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.

In order to improve the T-34 tank further, the State Committee of Defense decrees that:
  1. Considering that the 4-speed gearbox makes controlling the tank more difficult and limits the use of the diesel engine, also that the design with movable gears does not prevent issues with chipping of gear teeth given insufficiently trained drivers, the People's Commissar of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev), director of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev) and chief designer of factory #183 (comrade Morozov) must:
    1. By July 15th of this year: produce 3 prototypes of 5-speed constant mesh gearboxes and 5 new idlers for the T-34 tank. 
    2. By August 10th of this year: perform trials jointly with the GABTU of two T-34 tanks with 5-speed gearboxes and new idlers and by August 15th of this year present the GOKO with a report on the trials and a proposal for putting the new gearbox and idler into production.
    3. At the same time, perform the necessary work at factory #183 to produce T-34 tanks with the new gearbox and idlers as of September 1st.
  2. To improve vision from the tank, the People's Commissar of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev), directors of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev), factory #112 (comrade Rubinchik), STZ (comrade Zadorozhniy), #174 (comrade Katsnelson), Uralmash (comrade Muzrukov), #200 (comrade Sochivko), and #264 (comrade Korduner) must begin production of T-34 tanks with commander's cupolas on the turret behind the gunner beginning on September 1st of this year. It is acceptable for the cupola to overhang from the turret.
  3. Considering that due to omissions at metallurgical factories several T-34 hulls exhibited cracking, the People's Commissariat of Ferrous Metals (comrade Tevosyan) must ensure that the technical requirements for armour are strictly met, and the People's Commissariat of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev) must ensure that technical processes for assembly of tank hulls and turrets are strictly followed.
    Comrades Malyshev, Tevosyan, and Fedorenko must review the technical requirements for armour to restore the quality of armour to pre-war heights where necessary within ten days' time.
  4. The People's Commissar of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev) and directors of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev) and STZ (comrade Zadorozhniy) must perform comparative trials of tracks produced at STZ and factory #183, pick the best design, approve the production process, and implement a unified track link type at all factories.
  5. For further development and improvement of medium tanks, permit the People's Commissariat of Tank production and factory #183 to produce two T-44 tanks with the following tactical-technical requirements:
    1. Mass: no more than 32 tons
    2. Armour:
      1. Sides: 60 mm
      2. Front: 60-75 mm
      3. Rear: 60 mm rolled or 75 mm cast
      4. Turret (cast): 80-85 mm
    3. A commander's cupola on the turret
    4. Speed:
      1. Highway top: 45-50 kph
      2. Off-road: 20-25 kph
    5. Armament:
      1. One 76 mm gun
      2. Two coaxial DT machine guns
    6. Ammunition:
      1. 60-65 76 mm rounds
      2. 2000-2500 DT rounds
    7. Crew: 4 (commander/radio operator, loader, gunner, driver)
    8. Engine:
      1. At under 30 tons: V2-34 diesel at 500 hp
      2. At over 30 tons: V2-K diesel at 600 hp
    9. Range: 250-300 km
    10. Suspension: torsion bar
      Other requirements will be confirmed with the NKTP and GABTU.
  6. The People's Commissariat of Tank Production (comrade Malyshev) and director of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev) must perform trials of the T-44 tank jointly with the GABTU by October 1st of this year and present the GOKO with a report on its trials by October 10th.
  7. The People's Commissariat of Finance must allocate 5 million rubles from the Council of Commissars fund to the trials of T-44 tanks and 5-speed gearboxes, as well as awards for exceptional workers and management.
Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, I. Stalin"

The T-44 mentioned in this decree never came to be: items 5 though 7 are struck out.

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