity and simplicity. Because of this, the fascist commanders allow:

Monday, 23 March 2020

HEAT and APCR

"USSR NKO
Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army #11794s
ArtKom
December 18th, 1943
#800360s

To commanders of Fronts and Armies
Copy for Leningrad Front only
RE: using subcaliber and armour burning (HEAT) ammunition

With the goal of increasing the effectiveness of artillery against modern enemy tanks, the Main Artillery Directorate produces and supplies the following new types of ammunition:
  • 45 mm, 57 mm, and 76 mm subcaliber AP-tracer shot with a tungsten core
  • 76 and 122 mm armour burning (HEAT) shells with a powerful explosive charge
Subcaliber shot penetrated armour with a pointed tungsten core and is most effective at close tactical ranges as due to the shape and light weight it quickly loses speed, and therefore penetrative power.

HEAT shells penetrate the armour via a directed explosion and allow the use of guns with low muzzle velocity as effective anti-tank weapons. The effectiveness of these shells remains at long ranges.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

In Search of an Ideal Weapon

The poor results of the Heavy Tank M6 program led to a lethargy in American heavy tank development by the first half of 1944. The success of American medium tanks in North Africa led the American military to believe that they will not need heavy tanks. The summer of 1944 in Normandy proved sobering. It turned out that the Germans had new types of heavy tanks that were a tough nut to crack for American tanks and tank destroyers. As a result, development of several new heavy tanks was expedited in late July of 1944. The Heavy Tank T30 was one of them.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

"T-34-57"

Out of the many resilient myths that surround the T-34 tank, there are several that revolve around the rarest one of them all: the T-34 tank armed with the 57 mm ZIS-4 gun, specifically the four experimental tanks produced in 1943. Many sources give these tanks and their guns some kind of made up name like T-34-57 or ZIS-4M and claim that these tanks fought in "special tank company #100" from August 15th, 1943. All three of those claims are false.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Sherman Driver

"Award Order
  1. Name: Nikolai Dmitrievich Volnistiy
  2. Rank: Senior Sergeant
  3. Position, unit: mechanic-driver, 53rd Tank Regiment, 69th Mechanized Rifle Brigade, 9th Mechanized Corps
    is nominated for the state award of the Order of the Red Star.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Many Faces of the T-26

"Condition of SPGs and artillery systems on the T-26 chassis

T-26-8: 37 mm AA gun on the T-26 chassis.

According to instructions from the NKSM and tactical-technical requirements developed by the 20th department of the GAU, an experimental prototype of a 37 mm AA gun on the T-26 tank chassis was developed in July and tested.
Trials gave a positive result. Presently blueprints are being developed that include improvements requested by the ANIOP. Production of two prototypes to send to the front is being finished.
Final work on blueprints for mass production will conclude on August 25th, 1941.

Monday, 16 March 2020

T-34 Improvements

"Decree #1873ss of the State Committee of Defense
June 5th, 1942

On improvement of the T-34 tank

The State Committee of Defense decrees that the T-34 tank, having sufficient armour for a medium tank (45 mm), good power to weight ratio (18.2 hp/ton), needs improvements in gearbox mechanisms and vision. The most important task of the People's Commissariat of Tank Production and directors of tank factories that produce the T-34 is the rapid development of improved gearbox mechanisms and vision devices.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Pershing on Steroids

The history of the American heavy tank building program during the years of WW2 is very messy. On one hand, there was a standardized Heavy Tank M6, which quickly became obsolete. On the other hand, a whole three heavy tanks were in development by the spring of 1945. The first, the Heavy Tank T28, had little resemblance to a tank. The second, the Heavy Tank T29, was the highest priority. Finally, the Heavy Tank T32, the development of which began later than all the rest, was built a year and a half earlier than the T29. Even though the tank was just an "overfed" M26 Pershing, it ended up as the best protected American classic heavy tank built in the 1940s.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Overkill

"To commanders of tank units and armoured trains

_ July 1943

Recent fighting showed that artillerymen and tankers leave tanks alone after the first penetration during enemy tank attacks. The enemy takes advantage of this, evacuates the tanks at night or even during the day, repairs them and sends them into battle.

The Front commander orders: the army needs to reliably shoot up and burn every knocked out enemy tank to completely render it useless.

Chief of Staff of the Motorized and Armoured Forces of the 13th Army
Lieutenant Colonel Chetverikov"

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Tanks and Air

"Orders to the 4th Tank Army #019
July 24th, 1943

The Army Commander orders that:

Friendly identification markings for aircraft consist of:
  1. For cabins of trucks and turrets of tanks: a white triangle at the top, as large as possible.
  2. Motorized rifle units mark the front line with white strips of fabric.
  3. When our aircraft are seen, immediately fire green-red flares and a burst of tracers towards the enemy.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Book Review: German Army Regulation on the Medium Tank Company

Most of my readers are likely aware of the YouTube channel Military History Visualized (and its audio-only companion, Military History Not Visualized). Bernhard Kast, the man behind the scenes, teamed up with another prolific historian, Christoph Bergs, who runs Military Aviation History. Together, they broke into a new genre: print. Bernhard was kind enough to send me a copy of the book to review.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Grosstraktor Amphibious Trials

"People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs
Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council
K. Voroshilov
November 3rd, 1929
#05752ss
Moscow, 19 Frunze St.

To: Comrade Stalin

I attach a report on testing the amphibious properties of German tanks at Kazan. The experiments have been unsuccessful so far. Recall that although the tanks are early prototypes, the Germans spent 6-7 years on designing and building them."

Saturday, 7 March 2020

"Baby Doll", "Stovepipe", and Others

Due to the widespread use of the Faustpatrone, its name became shorthand for any German man-portable HEAT rocket launcher in the Red Army. However, German industry produced other anti-tank weapons for infantry, including those that were much more interesting and much more dangerous than the Faustpatrone.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Sherman Tanks of the Red Army

I hinted at a big announcement in my annual status update a few days ago, and now it's official. I'm proud to announce that I'm writing another book, this time dedicated to the service of American M4 tanks in the Red Army.

Lead By Example

"Award Order
  1. Name: Ivan Mikhailovich Harlamov
  2. Rank: Junior Lieutenant
  3. Position, unit: M4A2 tank commander, 2nd tank company, 53rd Tank Regiment, 69th Mechanized Brigade of the 9th Mechanized Corps
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Gearing Up

"Commanders of the 5th Shock, 44th, 2nd Guards, 28th, 51st Armies

For the duration of the upcoming operation, establish the following norm for soldiers (sergeants).
  1. Rifleman
    1. Rifle: 1
    2. Ammunition: 120 rounds
    3. RGD grenades: 4
    4. Trench shovel: 1
    5. Individual medical kit
      A rifle section should have 4 RPG grenades.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Goliath Intel

"Intelligence Department of the Armoured and Motor Vehicles HQ of the Bryansk Front
August 2nd, 1943

The commander of Armoured and Motor Vehicles of the Bryansk front orders that all personnel must be familiarized with a new German anti-tank weapon: torpedo tankettes.

Some information about the torpedo tankette:

During the offensive in the Orel-Kursk direction on July 5th, 1943, the Germans used torpedo tankettes to demolish our tanks, pillboxes, dugouts, and minefields. 

According to incomplete information, a tank destroyer battalion consisting of three companies armed with torpedo tankettes was allegedly operational near Protasovo and Ponyri.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

The Almighty Panzerfaust

Soviet movies set in the initial stages of the Great Patriotic War depict the Simonov and Degtyaryev anti-tank rifles as incredibly effective. In movies that cover the end of the war, not necessarily even Soviet ones, German Panzerfausts are credited with similar effectiveness. One shot = one tank, even from incredible distances. Of course, people do not come to the cinema to wonder why such a wonder weapon did not prevent Soviet T-34s and American Sherman tanks from appearing in the streets of German cities. How effective were German rocket propelled anti-tank grenades really?

Friday, 28 February 2020

Seven Years of Tank Archives

The seventh year of running this blog has come to an end. Last year I started with an exciting announcement: I was writing my first book! It was published in October of 2019 in the UK, and recently also became available in the US and Canada. The response so far has been excellent, including an incredibly favourable review from the German Tank Museum in Munster and Tank and AFV News. I also recorded two more videos of my own with Military History Visualized: one on the effect of the Spanish Civil War on Soviet tank development, and one on the top 3 most grievous errors in the T-34 Wikipedia article. As always, there's a lot more general banter than just the primary topic of the video.

Speaking of YouTube, I launched my own channel! So far there are about 30 videos of various military reenactments I've been to over the years. This doesn't only include tanks and other AFVs: artillery, boats, and cavalry make an appearance too. Winter is not good reenactment season, so there hasn't been new content in a while, but it will come!

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Mongolian Regiment

All aid provided by foreign governments to the USSR is usually lumped under the term Lend Lease, but this is inaccurate. A significant amount of aid came from other sources, such as Mongolia. One of the contributions was money to build the "For Revolutionary Mongolia" tank column consisting of 32 T-34 and 21 T-70 tanks. These tanks went to the 112th Order of the Red Banner Tank Brigade.